INTERNATIONAL


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Nailing Indonesia's next president

9 Comments
23 June 2014 | Pat Walsh

Joko WidodoOn 9 July, Indonesians will vote on their next president by punching a hole in a ballot paper with a large nail. Timor-Leste used the same system for its historic independence ballot in 1999. The issues differ of course but the choices to be made are equally stark. Democratic development and human rights in Indonesia will either advance or regress depending on who is nailed next month.


Iraq needs a local solution, not another intervention

9 Comments
22 June 2014 | Donna Mulhearn

Protestors in Ramadi, Anbar ProvinceStanding on an overhead bridge in Ramadi on Iraq's main highway to Baghdad just over a year ago, I witnessed the extraordinary sight of about half a million people gathered — as they did every Friday — to peacefully protest the sectarian policies of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki. Understanding the context of today's turmoil is the key to any de-escalation of violence and a guide to the type of assistance foreign nations can bring.


Australia's siege mentality viewed from Greece

17 Comments
03 June 2014 | Gillian Bouras

Anti Golden Dawn poster poster sighted at a Northcote, Vic. bus stopHere in Greece we are still digesting the results of last week's Euro elections. Worry about immigration has contributed to the continuing rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, which polled 9 per cent, and has won seats in the European Parliament for the first time. And what of Australia? Frankly, I'm baffled, so baffled that visiting Antipodeans take me to task. 'The Australia you grew up in has gone forever.' So it would seem.


'Forgotten' Tiananmen's shadow on modern China

8 Comments
03 June 2014 | Evan Ellis

Candlelight commemoration of Tiananmen massacreTwenty-five years ago the tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square. One eyewitness kept a tally of the dead that reached 2600 before hospitals went mum due to pressure from above. If China is to overcome the challenges it will face in the decades ahead, it must draw upon the great reserve of strength, the spirit of solidarity that was on display among the protesters that spring. Instead there remains a concerted effort to forget.


Refugee family suffers Cambodian curse

4 Comments
29 May 2014 | Catherine Marshall

Julie Bishop with Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor NamhongIt had been a long journey for the family gathered in the Cambodian office of Jesuit Refugee Service, but their search for a safe environment amidst people who would treat them kindly was not yet over. Genuine refugees set their compass for Australia expecting to find the democratic, resourceful and accountable country of which they have heard. The Coalition's reprehensible 'Cambodia solution' shows just how wrong they are.


Thai coup more of the same

3 Comments
25 May 2014 | Michael Kelly

Tank and monks in Thai coupThe cycle of election, opposition protest, social and political instability that provokes a royal approved military intervention underlies how immature democracy is in Thailand. Unfortunately, in the medium term — the next five years — it will be 'same, same' unless there is a circuit breaker. That may come with the next trigger to instability which has to be set off sooner rather than later: the death of a very frail royal person.


The trust deficit is international

2 Comments
19 May 2014 | Evan Ellis

Despite the bloodletting of last week's budget, the Australian Government could still find  some 12 billion dollars for 58 Joint Strike Fighters. This is part of the reality of the Asian Century. Australia will need statesmen and women of the highest calibre, but ultimately a lasting peace requires all nations to act together to create an international order that is actually ordered.


Kidnapped Nigerian girls put the lie to Western freedom

7 Comments
11 May 2014 | Catherine Marshall

Weeping Nigerian womanIt would be foolish to believe that female liberation can occur in a vacuum: as long as there are girls and women being brutalised in the DRC, schoolgirls being sold into slavery in Nigeria's border regions, girls around the world are being subjected to female genital mutilation and women being supressed by religious ideology, then the acquisition of our own freedoms — flawed as they are — is a hollow victory indeed.


Gerry Adams arrest inflames ghosts of Ireland's past

9 Comments
06 May 2014 | Brian Lennon

A family walks past a mural in honour of Gerry AdamsMy uncle, Michael Lennon, fought with Eamon DeValera in Boland's Mill in Dublin during the 1916 Rising. Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein, sees himself as Michael's successor. But 98 years after the Rising, Adams was last week arrested for questioning about the 1972 murder of Jean McConville. Republicans allege that the timing of the arrest was politically motivated. At the root of all this lies the problem of the past: how do we deal with it?


Ukraine races towards civil war

19 Comments
05 May 2014 | Tony Kevin

Pro-Europe protest in Kiev on 29 November 2013Tim Judah, highly regarded historian of the post-Yugoslavia wars of secession, predicted things were about to go very badly in Ukraine. He wrote that in the east he witnessed 'the same brave talk, euphoria, and delusions' that beset Yugoslavs before they 'tipped their country into catastrophe in the 1990s'. Just two weeks later, Ukraine races towards civil war, prompted largely by the provocative clumsiness of Kiev and its Western cheerleaders.


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