Fatima, Australian of my year

Fatima, Australian of my year

She is a very beautiful young woman, quiet, reserved, cautious and courteous. Her parents have sent her to Australia to undertake tertiary studies, full fee paying tertiary studies. She has no immediate family within these shores, only the family of a cousin more than 1,000 km away where she sometimes visits. Fatima, this industrious young woman with the pale pink head scarf, is isolated in more ways than I care ...

Read More »
El-Masri v The Former Yugolsav Republic of Macedonia

El-Masri v The Former Yugolsav Republic of Macedonia

With the Inauguration of President Obama for his second term fast approaching (20 January, 2013) it is worth considering just how far the United States and indeed the West has fallen from the lofty ideals that underpin the West’s claim to moral, if no longer financial and technological, supremacy. This West’s claim to moral superiority has again been put to the test and has again been found wanting. I’m referring ...

Read More »
Promises and passages - it's all an illusion

Promises and passages – it’s all an illusion

  Promises and passage, that what’s they were sold. A truth not realized, the loss of all that was family and home. The South Sea Islanders who came to Australia in the 1800s and early 1900s were referred to as Kanakas. Many were kidnapped by ‘blackbirders’. As the descendents of Anglo-Celtic migrants, those sugar-cane farmers in Queensland may well have listened and danced to tunes such as Sharon Shannon’s jig ...

Read More »
The Medusa – the price we all pay for political corruption

The Medusa – the price we all pay for political corruption

Let us venture to advance another truth, a truth useful to the Minister himself. There exists among the officers of the Marine, an intractable esprit de corps, a pretended point of honour, equally false and arrogant, which leads them to consider as an insult to the whole navy, the discovery of one guilty individual. This inadmissible principle, which is useful only to insignificance, to intrigue, to people the least worthy ...

Read More »
West Papua: Remembering 51 years of oppression

West Papua: Remembering 51 years of oppression

Dusk is falling across Melbourne and West Papua, but not over the dreams of the Papuan people. Today, remembering 51 years of oppression having been denied the right to self-determination, the West Papuan people gathered in Melbourne to celebrate their national day and raise awareness of the human rights abuses the people of West Papua still endure since the departure of the Dutch colonial governors. And on this day of ...

Read More »
Right versus religion

Right versus religion

Last week one comment on twitter to some of the Blak and Black crew resulted in considerable discussion about the underlying intent of this wee blog. The commenter, apparently thinking that Bakchos was proselytizing in his post A Hypocrite for a Prime Minister, a Hypocrite for a Chief Minister, fired off this somewhat surprising reply:   Some of the crew were online at the time and promptly replied to the ...

Read More »
Destroy the Joint, schmoozing and the hypocrites

Destroy the Joint, schmoozing and the hypocrites

The announcement of a Royal Commission into child abuse by clergy is as big an issue as was the Wood Royal Commission into police corruption, if not bigger. This is no ordinary review of process or legality, but a direct attack on the primacy of religious and canon law over that of the state. Such a thing would never have happened a century ago, because the place of the church ...

Read More »
The self and the selfish - Sydney's homeless

The self and the selfish – Sydney’s homeless

Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff, oh! Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea And frolicked in ...

Read More »
A process of truth and judgement

A process of truth and judgement

Judgement is our oldest belief, our most habitual holding-true or holding un-true, an assertion or denial, a certainty that something is thus not otherwise, a belief that here we really “know” – what is it that is believed true in all judgements? Friedrich Nietzsche – The Will To Power (trans. Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale) P. 288 “Truth”: this, according to my way of thinking, does not necessarily denote the ...

Read More »
Sir Gawain, moral accountability and the UN Security Council

Sir Gawain, moral accountability and the UN Security Council

Make we mery quyl we may, and mynne upon joye,  For the lur may mon lach when-so mon lykes Make we merry while we may, and think about joy,  For a man may have sorrow whenever he likes The Gawain poet Most readers of Blak and Black will be aware that the in March 2008, the then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that Australia would run for a non-permanent ...

Read More »
Anna Elisabeth Schmieg and the narrative structures of society

Anna Elisabeth Schmieg and the narrative structures of society

How much can we ever know about the love and pain in another heart? How much can we hope to understand those who have suffered deeper anguish, greater deprivation, and more crushing disappointments than we ourselves have known? Orhan Pamuk, snow Anna Elisabeth Schmieg of Hurden from the old County of Hohenlohe had a bad reputation with her fellow villagers. Anna’s reputation for drinking and brawling in taverns and for ...

Read More »
The War on Terror and democracy’s faustian bargain

The War on Terror and democracy’s faustian bargain

FAUSTUS: Ah, Faustus. Now hast thou but one bare hour to live, And then thou must be damn’d perpetually! Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven, That time may cease, and midnight never come; Fair Nature’s eye, rise, rise again, and make Perpetual day; or let this hour be but A year, a month, a week, a natural day, That Faustus may repent and save his soul! O lente, lente ...

Read More »
Kristallnacht: Why human rights is everyone’s business

Kristallnacht: Why human rights is everyone’s business

Tell me who you are, what you stand for what you mean Tell me what the lines and whirls upon your hand do mean Show me plain the markings of the Jew, the black, the slave Then march in regiment formation ‘til the end of time and days. Mix not the seed of black with white or brown with yellow tones Lest men become confused and think that each is ...

Read More »
Too little, too late

Too little, too late

… What folk is this, which seems by pain so vanquished?” And he to me: “This miserable mode Maintain the melancholy souls of those Who lived withouten infamy or praise. Commingled are they with that caitiff choir Of Angels, who have not rebellious been, Nor faithful were to God, but were for self. The heavens expelled them, not to be less fair; Nor them the nethermore abyss receives, For glory ...

Read More »
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 ...

Read More »
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 ...

Read More »
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 ...

Read More »
The limits of Shiva’s dance: West Papua, Australia’s role in genocide

The limits of Shiva’s dance: West Papua, Australia’s role in genocide

Nataraja dances, his right foot supported by a crouching figure, his left foot elegantly raised. Of his four arms, one swings downwards, pointing to the raised foot; another with palm held up signals, “Do not fear!” In his other hands he holds aloft a drum and a flame. The river Ganga sits in his hair. A Cobra uncoils from his lower right forearm, and the crescent moon and a skull ...

Read More »
Law is The Law, but not if you’re an Aborigine

Law is The Law, but not if you’re an Aborigine

Men, in general, seem to employ their reason to justify prejudices, which they have imbibed, they cannot trace how, rather than to root them out. The mind must be strong that resolutely forms its own principles; for a kind of intellectual cowardice prevails which makes many men shrink from the task, or only do it by halves. Yet the imperfect conclusions thus drawn, are frequently very plausible, because they are ...

Read More »
West Papua the Guernica of the 21st Century sans outrage

West Papua the Guernica of the 21st Century sans outrage

We were about eighteen miles east of Guernica when Anton pulled to the side of the road jammed on the brakes and started shouting. He pointed wildly ahead, and my heart shot into my mouth, when I looked. Over the top of some small hills appeared a flock of planes. A dozen or so bombers were flying high. But down much lower, seeming just to skim the treetops were six ...

Read More »
Page 2 of 41234