If there are more than 100 matches, only the first 100 are displayed here.
31 July 2016 |
The United Nations Security Council is in the process of selecting its next secretary-general. There is intense interest, not least because the General Assembly has made efforts to make it more transparent via an open nomination process and televised debates. The UN is seen in some parts as an edifice to bureaucratic ineptitude. But the internationalism that stitched the world back together after two calamitous wars has frayed. We need the UN as ballast against future instability.
27 July 2016 |
It was two years ago this month, in July 2014, that my flight touched down in Ben Gurion Airport half an hour later than scheduled. There were rumours of Hamas missiles landing in the vicinity of the airport. A few days later multiple airlines announced they were ceasing travel to Israel. What would become Israel's deadliest offensive in Gaza since the Second Intifada, 'Operation Protective Edge', was entering its second week. How did it come to this?
26 July 2016 |
The violence at the pastoral frontier of the British colonies here in Australia was all pervasive. 228 years after it commenced, we are still experiencing the after-effects. When I started advocating Aboriginal rights here in Australia almost 40 years ago, the prevailing wisdom was that the missions and missionaries were all bad news. It will come as no surprise that I have always doubted that Aborigines were well rid of religion and the missionaries in all circumstances.
26 July 2016 |
As the US goes through its convention season, it is becoming increasingly clear that the choice is between someone spouting decidedly undemocratic and possibly fascist rhetoric and someone for whom democratic decision-making is, at best, something to be evaded with as little scrutiny as possible. Both parties are moneyed and both seek foreign scapegoats upon which to direct media attention. November is shaping up to provide a distinctly unpalatable choice.
25 July 2016 |
John traces the political ascent and descent of Sturzo whose first public office was as mayor of his own town. The chapter headings mark each step up and down the Everest of Italy's experiment with democracy and fascism: the emergence of political Catholicism in Italy; the dream takes shape; democracy without direction; democracy in decline; the search for a leader; the stick and the carrot; the voice of the watchman; and enter the night. Sturzo goes into exile; Mussolini takes over; and the Vatican is well pleased because the Roman Question is finally resolved in 1929 with the Lateran Treaties negotiated by Mussolini and Pope Pius XI, each of whom got what they were looking for.
25 July 2016 |
It has been little more a month since Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and Timochenko, the nom de guerre of the leader of the FARC, the oldest guerrilla group in the world, proclaimed a cease-fire. In La Habana on 23 June, the two concluded four years of negotiations to end the 50 year old Colombian civil war, the longest armed conflict in the western hemisphere. The development is hopeful, but Colombian peace attempts are nothing new, and the conditions won't be easy to meet.
03 July 2016 |
Every migrant, and every ageing person, loses a home and the past: that is simply the way things are. Fortunate people have the chance to make another home, and to write a series of additional chapters in their personal stories. We look back at the past, but can never revisit it. And would we really want to? We should always be careful what we wish for, as many British people who voted to leave the EU may now well be learning only too painfully.
30 June 2016 |
When the democratic exercise is no longer the aggregate of informed, reasoned choices, but a matter of mood, then the business of persuasion - politics - becomes far less about ideas and more about momentary catharsis. This shifts the function of politicians and government, from leading and dispensing equity to masturbatory aid. Even so, there are questions worth asking. But at whose expense are public moods assuaged? After catharsis, what happens next?
22 June 2016 |
Some commentators in the Australian media have welcomed the prospect of Britain's leaving the EU. The founders of the union would recognise these commentators' hoped-for changes. They are precisely the conditions that contributed to the wars that they so feared: the xenophobia, disregard for human rights, chauvinism, military adventures entered by individual nations and competitive economic policies that alienated citizens and so bred authoritarian and ideologically inspired leaders.
22 June 2016 |
It is one thing to sit at a desk and make policies that will impact on individuals across the sea whom you do not know. It is another thing to cross the sea, to look into the eyes of people abandoned there, to meet the children and see the pictures they have drawn, and to see in their eyes terror, despair, depression and contempt. For a prime minister to go to Manus Island would require him to throw off the shroud and stare affrighted at the maggots in the flesh of the body politic.
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