keywords: Civil War

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    What we think we know about the Syrian war

    • Justin Glyn
    • 19 September 2017
    8 Comments

    You could be forgiven for never having heard of Deir ez-Zor. There is virtually no mention of it in the Western press, except by British journalist Robert Fisk. Yet this ancient Syrian city of just over 200,000 people on the banks of the Euphrates is the site of what looks to be the final defeat of the dream of ISIS of creating an ethnically cleansed, sectarian caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Changi war remembrance asks how we keep peace today

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 28 April 2017
    2 Comments

    The air-conditioned bus offers a sanctuary from the tropical temperatures outside. It's hard to believe these are the same temperatures experienced by inmates over 70 years ago on this site. It is not often that we consider peace as something we must constantly work for. Often it is portrayed as something which can be achieved and then passed down to us. Changi reminds us we shouldn't become complacent in our memory of war because it might cause us to lose sight of how we keep peace today.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    East Timorese heroes of Australian wars

    • Susan Connelly
    • 24 April 2017
    20 Comments

    Fearful of the southward thrust of the Japanese, the Australian government entered East Timor against the wishes of its Portuguese colonisers. The move was not to protect the Timorese, but to thwart possible attacks on Australia. A band of intrepid Australian soldiers, never numbering more than 700, successfully held off thousands of Japanese in Timor, but only because they had the support of the local people. Between 40,000 and 60,000 Timorese died as a result of Japanese reprisals.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Take care not to co-opt soldiers' and civilians' deaths

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 April 2017
    4 Comments

    At Anzac Day it is common to set the deaths of soldiers into the context of a larger cause; as shaping a template of national identity. This year we celebrate it in a sea of citizen deaths from terrorism and military actions. Such killings are also often set within a broader context such as democracy, national security, or the Western way of life. Deeper reflection suggests that to attribute meaning and value to people through their relationship to a cause does not enhance but diminishes their humanity.

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  • RELIGION

    We need civil conversations about religion and marriage equality

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 17 March 2017
    7 Comments

    No conversation on marriage equality should begin from any place other than that same-sex attracted people are equal in dignity, and worthy of the same respect, as heterosexual people. But religion has to be included in the conversation, as marriage equality isn't just a civil rights issue, it's a biblical and theological one. People who hold biblical or theological views on marriage aren't going to be convinced by arguments that don't respect those views.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Oliver Stone's love letter to hero Edward Snowden

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 28 September 2016
    1 Comment

    Snowden's disclosures regarding the data-mining activities of the US government sparked a worldwide debate about security versus privacy that rages to this day. If his status as either a villain or a hero - a traitor, or the ultimate patriot - remains a matter of debate in some circles, you won't die wondering in which camp Oliver Stone sits. In Snowden the famously didactic filmmaker posits an utterly sympathetic portrait within the structure of a lithe and gripping political thriller.

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  • RELIGION

    Plebiscite the only way forward for Turnbull on marriage equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 September 2016
    23 Comments

    Once Turnbull went to the election with a commitment not to legislate for same sex marriage except after the conduct of a successful plebiscite, it was inevitable that the only way forward to resolving the issue during the life of this parliament would be by enacting legislation to authorise a plebiscite. A conscience vote during the life of this parliament, and without a plebiscite, would leave the opponents of same sex marriage rightly feeling that the government had breached an election commitment.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Recent reflections on Iraq War ignore key ethical questions

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 August 2016
    2 Comments

    The recent Chilcot report on British participation in the Iraq War elicited embarrassing responses by British and Australian leaders and apologists of the time. Specious justifications were accompanied by a failure to take responsibility. The defects of the invasion and the moral irresponsibility of those who collaborated in it did not flow solely from its procedural inadequacies. The crudity now attributed to Donald Trump and his obiter dicta on war flourished before him among Washington insiders.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    War-room of a child's mind

    • Belinda Rule
    • 21 June 2016
    4 Comments

    I saw a younger girl, blonde hair in pink clips, spiral glitter sneaker laces - baubles of a treasured child that no-one ever bought for me. A girl in a parlour painting, and I the hairy spider hulking in the corner. In the war-room of the mind, I pierced my map with pins. How simple to trick her to some dirty culvert, hold her down, mar her white arms ... Civilisation was a hair draped on the head of a pin, each one of us poised, rigid, clutching our own pin still - I could see I would cramp with the effort all my life.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Remembering forgotten wars as fallen soldiers return

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 07 June 2016
    5 Comments

    Thirty-three bodies returned to Australia last Thursday in the country's largest repatriation of dead servicemen and their dependents, including six children. All of the dead were connected with Australia's involvement in overseas conflicts which have been archived and, in some cases, forgotten altogether. Returning the fallen has been a contentious matter. In some cases, the issue has been politicised, with dead soldiers discarded for being the immoral instruments of disputed foreign policy.

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  • RELIGION

    Anzac Day and just war scepticism go together

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 April 2016
    26 Comments

    The classical arguments originated at a time when casualties were suffered mostly by soldiers. In modern warfare, civilians overwhelmingly suffer. Just war theory is used as spin to give specious justification to military campaigns in whose devising ethical considerations played no part. Wars that governments wage are just; those waged by their enemies are unjust. By joining in such debate churches are co-opted into playing an intellectual game designed to make legitimate killing and destruction.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    2015 in review: Contemplating war in France

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 14 January 2016
    3 Comments

    As I marched for Remembrance Day in our small village in France, I wondered, 'How long will these villages keep these ceremonies? When will someone decide these wars are too long ago or too far away?' Two days later, Paris was attacked. The news came like war does: sudden and violent. Then came declarations of a state of emergency and the closing of borders. My eldest daughter was over the border in Switzerland without a passport. War starts in increments, in the small ordinary worries of families.

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