INTERNATIONAL


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Untangling the murky Turkey plane incident

6 Comments
25 November 2015 | Justin Glyn

Falling Russian warplaneThe downing of a Russian Sukhoi-24 bomber by Turkey reminds us of the risks which attend military intervention. There are, however, a number of additional complicating factors which promise to make the Syrian war even more dangerous and bloody for all sides. The situation could escalate dangerously. If this kind of event is not to become much more common, potentially leading to a much wider war, genuine peace talks with a lot more honesty on each side need to be a priority.


Countering ISIS by going off-script

12 Comments
19 November 2015 | Fatima Measham

Pray for ParisIt is tempting to view the aftermath of terrorist attacks such as those in Paris as a well-rehearsed script. There are condemnation of the killings, sympathy for the families of victims, resolve to seek and punish perpetrators, expressions of solidarity across nations. Also, assaults targeting Muslims on the street and in policy. This time a few things have gone off-script. 'Hugs and hashtags' won't stop ISIS, but there is strength in refusing to cede control over our language and behaviour to terrorists.


What separates us from IS

19 Comments
18 November 2015 | Andrew Hamilton

Liberte, egalite, fraterniteThe mass murder of unarmed civilians in Paris last weekend was appalling. Whether considered as an act of war or of terror, it was indefensible. The themes of war against terrorism and victory have dominated commentary on the killings. In light of the fact that the war against terror was the seedbed in which IS grew, they demand serious reflection. We should ask precisely what our enemy is attacking, what therefore must be defended, and what will be the signs of victory or defeat.


On blaming Muslims for Paris

12 Comments
18 November 2015 | Justin Glyn

DescriptionIt is possible to find 'texts of terror' in Jewish, Christian and Muslim Scriptures. They need to be responsibly understood and explored with a close understanding of their context. We did not demand all Catholics stand up and denounce every IRA attack, nor that all Christians apologise for Anders Breivik. Similarly, why should we expect all members of a religion with over a billion adherents with multiple ancient variants to actively disown every horror claimed to have been committed in its name?


On tolerance and terrorism

14 Comments
15 November 2015 | Chris Middleton

Darkened Eiffel TowerIn many of these conflicts religious difference constitutes an important element in the conflict. Some commentators point to religion as the cause of many of humankind's wars. In a sense they are correct, as they would be also if they ascribed war to humankind's quest for liberty, equality, justice, or even love. It is a paradox of the human condition that that which is noblest in the human often gives way to violence and intolerance. How are we supposed to react to such an attack?


Contemplating war in ordinary France

16 Comments
15 November 2015 | Bronwyn Lay

Bataclan Theatre in ParisAs 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.


Myanmar Mother Suu's moment in history

5 Comments
12 November 2015 | Amal Aung Zaw

Aung San Suu Kyi Time Magazine coverThe results resonate beyond the shores of Myanmar. The manner in which a fragile woman with the power of empty hands wrought a miracle, melting decades of totalitarian dominance, is the stuff of history. The world savours this moment as its own. This is the Gandhi moment, the Mandela moment of the 21st Century. In an era of ISIL killings and chronic violent wars in the middle east for 'democracy', a woman from the east has once again affirmed the moral superiority of non violence.


Time to come to grips with life after US dominance

8 Comments
08 November 2015 | Tony Kevin

Montage of US and Russian flag with UN logo and mushroom cloudThe US unipolar moment is ending. Real multipolarity is upon us, with Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Iran testing new multipolar arrangements for sharing world power. The US fears these changes, and would prefer to corral everybody back into the familiar bipolar camps of the past. This would be a disaster. Australia will benefit from a stable rules-based multipolar world, and our foreign policy can help build it. But we are going to have to take a few calculated risks along the way.


Serpents dispersed by the Greek art of distraction

7 Comments
03 November 2015 | Gillian Bouras

SerpentIn the midst of hard times Greeks are good at practising what I call the Noble Art of Distraction. Nina and I were walking one night when our attention was caught by impromptu music. 'That's Cretan,' announced Nina. It transpired that one of the young men of the neighbourhood was to get married, and had turned up in order to have his prenuptial close shave and a haircut. The barber and his mates had decided that the occasion could not go unmarked, and so the modest festivities began.


Modern Islamophobia echoes murderous anti-Semitism

7 Comments
29 October 2015 | Jeff Sparrow

Joseph Conrad's The Secret SharerInvoking Joseph Conrad's story about seagoing doppelgangers, 'The Secret Sharer', Edward Said identified Islamophobia as anti-Semitism's respectable twin. Indeed Israeli PM Netanyahu's description of the Mufti urging Hitler onto greater evil contains an echo of the old anti-Semitic canard of Jews as shadowy manipulators. This trope is central to the infamous Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, was a key element in Goebbels' propaganda campaigns, and is now central to contemporary Islamophobia.


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