INTERNATIONAL


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Left doesn't own the fight against racism

8 Comments
14 November 2016 | Irfan Yusuf

Islamic gathering, historic illustrationCultural totalitarianism, embodied in Trump in the US and Hanson in Australia, is a major injustice of our age. To fight it effectively, we have to enter into coalitions with those whose opinions we otherwise find distasteful. An anti-racism rally with only leftwing speakers is not going to make as big an impact as one with speakers across the spectrum. To insist the fight against racism is necessarily a leftwing issue is in some ways its own form of cultural bigotry.


Empathy for Russia after Trump's ascent

6 Comments
14 November 2016 | Justin Glyn

xxxxxIf a failure of empathy marks our understanding of internal politics, its effects are magnified, with even worse results, in the international arena. A classic example is Russia. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the west has failed to take Russian interests seriously. I endorse neither the present Russian government nor its point of view. However, knowing that the other side has a point of view and what it is is vital in avoiding miscalculations. You don't get a second chance with nuclear weapons.


A new generation of remembrance

8 Comments
09 November 2016 | Kate Mani

Group crossing no-man's landIt's 9pm but the setting sun shows no sign of repose as it beams down across the vast wheat fields of Fromelles. The line between land and sky blurs as yellowing crops align with the sun's reach. On the other side of no man's land, a pale moon is just visible. Straight ahead a rough path through the wheat leads to the German lines. It's down this path that I file with the Friends of the 15th Brigade, descendants of the soldiers who fought here 100 years ago in the 59th and 60th AIF battalions.


Progressives must stand firm in Trump's shadow

19 Comments
09 November 2016 | Fatima Measham

Donald TrumpIt didn't take long for me and other Filipino friends to be asked 'How do we Americans deal with this?' There is nothing soothing to say. Trump is not Duterte, of course, and there are differences in governance and law enforcement that (as yet) better protect Americans. But what I know is it is not the office that makes the person presidential. It is a waste of time to expect Trump to change. There will be no post-election unity, despite the conciliatory noises being made. And yet there is no choice but to endure.


Understanding Trump the businessman President

17 Comments
09 November 2016 | David James

Donald TrumpThe first step for a business person is to make the sale, usually by over-promising and tapping into the emotional triggers of the customer. That is what Trump did. Over and over, he assured everyone that electing him would be 'fantastic'; he would deliver; customer-value is in the bag. The next step, once the sale is made, is for a hard financial logic to be applied. Trump's hype will be, at the very least, toned down. Once the customer has coughed up, business people typically become extremely pragmatic.


Trust or bust after shattering US election campaign

21 Comments
08 November 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Broken eggThe US election, to no one's regret, is now over. It remains to wish Donald Trump well as he prepares to take up the office of president. It is tempting to see Hillary Clinton as Humpty Dumpty and ask how she can pick up the pieces of her life, when tarnished and wearied by a campaign so full of personal abuse, revelations of tawdry behaviour and a lack of grace. Yet it is not Clinton that lies broken at the foot of the wall. It is the polity of the US, shown to be bereft of the trust necessary for national wellbeing.


An ode to speechless Bob Dylan

10 Comments
03 November 2016 | Philip Harvey

Bob Dylan cartoon by Chris JohnstonInitial silence from Dylan after the announcement of his Nobel Prize led one of the Scandinavian officials to complain he was being 'impolite and arrogant'. This prompted even more vitriolic opinion online on all sides, from fans, litterateurs, Dylanologists, and other armchair grenadiers. Just as things were getting completely tangled up in blue Dylan himself broke the silence to explain that news of the award had left him speechless. We shouldn't be surprised. Speechless is a normal state for a poet.


Mosul and Aleppo: A tale of two sieges

5 Comments
24 October 2016 | Justin Glyn

Gun trained on MosulThis is a tale of two cities. Both are occupied by militants holding to an extremist reading of Islam which gives no space to other faiths or opposing voices. In both cases, the defenders are using civilians as human shields and preventing them from leaving in the breaks granted by the besieging forces. Both are under attack by the internationally recognised governments of the countries in which they are situated. In both cases, civilians are suffering. Yet the narratives in the west are wildly different.


Flagging patriotism in a divided world

8 Comments
20 October 2016 | Gillian Bouras

Greek flag on mountainsideBefore I turned five, I was in the serried Monday morning ranks of children who had to swear, among other vows, to honour the flag. Years later I watched, shocked, as a Greek friend burst into tears at the sight of the emblematic blue and white stripes at a soccer match: big, strapping Panayiotis sobbed helplessly for quite some minutes. Today the American elections are almost upon us, and Old Glory has naturally been very much in evidence throughout this most gruelling and worrying of campaigns.


Marriage equality supporters' hope for a free conscience vote

25 Comments
15 October 2016 | Frank Brennan

Map of Australia on rainbow flagWhen the dust settles next year, maybe LGBTI advocates will see the wisdom in trying to convince the Labor party to reinstitute a free conscience vote on its side if only to force the Coalition to do the same. That way the parliament a few years down the track might be able to do what the LGBTI advocates want them to do now. If it were my call, I would have opted for the plebiscite in February with prompt parliamentary legislation to follow. But it's not my call.


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