My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves

My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves

What if you slept? And what if, in your sleep, you dreamed? And what if, in your dream, you went to heaven and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower? And what if, when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand? Ah, what then? Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria Our ability to live together in physical reality depends on the fact that we all perceive reality in somewhat ...

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Charity begins at home

Charity begins at home

Charity begins at home. Some agree, some do not. But the simple fact is that our treatment of those close to us sets the foundations for our behaviours toward others. Before we can love another, we must first learn to love ourselves. Within Buddhist doctrine is the practice of metta bhavana, or loving-kindness. It is a deeply spiritual and personal practice in which an individual progressively develops a sense of ...

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The bureaucratic state – a destructive philosophy

The bureaucratic state – a destructive philosophy

Only one essential is missing from our happiness – pleasure through comparison, a pleasure which can only be born from the sight of the unhappy, and we see none of that bread here. It’s the sight of the man who isn’t enjoying what I have and ‘ho he is suffering that I know the charm of being able to say: I am happier than he is. Wherever men are equal ...

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The finger puppet of fickle fate

The finger puppet of fickle fate

Memory is a funny thing. When I was in the scene I hardly paid any attention. I never stopped to think of it as something that would make a lasting impression, certainly never imagined that 18 years later I would recall it in such detail. I didn’t give a damn about the scenery that day. I was thinking about myself. I was thinking about the beautiful girl walking next to ...

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Peer Gynt, a lesson in humanity

Peer Gynt, a lesson in humanity

Lies, I know, can be so furbished And disguised in gorgeous wrappings That their skinny carcasses Not a soul would recognize. That’s what you’ve been doing now, With your wonderful adventures Eagles’ wings, and all that nonsense Making up a pack of lies, Tales of breathless risk and danger Till one can no longer tell What one knows and what one doesn’t. Aase to Peer Gynt, Scene I, Act One ...

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The real problem with hypocrisy – it knows no honour

The real problem with hypocrisy – it knows no honour

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. Milan Kundera One of the first Communist texts I read, following the French edition of Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, also known as, The Little Red Book, was Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables. For those purists among my colleagues who may object to me referring to Les Miserables as a Communist text, I offer the following in ...

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Forty years on, Indigenous women still without rights

Forty years on, Indigenous women still without rights

It was freezing last night where I slept in my travels, below freezing in fact. In Bangerang country, home of the Yorta Yorta people, Mother Nature may have frozen the water in every dog’s bowl and garden hose, but she balanced the frigidity with a crystal blue sky and gleaming sun as it rose. The breeze has remained cool enough to nip at my heels, but even a white woman’s ...

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You’re not an Aboriginal Organisation: the ACT Government’s take on NAIDOC week

You’re not an Aboriginal Organisation: the ACT Government’s take on NAIDOC week

Canberra’s Billabong Aboriginal Development Corporation is the ACT’s finalist for the National Landcare awards, Indigenous section. Responding to a question from the ABC’s Rural programme, Billabong’s founder and chairman Jim Best says eight out of ten of those young people got work out of it. It’s really important to pick up a whole range of skills. We had a core group of young people doing the Conservation Land Management Certificate ...

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Amendments to WA’s Aboriginal Heritage Act: a mining ‘industry-friendly’ high jacking

Amendments to WA’s Aboriginal Heritage Act: a mining ‘industry-friendly’ high jacking

Everywhere, people attach powerful emotions to the deaths of others and feel the need to dispose of the bodily remains of the dead in a suitable manner. In Australia, there is ancient evidence for such rites of disposal. Human remains recovered from Lake Mungo dated to 30,000 years or possibly much older were buried with red ochre and carefully positioned for burial. Similar mortuary practices have been recorded ethnographically and ...

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Red the colour of our blood, black the colour of our skin

Red the colour of our blood, black the colour of our skin

Jimmy Governor after his arrest – source Singleton Library I killed the school-teacher and Mrs Mawbey. … My missis was always telling me that Mrs Mawbey was always getting on at her for marrying a blackfellow. See said that Mrs Mawbey said any white woman who married a blackfellow was not fit to live. That made me very wild, and so we went and killed them. The school-teacher and the ...

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Respect: more than just a word

Respect: more than just a word

Last week, I came across this post by Cate via a mutual friend. I asked if Blak and Black could republish it, to share it with a more diverse audience and she has asked for a response. After discussion with Bakchos, I gratefully accept Cate’s invitation on behalf of Blak and Black, which will be posted simultaneously on our own site. I am a sixth generation Australian of Anglo-Celtic heritage. ...

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Australia: a parable on authoritative oppression and the nature of conformity

Australia: a parable on authoritative oppression and the nature of conformity

I am not pessimistic. I just see everything as it is. When one lives in a society that is essentially not free, it is the obligation of every thinking person to attack obstacles to freedom in every way at his disposal… Jan Nemec – Director The Party and the Guests (O slavnosti a hostech) O slavnosti a hostech, is based on a novella by Ester Krumbachová. Krumbachová was an artist, ...

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“Friends” the new tovarisch in Julia Gillard speak

“Friends” the new tovarisch in Julia Gillard speak

You cannot believe how much you have to deceive a nation in order to govern it Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf Has anybody else noticed how frequently Prime Minister Julia Gillard uses the word friends in her speeches? In fact, she used “friends” twenty-four times during the ALP Campaign Launch in Brisbane on August 16, 2010, coming from the mouth of Julia Gillard the word “friends” rings as hollow as ...

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Melanesia and Indigenous Australia: white privilege and the ‘rule of law’

Melanesia and Indigenous Australia: white privilege and the ‘rule of law’

Melanesia and Indigenous Australia: white privilege and the ‘rule of law’ … first, I made him know his Name should be Friday, which was the Day I sav’d his Life; I call’d him so for the Memory of the Time; I likewise taught him to say Master, and then let him know, that was to be my Name. Daniel Defoe (1719), Robinson Crusoe In the Nineteenth Century Robinson Crusoe gave ...

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Do as I say, don’t do as I do

Do as I say, don’t do as I do

I’ve debated about the title of this post, torn with an alternative following on from the statement in one’s Aboriginal heritage with a title that would allude to John Howard Griffin using his famous novel as the header, Black Like Me. But whilst I spend time with people of many colours and creeds on a daily basis, having not taken the path of Griffin or more recently John Saffran, I ...

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Call me black: Proud to be an Aborigine!

Call me black: Proud to be an Aborigine!

The following verse is to Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting Jack Johnson, 1982 acrylic and oil paintstick on canvas. Jean-Michel Basquiat died at 27 years old from an overdose. He was the kind of artist who did not let you stand indifferent to his work; for some he was a genius, for others a junkie without talent. However, his paintings still change hands for millions of dollars. BLACK JACK: b. 31 March ...

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Die Sünde ist ein Versinken in das Nichts

Die Sünde ist ein Versinken in das Nichts

Du bist der Arme, du der Mittellose Du bist der Arme, du der Mittellose, du bist der Stein, der keine Stätte hat, du bist der fortgeworfene Leprose, der mit der Klapper umgeht vor der Stadt. Denn dein ist nichts, so wenig wie des Windes, und deine Blöße kaum bedeckt der Ruhm; das Alltagskleidchen eines Waisenkindes ist herrlicher und wie ein Eigentum. Du bist so arm wie eines Keimes Kraft in ...

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Ernst and Young peddlers of falsity, destroyers of dreams

Ernst and Young peddlers of falsity, destroyers of dreams

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, Enwrought of golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would lay these cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. Aedh wishes for the cloths of heaven, W.B. Yeats. Many, ...

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Aux objets répugnants nous trouvons des appas

Aux objets répugnants nous trouvons des appas

While travelling the highways and byways of Queensland taking statements in support of my application to the United Nations alleging ongoing and systematic human rights violations against Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (“ATSI”) people by the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Government and the Australian Capital Territory Government, I had pause to read and reflect on Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal. Within Baudelaire’s verses one comes across his ...

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Mob rule and the ‘gentle’ nations of the West

Mob rule and the ‘gentle’ nations of the West

You can talk a mob into anything; its feelings may be – usually are – on the whole generous and right; but it has no foundation for them; you may tease or tickle it into any, at your pleasure; it thinks by infection, for the most part, catching an opinion like a cold, and there is nothing so little that it will not roar itself wild about, when the fit ...

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