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14 April 2015 |
There are few things less palatable – or likely to persuade others to see your point of view – than public humiliation. This week, as Julie Bishop visits Tehran, there are already some signs that these lessons may not have been well learned. If Australia really wants to make a positive difference in the Middle East, it would be better to listen carefully to the many voices than try to push its tired and cruel demands for the boats to stop and for the world to be remade in its own image.
31 March 2015 |
Former Australian Salvation Army world leader General Eva Burrows, who died on 20 March, tried in vain to engage the former British PM in making the preferential option for the poor. ‘Margaret Thatcher was a disappointment,’ the General said. ‘I felt she didn’t have a deep, true feeling for the poor. I invited her to come out on the soup run indirectly and said it wouldn’t be a media event, we’d go incognito, but the answer was no.’
31 March 2015 |
Judgmental attitudes towards women who are victims of male violence are never far from the surface. A crass example occurred recently when a priest suggested to his congregation that if rape-murder victim Jill Meagher had been more ‘faith-filled’ she would have been home instead of out late on the night when she was raped and murdered. There is greater public moral outrage when acts of violence are committed against women considered 'virtuous' than others such as sex industry workers.
23 March 2015 |
The emotional parades welcoming troops home from the end of 'Operation Slipper' in Afghanistan leave us contemplating the horrific effects of war on veterans and their families. It is absolutely right, indeed imperative, that we grieve with them and count the costs. In doing so, however, we should beware the danger of selective empathy.
19 March 2015 |
In coming days, a major US-Iran negotiation will conclude in success or failure. As long as the US and Iran remain opposed, the US is much less effective in working for peace and inter-communal harmony in Iraq and Syria. Israel is indifferent to these wider concerns and, fresh from this week's convincing election vistory, a newly invigorated Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to stress that the Iranian nuclear issue is ‘existential’ for Israel.
24 February 2015 |
Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has claimed Australia's silence on the country's appalling human rights record was the price for its government taking extra measures to prevent people fleeing the country and arriving in Australia on boats seeking asylum. This is a problem on many levels, including our government's seeking to remove human rights issues by reframing them as national security ones.
22 February 2015 |
Britain's recent drive to establish a naval base in Bahrain has only widened the rift between the UK's foreign policy and its respect for human rights. Bahrain will now potentially play host to a British military presence for the long-term, despite the Gulf state's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests over the past several years. This may be yet another instance of political expediency taking precedence over all else.
22 February 2015 |
While people are alive there is the possibility, admittedly sometimes remote, that they will respond by reflecting on their lives, becoming deeper and more generous as human beings, making connections with others and contributing even in small ways to the happiness of others and to society. Capital punishment brutally excludes possibility and leaves all of us the smaller for it.
17 February 2015 |
Why ban an image of Muhammad? Why is he an image-free zone? The answer is not primarily political or artistic but theological. The clue is in a statute of a meeting of bishops called the Second Council of Nicea. This may seem obscure and unimportant, but the bishops weren't obscure and the issue was whether or not humans can make an image of God. The outcome was decisive in the history of world art.
10 February 2015 |
In Northern Iraq, foreign owned oil companies have been moving in. As locals are turfed from their land to make way for oil production, they must fight for their rights and their environment. They say poisonous gases are causing crop failure. Australians bear some of the responsibility.
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141-150 out of 200 results.