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What my father gave me

1 Comment
11 May 2015 | Lerys Byrnes | Flora Smith

Carlos Botelho, My Father, 1937My father and I worked quietly together. We would take on the load, touch up the mask, saying too little to each other... His photograph hangs in my study now, watching me write, sharing the silence.


Curious names subvert Cuba's politics of exclusion

1 Comment
07 May 2015 | Catherine Marshall

Cuban kidsRoger Blanco Morciego is a young Cuban man with an English name, who grew up in a communist country ostracised from the rest of the world. 'In my neighbourhood we have seven Rogers. I think we were named after Roger Moore'. I have my own theory about this: people who are shut out will do anything to explore and understand the realm they've been excluded from. 


Grandmother is dying

4 Comments
05 May 2015 | Brian Doyle

Grandmother in bedThere are two chairs flanking Grandmother’s bed and I am to sit in the chair by the window. That is the chair in which children sit and I am a child so. Grandmother is in the bed sleeping. I am keeping vigil. Mother says Grandmother is dying but she looks like she is sleeping to me.


Politics beckon, we're better off dead than alive on Nauru or Manus

2 Comments
04 May 2015 | Barry Gittins

Sri Lankan asylum seekersAnglo-Saxons and Germans and Dutch and the Frisians all saw ‘the evil’ as inferior breeding. When you’re tagged as ‘bad’ or evil it seems you’re guilty of dreaming non-tribal dreams. The African-American ‘n-word’, ‘bad nigger’ was tribal rejection by white folks de rigueur.


The snob who snubbed Australia's Indigenous imagination

13 Comments
30 April 2015 | Brian Matthews

George Herbert CowlingMrs Cowling was formidable. Her significant physical presence was accentuated by a commanding mien, impeccable English enunciation, and an impressive depth and breadth of literary reference supporting rock-firm opinions. All these years later, I wonder just how burdened she was in teaching literature to Australian students, which she continued to do into her 80th year, by her husband's notoriety.


Millionaire boss' cheap glance

9 Comments
27 April 2015 | Darby Hudson

CEOThe CEO of my company is on $10.7 million a year. He did a floor walk today. He glanced at me for less than half a second. I worked out that he's on $41,152 a day. Then worked out his glance at me was worth about $7.80. I feel ripped off. That was a crap glance.


As politicians evoke conflict a century past

4 Comments
20 April 2015 | Various

Airport loungeIn airport lounges, off to foreign hells... They come and go like fatigued FIFO workers day and night; partners waiting for their safe return, might be the only show. No protest march, no ticker tape parade.


As a watched kettle we were boiling

12 Comments
13 April 2015 | Gayelene Carbis

Boiling kettleWe spent a whole childhood outside houses fighting in our father’s car while women served our father (such a nice man) coffee and cake. We wanted our lives to take off, like a train with a clear destination.


The death of bullying victim Vangelis Giakoumakis

7 Comments
07 April 2015 | Gillian Bouras

Vangelis GiakoumakisHere in Greece, a 20 year old youth was subjected to concentrated and constant bullying, and eventually he could bear no more. Who knows, really, what triggers bullying? Except that bullies, who are always cowards, invariably select as victims people who seem weaker and thus vulnerable to pressure, both physical and psychological. Vangelis seems to have been the sort who could not or would not fight back.


The other side of religious zealotry

3 Comments
06 April 2015 | Earl Livings

Ultra Orthodox Jew reading TorahThe addled cultures of exclusivity clash, and clash again, as have all zealots, all purgers of scapegoats, all crusading armies, to the same breathless end. We can only stand before each, Torah, Gospel, Qu’ran, as if before an opening star, and know them as incarnations of that lush silence that inspires believer and non-believer to Truth, Beauty, Good.


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