Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

Our friends are our enemies.Foxglove poem

September 29, 2014


A few days ago I read an article which has disappeared into the bowels of IT. That’s how things are on the WWW. It’s a bit like flipping through a phone book after the imbibing of a couple and not only not remembering the page number but also what you had actually read. I get this more and more. No sooner have I read a fascinating unforgettable bit of essential trivia and even before taking leave of my chair, it has already gone or in a Dali Watch meltdown.

I have told my wife to take a good grip on me. I am losing it. Oh, now I remember what it was that took my inattention. Something about bombing and the futility of it. Someone pointed out that;
We not only fight our enemies in Iraq and Syria but also our allies and friends.
The situation gets more and more complicated as time goes by.

Get again a bit closer now and écoutez carefullement svp.

We don’t like Isis, but Isis is supported by Saudi Arabia who are our friends. We don’t like president Assad and support the fight against him in Syria. So does Isis who we don’t like. We don’t like Iran but Iran supports Iraqi government against Isis. We support Iraq in fighting Isis but not others such as Iran who also fight Isis. Isis must only be killed by our friends but not by our enemies.

Some of our friends support our enemies and some of our enemies support our enemies. Some of our enemies support our friends. Some enemies are fighting against enemies that are also (at time) our friends. Some want our enemies to win while some of our enemies want our enemies to win depending on who is enemy or friend.
Our best friends are or were also our enemies and vice versa.
Hope this clears it up.

Or, someone better grounded in logic could sum it up thus: Our friends and enemies are one. They are us. I now surmise but ask; are we really bombing ourselves?

Does that make sense?

Or have I fuckcen flipped?
Should I just concentrate on growing Foxgloves.(Foxglove poisoning usually occurs from sucking the flowers or eating the seeds, stems, or leaves of the foxglove plant.)

Foxgloves by Mary Webb.
“The foxglove bells, with lolling tongue,
Will not reveal what peals were rung
In Faery, A thousand ages gone.
All the golden clappers hang
As if but now the changes rang;
Only from the mottled throat Never any echoes float.
Quite forgotten, in the wood,
Pale, crowded steeples rise;
All the time that they have stood
None has heard their melodies.
Deep, deep in wizardry
All the foxglove belfries stand.
Should they startle over the land,
None would know what bells they be.
Never any wind can ring them,
Nor the great black bees that swing them
Every crimson bell, down-slanted,
Is so utterly enchanted. –

The Terrorists in Government.

September 24, 2014


Yes, what are we going to do? Australia will not make a living from keeping out boatpeople or ramping up fears. The scraping the top layer off our continent and selling it wasn’t exactly very taxing.

What are we going to do? A youth unemployment of 15% doesn’t auger well for keeping murderous attacks under control.

I sometimes wonder what people are doing in those gigantic city office buildings. I know we have one the highest densities of litigation lawyers and Big M. burger arched take away, but what about making things? You know actually producing stuff?

We could have been the world leaders in alternative energy with the world at our feet wanting solar panels, wind towers, etc. Even the Rockefellers are getting out of fossil fuel, But us…What have we done?

What are we going to do?

We could ease up on exercising our pyrotechnical bath-tub toys above and in far away sandy countries and save the $ 500.000.000 yearly.

We could also save even more doing away with the Government using ADF’s insane ‘stopping the boats’ policy. Billions in fact. Just imagine what that money could achieve?

The following from Andrew Kaldor;

Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott

“Australia now spends the same as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) spends on its entire global refugee and displaced persons operations.

The UNHCR is responsible for helping and protecting some 50 million displaced persons around the world, including 11.6 million refugees. It expects to spend about $3.5 billion (US$3.3bn) in 2014. To cover 10,000 staff and all relief for the emergencies in Syria and Iraq, and Africa, as well as the protracted situations worldwide.

Tow back boats by Australian Navy

Tow back boats by Australian Navy

Compare that with the $3.3 billion Australia spent in 2013-14 on the detention and processing of boat arrivals. It has been the fastest growing Government programme over recent years, increasing from $118 million in 2010 at the average annual growth rate of a staggering 129 per cent.

Next year, the Department of Immigration’s budget is about $2.9 billion for that operation. But this number probably understates the total costs. It appears to ignore the extra aid to Papua New Guinea for signing the Manus Island deal, $420m over four years. It also ignores the costs of the AFP, ASIO, and State judicial system. Moreover, the value of current contracts issued by the Immigration Department, just for offshore detention for the 2014-15 fiscal year, has been estimated to be $2.7 billion [Source: data compiled by Nick Evershed, The Guardian, 25 August 2014].”

This money could have helped with our 15% youth unemployment. A terrible situation. Perhaps easing disillusionment and desperate ,perhaps even murderous situations arising.

Just imagine?

The Escape from Suburban ennui.

September 17, 2014

It makes you think when an seventeen year old boy escapes home and joins IS in Syria. He could be concentrating on his stamp collection or help dad prise out unwanted grasses from the front lawn, couldn’t he? Surely there must be ways to escape from our much praised ‘own home on own block’ in those endlessly anonymously sun-lit streets of suburbia, without going to that extreme.

photo 3Kalancoe enlarged

I remember well my introduction to an Australian suburb after my parents in 1956 decided to buy a fibro asbestos dwelling in Sydney’s western suburbs. It was a devastating experience which, now at the age of 74, am finally accepting that it did happen, it was not their fault. I have conquered and overcome! It all came back last night when watching the excellent ABC TV documentary on writers/comedians/artists who not only overcame but became national Icons of art and culture precisely (bar for Robert Hughes)because of the dreariness and desolation of the Australian suburb. They escaped but used the experiences in ways that enthralled millions around the world for decades. There is nothing like a mirror being held up in front of us.!

It must seem like typical responses from the incorrigible Jerimiah Jacobson to finally have escaped England and rejoice in the sun and warmth that greeted Howard Jacobson in 1965 after sailing into sunny Sydney harbour. The gleaming whiteness of the Opera house a cheerful greeting card. He visible recoiled when ruminating over the dreariness and greyness of England’s skies heavy with sombre souls of past leaden Lords and hollowed out Timothy Thatchers. The cricket score on a Sunday afternoon, as exciting it could ever get. Waiting for the dreaded mid-night knock on the door. What Howard took delight in, the four giants of Australia’s own suburban making, escaped and flocked to Earls Court and at roughly the same time.

It just proves that changing and escaping from something might be an essential part of coming into one’s own. Even so, I do think that our architectural domestic way of housing ourselves leaves much to be desired. The fenced off and utterly lonely environment, the strips of bitumen snaking mile after simmering mile. Not a soul to be seen. Just metal boxes on endless journeys, but whereto and why? A Sunday afternoon, a solitary figure perched on a ladder clearing his guttering from errant leaves. I am surprised that young people can survive all that.

After every domestic murder, the usual responses; “Oh, such a lovely family amongst a close-knit community. We sometimes saw then and even said hello”! In the meantime some young people go to Syria and fight to get killed.

The age of Essentials.

February 21, 2014
Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde

No matter what, no matter who or whatever happens in Australia or elsewhere in this neck of the woods or deserts, we will never have a Christine Lagarde amongst our gaggle of politicians.

How refreshing to hear the IMF’s chief last night on the ABC’s Questions & Answers. “Health and education are NOT entitlements”, she reiterated several times.
Eighty individuals now own half the world’s wealth. How can that be right?

You wonder how the world can continue on with such gross inequity? There were always rich and poor. Just reading old Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace where it is taken for granted that footmen turn up at any given time, all dressed in finest livery, to take the rich and famous to the next dinner or party somewhere in St Petersburg.

One of his quotes still rings true: “Everything comes in time to him/her who knows how to wait.”

I reckon we will wait a long time before we have an admission from our leaders that Health and Education are the pinnacles that a good and just society is based upon. They are not entitlements, they are necessities that should be equally available to all.

Isn’t it telling that the IMF chief, fearlessly, appears on such a public program in Australia, and yet, our PM never. Such an incoherent bumbling coward. ” We will not listen to “Moral objections ” ,re the killing and maiming of Manus Island illegally detained prisoners of war.

The refugees on Manus Island were told they will never be allowed to settle in Australia, no matter what. There are 700.000 people having fled into Turkey, another 700.000 into Jordan, just over the last few months from Syria alone, and yet…Australia not generous enough to allow AT LEAST those that have been found wandering the ocean in leaky boats.

What sort of hell-hole did my parents migrate to?

At least I have my words that I can type out on my electric writing motor and, if that fails, I have my H and Milo in that order. 😉 Just making Spätzle. I have my H, than my putor and then Milo.

“You are a bit grumpy this morning” she told me. No real reason, “just pissed off with this government”. “No you are not,” “you are just naturally grumpy, regardless of anything”, she answered so brutally but with a fair crack of the whip. To be honest, grumpiness is the domain of men, I reckon. My H said, ” I was hoping that with your flagging testosterone diminishing that goodness and sweetness would come to the fore a bit more often.

I told H to again read Tolstoy’s quote.

Human rights lessons from Turkey?

August 26, 2012

Learning human rights lessons from Turkey?


Gerard Oosterman

Turkey promised to keep its borders open for the people fleeing the violence in Syria. Many thousands of Syrians have crossed into Turkey and footage shows men and women, children walking into that country.

Even though Turkey is a country with a large population of over seventy million and already coping with an overflow of many other nationalities, it has not lost its humanity in doing the right thing by extending its hospitality to those so much worse off. They are quickly opening disused buildings and building camps, constructing a temporary hospital.

If Turkey can do it, where is our compassion?

Lack of ‘humaneness’ is what seems to doggedly divide Australia from most of the rest of the world with a deeply engrained hostility towards others. It is especially directed to those hapless victims of endless wars that somehow managed to make it anywhere near our shores.

Our present minister and previous Government ministers have exalted in, ‘we must make conditions here as harsh as possible as a deterrent’. The general gist of the messages from our ‘Leaders’ has been very constant, ‘No-one, we repeat, no-one should come here under the understanding they will be treated with compassion or care if they jump the ‘queue’ or come ‘illegal’ by boat,’  is what they mainly are saying. The political leaders are well aware that those sentiments will be well rewarded with the approval of thousand of voters.

The latest threat of sending at least 800 refugees to Malaysia just about takes the cake in the manoeuvring of our desperate Government keen to further whip up our xenophobia. The fact that this whipping might be translated to a caning in Malaysia was just seen as a mere bagatelle, easily overcome with a few soothing words of a promise that that would most likely not happen. The UNHCR seems less convinced.

While the conversation is continuing and a flurry of visits to New Guinea and Nauru intending to underline our tough stance once again, some might question where this dreadful fear comes from. Is there something in our history that gives us clues?

We couldn’t do much wrong by visiting our most recent history of how we treated children, both in our mother country of the UK and in our own.

Just having seen the film Oranges and Sunshine and previously read David Hill’s, The Forgotten Children, I wonder if  one day we might admit there was something rotten going on in our culture dating back perhaps hundreds of years. I know of no other country that exported and deported over 130,000 children in recent times. I also know of no other country that then allowed the further destruction of those children in the institutions they arrived at.

Is it is the history of bullying children and sending them into the hierarchical system of the English Boarding Schools, the Public (Private) Schools with its whipping masters and the degrading of all those coming into contact with the ‘British system’ of parenting and educating?

This seems to go to the very heart of why Australia has never managed to shake of that bullying that defined us from the very start.

Yet, when it comes to cattle or suicidal whales we all get teary eyed, ban the export of cattle or stand in the sea for days stroking dying whales. Where is the stroking for the flotsam of humans cast on our shores?

Last Monday’s Four Corners: again ‘bullying and degrading’ at the very core of our armed forces. It is totally ‘us’ and not just the isolated few of ‘them’. Howard, Ruddock, Abbott, Gillard, Morrison, Bowen. What chance did they all have growing up and indoctrinated into a system of bullying? No Government except the British conduct parliament so appallingly and again, bullying is at the very heart of it.

In the meantime we should take a leaf out of Turkey’s book. We will not turn them away, is what the Turkish Minister for Immigration is reported as saying. They are human beings in distress.

I can’t even imagine one of our politicians saying that.

Gerard Oosterman blogs here.

Woman Rape.

June 21, 2011

Posted on June 22, 2011 by gerard oosterman

There have been some strange News items today. One was about an Irish Lady being freed from jail after an alleged rape by her on a woman in a toilet. The mind boggles but here is the item:

I was lucky to get the article about the hospitable Turks up and running on the Drum but, gee, it was gone in a flash together with MacCullum’s piece. Many of the answers seemed to draw comfort from the fact that Turkey and Syria are neighbours and as Australia hasn’t got that problem it is therefore not a good comparison. I thought my piece was more about how Turkey declared to accept all those fleeing violence. Their minister from immigration declared. “They are human being in distress; we will not turn them away”. I might be wrong but I have yet to hear any Australian minister declare any empathy, a warm welcome or understanding of the plight of refugees.

In the face of this refugee flow, Turkey has taken action without involving international institutions in the process. However, international cooperation will be inevitable if the number grows. Large camps, mobile hospitals and residential areas have been created in response to the fundamental needs of the refugees; thanks to preliminary preparations, Turkey is now able to host 800,000 refugees. International human rights organizations welcome Turkey’s generous attitude. Despite the fact its stance will further encourage others to flee and take refugee, Turkey’s preference not to close the border is extremely humane. At this point, the people of Güveççi village deserve particular credit and thanks; they have been mobilized to help out the refugees and given away everything they had to extend support for even those who stayed on the other side of the border, teaching humanity a lesson.

It seems amazing how the issue of so few numbers of refugees in Australia have excited so many. It still remains unanswered why Australia is getting so worked up about so few that end up on our shores. We are really slack and lacking in our humanity. Perhaps it is due to our education. So many, despite many nationalities having settled here, seem ignorant of the world’s geography or different cultures.