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Scorsese misses the depths of the 'Japanese swamp'

7 Comments
21 February 2017 | Jeremy Clarke

Andrew Garfield and Japanese actor in SilenceWe are treated at length to Rodrigues' reflections upon the face of Christ, yet the beautiful inculturated image 'Madonna of the Snows' passes us quickly by. There are haunting local hymns yet the missionaries speak halting Japanese. The local church is served by a respected un-ordained head, who leads his fellow villagers in prayer and good works. The survival of the Japanese Catholic community rested on the feeble, faith-filled shoulders of the local women and men who kept praying even unto death.


Swedish politicians' veiled let-down of Iranian feminists

4 Comments
15 February 2017 | Azadeh Davachi

Swedish Trade Minister Ann Linde in the hijabSweden's feminist Trade Minister Ann Linde has come under sharp criticism from some Iranian women's rights activists after she and her female colleagues wore hijab and long coats in their meetings with the Iranian president and other delegations in Tehran. Later Linde maintained she did not want to violate the law in Iran where it has been mandatory for women to wear headdress since 1979. This flies in the face of the Swedish government's position on women's rights.


Trump, masculinity and class

15 Comments
09 February 2017 | Colin Long

Donald TrumpMuch commentary on Trump's victory has veered between two explanations: either there is large proportion of the electorate with 'deplorable' attitudes to women and minorities; or economic dislocation has produced an angry white working class eager to punish political elites. These explanations are not mutually exclusive. The willingness to ignore or welcome Trump's misogyny is a symptom of the undermining of a deep sense of masculinity that, for some men, is their primary identity.


Obama built the foundations for Trump's Muslim ban

9 Comments
01 February 2017 | Justin Glyn

Donald TrumpThe right wingers who support stripping people of their visas, and separating families in the process, have a point when they say that the US government is not beginning a new persecution, but merely continuing and deepening the persecutions of their predecessors. While previous administrations were more subtle in their actions than Trump's, it is undoubtedly true that the nationals now picked for sanction were those who were already targeted for visa penalties in the Obama years.


Sifting the scat of Trump's first ten days

23 Comments
31 January 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Donald TrumpThe shape Trump's presidency is beginning to be discernible. The likely deepening of inequality, the disregard for universal human rights and for the international and national responsibilities that flow from them, the contempt for the environment and for evidence based research, and the debasement of political speech promise a more divided society in a more divided world. In such a noisy and staccato atmosphere the beginnings of an appropriate response lie in not responding to every tweet.


US-Mexico relations are officially off-the-wall

6 Comments
27 January 2017 | Antonio Castillo

Composite photo shows smug-looking Trump peering over a brick wallWriting in the New York Times, renowned Mexican historian Enrique Krauze splendidly summed up the US conduct toward his country. 'For Mexico, the United States has been a difficult neighbour, sometimes violent, almost always arrogant, almost never respectful, rarely cooperative,' Krauze wrote. Donald Trump is the embodiment of all these. Trump has taken the US disrespect towards its Spanish-speaking neighbour to a level even Mexicans - a resigned bunch - won't put up with any longer.


Trump moves against vulnerable women

30 Comments
24 January 2017 | Catherine Marshall

Donald TrumpNo-one doubted Trump's ascendancy would deeply fracture the world as we know it. But few of us could have anticipated the swiftness with which his orders would impact some of the world's most disadvantaged citizens: vulnerable, impoverished women. With just one signature, the newly-installed president snatched from these women access to services that are essential to their physical and mental wellbeing and their economic prospects - and, in so doing, endangering countless lives.


Bread and circuses in modern Australia and America

11 Comments
23 January 2017 | Julie Davies

Donald Trump in Joker makeupI can understand the Trump phenomenon. Hard-working Americans and many Australians are blaming various minorities as responsible for their decline. They are being blinded to the real culprits: our own governments and their wealthy backers. Juvenal's 'bread and circuses', designed to keep the people docile and distracted in Ancient Rome, have been updated to Maccas and manufactured news. And hatred. Are we so easily manipulated? Is the American model the future Australia wants for itself?


Peru's indigenous language revival

4 Comments
23 January 2017 | Antonio Castillo

Screen grab from ÑuqanchikOne indigenous language vanishes every two weeks, and Quechua, once the tongue of Peru's mighty Inca Empire, was one of those heading to extinction. That is, until last December, when the first ever Quechua language television news service went to air on the platforms of TV Peru and National Radio, the public broadcaster. According to one presenter it is a 'space that breaks all the paradigms of discrimination and inequality toward those who are speakers of indigenous languages'.


Manning mercy belies double standard on whistleblowers

5 Comments
18 January 2017 | Binoy Kampmark

Chelsea ManningManning became the victim of an institutional drive to target whistleblowers, with the centrepiece of the prosecution focusing on computer crimes and the Espionage Act. Despite the eventual commutation of her 35 year sentence, the severity of that sentence demonstrated the gulf between the cosy, public relations air of an administration keen to project certain achievements and its stomping on those keen to disclose inappropriate and illegal conduct in the security and intelligence services.


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