INTERNATIONAL


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Home is a place that you leave behind

8 Comments
03 July 2016 | Gillian Bouras

House in mistEvery migrant, and every ageing person, loses a home and the past: that is simply the way things are. Fortunate people have the chance to make another home, and to write a series of additional chapters in their personal stories. We look back at the past, but can never revisit it. And would we really want to? We should always be careful what we wish for, as many British people who voted to leave the EU may now well be learning only too painfully.


Beyond the myth of the rational voter

8 Comments
30 June 2016 | Fatima Measham

Ballot box in front of Australian flagWhen the democratic exercise is no longer the aggregate of informed, reasoned choices, but a matter of mood, then the business of persuasion - politics - becomes far less about ideas and more about momentary catharsis. This shifts the function of politicians and government, from leading and dispensing equity to masturbatory aid. Even so, there are questions worth asking. But at whose expense are public moods assuaged? After catharsis, what happens next?


Leave Europe arguments betray cultural amnesia

19 Comments
22 June 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Union Jack and EU flag divided by crackSome commentators in the Australian media have welcomed the prospect of Britain's leaving the EU. The founders of the union would recognise these commentators' hoped-for changes. They are precisely the conditions that contributed to the wars that they so feared: the xenophobia, disregard for human rights, chauvinism, military adventures entered by individual nations and competitive economic policies that alienated citizens and so bred authoritarian and ideologically inspired leaders.


What if the PM went to Manus Island?

15 Comments
22 June 2016 | Samuel Dariol

Turnbull on QandAIt is one thing to sit at a desk and make policies that will impact on individuals across the sea whom you do not know. It is another thing to cross the sea, to look into the eyes of people abandoned there, to meet the children and see the pictures they have drawn, and to see in their eyes terror, despair, depression and contempt. For a prime minister to go to Manus Island would require him to throw off the shroud and stare affrighted at the maggots in the flesh of the body politic.


Orlando shooting brings hate to its natural conclusion

45 Comments
14 June 2016 | Fatima Measham

Orlando shooter Omar Mateen stands over the bodies of his victims which are sheathed in rainbow flags, and objects that they were 'behaving imorrally'. Cartoon by Fiona KatauskasAt the epicentre of all this is a place where young, queer men and women had felt safe and free to be themselves. The dead are almost all black, brown, gay and working class. If, as Dr Cornel West has often said, justice is what love looks like in public, then injustice must be what hate looks like, and there is perhaps no greater injustice than murder. Mass murder is hatred realised in full grotesque proportion. This means is that the little things we do to validate hatred are not inconsequential.


Pugilist-poet Ali's race legacy still packs a punch

7 Comments
07 June 2016 | Fatima Measham

Muhammad Ali fightingThe contest over Ali began even as news spread of his passing. His legend straddles the violence of his sport and the violence in which he refused to participate. Boxing is brutal but it has rules and finite duration. In war, there are no rules and no one wins. Ali recognised a larger violence, chose his enemies, and reimagined bravery. Attempts to sublimate this legacy - such as comments about him 'transcending' race - resemble the appropriation of Martin Luther King Jr by conservatives.


Calculated risks, incalculable rewards in India

3 Comments
26 May 2016 | Catherine Marshall

Maha Kumbh MelaIn 2013 I attended an event so exclusive, so unique, it wouldn't happen again for another 144 years. It was the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, where, over a six-week period, an estimated 120 million Hindu pilgrims converged on the banks of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Sarasweti Rivers in order to perform puja, or the cleansing of their sins. If we're open to what travel seeks to teach us, we'll gain from it the most superior of educations, and the most profound lessons in humility.


A righteous sermon about the haves and have-nots

11 Comments
22 May 2016 | Gillian Bouras

Man in suit holding cashIn America, Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, received a salary of more than $40 million in 2012. He is apparently a devout Christian, so I wonder whether he ever worries about Matthew chapter 19, verse 24: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. The 400 richest Americans own more wealth than the GDP of India. In contrast, vast numbers of their fellow citizens have less than $1000 in their savings and cheque accounts combined.


New Canadian and US laws revive euthanasia debate

30 Comments
16 May 2016 | Frank Brennan

Window in a dark roomOnce the state legislates to permit assistance with the suicide of a dying, suffering, mentally competent person, the door could well be opened to those who agitate a right to kill and not just a liberty to assist with suicide, and that door could be pushed open onto a class of patients which ultimately will include those who are not dying at all That door is now wide open in Belgium and the Netherlands, while he Canadian Parliament is trying to place appropriate limits. I'm for keeping that door firmly shut.


Reconciling with president-elect Duterte

5 Comments
12 May 2016 | Fatima Measham

DuterteThe campaign left me bewildered. The things Duterte represents - vigilantism, unilateralism and violence - aren't these the same things that Filipino human rights activists had fought against? Is this now the preferred template for imposing order? I parsed post after post on social media, trying to working out what I was missing. For months I asked myself, what the hell went wrong? It is only lately that I'm beginning to accept that I got the wrong end of the question. What went wrong? Everything.


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