INTERNATIONAL


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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.


Where can Netanyahu possibly go from here?

11 Comments
26 October 2015 | Ruby Hamad

Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin Netanyahu's historical revisionism last week essentially blaming Palestinians for the Holocaust was much more than just empty rhetoric. Demonising the Palestinians is how he sets the stage for the west's acceptance of the Israeli Occupation: the more he dehumanises them, the more brutality Israel gets away with. The context that gets lost along the way is the link that exists between Palestinian actions and the abysmal living conditions imposed on them by the Occupation.


Building gender equality from the playground up

15 Comments
22 October 2015 | Catherine Marshall

Girl on playgroundSissies are on their way out on British playgrounds. Guidelines produced by the Institute of Physics for the Department of Education recommend that teachers strongly discourage sexist language at school. While internet forums are replete with admonitions from members of the public furious at the erosion of so-called free speech, the guidelines are a welcome tool in the long and exhausting fight for female equality, and Australia would do well to consider adopting such procedures too.


Rehabilitating Mexico's Hollywood image

3 Comments
19 October 2015 | Garry Westmore

Portrait contrasting dead drug dealer with Day of the Dead imageryHollywood need not deny the violence cartels have perpetrated upon one another, members of the public, police and military. But to almost exclusively engage with Mexico in terms of this violence provides a badly limited perspective on that country. Hollywood does something similar when it goes to Africa and tells only stories of warlords and child soldiers. To do so brings nothing to the conversation, but merely exploits tragic situations for the benefit of laughs and action.


Dark days ahead for Kurds in Turkey

1 Comment
15 October 2015 | Paul White

Primitive Rebels or Revolutionary Modernizers: The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in Turkey, by Paul WhiteLast Saturday's bomb blasts in the Turkish capital Ankara, which left 128 dead and some 246 wounded, occurred in the wake of the ruling AK Party's recent electoral defeat and its decision to call a fresh election. Since losing the election, President Erdoğan has effectively dumped a peace deal with the Kurdish nationalist PKK and restarted Ankara's war against the Kurdish people. Dark dies lie ahead for ordinary Turks and Kurds in Turkey until the grip of ultranationalism is broken.


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