All posts for the topic: Atrocities and Oppression

What will we be hated for?

Est Reading Time: 5 min [CN: Everything.] There’s a great scene in Mad Men S2E07 (The Gold Violin). The family is having a picnic in the park and when they finish Betty Draper shakes the rubbish from the blanket onto the grass. There’s a lot of other subtext but it’s supposed to leave a modern audience shocked. Here’s the clip: [Video link] And it did: lots of people have been discussing this online: the degree to which such blatant littering was common in the 1960s USA, the other symbolism around it etc. I thought it was a bit heavy-handed in making us repulsed by the […]

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The stay against Trump’s travel ban upheld – a closer look at the ruling

Est Reading Time: 6 min [CN: Trump] It’s been a few days since the ninth circuit court of appeals unanimously rejected the Trump administration’s request to reinstate #MuslimBan. There’s been obviously a lot of commentary about where to from here but I wanted to look at the court’s actual ruling to see what arguments were used and whether they shed any interesting light on resistance to fascism in the USA and here in Australia. You can check out the 29 page PDF of the ruling here. In the meantime here’s a quick summary of each section. I. A. N. A. L. Background: A summary of […]

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Any celebration on Jan 26th is neither apolitical nor bypartisan

Est Reading Time: 4 min Tomorrow 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 min As 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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Can we let Syrians speak for themselves?

Est Reading Time: 1 min A year ago, the refugee issue took on an extra emotional charge because of the iconic image of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, a boy whose drowned body washed up on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. I won’t reproduce that photo but this year’s comparable image is of six-year-old Omran Daqneesh sitting in an ambulance after surviving a Russian airstrike on Aleppo (his brother Ali Daqneesh died from his injuries): You might have also seen a letter that a 6 year old boy wrote to President Obama about how he wants to help Omran (which Obama read at the UN):

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Dalai Lama defines religious violence out of existence

Est Reading Time: 4 min This 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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The Rabbits is not that anti-racist after all

Est Reading Time: 6 min Photo 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 min Lately 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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