keywords: Syria

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Poems for Anzac Day

    • Jena Woodhouse and Ian C. Smith
    • 24 April 2017
    2 Comments

    Now, the forces of annihilation once again cohere, as if this were a valve in history's cardiac arrhythmia that faltered and unleashed a haemorrhage of horror, trauma, fear. The damask roses bloom unharvested in devastated fields. Their perfume cannot mask the stench that permeates the air, the atmosphere of dread, of mute despair. But when the juggernaut of war is redeployed elsewhere, the fragrant fields will come into their own, if there are hands to care.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The relevance of remembrance in the 21st century

    • Kate Mani
    • 21 April 2017
    7 Comments

    Ypres' human collateral damage and displacement of those forced to flee is investigated at Ypres' In Flanders Fields Museum. The museum handbook parallels Belgian's WWI refugee exodus with the plight of refugees today fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and Africa. It's one way In Flanders Fields Museum is adopting a forward-looking approach to commemoration, pulling World War I's messages and themes out of 1918 and propelling them into the 21st century.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Rogue relations: The US vs North Korea

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 19 April 2017
    6 Comments

    A truculent rogue in the White House fumes at an upstart rogue in Pyongyang, both fumbling away in the kindergarten of blunder and realpolitik. How do they measure up in the stakes of rogue behaviour? Even conservative commentators such as Samuel Huntington noted in 1999 that the US is 'in the eyes of many countries ... becoming a rogue superpower'. International law, for the bomb-heavy bully, is a convenient moral reference when needed, but is avoided like a leper when it becomes an impediment.

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  • RELIGION

    Remembering John Clarke at Easter

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 April 2017

    Following the passing of the Australian comedian and social commentator, John Clarke, his co-presenter Bryan Dawe talked about being on a tram in Melbourne with people nodding compassionately and knowingly at him. Bryan recalled that an old man had once commented to John, 'You know what you two do? It's a secret between you and the audience.' These are not the sorts of things we expect to hear when someone is still alive. Once they are dead, those who love and admire them recall all sorts of details about their life, finding new meaning and new depth even in the everyday things.

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  • RELIGION

    Easter in dark times

    • Fatima Measham
    • 12 April 2017
    18 Comments

    Easter, for me, has always been a time to sit in the brokenness of things, to absorb the dread and devastation, and reel at the inexplicable sacrifice. Crushing humility might have characterised my experience in previous years. This year, I feel formless rage. The human drama of Easter - with its betrayals, moments of audacity and doubt, the machinations in shadow - bears the sting of injustice. The central narrative is political. Choices were made by people in power. They are still being made.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Daniel Berrigan's rebel spirit

    • Juan Garrido-Salgado
    • 27 March 2017
    1 Comment

    Pain is a cold food like garbage left, no compassion ... Compassion, bread and old wine, waste in a temple to worship money and power. Mankind has lost its root system thirst for happiness. Our bread is autumn leaf tossed into the branches as the bird dies. They make wine from the waters of these rivers suffering bloodied by the blood of Syrian children. Wine is the blood of indifference on the streets of Palestine. The wine is the blood of cruelty in Nauru ... why are you silent?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Angels don't travel

    • William Okello Kadima
    • 06 March 2017
    2 Comments

    So true angels never travel. On canning and winding roads I was the road of patience, humility and love, with so much glamour at the end. But in the language of angels I hear the light and the end, took too long to light up.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Cultural memory points the way through the Trumpocalypse

    • Brigitte Dwyer
    • 24 February 2017
    6 Comments

    To many in the West, we are living in a time of despair, an era of nihilism and meaninglessness, signified by growing violence, environment degradation and, most importantly, political chaos. This combination of events, and the sense of hopelessness that accompanies them, can easily be seen as markers of doom, a sign that the era of Western culture is in terminal decline. But it's also possible to interpret them as indicators of the malaise that marks the very peak of life.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't pick the scab of meaning from our national holidays

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 January 2017
    16 Comments

    The enjoyment of the holidays did not soften the mayhem and malice of the public world and the people whose lives and happiness are so destroyed by them. It held in mind the images of death and diminishment, but set them on a canvas of thanksgiving for the ways in which kindness and humanity are embodied in people's lives, for the strength and delicacy of relationships that we take for granted, and for the gift of a beach holiday that is an impossible dream for so many Australians.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Christmas story trumps the games that power plays

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 December 2016
    11 Comments

    TS Eliot's 'Journey of the Magi' ends with the ambiguous line, 'I would be glad of another death'. If we set alongside one another the birth of a new and sour political order and the birth that is central to the first Christmas story, we are challenged to resolve the ambiguity. We may give up our hopes for a just and peaceful world, retire from it as gracefully as we can, and accept the victory of power and brutality. Or we can return to the Christmas story and to the hope that is central to it.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Fall of Aleppo caps off wretched 2016

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 16 December 2016
    12 Comments

    Assad's victory epitomises, in a sense, the reactionary tide prevailing just about everywhere in this, the Year of the Donald. The hopes raised during the Arab Spring have, it seems, been crushed, with the Syrian regime consolidating its grip over a nation it has oppressed for so long. Yet Aleppo also illustrates how little the Right's victories have actually settled. The Right's biggest asset is often the Left, with progressives seemingly determined to validate all the smears levelled against them.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    When we give ourselves permission

    • Fatima Measham
    • 08 December 2016
    12 Comments

    It is hard to overstate the sort of things that become permissible when the dominant political culture appeals to our darker nature. Take the cascade of brutality in the Philippines, or the stream of hateful incidents in the US. In Australia, white supremacist groups staged 'victory rallies' after the US election, and posters appeared last weekend at Melbourne University telling 'dunecoons, shitskins, niggers, chinks' to get out. This permissiveness isn't just about Trump, though he is a catalyst.

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