All posts for the topic: History

Remembering Yevgeny Yevtushenko & the world’s most famous poem

Est Reading Time: 8 min[CN: Genocide] Yesterday the distinguished Soviet poet/dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko died. I’ve published before about him writing possibly the world’s most famous poem as well as an appalling piece of propaganda, in honour of his impact here’s a repost of the above with adaptations for the present day. The world’s most famous poem The poem has some interesting backstory especially since Yevtushenko gave a Russian-language interview in 2011 with some insider details. The Nazi campaign of exterminating Jews was fought on two fronts. In Western Europe, they were more cagey about their antisemitism, with most of Jews being taken to concentration […]

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Any celebration on Jan 26th is neither apolitical nor bypartisan

Est Reading Time: 4 minTomorrow is Australia Day. I’ve posted about it before and this column by Nakkiah Lui remains a must-read each year. One thing that has changed is that columns like Lui’s have ignited public conversation about the celebrations. This culminated last month with a City of Fremantle initiative. It started with this: Fremantle bumped Australia Day events by two days, citing Aboriginal cultural sensitivities. The assistant immigration minister, Alex Hawke, said the commonwealth would not allow the council to hold citizenship ceremonies as part of its planned events on 28 January because it would give an anti-Australia Day message. The council […]

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Aleppo has come full circle

Est Reading Time: 4 minAs horrifying as the stories coming out of Aleppo have been, I hope you’ve been seeing a lot of them. One of the many issues with how the media covers events like these is how most of us lack the historical context — in other words we know fuck all about Aleppo. Instead of providing some (any) context, outlets typically write from the frame of “the war”, but without even explaining much about the war. For example, most stories about the evacuation haven’t mentioned Kefraya and Fua which are a key element. It good to see a mainstream media post […]

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Tut-tutting about filter bubbles & echochambers misses the point

Est Reading Time: 5 min[CN:Trump] One of the narratives that’s emerged from Trump’s victory is that “we” anti-Trumpers have been living in a “filter bubble” or “echochamber”. In the standard white liberal pundit narrative (which I shat on in the previous post), social media means we only see things we agree with which has led to where we are now. While this narrative has a grain of truth, the way it’s been discussed has been misleading and simplistic. Yes humans are tribal creatures — all of us, regardless of our politics. We’re subject to biases that distort our picture about the world. We will […]

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Respectability Politics Must Die

Est Reading Time: 7 min[CN:Trump][I’ve had a bit of a hiatus due to life but now that The World Has ChangedTM I can’t help but write again.]So much to say and do. I’ll take it one bite at a time. You’ve had two weeks to look at dozens of analyses (some academic, some viral/populist) of WHOSE FAULT it was that Trump had won. I’m sure you’re familiar with this narrative. That it was a protest vote against the establishment/’elites’. That it was cast by people who have been for too long ignored, condescended to and abused with the r-word, the h-word, the m-word by […]

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Dalai Lama defines religious violence out of existence

Est Reading Time: 4 minThis week, the Dalai Lama engaged in more mealy-mouthed bullshit that went viral because it’s telling many people what they want to hear. In condemning religious violence (yay DL?) he said that anyone partaking in violent activities is not a genuine practitioner of their religion. Here’s a quick quote from This Independent article: Buddhist terrorist. Muslim terrorist. That wording is wrong, Any person who wants to indulge in violence is no longer a genuine Buddhist or genuine Muslim, because it is a Muslim teaching that once you are involved in bloodshed, actually you are no longer a genuine practitioner of […]

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If you compare marriage equality to interracial marriage, put your money where your mouth is

Est Reading Time: 4 minStuff is happening with marriage equality and the plebiscite clusterfuck, some of which might have changed by the time you read this post. If you’re not up to speed: a strong majority of MPs support marriage equality but due to the right wing faction of the Coalition, the current issue is still the (probably dead) plebiscite which is opposed by 85% of LGBT people and will be a disaster for these very scientific reasons as well as the inevitable (already happening!) hateful propaganda of a No campaign plus the problem (already happening!) of someone’s rights being up for an opinion […]

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The Rabbits is not that anti-racist after all

Est Reading Time: 6 minPhoto credit: Jon Green Earlier this year my partner got us tickets to the opera production of The Rabbits because a lot of people recommended it to her. Now, I live in a massive ivory tower when it comes to children’s literature. Before that I’ve never heard of John Marsden and Shaun Tan’s acclaimed book from the 1990s. My only context was that it was an allegorical opera about colonialism that featured rabbits. The place was packed, being part of the Sydney Festival. At least half in the audience were children, which makes sense given that it described itself as […]

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Blackface, Jewface, any-face

Est Reading Time: 3 minLately I’ve been thinking about how hard it is to take something seriously enough when you’re not the target. How knowing that something is wrong is important but doesn’t get you all the way. The distinction between blackface and Jewface has highlighted this. I’m not black. I’m very much against blackface (whether in Australia, the US, the Netherlands etc). But I know I’m not equipped to treat blackface as seriously as someone who’s the target of the blackface. For example, the last (maybe only?) time I saw blackface in real life was at Camelot, a world music venue in Sydney. […]

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How not to be an asshole about Valentine’s day

Est Reading Time: 5 minSome people celebrate Valentine’s day and some do not. Both categories of people though tend to talk about Their OpinionTM of the day. Every year, you will probably be able to find statements from both sides of this “debate” that are assholish, whether in meatspace or social media. Here are two lists of things to remember in order not to be an asshole about it. The first list is for people who celebrate Valentine’s day, post about it and so on: Not everyone has a romantic partner: You wouldn’t know this from many of the posts about it but if […]

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