Mary Drost's 90th birthday party took place on 13 October 2021, while Melbourne was still in Lockdown, but you could meet in the open air if you wore masks and were within 20km of your home. I was unable to attend because it was out of my 20km range.
It's not an easy life described within the covers of Donna Ward's semi-autobiography, She I dare not name: A spinster’s meditations on life, Allen and Unwin, NSW, 2020. In a vocabulary measured with precision but rich with imagery, Ward evaluates her experiences as an unmarried woman who achieved this status without wanting it at all. The book is very honest in its descriptions of how this came about and the importance that it has in defining the course of Donna’s life. The term "spinster," is initially called up like some daemonic creature. It is something she almost dare not name! As we read on, we realise that spinsters are not gothic inventions, but human like their married counterparts, probably equally defined by hazard.
It seems to be a case of pot luck that brought Donna to the point of which she writes, in a book finished in her sixty-seventh year.
Donna describes early years rich in experience of nature and travel, warm relationships with larger-than-life parents, and the birth of a young sister in her early childhood. This was however an event notified by her father, only one day prior, with something like sexual shame.
“He said this as if he barely understood anything about it , as if it was something Camille and Mum had cooked up between themselves that very day , something so shameful he’d had to fly all the way home to sort it out, though I didn’t think he was doing a good job of it.”
Mostly, however, her account of her childhood reads almost like a comforting and exciting slide show with non-sequential images and vignettes, depicting mostly carefree recollections. One senses though, that Donna’s parents are involved with each other more than they are with Donna, and that their relationship with her has conditions attached. In primary school, Donna experiences a “desperate relationship with spelling and arithmetic,” to the extent that she is sent to a psychiatrist. No-one can determine whether she is “brilliant or dumb.” Her mother cannot hide her shame from Donna. By the time Donna is ten, though, she is a good student.
It's in adulthood that the going gets really tough. Donna also indicates that she has a very poor relationship with her sister. Where she might have expected to benefit socially in many ways, from an introduction into her parents' well-connected circle in WA mining world, instead, having chosen to do social-work, she is marked as an outsider.
Ward moves from Perth, Western Australia, to Melbourne, Victoria, as a young woman, and predictably has to make her own way in the big city. She shares houses but mostly lives alone. She goes to university and gains her degree. She lands her ‘dream job’ but loses it to a male in the ‘recession we had to have’, as it was termed by the then Federal Treasurer Paul Keating, in 1990.
This job-loss was probably a defining point in Donna’s personal development. Where professional status might have compensated an early lack of unconditional love and brought her earning capacity and social rank up to something recognisable to her former peers, her job-loss plunges her into indeterminate socio-economic status. In parallel with other isolated social and economic victims of economic rationalism, she must individually craft a new survival path. She achieves this with difficulty, an exotic traveller in the new age, finally emerging as a neo-classical philosopher on non-marriage.
Descriptions of her social encounters give the reader a sense of her tumbling around in a sea of strangers interspersed with special friends and lovers poetically anonymised for publication as archetypes or as characters in Ancient Greek tales. Our heroine or protagonist does her best with what she encounters. The life she grapples with is one that has no markers or guideposts and she feels herself to be at the mercy of the preferences of the males she becomes involved with, or the narrative they see for their lives, with respect to other female players. Then again, it was she who decided not to go through with marriage to a Japanese fiancé. In her chapter, ‘The Weight of a child’, we glimpse another of life’s cul-de-sacs as she briefly recollects terminating a pregnancy that resulted from rape.
“I could not have that child, the conception had been so rude. The way his father pushed me onto the couch, held me at the throat, tore my panties and took his revenge, took what I had denied him years before. […] In the autumn of 1977, when the jacarandas were yellowing and the plum trees sapping their leaves, I let that child go, lest I be tied to his father for the rest of my life. I believed another child would come along. (Ward, Donna. She I Dare Not Name: A spinster's meditations on life (pp. 248-249.)
No-one seems to be looking out for Donna, our heroine. She just has to take it on the chin. Is this a failing of her character or is it due to the milieu and time she finds herself in? We found her a very likeable character. In many ways we were reminded of our own photogenic childhoods with happy pictorial vignettes bathed in yellow light, freedom, and cosiness, along with similar struggles in adulthood.
This narrative raises the question: How does a young woman in a big city, away from her parents and her natal community, find love, or find that suitable person with whom to form a family? It is clear from Ward's writing that that her drive to ‘nest’, to be part of a couple (duo), and to have a child, is very strong. It seems both hormonal and social. She wants to be part of the world of couples, to alleviate loneliness, to find security, and to change her status. In the face of disappointment, she soldiers on courageously, but her essentially solitary situation – despite friends and jobs - makes her vulnerable to predatory or incompetent approaches.
She mentions serial recoveries from the emotional hurt of broken relationships. Is life really meant to be so hurtful and stressful? Many women and men would relate to the bruising nature of the relationship-seeking process in the 20th and 21st century urban social environment.
The author describes her experiences, starting in the 1970s until the present. Dating is one way we do this in the West. Both parties do a series of interviews over dinner and this process can go on for years. There are more casual opportunities in which to evaluate potential partners, such as clubs with shared activities, like tennis, bushwalking, or Meetups; churches, political groups, universities, and work. A friend of mine met her life-partner and husband through an ad in a ‘singles magazine’ in the 1980s. These days she might have found him via internet dating services.
The quest for a mate is not a level playing field between men and women if they want children, as the woman is almost invariably up against time constraints. These constraints become increasingly urgent as she moves from her twenties to her thirties. A woman has a brief period in her life from about age sixteen to twenty-five, when she is most sought after by men her own age as well as those considerably older. In terms of sexual attractiveness, she has the odds in her favour then, more than she will have at any time in the future.
If she misses this opportunity to light on the ideal partner, or at least a suitable one, she has her work cut out. It will dawn on her gradually, as she approaches thirty, that really there is not much time and there is a decreasing number of men to choose from.
The finishing post in this ‘race’ is usually considered to be forty, after which a woman will not necessarily expect to ever conceive. If she wants to and she does, it will be a bonus in any permanent partnership she manages to secure.
The woman is, as was Donna Ward, expected, under this pressure, to make a wise assessment of the men who cross her path, to get to know them better than superficially, and to try not to get hurt. Whether she will have descendants depends on how she negotiates this situation. Adding to the difficulty of the task, in her most propitious years, she is necessarily young and inexperienced.
How could our society better provide a benign environment for young marriageable people to meet in relative safety? Should mothers give guidelines to their daughters as to how to as to how to negotiate the situations they will face? Did most mothers also have to just find their way through the minefield? Did they think, "Well I had to do it, and my daughter now faces the same challenge!"
Do most of us leave this all-important decision to complete chance? The writers' parent’s generation, reaching adulthood in the 1940s, were more connected, and their parents more so. They did not often travel far or without introductions. They grew up in more predictable communities with pathways to identifiable milestones (rites of passage) and traditions, and relatives and connections, for negotiating these. At the same time, in the Anglosphere and Europe, in the 1950s and 60s, a burgeoning manufacturing industry meant plentiful jobs. An explosion in energy resources and transport allowed people to commute by car to work, from affordable housing in new estates on land once out of reach. That meant more people could move out of home, get a job, and get married. It was called the Baby Boom. Unfortunately, the explosion just kept magnifying and accelerating globally until mass transport and travel broke time-worn connections, dispersing people, at ever increasing speed to the four winds, far away from the familiar pathways, milestones and traditions.
Thus, our heroine dispersed like a dandelion seed and landed in Melbourne, apparently without any significant connections, in a city with diminishing social capital.
Did most women of her generation negotiate the getting hitched and having children part successfully - if not forever or until ‘death us do part’ - at least for long enough to have a child or two? Why did some, like our heroine miss out, or was the experience more common than we may think? Good luck finding statistics on how many women die without having children. As you can see from the graph, the unmarried proportion of the population has been steadily increasing since the 1970s oil-shock.
Maybe those who did not partner for long enough to have at least one child lacked the connections to find a suitable partner. This seems to be the case with Ms Ward. Many of her encounters with men seem accidental, lacking formal introduction or context, and so she lacks essential information. In assuming reciprocally honest interactions, she is fooled, more than once, by men who are thus easily able to conceal the fact that they are already partnered. Positive tit-for-tat, where good deeds and bad deeds are quickly reciprocated is only possible in viscous societies, where people stay close to where they originate from. Melbourne’s population is close to thirty-five per cent diaspora. Another way of saying this is that people can get away with breaking trust in an anonymous or constantly changing population, unless they belong to a stable enclave within it. Donna didn’t.
A major part of Ms Ward's serial emotional recoveries from serial romantic disappointments come from the blow to her self-esteem, because she mistakenly believes that there must be some flaw in herself, invisible to her, but which these men can see.
A more informed perspective might explain, however, that Ms Ward is a stranger trying to make her way in foreign territory, where her pedigree is unknown, where she has little or no personal status. She does not read the signs accurately or speak the local social language fluently. She is proceeding using signs she learned in West Australia for a small network there, which has probably gone extinct. She did not avail herself of that network when she was in West Australia because she had different values from her parents. This was because she came from a different generation at a time when values were changing rapidly. In her case, Aboriginal rights and Germaine Greer were (by her account) two contemporary changes that obviously influenced her and helped to separate her from her origins. The first affected her relationship with her mining father, and the second affected her relationship with men more generally.
Apparently, she did not want to be part of the money and status oriented, environmentally exploitative, mining crowd her parents belonged to. So, she migrated from West Australia to Sydney, then Melbourne. She acquired some social credentials and connections from universities there, but they were not enough to establish her as a local candidate for the kind of marriage she wanted. She found a good job, but the 2008 recession removed that job, so what were her prospects? We don't know. Having a house is certainly a plus, if you want to attract a mate, but, although she seems to have a house, we do not know how big her mortgage is. She would have needed to be careful not to marry someone with lesser prospects, for fear of being impoverished by divorce, and that would rule out a large and growing demographic.
Ms Ward seems to assume that marriage must have its basis in love. Most people want to marry up and for love, and most who marry say they did marry for love, but how many really do? Is the number of divorces an indication?
Since Ms Ward seemed to have limited opportunities, for one reason or another, perhaps she could have ranked her priorities differently. Reading closely, her real priorities might have been marital status, children, and companionship. Unfortunately, she seemed to put love up at the top. Love is a western ideal but, unless you are very lucky, that is a musical chair game that leaves many more standing than seated, and childless if they persist as the stakes go up. It might be better to look for respect and kindness. Love might come later, and, if it doesn't, affairs within marriage are the tried and true solution.
It is easier to understand the problem of partnership in the west, if you imagine that you are arranging a marriage for someone in 19th century England or in 20th century India, where your parents work out early where you are situated with regard to income expectations and earning, education, charm, and physical attributes. Although your parents might use marriage brokers, it is still likely that they will employ those brokers to find someone within their circle, or at least within a similar circle. When they find a candidate, each set of parents checks the other out for compatibility. After that they decide whether or not to let the children meet.
Given that parents do not generally perform this role as explicitly in contemporary Western society, many young women have to fend for themselves. Perhaps a way women (and men) could try to look after their own interests better could be by cultivating a perspective as if they were their own in loco parentis. Such a perspective would indicate a major change in the concept of marriage in Australia.
This book aims to talk truth to power, using intersectionalist feminist concepts, within the strange paradigm of the corporate newsmedia  and US-NATO foreign policy. Power is identified as whiteness. White women are enjoined to stand with women of colour against male whiteness, which they are charged with propping up for their own benefit.
Whiteness is defined as non-brown and non-blackness. But brown-ness can include whites who are not the ‘right kind of pale’.
“Whiteness is more than skin colour. It is, as race scholar Paul Kivel describes, ‘a constantly shifting boundary separating those who are entitled to have certain privileges from those whose exploitation and vulnerability to violence [are] justified by their not being white.’” 
Hamad accuses white women in Australia today of endorsing non-white slavery and colonialism now and through the ages because they benefited and benefit from it. She writes as if the accused white women are conscious that their attitudes condone such slavery. I would say, however, that the class that endorses these things that are decided by their ‘betters’ does so because its members believe the government and corporate media spin that justifies war, colonialism and exploitation of peoples far away. The women (and men) in the classes the system still works for, or who believe it still works for them, are obedient and unquestioning of authorities anointed by these. Such people erupt in defence of media-anointed authorities they believe to be pillars of virtue. They will also hotly defend the ideas and values they receive from these classes.
Of course, various forms of psychopathic entitlement underlie the public rationales of our leaders for colonialism and wars. These include xenophobic assumptions or just contempt for anyone standing against what empire builders and weapons lobbies want. You would think that anyone could see through these, but they don’t. Obedient Australians respond viscerally to their masters, on whom they depend, like good dogs conditioned by rewards and punishments. Hence they easily fall for the suspicious perpetual recurrence of ‘mad and brutal dictators’ in the Middle East, whom the west must get rid of through regime change. As Dr Jeremy Salt, Middle-East scholar says to cartoonist Bruce Petty (who visited Syria in 2011) in the video below (which I made), "There always has to be a madman in the Middle East" [so that the west can have an excuse to invade.]
The greater basis for their credulity is apparently the idea that the Middle East has not ‘developed’ sufficiently to achieve lawful societies, in part because it is religiously divided and lacks the separation of church and state. No relevant history is provided by the newsmedia as to how these things came about in formerly very stable societies.
Additionally, the newsmedia seems to report on overseas 'interventions' in the most confusing manner possible, as it also does with Australian politics. This leaves the Australian classes that rely for information on the newsmedia with the idea that domestic and foreign politics are incredibly complicated and hard to follow. Bored and helpless, they see no choice but to place their faith in the imagined greater intellects of the journalists and politicians involved in producing this atrocious spin.
I find it difficult, however, to agree with the assumption in Hamad’s argument that all white women (and men) in Australia accept the doctrine of the newsmedia. There seem to be plenty of men and women in Australia who question war, invasion, mass population movements, Julian Assange's imprisonment for exposing war-criminals, and think that sovereignty should be respected, but they don't find any clear echo in the newsmedia, except sometimes in masses of negative comments on line, especially on articles promoting population growth. Those commenters cannot, however, get in touch with each other to organise. Constant demographic, employment, and land-use changes have also interrupted traditional family and neighbourhood networks, and big business has taken over the universities, as the newsmedia has taken over the public talking stick. So, if you believe that the newsmedia represents the opinions of most Australians, as Hamad seems to, I think you would be wrong.
There is still an anti-war movement, but it is very disorganised, almost certainly because the mainstream media ceased to report its point of view leading up to and after the invasion of Iraq.  The anti-war movement exists in the alternative media, both Australian and overseas. (See IPAN (and here) for instance.) Unfortunately, spontaneous voluntary movements using independent and big tech media resources still do not have nearly the same publicity reach of the newsmedia nor the power to authoritatively self-anoint. The Facebook tech-machine geographically limits Australians to Australia when using its promotion system (ads) for criticism of corporate newsmedia talking points and government policies (especially those of the US). They thus continue to be drowned out by the internationally syndicated newsmedia. The greater public, whose smart screens and phones are still commercially tuned to the corporate newsmedia are thus not aware of these other views. They are only aware of them if they use independent search engines, since smart phones and screens have licence restrictions on what they can show. Whilst it is easy to simply put a URL in a browser, most people don’t know this and children are not even taught it. They might use search engines to look for alternative reports, but they are not aware that the license restrictions of the commercial software associated with their ‘smart’ electronic hardware, keep their information sources nearly as narrow as the pre-internet era.
But Hamad is a professional newsmedia journalist. Not only is she a newsmedia journalist, but she refers to what passes for Australian cultural belief and 'leftist' values in the newsmedia as if these were actual reflections of most of Australian society, rather than a sort of echo-chamber for the classes that read and write in them. Does she really believe in the cultural matrix that she refers to, or is she merely using its own language to question it?
Of particular interest to me was Hamad's experience in questioning Australia's support for US-NATO military intervention in Syria. If you weren't already aware of the shocking wrongness of our policy towards Syria, then you might wonder what Hamad is talking about here.
Hamad, who comes from a Lebanese and Syrian background (Greater Syria), and who still has relatives in Syria, describes how she was rebuffed when she tried to express her disapproval of a US intervention in Syria to her feminist white colleagues.
"[Syria] is such a fraught issue that genuine discussion is impossible while smears and misplaced outrage are the norm. On this occasion in early 2018, I felt compelled to say something as it was the day after US president Donald Trump launched strikes on Damascus following an alleged chemical attack on a rebel-held town. Anna [her Anglo-Australian friend] expressed support for the strikes in a post, which I found jarring, and I told her - calmly - that I was confused given that the United States' act signalled a possible escalation of the conflict and further suffering. I was rebuffed as an aggressor who was hurting her and had to be publicly humiliated for it: the damsel requires her retribution. Merely by letting Anna know that although I understood she cared for Syrian civilians, her stance was disappointing to me, I inadvertently unleashed a demonstration of strategic White Womanhood that brushed aside the actual issue - the air strikes - and turned it into a supposed attack by me on her 'just for being white'. The result was a torrent of abuse hurled at me on a Facebook thread." (Pp105.)
Hamad’s analysis of this exchange is that, rather than deal with the political issue of bombing Syria and the atrocious consequences of war, [Anglo-Australian] Anna seemed to interpret the questioning of Hamad’s views on foreign policy as an attack on Anna for being 'white'.
Hamad sees this as a way of avoiding the issue. She thinks that the motive for avoiding the issue is to preserve the status quo from which White Womanhood benefits.
I think this analysis would work better if we substituted the word 'consequence' for motive, because it is hard for me to believe that most Australians who defend US-NATO policy towards Syria do this with a conscious understanding of the issues. Unless they are actually heads of government/ selling weapons, of course.
Where would they acquire such an understanding? Only by venturing beyond the Anglosphere and Eurosphere mainstream, but they have been repeatedly and explicitly conditioned to avoid alternative perspectives like RT and Presstv Iran, and the many independent blogs, in various languages, as ‘fake news’ by that very mainstream. It’s effective wedge politics; middle class Australians hardly dare look over at the other side of the fence on any issues. And, as mentioned, their smart screens have licensing issues.
It is true, however, that by blindly defending official policies, the obedient classes defend that tiny power-elite that pursues those policies consciously and pollutes our public messaging system with false reasons for war.
But, you see, I have encountered just the same kind of reaction when I have criticised military intervention in Syria. My friend’s father expostulated that we were ‘extremists’ and accused his son of falling for ‘fake news’. Mainstream journalists regard you with horror and abhorrence. On-line such views are treated as highly eccentric and laughed at, except when sympathisers find them. Most people you meet have no idea whatsoever about what you are referring to.
Politicians claim not to know anything about foreign affairs or they ignore you. I would have liked it if Hamad had gone to the role of Australia's then foreign policy minister, a [white] woman - Julie Bishop - in officially supporting US policy in Syria. Along with others, I wrote to Bishop about this, but received absolutely no response. And I wrote an article about the absurdity of it all: "Can Trump dodge his deep state destiny by acting absurdly?" Now it is quite possible that Julie Bishop had no idea of the consequences of what she was supporting, but she had direct responsibility, and a duty to inform herself. The reason I would like Hamad to address the role of a successful white female politician on Syria is because such people are elected and propped up via the false rhetoric of the newsmedia. That is how the normalisation of aggression against Syria takes place.
I know also that Syrians who hold the same attitude as me often don’t dare express it in public, and sometimes among Syrian acquaintances. Why is this? One reason is that refugees from Syria are more likely to receive encouragement from the Australian government if they say that the Syrian Government is a brutal dictatorship, even if they don’t really think so, since that is the official opinion of the Australian Government. And I have been told that quite a few Syrians in Australia actually do sympathise with the so-called Rebel armies in Syria, and so you might think twice about denouncing them or even disagreeing with them. New Zealand, our close neighbour, has settled some members of what many believe is a fake Syrian rescue group, with ISIS sympathies,the White Helmets.  Whilst I agree with Hamad that bombing Syria was a terrible idea, note that I am not saying that Hamad holds the same views on Syria as me. She does not actually disclose her views in her book.
It also sounds as if ‘Anglo-Australian’ Anna was out of her depth and was responding to a loss of ‘face’ on Facebook. That Anna then accused Hamad of being racist towards her is for me a symptom of Australia’s contamination with US race-baggage, not surprisingly, because of massive syndication of Australian newsmedia with US newsmedia, which virtually blots out Australia itself.
Whilst it is true that Australia was founded on the dispossession and genocide of non-white hunter gatherers, with some enslaved, others religiously indoctrinated, its initial principle labour source was convicts from the Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English lower classes. Most of these people would, however, meet Hamad’s definition of non-white, because land-tenure and inheritance law disqualified them from white power. They came from a country of severe class division. People there stole in order not to starve. As an example, the numbers of Irish transported soared with the Irish potato famine, due to crimes committed from hunger. 
Numerous convicts were charged with sedition and similar crimes and sent here as punishment for agitating for democratic government.  Many Irish were transported for insurrection due to their participation in revolts against the English. Convicts had no rights and could die in brutal conditions. 
Transportation of revolutionaries and protesters to the ends of the earth was an extreme form of demographic and political atomisation in Britain. Australia was Britain’s gulag and she sent a lot of people there who might otherwise have made a greater difference to British politics. Many recent Australians and mainstream journalists seem to have no knowledge of this or of the biophysical limitations of this continent. 
We do Australia a disservice if we fail to remember that people in this country initiated the Eight Hour Day, and stopped the beginnings of a slave-trade in Pacific Islanders and outlawed that of other ‘non-white’ peoples.
Australian workers at the turn of the 19th century, having ended transportation of forced ‘white’ labour, noting the kidnapping of Pacific Islanders, also rejected ‘non-white’ slavery through the White Australia policy, which was a trade-off for allowing manufacturers to import foreign goods.  Worker reasons for this would have been economic, since unpaid work presents unfair competition to free people. Unsurprisingly, just as today, we have little record of what ordinary people had to say on the matter, however. The rhetoric that we retain from the time is, of course, only from elites. Even among the elites, there was a fair amount of abolitionism, especially regarding the cessation of convict labour. The lack of contemporary documentation has made it easy to promote a view of the White Australia policy as a kind of Nazi doctrine, but it is dishonest to omit the anti-slavery and industrial relations aspects.
Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch of 1970, galvanised the Australian and international feminist movements, completely redefining how women saw themselves. Yet today Greer is hardly mentioned in the revisiting of feminism. Between 1972 and 1975 the Whitlam Government promoted multiculturalism, birth control, and feminism in the general population. These values were widely adopted in the generation now called ‘baby boomers’. Bizarrely and unfairly, recent anti-racist and mainstream feminist promotions fail to recognise, let alone build, on these well-established Australian values.
It might achieve more if articulate people like Hamad would look, beyond the mainstream representation of Australia, for similarities, rather than differences with their fellow citizens. She writes of the battle for land-rights (p.216). We need her help, because the colonisation is ongoing here. The fight for land-rights is being lost in Australia to the ultra-rich. Other Australians are fighting many different battles to resist our leaders’ addiction to war and growthism, and to preserve this beautiful country and its beleaguered ecology against land-speculation, overdevelopment and overpopulation. But they are being drowned out by the massive volume of the mainstream corporate media, which assails us all with growthist propaganda day and night, and also accuses us of racism, with the effect of shutting up criticism of absurdly high rates of immigration. As well, by appearing to champion or demonise refugees and asylum-seekers, it takes the public debate away from the regime-change wars that generate these.
Hamad argues within what I see as an anthropocentric, black-white, pseudo-‘progressive’ paradigm, without biophysical reference points. Although, at the end, she questions the idea of chronological progress, she still seems to accept the paradigm that we are all ‘going forward’, although no “progress is ever assured”. The points of reference in her universe are largely human-notional, generalised and global, whereas I look at how humans interact with their biophysical environments within specific land-tenure and inheritance systems. Along the same lines as Walter Youngquist’s paradigm in Geodestinies, I see material wealth, war, and colonisation, as a reflection of geology and geography.
I have a land-tenure and inheritance system explanation for the British class system and its production of great quantities of landless labour, which fed into a fossil-fueled coal and iron industrial revolution that permitted Britain’s industrial-scale exploitation of other countries. (See Sheila Newman, Demography Territory Law 2: Land-tenure and the origins of capitalism in Britain, Countershock Press, 2014.)
In Europe one tribe enslaved another. The Romans enslaved the British. Six hundred years later, the Normans reduced much of the British population to serfdom. They imposed almost universal male primogeniture in England, which meant that English women relied on men due to their inability to inherit land, and the bulk of children were effectively disinherited.
The British practised colonisation, mass migration, and genocide of Catholic whites in Ireland, and despoiled that land, with Henry VIII and Elizabeth I egging on the removal of nearly every tree for wood. Cromwell awarded Irish land to his English soldiers.
Many times the Irish Catholics tried to free themselves from the English, finally rising in revolt in 1798, causing civil war.
The civil war was dogged by savage sectarian differences which added their own violence to the government’s ghastly atrocities. Many Irish Ulster Protestants sided with the British. 
Irish Revolutionary leader, Wolfe Tone, described a landscape “on fire every night” (from burning houses), echoing with ‘shrieks of torture’, where neither sex nor age were spared, and men, women, and children, were herded naked before the points of bayonets to ‘starve in bogs and fastnesses’. He said that dragoons slaughtered those who attempted to give themselves up as they put down their weapons, and, finally, he talked about the spies who had brought the Irish Revolution down.
“And no citizen, no matter how innocent and inoffensive, could deem himself secure from informers.” 
I think that Hamad’s lack of recognition of inter-white racism/classism prevents her from realising that Australia is being recolonised, with ‘diversity’ as the excuse and induced racial schisms as the mechanism to alienate the ‘diverse’ from the incumbent population, the better to over-rule democracy. Australians, despite multicultural policy from Whitlam's time, are stigmatised as white and racist. There is a token nod to Aborigines, whose defining culture can in no way benefit from mass immigration or the 'developed' economy. Hamad is not alone in this complacency because the mass-media constantly massages high immigration and renormalises terra nullius. Hamad has some recognition of this ‘irony’, however.
“I’d be lying if I said I knew how to reconcile all of this. I’m well aware that whatever our own experiences of colonisation and racism-induced intergenerational trauma, non-Indigenous people of colour in Australia are also the beneficiaries of indigenous dispossession. We too live on and appropriate stolen land.” (p.195)
Much of the foreign intervention in Syria has been in order to force it to accept globalisation, privatisation, and leaders sympathetic to these. The same thing is being forced on Australia, but without the need for overt violence so far because, unlike Syria, Australian leaders have not resisted this. And the newsmedia has given no voice to those who are trying to resist it, so they appear invisible.
On a more personal note, I sympathise with Hamad’s experience dealing with frizzy hair during her teenage years (p.180). I had the same problem. I had a different method, which did the same job. I didn’t brush my hair dry for hours, I wound it round my head tightly and fixed it painfully with bobby pins and other clamps, waiting hours for it to dry. I gave up swimming for years, although prior to becoming aware of my appearance, I had swum daily. This was a great sacrifice. Although I was also trying to meet the prevailing standards, which seemed to me to be straight hair, unlike Hamad, I did not identify straight hair with being ‘white’. I was ‘white’ if you like, although descended from Irish, Scottish, and Welsh stock, just not in the ‘in’-crowd as regards hair – or many other things.
A theme in Hamad’s book is that White Women get cross if you challenge their cultural ideas. They shut you out. Hamad has shown that some of these cultural ideas are probably immoral, and she wonders why she is shut out for exposing them. The thing is that all cultures want to control their ideas from the inside and they reject outside challenges. That’s poesis. Basically, to be one of them, you have to embrace their ideology.
Then, within that culture, there are sub-cultures, and cliques. In Australia’s hard new society where seniority and local labour have been dropped and ‘meritocracy’ prevails in an increasingly precarious employment market, women tend to form groups led by the woman closest to power – often a male boss. One of the ways for the dominant women to keep order and stay at the top is to punish anyone who looks like getting close to power by pretending to have been victimised. Another way is to harp on differences, of which ‘race’, ethnicity, religion, hair-type, weight, dress, and opinion, etc are all signs that can be used to define their possessor as a member of the out-group.
This kind of behaviour is also called ‘bullying’. And it is getting worse, unfortunately. Maybe it is a reflection of the way our leaders behave and the economic rationalist anti-society they have forced on us. There is competition out there for food and power. And we are apes.
 Newsmedia is my name for the dominant ‘mainstream’ public/corporate media.
 Ruby Hamad in her Author’s note, p.xiii.
 “After the enormous demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the anti-war movement disappeared almost as suddenly as it began, with some even openly declaring it dead. Critics noted the long-term absence of significant protests against those wars, a lack of political will in Congress to deal with them, and ultimately, apathy on matters of war and peace when compared to issues like health care, gun control, or recently even climate change.” Source: Harpootlian, Allegra, US Wars and military action: The New Anti-War Movement, https://www.thenation.com/article/tom-dispatch-new-anti-war-movement-iraq-iran/.
“Criticism of the news media’s performance in the months before the 2003 Iraq War has been profuse. Scholars, commentators, and journalists themselves have argued that the media aided the Bush administration in its march to war by failing to air a wide-ranging debate that offered analysis and commentary from diverse perspectives. As a result, critics say, the public was denied the opportunity to weigh the claims of those arguing both for and against military action in Iraq. We report the results of a systematic analysis of every ABC, CBS, and NBC Iraq-related evening news story—1,434 in all—in the 8 months before the invasion (August 1, 2002, through March 19, 2003). We find that news coverage conformed in some ways to the conventional wisdom: Bush administration officials were the most frequently quoted sources, the voices of anti-war
groups and opposition Democrats were barely audible, and the overall thrust of coverage favored a pro-war perspective. But while domestic dissent on the war was minimal, opposition from abroad—in particular, from Iraq and officials from countries such as France, who argued for a diplomatic solution to the standoff—was commonly reported on the networks. Our findings suggest that media researchers should further examine the inclusion of non-U.S. views on high-profile foreign policy debates, and they also raise important questions about how the news filters the communications of political actors and refracts—rather than merely reflects—the contours of debate.” Source: Hayes, Danny and Guardino, Matt, Whose Views Made the News? Media Coverage and the March to War in Iraq, Political Communication, Vol. 27, No. 1, Dec 2009, p59. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10584600903502615
“As the [Iraq] war dragged on, and as reporting got better and better, the real problem with news from Iraq would turn out to be how little of it most Americans ever saw or heard. Across the board, as documented by Pew and others, the percentage of the news hole devoted to the war declined steeply.” Source: Murphy, Cullen, The Press at War, From Vietnam to Iraq, Atlantic Monthly, March 20, 2018.
 Independent journalists who have criticised this US and UK-funded and Hollywood-iconified group have been vilified by the mainstream, but the evidence is out there. See, for instance, Rick Sterling, “The ‘White Helmets’ Controversy,” Consortium News,
July 22, 2018”https://consortiumnews.com/2018/07/22/the-white-helmets-controversy/
 Lohan, Rena, Archivist, ‘Sources in the National Archives for research into the
transportation of Irish convicts to Australia (1791–1853)’ National Archives, Journal of the Irish Society for Archives, Spring 1996 https://www.nationalarchives.ie/topics/transportation/Ireland_Australia_transportation.pdf
 Convict Records, British Convict transportation register made available by the State Library of Queensland, Various crimes were assigned to revolutionaries, including sedition and insurrection which included many Irish who participated in rebellions. I08 are listed in the Convict Records simply as ‘Irish Rebels’: https://convictrecords.com.au/crimes/sedition https://convictrecords.com.au/crimes/irish-rebel
 “During the first 80 years of white settlement, from 1788 to 1868, 165,000 convicts were transported from England to Australia. Convict discipline was invariably harsh and often quite arbitrary. One of the main forms of punishment was a thrashing with the cat o’ nine tails, a multi-tailed whip that often also contained lead weights. Fifty lashes was a standard punishment, which was enough to strip the skin from someone’s back, but this could be increased to more than 100. Just as dreadful as the cat o' nine tails was a long stint on a chain gang, where convicts were employed to build roads in the colony. The work was backbreaking, and was made difficult and painful as convicts were shackled together around their ankles with irons or chains weighing 4.5kg or more. During the day, the prisoners were supervised by a military guard assisted by brutal convict overseers , convicts who were given the task of disciplining their fellows. At night, they were locked up in small wooden huts behind stockades. Worse than the cat or chain gangs was transportation to harsher and more remote penal settlements in Norfolk Island, Port Macquarie and Moreton Bay.” Source: State Library New South Wales, https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/stories/convict-experience
 Recently an Australian Review journalist, Laura Tingle, suggested that convicts seemed almost more inclined to die of starvation than to try to feed themselves by farming. She obviously knew nothing of the difficulties experienced by the early settlers, even with the help of convicts, in producing food in this country, well-documented by Watkin Tench, (e.g. Ed Tim Flannery), Watkin Tench, 1788, 2012. Tingle, in Laura Tingle, "Great Expectations" in Quarterly Essay, Issue 46, June 2012, opines that Australian government began by administering a dependent population in a patronising way. Australians became passive recipients of government benefits - to the extent, Tingle believes, that convicts seemed almost more inclined to die of starvation than to try to feed themselves by farming. Moreover, after the gold rush, Australian men got the vote and could run for parliament whether or not they had property and the quality of politicians declined compared to that when only people with property could vote. In these circumstances, politicians with poor manners came to dominate parliament and Australians therefore lost respect for their politicians. See Sheila Newman, “Tingle shoots blanks despite Great Expectations - review of Quarterly Essay,” 8 July 2012, http://candobetter.net/node/3003
 An ammendment to the Masters and Servants Act August 1847 forbade the transportation of ‘Natives of any Savage or uncivilized tribe inhabiting any Island or Country in the Pacific Ocean’. Masters and Servants Act 1847 (NSW) No 9a. No.IX., 16 August 1847. Six weeks later a Legislative Council motion disapproved the prospect of introducing Pacific Island workers into the colony, because it “May, if not checked, degenerate into a traffic in slaves.” https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2019/july/1561989600/alex-mckinnon/blackbirds-australia-s-hidden-slave-trade-history.
 Wilkes, Sue. Regency Spies: Secret Histories of Britain's Rebels & Revolutionaries . Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition. Location 1014.
 Theobald Wolfe Tone, The Writings of Theobald Wolfe Tone 1763-98, Volume 3: France, the Rhine, Lough Swilly and death of Tone, Janurary 1797 to November 1798, Eds. T.W. Moody, R.B. McDowell and C.J. Woods, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2007, p516.
 I have mixed with Australian Aborigines from most parts of Australia and can tell you that those I got to know well have expressed strong resentment of mass immigration (black or white), for obvious reasons. Yet, again, the newsmedia conflates mass immigration with multiculturalism and creates the impression that Australian Aborigines have nothing to say against being made an ever smaller part of Australia's demography and land-tenure. This is particularly evident with the Australian ABC. It was demonstrated in the Q&A ABC program of 9 July 2018 on Immigration which included the Indigenous lawyer, Teela Reid. Unusually, The Guardian actually noticed this: ‘Reed, a Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman, appeared to find the whole discussion baffling. “Don’t get me started, the whole bloody country has immigrated or invaded,” she said. “It’s crazy to sit and watch the conversation unfold.” ’ How confusing to be forced to use the rhetoric of multiculturalism as a counter to discrimination against Aborigines, while aware that all these Anglo and multicultural groups are uninvited invaders, not necessarily colonising, but moving relentlessly, and as if by right, onto once-Aboriginal lands and resources.
Except for his unfortunate argument over abortion with Sonia Ossorio (pictured right), President of the New York City Chapter of the National Organisation for Women (NOW), I found myself in almost complete agreement with Tucker Carlson in his 24 July episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight (38 minutes in length). This episode includes debate and discussion of a number of important developments and issues in United States politics - border control, abortion and the ongoing attempts by the establishment, supported by the Democrats, 'leftists' and even much of the Republican Party, to oust President Trump. Carlson interviewed and debated Jeff Weaver a spokesperson for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a socialist in the Democratic Party. Also, early in this episode, Tucker Carlson (pictured left) argued strongly and in great detail why he was opposed to war against Iran.
Sonia and the NOW support the right of women to control their own fertility, including the right to abortion. Unfortunately, Tucker Carlson is emotively opposed to the "killing of unborn children" and argued quite fiercely against Sonia Ossorio. In spite of his shouting over her and even cutting her off at the end, it seemed to me that Sonia Ossorio won the short debate.
There is much fuss at the minute about name calling. I certainly agree that calling people names in an attempt to demean them is an unpleasant act, and one that should be discouraged. But in recent debate I have noticed that people are getting very upset about statements such as "you throw like a girl" etc. The implication is that this is demeaning to girls. I wish to argue that until recently, that has not been true. Furthermore, it is suggested that such statements are made by boys and men as a means of degrading girls and contribute to misogyny. I don't think this is true. I will tell you why. Firstly, I grew up with a slightly older sister - whom I adored. So I did anything she asked (although I stopped at eating poo out of the toilet which she insisted to me - when I was around 3yo - that it was chocolate). But at one stage when I was about this age, she and my rather young aunt played a game where they put me in a dress. A photo was taken. For the rest of my life this has been used to humiliate me at family dinners, when guests come, etc: how I wore a dress. I also liked the colour pink when I was young - not at the time being aware of the gender ban on this like - this also for the rest of my life was used to humiliate me at family dinners, etc. So there are two things about this - there is nothing embarassing for girls about wearing dresses and liking pink, but there is for boys. And far from it being boys who demeaned girls in this regard, it was in fact girls demeaning boys based on these gender issues. It is in this regard that I find a distinct one-eyedness about allegations of boys and men - and their privileges and demeaning girls. It looks at the injustices that girls supposedly face, and ignores any contrary experience.
My sister was also quite violent. She would attack me and pinch, bite and scratch me. However, whenever parents were around she would wail that I was hurting her, and I - being a boy, and she a girl - was of course seen as being at fault. And she would slyly grin as I got in trouble for her attack on me. This of course stopped once I reached a certain size - and I suspect that the physical power difference is one reason why we see less violent crime by women - they simply know that it is not a winning strategy for them. Although they are offered quite a bit of protection by the taboo on men fighting back against physical attacks by women.
Anyway, in short, my experience of growing up was not one of my being privileged as a boy and my sister being demeaned, but rather the other way around. When she went to uni, her accommodation and expenses were paid, as a 'boy' I was expected to be tougher, and so pay my own way (not living at home either). My sister was also protected against violence where none of the boys were, but that is another story.
Now I still love my sister, but the experience growing up certainly opened my eyes as to human nature, and what girls are capable of in the way of evil. She was protected, coddled and cared for, even well into adulthood. I used to sleep on beaches as a teenager and no one noticed or cared. So I get somewhat rankled when people go on about 'white male privilege'. And I also question whether the use of 'don't be girl' is a statement used by men to control women, or rather one used by women to control and demean men.
Now returning to an earlier point: I am not even sure that saying to a boy 'you throw like a girl' is at all demeaning to girls. Until fairly recently throwing was not something girls were meant to be good at. It is only now when we are trying to remove all differences between the sexes (a futile and dangerous task I believe) that girls have been expected to be capable of everything boys are capable of. When I was young it was just accepted that girls were girls, and not as physically strong or capable. They were not expected to be as a point of honour, but boys on the other hand were. Again, the put down was not meant to demean girls, but to demean boys. And I still think it is bad, not because it degrades girls, but because it is used to 'macho' up boys - and is probably one of the things that is used to drive boys towards the hard macho culture that is now so derided (and associated with un-empathetic words from women such as 'toxic masculinity'). My point is that put downs are used as much by women to control, manipulate and humiliate men, as they are by boys and men. Thus saying that male behaviour and macho-ism is due just to men and men's behaviour is a real lie.
So I wonder if I am alone? After an upbringing where boys and men are put down if they don't act a certain way (to please women I think) and in which they have their confidence and self-esteem undermined and made fragile by the constant put downs, or fear of put downs, by women, and have found that they will not be supported, but must rely only themselves, whilst their sisters are indulged in many ways emotionally and physically - after working dirty, dangerous and unpleasant jobs to get by, after all this boys are told they are privileged and that they are responsible for all their own problems, and now must fix them by themselves, under the constant criticism of women, who need do nothing at all, and who - it seems - can find no redeeming features among their men folk. Is it any wonder that men are feeling even more frustrated than ever? Where are men supposed to go from here? They must be tough and ready to go to war (in Afgahanstan or where-ever else they are sent) and emotionally capable of being made redundant or unemployed - thus taking away the only worth they have in our society - and we wonder why they suicide and self harm through alchohol abuse, drugs and in other ways?
We are told we must listen to women and their stories - but are women really interested in listening to us? Who controls the upbringing and socialisation of men? Has it not been - until recently - predominantly women? How can they not have a role to play? How can they have no responsibility for the problems of society? It is their own sons they are complaining of and fearful of. How can that be?
You might also be interesting in Bettina Arndt's take on this:
Syrian women are helping to save Syria and all of humanity against the scourge of Western-supported terrorism. The Canadian government, [Candobetter.net editor: and others, including Australia's, supporting the US-NATO agenda] on the other hand, is destroying women’s rights (and all human rights) in Syria and beyond. If the truth were ever accepted by broad-based populations, then our government, led by those who project progressive fronts, would be exposed as the misogynist, life-hating rot that it is.
This article was first published at https://www.globalresearch.ca/womens-rights-in-syria/5629648
Canada's Sanctions Regime against Syria Undermines Women's Rights
Trudeau is destroying Syria through illegal sanctions, and through direct and indirect support of every single terrorist in Syria. Canada is a member of the NATO terror organization, which along with its allies, seeks to create “regime change” in Syria, — the highest crime according to Nuremburg Principles.
All Syrians, but especially Syrian women, have much to lose if the Canadian government’s diabolical ambitions are realized.
Amany Ashy lives in a government-secured area of Syria where she is headmistress of a high school. She explains that life for women in government-secured areas hasn’t changed much. She explains that
The government supports women’s right and liberty before and now. We have the liberty to choose our work , to wear whatever we like , to choose the type of education we want and even to fight side by side with the army. We have the safety to go at anytime during day or night.
She also explains that
men now are busy fighting with the army or trying hard to work double shift after the crazy raise of prices and after the sanctions. Women’s life as the life of all Syrian has been affected badly by the sanctions. The prices of food and vegetables have become double. Medicine prices are very high and some are not available.
Life in terrorist-occupied areas, however, is entirely different, and alien to Syria and to most Syrians. Ashy explains that
women in the areas controlled by the US- backed terrorists have no rights at all. They have to wear a black uniforms to cover their bodies and this uniform must be very simple and loose and if any women try to break their rules they take them to Hespah (prison). They keep them imprisoned for hours and force them to buy a uniform that they have and agree on … Women are prevented from going to schools or working any kind of job that they don’t approve of.
Ashy adds that the government respects freedom of thinking and religion and that nobody has the right to interfere in someone’s religion.
Saudi Arabia, one of Canada’s allies in the war for terrorism and against human rights is both a fountainhead of terrorism and Wahhabism, and it is this Wahhabi ideology that prevails in terrorist-occupied areas of Syria. It is also this Wahhabi ideology (takfiri/salafi) that is referenced in a 2012 DIA document (14-L-0052/DIA/287) which laid out clearly the West’s plans to destroy Syria, one of the 7 countries targeted for destruction as enumerated by General Flynn.
As the U.S and its terrorist allies occupy the oil rich areas of Eastern Syria – also laid out in the aforementioned DIA document — Canadians should remember that this war, like its predecessors in Libya, Iraq and beyond, was sold to them and continues to be sold to them through outrageous, constantly repeated, war lies.
Amany Ashy is a pseudonym for an actual Syrian source. She shared her narrative in a private Facebook message dated 2 October, 2017.
 Brad Hof, “2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document: West will facilitate rise of Islamic State ‘in order to isolate the Syrian regime.’ “ LEVANT REPORT THE REAL MIDDLE EAST, DEBUNKING THE SOUND BITES. 19 May 2015. (https://levantreport.com/2015/05/19/2012-defense-intelligence-agency-document-west-will-facilitate-rise-of-islamic-state-in-order-to-isolate-the-syrian-regime/) Accessed 18 February, 2018.
Order Mark Taliano’s Book “Voices from Syria” directly from Global Research.
Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.
Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes the mainstream media narratives on Syria.
People are speaking out! A host of women in the entertainment industry have come out with a range of complaints about male colleagues, complaints which hark back many years. It has been a cascade of allegations and the sense one gets of the emotions of these women is as a type of catharsis They demand to be treated with respect in the workplace. The "Me Too" campaign has managed to organise and galvanise women in protest against named powerful figures in Hollywood and elsewhere in the entertainment industry in countries like Australia. Impassioned speeches were made at the Golden Globe Awards, notably by television identity Oprah Winfrey. (The media infers from Oprah's short speech that she may now run for President of the United States!) The issue of sexual harassment in the workplace in the entertainment industry has erupted since accusations in 2017 against movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, and now his name appears to be mud. Craig McLoughlin in Australia, who played Dr. Blake in a dreary TV series called, The Dr. Blake Mysteries has been suspended in the latest series in the making. He will no longer be playing the main role in the current production of Godspell due to complaints by his female colleagues. There is a righteous indignation and outpouring of emotion from women affected. It's out in the open. The men named all deny wrongdoing. Presumably efforts will be made to get to the truth.
On January 9th the first same sex marriages in Australia not requiring a waiver took place. The LGBTQI community has been victorious in having their relationships given the same status as traditional marriages. They have triumphed over prejudice and the celebrations and the volume of apparently pent up demand for marriage gives a sense of societal progress occurring in quantum leaps, or so it would appear from media reporting.
The space given in the media to members of special designated ethinic communities also creates a sense that the more that complaints and achievements are aired, the more progress is occurring. A recent example is of representatives of the Sudanese community speaking on episodes of crime and the needs of that community, all gives me a sort of illusion of progress, but towards what?
All the while, as we view our cities, our country, our communities on the screen in our living rooms, and see the women, the LGBTQI communities, the members of various immigrant groups, the message to us is of progress, as though there was no tolerance or even any experience of these differences before. We feel we are making every effort towards a better, more vibrant, more diverse, society. We are having some successes and some failures but all the while making progress as people speak out.
But how are we viewed by those in control? Probably we are seen as mere pawns, possibly knights and bishops, in their big board game. The large unseen hands of the power elite remove the autonomy of all groups, even those who feel in control of their lives. These hands don't differentiate between LGBTQI members, women, seniors, the Lithuanian, or the Sudanese communities, except in terms of getting their attention.
Toll road builders are not concerned with community specific values, they just want them to own a car and pass under their gantries on the toll roads. Furniture warehouses will hope that newly marrieds from any group will buy all the paraphernalia that furnishes a house, whether it be in a newly built apartment or a hastily flung together suburban dream, rammed up next to its neighbour, in the outer west of Melbourne. The housing construction lobby does not care whose money pays for the overpriced floor space in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth or any other growing town, that purchasers hope will bring them within striking distance of the source of income to make the mortgage repayments. The banks don't care who makes those repayments. It's all the same to their bottom line.
Their aim is to put all of us to use, get us working, consuming, driving, borrowing, building. They want an increasing income stream from all of us, no matter who we are, and in increasing numbers.
We are being sorted and sold off by a ubiquitous but invisible oppressor that knows and dictates what we want and where we have to go.
James Damore was the man who sent a memo in Google in which he suggested that maybe the low participation of women in tech areas was because women in general had less desire to work in those areas. For this he was sacked.
Now for purposes of this article I am not so interested in whether he was right or wrong. I am interested in how he was treated. I think how James was treated in this matter reflects a far deeper malaise within our culture; that malaise is a lack of love and concern for others. If we really want to create a better society, with less conflict, hatred and violence, then we really need to consider deeply why people are punished and to what end.
Do people and organisations in our society seek to punish others as revenge? Or to ‘silence’ them? Either motive is selfish and destructive. Revenge as a motive is just pure hatred and selfishness. Silencing people on the other hand is what organised churches used to do to heretics, and what despots like Stalin did to dissenters. Both were monsters. Do we really want such monsters around today?
So what should be the purpose of punishment? In a system of love any punishment or similar consequences for actions should have the intention of helping the person at fault. The aim of criminal punishment should be to reform offenders, only the unreformable should be exiled, or otherwise separated from their community, for the safety of the community. In all other cases every effort should be made to educate and assist the person towards improvement.
So how did Google act in the case of James? They acted as any despot would, they sought to silence James by sacking him and ‘exiling’ him from Google’s community. Why would they do this? Well I would suggest firstly because they have no love for James, or perhaps anyone else. Think about it – if someone in your family wrote something like that – would you exile them? Punish them with the loss of their income? Only a family with no love for their children would treat their child like that – fully grown or not. Now Google I suspect also had selfish reasons for wanting to get rid of James – and it is a fact that selfishness in its worst forms is a lack of love for others. Google, and the tech area in general have had a bad reputation in relation to the treatment of women. In light of this it seems that Google are seeking – at least some claim they are – to signal the ‘virtue’ of the company for purely profit oriented motives.
When someone, or some organisation, picks on someone like this it is encumbant on others to speak in defence of the victim. Particularly when the victim is an individual. Groups have the benefit of many voices and mutual support, but individuals are vulnerable, and so need others to defend them. Without us supporting each other in this way we have the ‘law of jungle’; the strong can victimise the weak. Such an action as Google’s is a bully’s action. And unless we can stand against such behaviours civilisation means nothing; it is not an adjective we can apply to our society. But yet we see the absence of love and human support for others again and again – we see it with the treatment of refugees, we see it with the treatment of the homeless, and we see it with many individuals: Damore, Assange, Snowden and Manning.
I ask again – would a loving parent treat their own child like this? Would they stand by and watch others treat their child like this? Or would they have patience and tolerance in regard to their perceived faults and transgressions? Then how can we stand by and allow other people’s children to be treated this way?
You can read James' memo here and also Google's public response.
Here's The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally At Google ( it is not actually not quite in full - diagrams and hyper links to his references have been removed. The actual complete document is available here).
If you are interested in the argument about whether he was right or not, here is New York Times article on this.
I have found that I and people I know are increasingly working longer and longer hours. And this with ever increasing demands on the job, as the demands for perfection increase, and the support to achieve it decreases. Especially the large organisations in which we are working appear as despotic, in that one has no say over what happens or what might happen, but instead is faced with a stream of orders and new demands being delivered constantly, yet randomly, through the impersonal medium of email. There is no discussing with this new invisible master - often the sender is not even a person with whom you can engage in conversation, but some impersonal departmental (i.e do-not-reply) email address. Then one finds that travel to anywhere is time consuming, and extremely stressful, as conditions are crowded and arrival on time is far less than certain - whether it be by train or car. With people arriving home late, exhausted we must prepare meals, often reply to a few still-unanswered work emails. All of which leaves us little spare time - and in such a state of mental exhaustion that we could not enjoy it anyway. Necessarily our weekends are often consumed with the other chores of life, maintaining houses, shopping, and preparing food and clothing for the next hectic week. This sad condition of modern people led me to reflect as to how we got into this state, and what has changed to make modern life so difficult. I wondered how we used to cope, and I recall as a child how the weekends were quiet, the shops were closed after midday Saturday, and there was hardly any traffic. Now, the busiest traffic times are on weekends, as is the busiest trading. And a major reason, I think is the fact that now both partners work, there is no-one with time to do shopping in the day, prepare meals for 6.00 pm (we often eat much later, even if we feed the children earlier, either my wife or I may find it is 9.00 pm before we have time for dinner). So why is modern life so crazy?
Chesterton, it appears, is someone who also reflected on and addressed many of our modern problems - that fact that he did this 100 years ago seems to make little difference to the relevance of what he had to say in his book What is Wrong with the World. Not suprisingly the issue of gender roles is one he addresses at length. But what is surprising, and in a sense enlightening, is that he argues that the traditional roles of men and women were not established to trap women, but rather to free them from the madness of industrial society. According to Chesterton, the gender arrangements in early industralism insulated women from the commercial pressures of having to be competitive at work - which Chesterton argues makes one a 'monomaniac'; necessarily too-focussed on work and its demands for specialisation to become a complete person. The traditional arrangements, Chesterton argues, were to keep some part of humanity free from these inhuman demands. To allow at least one half of humanity to be whole people, to allow them to develop as complete, to become good at many useful things rather than an expert at mostly one thing. To allow them to focus on and contemplate the broader issues and tasks that are so necessary to a sane and on-going human existence. This half of humanity, to be spared from the inhumanity of industrialism was, women. He explains this division was made because the natural role of women in relation to birth and child-rearing, but they need not be child-rearers to benefit from these freedoms. I guess with the freedom also came the ability to pursue study and careers if they wished - certainly many women did - C.S Lewis's mother was a Mathematics university graduate in the 1800's and Dr Maria Montessori a science graduate not long after that, and I am sure there were many others. Clearly they could also have careers if they chose; Florence Nightingale is an example here. Maybe this education and these roles were harder to get, but when you consider that they were up against people - mostly men - whose livelihood depended on them succeeding and devoting their all in the narrow specialisations demanded for most jobs, then it is perhaps no surprise that such positions were hotly contested and no more so by those who had the most to lose or gain from them i.e men who desperately needed a way to earn a living.
So then we come to the criticism of this 'patriarchal system' we are presented with the image of the despotic man, who because he is the breadwinner (and perhaps also because he himself is fully aware of his suffering from the absence of any real freedom, having to subject himself to the demands of an employer for the working week) demands that he has more rights and privileges in the household. Now there are at least two ways to see this: one as though the system is wrong and two, as though the man is wrong. The modern argument seems to commonly be that the system is wrong - that we should grant women equal power and opportunity. But this comes with two great risks. The first is that women lose their protection from the commercial world and are now subjected to the same evil forces of competition that men are. Secondly, there is an assumption that some, perhaps many, will not succumb to the same demand of special rights and privileges as men were accused of doing: becoming equal despots with the worst of men. Such a situation is rife for conflict with each party demanding special privileges and rights (i.e rights to disregard the rights of others) as a result of their sacrifices and as due their power and authority. And this is leaving aside all the problems that arise when humanity loses its generalist and all the benefits that came with this - more on this later perhaps.
The other view is that there is nothing wrong with the general family system, but rather there is something wrong with some individual men. Good men, endowed with such authority and whatever power comes from being the breadwinner, should endure the associated suffering with tolerance and kindness and not seek to be overbearing but rather be generous and as kindly as possible under the circumstances. Development of such magnanimity requires a good raising of boys to understand their roles, responsibilities and passing on the ideal of a 'good man' as having these attributes.
Unfortunately, with women and men now desperately caught in the worldly competitive fray that sucks nearly all their energy, thought and time, it is unlikely that many men, or women, will be taught and developed in such a way. So it seems we all degenerate into dog-eat-dog competitiveness and bickering over who has what rights and privileges. The situation is complicated by the fact that despite modern developments in the workplace, the old role expectations are still in place. Even though you may say that men can help with the housework, and perhaps even be stay-at-home dads, men still feel the expectation that if it comes to the crunch, they are the ones who must provide an income, so they carry the stress and burden of having to be on top of their game, as well as doing new chores that traditionally men did not. Even if ostensibly a man is a stay-at-home-dad if anything happens to their wife's position they must return to work, and that with the added difficulty of having been out of the workplace for a period. On the women's side, they appear to still feel the traditional obligation to maintain certain standards around the household, on top of their new duties. So on both sides there persist these stresses that are likely to lead to senses of injustice and the potential break out of arguments.
On top of this are all the additional modern stressors I mentioned above. Traditionally men had to give their all to their jobs for 8 - 10 hours a day maybe 5 and a half days a week. But at least back then the work stopped after hours. And married men didn't need to also shop for food, cook their own meals, clean the house, etc (just as many married women did not need to work in commercial ventures). Now the demands of work are increasingly, all day everyday, with many people working 60 hours or more, and that is not counting time spent answering emails after hours or contemplating work problems during the night or on weekends. Add to this the enormous amounts of time many spend travelling - another modern phenomena - and a significant stress for men and women.
I am sorry but I do not have any solutions to these problems, I can merely state the situation as it appears to me. But I can summarise this situation as being a kind of dilemma whereby we need to find a way to retain in people that magnanimity that I mentioned above - that the sense of sacrifice men probably mostly felt by being locked into mindless or demanding jobs, from which there was, and perhaps for many still is, no realistic escape - that this should be seen as a sacrifice of love and an opportunity for generosity of spirit. And it seems, given the modern situation of women, that many women perhaps also could take this view of the demands that they see as placed on them. Perhaps women have traditionally done this on the whole, but if so the need now for such an attitude is as a great as ever.
Funeral service Friday, February 3, 2017 at 2pm, St Michael's Church, 220 McPherson St., Princes Hill, 3054. Written by Jill Quirk and Sheila Newman. With the death of Julianne Bell at 5.00 a.m. on Friday, January 27, 2017, environmental activism in Victoria has lost a formidable force and a fearless friend. Julianne was a committed defender of nature and of our right to "keep public land in public hands" through environmental groups such as the Royal Park Protection Group and Protectors of Public Lands, Victoria (which she founded). She sternly opposed the encroachment of development on public land, such as the Commonwealth Games Village (a real-estate development which took a large slice of Royal Park and for which 2000 trees were removed). For Julianne her best achievement was the prevention of the construction of the East-West Link, which would have shot through Royal Park in a protracted construction period and gouged a permanent scar. Whilst Julianne by no means did this single handed, her relentless efforts over weeks and months were undoubtedly essential to the eventual victory.
As well as being an entertaining and informative raconteur and friend to many, she was a great force for good in Victoria, a defender of nature and the major force protecting public right to public lands in the organisation, Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.
Although she was a staunch supporter of refugees and worked for years in a senior position with the Department of Immigration, she well understood the problem of mass immigration and how it contributes to overpopulation in Australia.
She was not media-shy, in fact, she cultivated the local media, seeking attention to her issues and would get herself to to wherever reporters and camera were waiting at very short notice, if called upon. She created media events to draw attention to her causes. To Julianne the important thing was not how she was coming across herself, but to communicate her message widely - so vital were her issues to her. She was well-known to the ABC and The Age and a frequent interviewee on 3CR radio. She was a long-time member of the Labor Party.
Julianne was a clever strategist and the power behind many successful campaigns over many years, although she knew the value of a male figurehead in this world where males carry so much more authority. She had friends among QCs, bureaucrats and politicians and commanded respect from members of the police. She would set up a picket-line to define the territory she was defending and she taught others how to defend such pickets. She cared strongly about native animals, native vegetation and the right of Australians to experience nature naturally, without concrete barbecues, bicycle paths and sports fields. She knew how to play bureaucracy at its own game and was capable of stopping arrogant politicians short with technical questions from unexpected angles. She became familiar with important technical aspects of the built environment and their impact on nature and quality of life, such as the effect of industrial scale artificial lighting. She made a point of noting and remembering names, a habit which often proved useful and was always appreciated.
Julianne was an important 'lay' politician, but many would not have understood this because she did not have a seat in parliament, although she was often in the gallery and the courts. Like many politically active women, she was guided by what needed to be done now, rather than a party agenda, so she fought for policy in the streets and parks, on radio, via the newspapers, holding meetings, writing reports and submissions, teaching others how to do so, trying to protect what our elected politicians should have protected. She was indeed a rare and immensely valuable human being, whose delightful sense of the absurd and merry laugh will be sorely missed.
Dear Members and Friends,
It is with sadness that we advise that Julianne died this morning.
A true warrior princess for Royal Park. Sometimes called a modern day Boadicea.
She was so pleased to receive your kind wishes
Over past days she has enjoyed recounting many past battles and the friendship and support of members and friends.
The funeral is planned for Friday. More details will follow.
Convenor – Royal Park Protection Group Inc.
Web : http://royalparkprotect.com.au
During the US presidential inauguration ceremonies Trump's elegant and disciplined clan members appeared brave in the face of multiple violent threats, fanned by a jilted mainstream press, for example, CNN's, "Disaster could put Obama cabinet member in oval office." Beside their chubbier leader, beaming like John Candy, the females of the Trump clan, with their gazelle-like legs and long hair, flawless skin and physiques, seemed like avatars from another world.
A correspondent commented to me this morning on her perception that the Age and the ABC underreported aspects of President Trump's inauguration. "Melania really did look stunning, but there was a lack of positive comment re Melania’s dress, a lack of any sympathetic camera work on her. This was in contrast to the gushing over Michelle Obama eight years ago. It is to do with the level of warmth. I felt that, with the Trumps, the commentary and footage were overly cold and objective compared with the same event eight years ago. In fact, I found this article, which bore out my feelings: #10;http://fashionista.com/2016/11/melania-trump-fashion"> "How we plan on covering (or not covering) Melania Trump's fashion choices". It shows that there has even been a politicisation of reporting on fashion with regard to the Trumps."
Indeed, the New York Times, which does gives some quite interesting fashion details on who dresses the Trump entourage and the semiotics of their costumes, also reports in the embedded video, on how a number of fashion publications have snubbed the Trumps because of a perception that Donald Trump is racist. This is based on his attitude to protecting jobs for Americans, illegal immigrated violent offenders and immigration from source countries for ISIS - all defensible positions even if you don't happen to agree with them. They do not make Trump racist.
But the fight is really nationalist vs globalist. The globalist open-borders exiting US regime pursued the most racist of wars in the Middle East and now it is going after Trump, the anti-Soros. The out-going regime and the press that supports them are heavily sponsored by Soros who also has succeeded in diverting many organisations from their original agendas and getting them to push for open borders, an agenda that runs against civil rights and assists globalisation. We can see this in the Women's marches today, 22 January 2017, where feminism has apparently been coopted to incoherently support globalism as well as protest more reasonably on behalf of abortion-rights. (See "George Soros big loser in US elections funds hi-jacking of feminism for globalist agenda."
New York Times video
Witty, charismatic and politically incorrect
Am I the only one whom Trump's goofy smile reminds of John Candy, the charming Canadian comedian who died in March 1994 and who played many eccentric characters? There is something in the eyes and the mouth and a way of moving, but perhaps it is mostly that Trump appears larger than life and is funny and outrageous, like Candy. "If I was elected, you would be in jail, Hillary!"
Admittedly, if you don't think there is anything funny about politics, and particularly about Donald Trump, you might not see the humour and you might hate the charisma, but you still might agree that the 2017 US election had elements of a National Lampoon comedy that Candy might have played in. The statuesque wife, who looks half her age, the lanky daughters displayed on stage like two legged-giraffes in designer gowns and the pizza-gate-lolita-island scandals surrounding the departing US regime and Donald, larger than life, prevailing, assisted by his unforgettable hair.
 Second Presidential debate dialogue:
HILLARY CLINTON: “It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Mrs. Clinton observed.
TRUMP: “Because you’d be in jail.”
Feminists may say that the prevailing attitude of men has always been that women’s place is in the home. Well the truth is that until the industrial revolution, everyone’s place was in the home. Home was where families worked – together. Men did not go off to work in offices and factories until there were factories and offices to go to. For most of western history they worked on the farm or in the shop with their wives and children. It was only the industrial revolution that rendered families and communities asunder, culminating in the stereo-typical 1950’s housewife – at home, isolated and alone – in a way, and on a scale, never seen before in human history. This article asserts that neo-liberal values may rule more men but that they are not natural male values and that Christianity, for instance, although dominated by male figures, endorsed values opposite to liberalism. Comments welcome. Editor, Candobetter.net.
What if the values often associated with ‘patriarchal systems’ are not really male values at all? I hypothesise that understanding the negative aspects of our society - associated by some people with patriarchy - may require looking at the problem from quite a different angle. Firstly, let us identify what traits are associated with patriarchy. For this I have drawn upon 'The Heroine's Journey' by Maureen Murdoch. In examining this text I have noticed that the attributes Murdoch associates with patriarchal society are strikingly similar to what many may associate with 'materialism'. The sorts of terms in Murdoch's book associated with patriarchal values include: 'compete', 'jockey for power', 'workaholic', 'control by the stronger', 'power', 'quantifiable', 'success' (in a career sense). Now I doubt that this is a definitive list, but I believe it captures many of the elements of so-called patriarchy as raised in feminist and other literature. I argue that these are not innately male traits at all, but rather, if anything, a more generic human tendency. However, I suspect that like materialism these values were in the past kept in check – although very imperfectly – by various alternative value systems.
Formal religions often offered such alternative value systems. Christianity, for example, promoted a value set which included: humility rather than pride; service to others rather than selfishness; and generosity to the poor and disadvantaged. Such a value set required the strong to defend the weak (rather than seeking to exploit them) and even though the churches themselves may have acted with the worst Machiavellian tendencies, they did at least espouse these Christian values and as such kept them alive as respectable to aspire to. Buddhism is another example of religion offering alternative values against, for example, feudal values.
In fact, these ancient religions also had a name for the types of behaviours described as ‘patriarchal’ in Murdoch’s book (by the way, this is no criticism of Murdoch’s book, I am just drawing on it as a basis for this analysis). The Christian religion identified many of these behaviours (and some others as well) as: egotism, selfishness, ruthlessness, worldly success and prominence and, perhaps uniquely, it warned against the lust for power (as well as sensual lusts). These behaviours were collectively called ‘worldliness’ and everyone – male and female – was warned against them.
In fact, perhaps an emerging word that encompasses many, but not all, of the behaviours of Christian worldliness is 'neo-liberalism'. George Monbiot in his article 'The Zombie Doctrine' describes the neo-liberal ideology as follows:
'Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations'
'a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency'
'What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?
Others use similar terms for the ‘nameless’ forces at work, Halffman and Radder in a 2015 Minerva article refer to processes of neo-liberalism in universities as ‘The Wolf’.
Jesus once said, ‘by their fruits will you know them’. Jesus’ words suggest we should not take priests based on their own descriptions of themselves, or their teachings, but rather judge them by their actions and outcomes. The modern priests are the economists and ‘big business’ advocates (i.e the system’s sycophants). Regardless of their promises and claims, we should, as Monbiot does, judge them by their deeds and outcomes, which are loneliness, misery, ill-health and environmental destruction. By its fruits it seems we can clearly identify the true nature of neo-liberalism.
But do you really think that all men fit the classic paternalistic mould? Are there are no men out there who are unselfish? No men who seek the same intrinsic rewards that are now typically associated with women and women’s work? Are there no men who do not aspire to be leaders of companies, famous, powerful and/or wealthy? Because if there are no such men, then who are those men who drive our buses, teach our children, work our ambulances, put out our fires (at risk of their lives)? Surely these vast numbers of everyday men outnumber the relatively few CEO’s and Silicon Valley sociopaths? Just because there are more men than women in our power structures does not mean that these mostly negative and destructive traits are intrinsically male.
So how did the traits of seeking worldly success, power, status and money come to be associated with men and ‘male rule’ in the form of paternalism? I think that it is just that due to history and circumstance large numbers of men were amongst its first victims. But in our modern age it seems that increasingly more women are being drawn into its web. Feminists may retort that the prevailing attitude of men has always been that women’s place is in the home. Well the truth is that until the industrial revolution, everyone’s place was in the home. Home was where families worked – together. Men did not go off to work in offices and factories until there were factories and offices to go to. For most of western history they worked on the farm or in the shop with their wives and children. It was only the industrial revolution that rendered families and communities asunder, culminating in the stereo-typical 1950’s housewife – at home, isolated and alone – in a way, and on a scale, never seen before in human history. And what about Indigenous cultures where home was nature – could anyone say Indigenous women were any more confined than men? What about the objectification of women? Abhorrent I agree, and perhaps always present in the world, thus the Christian warnings about these issues. But not on the scale of what we see today. But this is the nature of the spirit of worldliness; neo-liberalism; The Wolf – whatever you want to call it – everything on the earth is to be exploited: people, nature, planet. It is all for sale. Every vice or weakness is to be exploited to its maximum potential. Until the whole of humanity is debased in an orgy of consumerism, of seeking sensual satisfaction where-ever it can be found, and other humans are only valued as far as they are able to be used to produce these satisfactions. That is where neo-liberalism is taking us. And in the process one of its effects is to make us desperately unhappy. Another is to create conflict where-ever conflict is possible: between young and old, between male and female, between the powerful and the powerless. It will keep us blaming one group or another, while it as the true cause remains hidden and un-named. That is the nature of this particular beast, and as Monbiot points out, like a zombie it lives through us.
Good to see men showing courage on behalf of women in Turkey!
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday mocked men who wear skirts, in an apparent jibe at activists who wore female clothes at the weekend in a protest supporting women's rights.
Erdogan Mocks Male Women's Rights Activists as Model Faces Charges for Sharing Poem
Updated at 7:03 pm (GMT+2):
Meanwhile, a former Miss Turkey beauty queen faces up to 4.5 years in prison on charges of insulting Erdogan, the latest in a growing number of such cases, reports said Wednesday.
"They call themselves 'men'. What kind of men are they? Men wear trousers, why are you wearing skirts?" he said at a televised speech at his presidential palace in Ankara.
A few dozen men had marched through central Istanbul at the weekend, in a highly-publicized protest calling for an end to violence against women following the attempted rape and murder of a 20-year-old female student by a bus driver.
The killing of Ozgecan Aslan, 20, became a rallying cause for activists and unleashed a wave of public anger.
In his comments, Erdogan appeared to link the skirt-wearing activists to violent protesters the government wants to crack down on using a controversial new homeland security bill.
The bill, currently the focus of fierce clashes between lawmakers in parliament, will outlaw disguises in protests, including the use of masks.
"Unfortunately, they are wearing skirts and think that they manage to hide themselves," said Erdogan.
"Be honest, be honest. They are terrorists and using every means possible."
"Why are you wearing masks? If you are not a terrorist don't hide your face."
Erdogan and members of his government have made a number of sexist comments in recent years. In November, Erdogan called gender equality "against human nature," arguing that women's life calling was motherhood. A month later, he said efforts to promote birth control were "treason."
In August, Erdogan drew mass criticism regarding his attitude towards the media and women when in a television debate he said to a woman journalist that she was a "shameless woman" and told her "to know [her] place."
The Islamic-rooted government of Erdogan has long been accused by critics of seeking to impose strict Islamic values on the private lives of Turks as well as limiting the civil liberties of women.
Former Miss Turkey risks prison term for sharing poem
Meanwhile, Turkish prosecutors said an investigation had been launched against model Merve Buyuksarac after Erdogan's lawyer lodged a complaint in November 2014 against a satirical poem taken from a magazine and posted on her Instagram site, state news agency Anatolia reported.
The prosecutors stated the charges carry a maximum penalty of 4.5 years behind bars.
The 2006 Miss Turkey, who was briefly detained last month, told an Istanbul court that she did not intend to insult the president.
In her testimony, Buyuksarac said she may have quoted a poem called the "Master's Poem" from weekly Turkish satirical magazine Uykusuz.
But the 26-year-old said she later deleted it after one of her friends warned her that such posts could bring criminal charges in Turkey.
The "Master's Poem" — which was shared by the model while Erdogan was serving as prime minister — criticizes the Turkish strongman with verses adapted from the national anthem.
Erdogan, who was elected president in August after steering the country as prime minister since 2003, is often dubbed "Buyuk Usta" (the Big Master).
"I did not make the adaptation. I shared it because I found it funny," she said.
Prosecutors said the posts could not be considered "in the context of freedom of expression" and were guilty of "exceeding the boundaries of criticism" and "overtly humiliating" the president.
The court is due to decide whether to start full legal proceedings and a trial.
Erdogan, then mayor of Istanbul, was himself imprisoned for four months in the late 1990s for reciting an Islamist poem that was deemed an incitement to religious hatred.
But after consolidating his power in Turkish politics, he has repeated the verses again and again.
In a statement posted on her Twitter account, Buyuksarac said "if there will ever be a trial" it would be on charges of "insulting a public official."
She also appeared to defend her conduct.
"If you google the poem I shared (the one that does not include any insult), you will see 960,000 more people shared it... it's interesting, isn't it?"
The case is the latest in a string of recent incidents in European Union hopeful Turkey, where protesters as well as journalists have found themselves facing criminal lawsuits or jail time after being accused of insulting or slandering Erdogan.
In a case that attracted wide attention, teenage schoolboy Mehmet Emin Altunses will go on trial on March 6 on charges of insulting the president in a speech in the conservative Anatolian city of Konya.
Four young people were arrested in four days last week on different charges of insulting the Turkish strongman during street protests this month.
Opponents accuse Erdogan of behaving like a modern-day sultan, his Islamist ideology and intolerance of dissent taking Turkey far from Ataturk's secular ideals.
In the past, he sued a newspaper cartoonist for portraying him as a cat entangled in a ball of wool.
People are becoming more aware of the contradictions in the dominant (official) rhetoric about Syria and foreign intervention on behalf of the rebels. People hope to find out the truth from women and ordinary people, because they know they cannot really trust the mainstream media or, unfortunately, various NGOs and political organisations. Inside, find a link to an interview with Agnes Mariam about about how Syrian women feel about Islamic fundamentalism, and about the very doubtful role of the UN, NGOs and Al Jazeera in this expanding conflict.
I would also like to draw your attention again to the Skype interview recorded with Mother Agnes in early January 2014. http://socratesandsyria.com/mother-agnes-mariam/ The link is to a page which contains other videos on the same subject.
We should aim to be pro-peace, pro- the interests of the people of Syria as a whole, pro- the survival of secular Syria and at the same time scrupulous in our chase for the truth, but not a slanted 'truth' which inevitably would lead to ongoing war and the ultimate destruction of the Syrian army and secular society.
In regards to being pro-regime or pro-Assad, they are accusations used to intimidate and stifle dissenting voices. The current government of Syria and its current president are not Syria and not the people, though they represent them in a political capacity at this time.
If their staying in power for some time aids the general public and the society as a whole, then may they stay in power.
It is the future of the Syrian state and the 23 million Syrians that we must be concerned about, the future of generations.
Unfortunately, with the stigmatising of the Syrian government and president all positive efforts made on their part to support the people and society are ignored outside Syria.
Apparently the government has recently introduced laws which will give more opportunity for people who work on the land to have a fairer stake in that land, so the rich absentee land owners will have to give a significant percentage of their land to poorer, working families. Regrettably, the media in Gulf states or western countries won't bother to report on such laws, both because they represent Bashar al-Assad in a positive light and because the democratic local repartition of land runs counter to their globalism values, which are for power and assets in a few international corporate and dynastic hands.
However, in regards to peace activism, it is still amazing how much good work the 'ordinary person' - people like you and me - is able to achieve. I'm referring to people with no other agenda except a search for the truth and a fervent desire for peace and harmony, so children in Palestine, Syria and the region can be sent off to school with joy and dreams in their hearts, rather than grief and fear.
In May 2013, an international peace delegation visited a camp in Lebanon with refugees from Yarmouk, one lady very discreetly told Marinella and me to work hard to get the truth because it was the truth that could save them.
This is an oft-heard remark but it is a powerful one when the continued prosecution of a war is dependent on dissembling and fabrications.
Women will persistently seek the truth in these times perhaps more often than men, given the chance. Unfortunately women's voices are less sought than men's, so the pro-war message gets magnified. Mother Agnes Mariam is a leader among women and her persistence and her bravery in speaking out against war and terror have given her an audience. May we be open to her message and not discredit it because of ignorance and because of a reliance on less informed, but familiar, faces.
Inside you may view the execution of a so far nameless woman in a town in Idlib province, Syria, which was taken over by 'rebels' about one year ago. She pleads to see her children before she is executed, but to no avail. She is told to kneel, while a bunch of unpleasant looking and frighteningly stupid and arrogant-sounding men discuss matters loudly - for minutes on end - before she is suddenly dispatched. Obviously this is not an isolated act, but we ask women to make themselves aware of this act of political brutality against all of us and to unite against US/NATO foreign intervention in Syria, which is making it much harder for the Bashar al-Assad Government (which does not execute women for adultery) to combat these evil forces. The overwhelming message from Syrian people is please stop foreign intervention in Syria. Please let the Syrian army fight these 'rebels'. See Friends of Syria and Australians for Mussahala (Reconciliation) in Syria, and Socrates and Syria.
"The sign on the wall reads ‘Jabhat al Nusra’ in red letters. One doubts that there is much distinction between Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS. Certainly not in terms of brutality or mindless devotion to some blinding fundamentalist belief. That the ‘imam’ who presides over the execution gives a sermon to an assembly of men with guns and smart phones, rather than a crowd of residents and citizens who are meant to learn from the punishment gives it a ridiculous and farcical atmosphere, except the poor woman really dies." David Macilwain.
Below is an edition of the Syrian government's news with the President's statement about terrorism and Charlie Hebdo. President al-Assad says that he understands terrorism very well because the Syrian Government has been fighting it now for four years and it is responsible for thousands of deaths in Syria.
The Australian government is supporting the activities of such terrorists, which it identifies as 'moderate rebels', in order to topple the government for its NATO friends, who want to get control of the general area and its petroleum resources. Bashar al-Assad is frequently described as the leader of a 'brutal regime', but he was overwhelmingly elected last year in free elections to which Syrians travelled from all over the world to participate in, and received votes from Syrians in other countries when they were able to vote - which was not the case in Australia.
How could we allow America, NATO, Israel or other Arab states to destroy something so ancient and valuable for all humanity as Syria - the last secular Arab state? Australian peace activist, Susan Dirgham, taught English for years in Syria and got to know the country and its people very well. She argues that, without deception and our complicity through ignorance, there could be no war in Syria. But how do we work out for ourselves what is really happening in Syria and who to help? We need to understand more of Syria's history and its geopolitical position, to which she provides insight here. Just as we need to severely question the notion of US-NATO presenting a 'majority' opinion, we also need to very carefully assess what NGOs are doing in Syria. Susan is the national co-ordinator of “Australians for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria" (AMRIS). She has travelled very widely and even lived in China before it was opened to the West. When she speaks she provides testable facts and does not talk down to her audience or ask for money. Please consider asking her to speak. You may contact her at susan.dirgham51[AT[gmail.com. There is a question and answer session at the end of this video.
First Part of two part transcription of the above video.
The reality of war is complex. Fiction is often needed to make sense of it.
Graham Greene’s “Our Man in Havana” is the story of a somewhat ordinary Englishman in Cuba in the 1950s, Jim Wormold, a vacuum-cleaner salesman, whose failing business and acquisitive daughter induce him to be recruited by MI6. His heart isn’t in espionage, but he has a flair for invention and his bogus reports are taken seriously by London HQ.
”He had no accomplice, except the credulity of other men.”
Tragedy results from Wormold’s deception, and it brings knowing.
”I don’t give a damn about men who are loyal to the people who pay them, to organizations… I don’t think even my country means that much. There are many countries in our blood, aren’t there, but only one person. Would the world be in the mess it is if we were loyal to love and not to countries?” Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana ”
Without deception, there would be no war in Syria.
Faith in Secular Syria
I taught at the British Council in Damascus for two years and met hundreds of Syrian people. It is those Syrian people that I met and the peaceful, secular Syria that I explored that is in my heart and that motivates me to be a peace activist. I was also a peace activist during the Vietnam War and I realized then how important it was to investigate, to research, to understand what was really going on and to expose the lies and to know that there were a lot of ‘men from Havana’, a lot of people working for war, otherwise you would have no war.
The Syria I know is a secular country, a country where you could find faith; Syrian people of all faiths are very devout. The impression I got was that their faith was genuine. And in the Syria I knew there was love and hope, so supporting their country was supporting love, supporting secularism. In the Syria I knew, it was taboo to ask people about their religion. If you did speak about religion, you spoke with sensitivity and respect. I believe this gave the people of Syria one of the most precious freedoms that anyone can have. That is the freedom to approach others in your society, no matter what their religious or ethnic background, with an open heart.
But that has been destroyed by those people who wish to destroy Syria.
I have a faith in secular Syria, the Syria I know, and there are good reasons for that faith. One is the position of women. In 1949, Syrian women were the first women in the Middle East to be granted the right to vote. They have the same basic rights as women in Australia in regards to the freedom to dress as they choose. On a visit to Syria in 2010, I heard from former students at the British Council that the talk among young educated people at that time concerned women having the same social and sexual freedoms as men.
Syrian women have the freedom to seek an education, to further their career. One of my students at the British Council, a single mother who drove a VW Beetle, worked for the Health Ministry. Her ambition was to become the Minister of Health, not a foolish dream for a highly intelligent Syrian woman as one of the most respected ministers in Syria today is a woman, Dr Kinda al-Shammat, the Minister for Social Affairs, a minister who works at the grass-roots level, with the people.
In secular Syria there was freedom of religion, which meant that Christmas, Easter and the Eid Festivals were all national holidays, so everybody stopped for each other’s holy days. I felt the magic of this on my first Christmas in Damascus. There was a huge Christmas tree in Bab Touma, the Christian quarter of the city, and the main street was closed for the festival – Christian and Muslim families mingled, and a man dressed up as Father Christmas played the saxophone. These days, you are more likely to see solemnity in Bab Touma.
Islam and Christianity, as they are practiced in Syria, are inclusive, so in recent years it is not uncommon to see imams in churches and priests in mosques for funeral services.
Humanity, Faith, Diversity – Who Describes it? Who Seeks the Truth?
Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. It is part of everyone’s history, of everyone’s humanity. Syria is basically a bridge between the different religious faiths. You can feel this in the air in Syria. The humanity of Damascus, as well as its beauty, has been extolled by many foreigners that have lived there.
For example, in 2010, British writer, Malika Browne, who once lived in the Old City of Damascus, celebrated Syria’s history, miracles and beauty. Two years later, Browne returned to the same theme in an article in The Guardian. A car bomb in the Christian quarter of Damascus prompted Browne to reflect on the Damascus she knew and loved – the Damascus I knew. However, Browne’s one sentence conclusion is partisan and glib: this harmony is precisely what one man, Bashar al-Assad and a handful of family members, is bent on trying to destroy. Few general readers would question such an unsubstantiated claim because hatred for ‘Assad’ has become a tacit truth, it has seeped into so much of our culture – political cartoons, travel writing, and movie reviews. But as someone who looks deeper for truths, I want to know what motivates Malika Browne to include flippant, but lethal propaganda in such a beautiful piece of writing about Damascus. What motivates her to ignore the points of view of Christians in Syria, many of them victims? Syrian Christian leaders have spoken out against ‘militants’ and proposed western military action. My conclusion: as Browne is married to a former Damascus-based diplomat, she has divided loyalties. Her spouse was someone’s ‘man in Damascus’. Malika Browne’s willingness to adhere to a western war narrative on Syria overrides her allegiance to the people of Syria.
Labels Quash Discussion
I believe there is good reason to support Syria, particularly the people of Syria. But if I try to get a gig on a radio station, I am told I am an ‘Assad supporter’. Labels are being used to quash discussion, to quash debate and peace activism, and they have been effective. Although Syria has a population of 23 million people, the crisis in Syria has been reduced to slogans; it’s ‘Assad versus the rebels’. This slogan has been very effective because it has intimidated people. People have been too afraid to stand up. To be told you are a supporter of Assad is almost like being told you are a supporter of Hitler. Few dare go there.
And those lined up against Syria are basically the whole world, except for some notable exceptions, which include Russia, China, Central America, Latin America, India, Oman, and South Africa. We rarely hear about the notable exceptions because the ‘international community’ is said to be against Assad, but actually the international community is basically just America and its allies.
Partisan Stand of NGOs
What can deter people from standing up for Syria is that you have NGOs, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International as well as the U.N., taking very partisan stands against Syria and making use of emotive language rather than objective and sober analysis. These bodies are viewed as trustworthy, dependable, and their blessed aura and global presence are being exploited in today’s modern so-called information and humanitarian wars.
This year, two Nobel Peace Laureates, a former UN Assistant Secretary General, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories and over 100 scholars wrote a letter to Human Rights Watch, critical of its close ties with the U.S. government. They questioned HRW’s independence.
In regards to Amnesty International, there are many people working for it who have integrity and good intentions, but it is not the Amnesty of 40 years ago, when it was a grass-roots organization. Today, it is a corporation, with security doors, executive salaries, gate-keepers and merchandize. It has a HQ. No doubt there is dedication, but Amnesty International also provides a career path.
At the end of 2011, I accompanied members of the Syrian community to the Amnesty office in Melbourne to report on the killings of innocent civilians by armed men early on in the crisis in Syria.
One young Syrian Australian reported to Amnesty that armed men had killed his uncle, a farmer, and two of his friends when they were on the highway to Damascus. And I reported the deaths of three young teenage boys. They were killed in Homs on 17 April 2011, Independence Day, so a public holiday in Syria. They had been in a car with army numberplates because the father of two of them was an army officer. (There is reference to their deaths in an article titled Questioning the Syrian “Casualty List” by Sharmine Narwani, an analyst based in Beirut.)
The Amnesty officials in Melbourne and Sydney who took official note of these reports were very respectful and receptive. However, the reports were sent to Amnesty’s head office in London (or perhaps New York), and stories of these killings were never reported by Amnesty.
Amnesty International, like Human Rights Watch, has close and inappropriate ties with the US Administration. For example, its US director in 2012 was Suzanne Nossel, author of the 2004 paper ‘Smart Power’ which explores ways America can remain the number one global power without being overly militaristic and unpopular. Nossel has worked with top US State Department officials, and since leaving Amnesty, she has moved on smartly to become executive director of PEN American Centre, which belongs to “International PEN, the worldwide association of writers that defends those who are harassed, imprisoned, and killed for their views,” Wikipedia.
In recent years, America’s top man in Syria has been former Ambassador Robert Ford, someone who has been accused by an American investigative journalist of recruiting death squads for Syria, yet he was the keynote speaker at a 2012 Amnesty US annual general meeting.
But for an outsider, a non-Syrian, to comprehend the scale of the deception and intrigue needed to prosecute a war against Syria requires a great deal of scepticism and many dedicated hours of research. The mainstream narrative, together with the support it gets from NGOs, can overwhelm and bewilder us. To challenge people in authority - men and women in grey suits – and a distorted narrative that has slipped subliminally into our culture is a truly daunting task.
What requires support?
• The Syrian people and their secular society and state
• The non-violent struggle for political reforms
Lobbyists for War vs Lobbyists for Peace
There have been many lobbyists for a war in Syria and few lobbyists for peace. People who lobby for war are more often than not employed directly or indirectly to do so. Generally, you don’t get paid to lobby for peace.
For some years now, my peace activism has led me to email politicians and people in the media. One prominent politician on my email list was Senator Bob Brown, the Greens leader who was highly regarded for his anti-war stand in the past. However, I had reason to be disturbed by the Greens’ position on Syria. Senator Brown was vocal in his support for sanctions against Syria, for the closure of the Syrian embassy, and for the Australian Senate to call on President Assad to resign. Such a political stand in a country very distant from Syria ignored the views and circumstances of 23 million people in Syria. They were a response to the lobbyists for war.
In March 2012, Bob Brown’s office responded to me directly, giving me an opportunity to lobby for peace. In an email reply to Senator Brown’s office, I made several points. They included the following:
• A well-meaning Victorian Greens politician, Ms Collen Hartland, had been befriended by two or three Syrian Australians. Seeing them as trusted sources, Ms Hartland felt qualified to inform others on events in Syria. (The claims of two or three men in Australia helped determine Greens’ policies on a conflict impacting the lives of 23 million people in Syria.)
• One media outlet Senator Brown may have trusted for information on Syria was Al-Jazeera. But this media outlet is owned by members of the Qatari ruling royal family and in recent years has been expressing the foreign policy stand of Qatar, a country which hosts a major US base. Until recently at least, Qatar has also been a base for the Muslim Brotherhood, a force that has been at the forefront of the militarized opposition to the Syrian government. Al-Jazeera reporters, including senior staff, have resigned reportedly over the biased reporting of Al-Jazeera on Syria and the ‘Arab Spring’ in general.
• Robert Fisk’s reports on Syria may have determined many Australians’ views, but Fisk doesn’t represent the views of millions of peace-loving Syrians. He writes for western readers. If his often cryptic reports on Syria represent anyone’s views in the Middle East, they might be those of Lebanese political figure and former Druze ‘warlord’, Walid Jumblatt, a close friend of Fisk and someone who is often ridiculed for his fickle political alliances. (NB: Some truth can be found in Fisk’s reports, but he should be read with a critical eye.)
About three weeks after I sent my email to Senator Brown’s office, the senator resigned from politics. Bob Brown may have realized he had been wrong on Syria and it was all too dreadful and complicated, so he resigned. However, reasons for his resignation were probably much more prosaic than that, of course. However, what would have happened if Bob Brown had stood up and declared that he had been wrong about Syria and he now supported diplomacy and would work hard to expose war propaganda? Would he have taken the Greens’ Party with him? Would the wider community and the media have reassessed their stands on Syria? I think not. At that time, before we became aware of IS and the depth of the brutality of armed groups, few Australians were in a position to see beyond the slogans for war. Few were prepared to run the risk of being labelled an “Assad apologist”. (Labour politician Anthony Albanese was one exception.)
It should be noted that there are two prominent U.S. politicians who have taken consistently strong stands against the propaganda that feeds the war in Syria, both have stood for presidential nominations. One is former Republican Congressman Ron Paul, and the other is former Democratic Congressman Denis Kucinich, who visited Syria in 2013 to interview President Assad for Fox News. A US senator who has also defied the mainstream narrative has been Republican Senator Richard Black, who famously sent a letter to President Assad to thank him for the Syrian army’s protection of Syrian Christians. This predictably led to the headline, “Assad-loving Va. Pol defends views”.
The Syrian Perspective – An Historic One
While the Australian perspective of Syria is being shaped largely by our media, that of people in Syria is shaped by local events and an understanding of Syria’s history and its place in the world.
There are over 300 graves of Australian soldiers in a well-tended cemetery in Damascus, but the Syrian view of the contributions of ANZACs to their history may differ considerably to ours. For us, the role of Australian soldiers looms large in the lands they have fought in, and the locals are almost inconsequential extras.
My grandfather was in the 3rd Light Horse Brigade that entered Damascus on 1 October 1918, some hours before Lawrence of Arabia’s more ‘epic’ entry. After the expulsion of the generally oppressive Turkish forces in Greater Syria, Britain and France divided up Syria between them. France sent troops into Damascus in 1920, and in 1925, in response to the local opposition to their rule, bombed and destroyed a section of the historic old city of Damascus.
Australian soldiers were again in Syria in World War 2, this time to join the fight against the Vichy French, who they feared were collaborating with the Nazis in the region. The win against these French forces allowed De Galle’s Free French forces to control Syria. France after the war was reluctant to give up its strategic hold in Syria. In 1945, it attacked the Syrian parliament building in Damascus to crush any fight for independence. Finally, Syria achieved independence with the exit of the last French troops on 17 April 1946.
The French departure enabled American interference in Syrian affairs.
In 1949, CIA agents coordinated the first successful military coup in Syria. The democratically elected government had not approved a Trans-Arabian Pipeline; however, the new coup leaders did. (In that 1949 election, Syrian women were the first women in the Arabic world to have the right to vote.)
A CIA agent behind the coup, Miles Copeland Jr, was someone with a respectable, even glamorous, background, being the son of a doctor, the husband of an archaeologist, and having been a trumpet player with the Glen Millar Orchestra before the war. From the perspective of many westerners, Copeland was a guy to respect. From the perspective of a Syrian, he was a man to distrust: he was employed to destabilize their country.
Because of concern over Syria’s links with Moscow, there were further US attempts in 1956 and 1957 to overthrow the Syrian government with support from Britain and Turkey. The plan was to trigger a military coup by various violent activities on the country’s borders.
From that first successful US-backed military coup in 1949, there is a succession of coups and counter-coups up until 1970. There were 14 different presidents in just over 20 years.
But US plans for the overthrow of an independent Syrian government may have got nastier in recent years than they were in the 1950s. In 2001, after 9/11, American General Wesley Clark was told by a general in the Pentagon that the Secretary of Defence’s office had plans to ‘take out’ seven countries, these included Syria, Iran, Iraq and Libya. Clark explained that the United States underwent a ‘policy coup’ after 9/11.
America’s man in Syria to help implement the ‘taking out’ of Syria was Ambassador Robert Ford, whom in 2011 was accused of organizing Arab/Muslim death squads in Syria.
Syria’s neighbours involved in supporting unrest and violence
The last time Syria experienced terror anything like it is experiencing now was in the late 70s and early 80s. The then president, Hafiz al-Asad, publicly accused the CIA of “encouraging ‘sabotage and subversion’ in Syria so as to bring ‘the entire Arab world under joint US-Israeli domination’” (“Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East”, by Patrick Seale, page335)
Ironically perhaps, this subversion involved support from Arab leaders as in a 1982 speech, President Assad said this about Saddam Hussien,
The hangman of Iraq was not content to kill tens of thousands of his own people. He came to Syria to carry out his favourite hobbies of killing, assassination and sabotage. That man has been sending arms to the criminals in Syria ever since he took power.
(Quoted from, “Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East”, by Patrick Seale, page 336)
Israel and Syria
Books could be written about tensions and conflict between Israel and Syria. The Israeli state is situated on land that used to be part of Greater Syria under the Ottoman Empire, and it has occupied the Golan Heights, Syrian territory, since 1967.
‘Greater Israel’, or what is known as the Yinon Plan formulated in 1982, calls for the balkanization of Arab states; Israel could dominate while Muslims killed each other in endless sectarian wars.
With the wars brought about by the establishment of the State of Israel, come espionage, intrigue, tightening security, and death. Every country suffers. In 1965, Eli Cohen, an Israeli spy in Syria who ingratiated himself among top officials in Syria to become an advisor to the Syria Minister of Defence, was hanged. Two years later, in 1967, 34 American sailors on the USS Liberty, which was an intelligence gathering ship, were killed when Israeli air and naval forces attacked the Liberty.
In the conflict between the Syrian army and militants, #ixzz3DtBLvQy1”">Israel has provided practical support to militants, and Prime Minister Netanyahu has visited wounded insurgents in an Israeli army hospital.
From a Syrian perspective, Israel’s support for the insurgency is a continuation of Israel’s efforts to dominate the Middle East by weakening, even destroying, its neighbours.
From an Israeli perspective, tiny warring Sunni, Shi’a, Alawi, Kurdish, and Druze states in the region might be seen as the best option for Israel - a Jewish state in everything but name. A strong united pluralist Syrian republic which challenges Israel’s divisive and aggressive policies on the world stage would not be welcome.
Chants heard at the first violent anti-government protests in Syria in March 2011 and repeated over the coming years were “Christians to Beirut; Alawites to their graves” and “No to Hezbollah. No to Iran. Syria for Muslims.” They are chants that signal the sectarian violence that has taken place in Syria as enemies of Syria attempt to break up the nation.
Renown Middle East expert, Patrick Seale wrote in the conclusion of his book "Asad: the Struggle for the Middle East" (the book is on the father of the current president),
”Asad’s Syria represents the rejection of an Israeli-dominated Middle East order, offering instead one based on the supremacy of neither Arabs nor Israelis but on a balance of power between an Arab Levant centred on Damascus and an Israel within its 1948-9 boundaries. …”
Seale pointed out that Israel would have to give up its ambition to dominate and substitute it for a will to co-exist.
The Second Part of the text to the video will be transcribed as soon as possible.
See also: The Myth of Russian Aggression (NEO, 3/8/14), US, NATO Support the Ukrainian Army’s Bloody Offensive (GR, 3/8/14).
Editor Candobetter.net: This article was originally published as " "Japan's darling Natalia Poklonskaya on Tokyo Russia sanctions list," on RT, August 5, 2014. We republish it here with some concerns that we could be seen to be furthering sexist treatment of a courageous public servant. The important educational content of her speech and actions, however, are embedded in the package and the principles she espouses are as attractive as her personal presentation. If she were modelling clothes, she would not be an internet sensation, but she is not modelling clothes; she is modelling principles that humans everywhere value highest.
The Sanctions list
The list, made public by the Japanese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, includes former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, a number of top figures in the self-proclaimed People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as people believed to be "directly responsible for the annexation of Crimea."
"Japan will continue our coordination with G7 nations and the international community to achieve a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the Ukraine situation," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular briefing, according to AFP. "We have made our decisions to select those who were directly responsible for the annexation of Crimea and destabilization of eastern Ukraine, and after we reviewed sanctions by the United States and EU."
Adoration by the Japanese online community did not save the Crimean prosecutor, Natalya Poklonskaya, from being added to Tokyo's black list.
Poklonskaya took up her post just days ahead of the March 16 Crimean referendum on independence from Ukraine, after four of her male colleagues refused to take the risk.
Her first press conference gained her YouTube stardom, garnering 3.7 million views in just three days. Her youth, good looks, quiet voice and emphatic statements inspired a lot of anime-style images of Poklonskaya, and earned her the nickname of 'Prosecutie'.
In Russia she received an online nickname "nyasha" (sweetie), to which Poklonskaya reacted by saying she would prefer to be perceived as a prosecutor and will not tolerate any meaningless "nyash" or "myash" while at her post. That secured 'Nyash-Myash' as a popular nickname for the young prosecutor.
She has not yet reacted to being included on Japan's list of sanctioned officials. The response to Tokyo's sanctions has mainly come from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Moscow now believes it "inappropriate" to hold diplomatic consultations between deputy head of the Foreign Ministry, Igor Morgulov, with his Japanese counterpart, Shinsuke Sugiyama, scheduled for the end of August.
"Now that Tokyo has adopted additional anti-Russian sanctions, we consider it inappropriate to hold this meeting. Consultations have been postponed," deputy head of the ministry's information department, Maria Zakharova, told journalists.
Apart from individuals, two Crimea-based companies have also fallen under Japanese sanctions – energy company Chernomorneftegaz and oil base Feodosia. Tokyo has also banned all imports from Crimea.
Japan has announced sanctions against Russia before. In April, it said it would not issue visas for 23 Russian officials.
Switzerland also expanded its sanctions against Russia on Tuesday. It announced the addition of 26 individuals and 18 companies to its sanctions list. This comes despite comments over the weekend from Switzerland's Economy Minister, Johann Schneider-Ammann, who said his country wouldn't duplicate EU sanctions against Russia.
Originally published with the title, "Syrian refugees leave Lebanon's Ersal for Syria," on Thursday, August 7, 2014. Source: Agence France Press.
At least 1,700 Syrian refugees have left the eastern Bekaa town of Ersal, where troops have been battling jihadists for days, to go back to Syria, a nun helping them return said Thursday.
The departure appeared to be the first time a group of refugees has left Lebanon en masse to return to Syria, and comes after days of fighting in the border town that has killed 17 soldiers and dozens of militants.
A Lebanese security services official confirmed that the group had left Ersal and was headed to the Masnaa border crossing to leave the country, putting the number of refugees heading out at 1,500.
The Syrian nun facilitating their return, Sister Agnes, who is close to the Syrian regime, told AFP that "1,700 men, women and children have left the Ersal area for Syria".
"They are mostly from the Qalamun region, particularly from Qara,"
she said, referring to a Syrian area just across the border from Ersal, which was largely recaptured by regime forces earlier this year.
Sister Agnes, who heads a convent in Qara, said some of the 47,000 Syrian refugees in Ersal had contacted her around a month ago requesting her help in returning to Syria.
"The formalities were complicated because of the presence of some men who had not done their military service," she said.
But the Syrian government "has put no obstacles in the way of their return."
The nun, who has mediated between regime and rebel forces on several occasions inside Syria, said Lebanon authorities were also facilitating the departure of the refugees, some of whom had entered the country illegally.
She said another 3,000 refugees in Ersal were still hoping to leave and return to Syria.
In the neighbouring town of Labweh, an AFP correspondent saw the refugees packed into some 20 trucks, carrying their belongings as they headed towards the border.
The presence of the refugees in the area, and claims that some of the jihadists had emerged from Syrian refugee camps in Arsal has raised tensions in the region.
If you thought that the affairs of the Ukraine and Crimea were too abstract for you, maybe this will make you more curious. Natalya Poklonskaya is or was a government prosecutor in the Ukraine Crimea. She has been made into an anime character in a video. She made strong statements about upholding the rule of law and is now on the illegitimate coup-installed Ukraine government's wanted list. The Ukraine government came to power as a result of a US/NATO orchestrated coup in the resource depletion wars of the 21st century. Russia is defending its oil and gas pipelines in the region. Russia had the very first and the longest petroleum product pipeline in the world in the late 19th century and British, US and European governments and commercial interests have been plotting to get more control there ever since. The region is criss-crossed with oil and gas pipelines going in many directions from Baku to as far as Germany and China. Natalya Poklonskaya rightly wants her message to be heard and dismisses this video, however it may be the way to get her message better appreciated worldwide, so we are promoting it. And we include in this article a video with Poklonskaya's real speech, with English sub-titles.
[Candobetter.net editor: Retitled on 23/4/2014 from "Crimean prosecutor, Natalya Poklonskaya, celebrated as anime character," due to surprisingly few reads about this remarkable woman.]
The internet fame of Crimea’s chief prosecutor, Natalya Poklonskaya, rages on. A patchy music clip made from Poklonskaya’s videos has scored millions of views on YouTube, with a celebrity opposition figure calling the attorney a "sex symbol of Russia."
Here is the actual speech that Pokloskaya made to the press on 17 March 2014, with English subtitles.
Footage of Poklonskaya's emotional speech on the coup d’état and “chaos” in Ukraine has been making rounds on the internet since March, but this is the first time it has been set to music.
The chorus of the music mix, compiled by an anonymous internet DJ known only by his alias 'Enjoykin,' could certainly be described as simplistic.
In a combination of the official speech and several informal interviews, Poklonskaya appears to be singing: “Power. Blood. Nyash-myash. Blood. Power. Crimea is ours,” (which rhymes in Russian).
The “nyash-myash” bit was apparently taken out from Poklonskaya’s own reaction to her becoming an anime star and receiving a Russian nickname of
Nyasha – to which she replied that she would prefer to be perceived as a prosecutor and will not allow any “nyash” or “myash” while at her post.
On a more serious note, the rest of the clip offers cuts from Poklonskaya's solemn statement which said that “the anti-constitutional mayhem has led to a massive bloodshed...we have no moral right to step aside from our people...our task is to get the work of the prosecutor’s office back on track in this country.”
It also features some original Japanese-style animation of Poklonskaya fighting monsters and sending a toy boat of 'friendship' to a girl who is possibly representing Ukraine.
The video, which was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday afternoon, managed to grasp 3,791,552 views and counting by Friday.
The 34-year-old blonde, who is piled up with work as the Republic of Crimea transitions into a Russian region, was shown the clip by Kseniya Sobchak – a Russian opposition activist, journalist, and celebrity.
Sobchak said she was proud to be “the first journalist who showed the beautiful prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya the 'Nyash-myash' clip,” stating on Twitter that “she is so beautiful – the sex symbol of Russia.”
It is believed that Poklonskaya took the job after four of her male colleagues refused to take the risk days ahead of the March 16 Crimean referendum on independence from Ukraine, in which 96.77 percent of voters chose to join Russia. The Black Sea republic was then accepted into the Russian Federation on March 21.
The courageous blonde has said that she will “prove” she is worthy of the position, adding that she is not afraid of persecution by Kiev. Poklonskaya is wanted by the Security Service of Ukraine on charges of “violent overthrow of constitutional order and takeover of government power.”
This article has been adapted from one on Russia Today, entitled "Crimean prosecutor music clip hits 3.7 mn views in three days"
Don't miss the Video inside if you want to know what is going on between Russia, Crimea, Ukraine and the US allied forces! It's great to see women profiting from the internet intelligently and finding a place for themselves on the international media without needing to kow-tow to any particular country or the corporate media or a bunch of bloke-bosses. Syrian Girl is an impressive, self-managed commentator and analyst on Syria, who has created her own excellent reporting service. She has earned respect from powerful people, known and unknown, all over the world and obviously gets information from many different sources. Syrian Girl is one-woman education service on Syria today. Now she has introduced the world to "Ukrainian Girl", whom she interviews in this video about what is going on in Ukraine. Good on you Ukrainian Girl! Most readers will find Syrian Girl's questions to Ukrainian Girl helpful in understanding where East, West and 'south' (Crimea) Ukraine fit in the world, politically and historically. The interview is followed by an extremely useful and well edited illustrated analysis of the extremely poor behaviour of the US-aligned forces in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Although Syrian Girl is aware of oil pipelines in this region, she does not go into it here. She does touch on it in this article by Adrian Salbuchi about her on Russia Today. This report puts the the ABC, SBS and of course the Murdoch and Fairfax Press and the Australian government foreign policy to shame.
This story follows on from "The Aussie version of creation" an illustrated story which is circulating widely by email, author unknown. [If you are the author, please let candobetter.net know and they will acknowledge your work.] I copy it here to give the context in which the story of blokes arose, but I have updated the story with changes to conditions in Aussi Paradise.
The Aussie verson of creation.
In the beginning God created day and night.
He created day for footy matches,
going to the beach.....
He created night for going prawning, sleeping
On the Second Day, God created water....
for surfing, swimming
and BBQ's on the beach,
On the Third Day God created the Earth to bring forth plants to provide malt and yeast for beer
and wood for BBQs,
On the Fourth Day God created animals
and crustaceans for chops, sausages,
steak and prawns for BBQ's
On the Fifth day God created a Bloke to go to the footy, enjoy the beach, drink the beer and eat the meat and prawns at BBQ's, and God saw that it was good.
On the Sixth Day God saw that the Bloke was lonely and needed someone to go to the footy, surf, drink beer, eat and stand around the barbie with.
So God created Mates, and God saw that they were good Blokes.
On the Seventh Day God looked around at the twinkling barbie fires, heard the hiss of opening beer cans and the raucous laughter of all the Blokes. He smelled the aroma of grilled chops and sizzling prawns and
God Saw that it was good .. ...
Well..... Almost good.....
He saw that the Blokes were too tired to clean up and needed a rest.
So God created Sheilas to clean the house, to bear children, to wash, to cook and to clean the Barbie, and then God saw that it was not just good....
It was Bloody Awesome!
IT WAS AUSTRALIA !!!!!
The Story of blokes, continued - by Quark
And that was pretty good for a while for most blokes and the sheilas didn’t mind it much either. They used to quite like BBQs in the back yard as it saved on washing up and the blokes did most of the work anyway. But as time went on, the back yards disappeared and so, fewer blokes could have BBQs with their mates and sheilas.
The blokes who couldn’t have bar-b q-s became quite aggro as they felt cooped up which is natural as they had been created as BBQ loving creatures.
The other thing that changed was that the sheilas could no longer spend all their time looking after children, cooking, cleaning "barbies" etc. as they had to go to work to help pay off the mortgage on the apartments sans backyards.
This, they were told by the newspapers, was the way it was going to be for all blokes eventually in Australi-bloody –a and that they could no longer expect to have back yards with "barbies".
This cut to the quick of blokes lives and affected their mental and physical health. Whilst blokes always had beer guts, they were starting to have more than that and to be actually obese from all the fast food they had to eat on account of the sheilas no longer having time to cook.
The other problem for blokes was that whilst they used to love going to the footy, they also liked to kick a footy around with their mates. This became harder as the local footy grounds and playing fields disappeared under masses of town houses. The blokes became quite sad but they did not know quite what they were sad about as they still had their beer even though the barbies had gone.
The blokes had really enjoyed surfing, swimming and fishing as the sea and rivers had been created for this purpose. But around the same time as the back yards disappeared the blokes started to have trouble parking their utes at the beach.
A whole lot of signs started appearing at their favourite places saying they only had two hours for a day of surfing and swimming and, what’s more, they had to pay for the privilege!
This made the blokes furious because they used to be free to do what they bloody well liked in Australi-bloody –a.
Then these blokes got older and got a bit used to not getting their own way. They started reminiscing with their mates instead of trying to do all these blokey things. A new lot of blokes cropped up who never knew that you could have a day at the beach and not have to worry about parking.
These blokes were different and seemed happy to sit in cafés with drinks that you would expect sheilas to like such as cappa –bloody chinos and café –bloody- lattes whilst playing with their mobile bloody phones which were not created by God, unlike the sea and the plants for the malt and the yeast for the beer and the sheilas and the crustaceans.
And the other bloody fly in the ointment for the blokes was that, whilst they used to have plenty of time for surfing and swimming and fishing after work and on their “sickies”, most of these blokes, one by one, lost their bloody public service jobs or permanent sort of cushy jobs even in the private sector and had to go onto contracts. This bloody meant that they were even working when they weren’t being paid in the time that they would have been surfing and swimming! What’s more they didn’t get “sickies” or if they did they didn’t have time to take them or they’d lose their jobs!
The blokes who virtually had owned the bloody place no longer seemed to! It was as though the place that had belonged to all blokes to enjoy and do as they bloody well pleased now belonged to a few blokes that they didn’t even know and who seemed to live in castles somewhere and even had houses overseas or owned whole islands. They were not regular blokes. The regular blokes sort of lost their "blokiness" when they were put in this position. They started to agree with the blokes they didn’t know who now seemed to own the bloody place. Maybe the blokes thought this was the way for them to own the place again…
Meanwhile what was happening to the sheilas? Well the sheilas never thought they owned the place unless they were rich sheilas, but that didn’t matter because the sheilas could go where they pleased and it was as good as owning the joint. So when the backyards disappeared around the same time as the parking signs went up at the beach and the blokes lost their cushy jobs with ‘sickies”, the sheilas who had got equal pay to the blokes a few decades earlier also lost their cushy jobs with “sickies” and found themselves on contracts.
Just as the blokes were stuck at work when they could have gone swimming, so were the sheilas. The sheilas still had to have the babies but other sheilas were hired to look after lots of babies while the sheilas who had the babies went to work to pay the mortgage for the apartment or the house with not even enough land for a BBQ.
The blokes and the sheilas had to race to the child care centre before and after work to drop off and pick up the babies. Life for both blokes and sheilas became a balancing act to maintain a life without BBQs, surfing and swimming.
But most blokes and sheilas were very appreciative of the large flat screen teles that were the centerpieces of all living rooms in Australi-bloody- a.
It had all happened so insidiously, the blokes didn’t realise. And that’s the story of blokes.
A few weeks ago, following months of siege in a suburb of Damascus, over 5000 civilians were helped to safety during a ceasefire negotiated by Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross. This suburb of Moadamiya al Sham was one of several around Damascus held by armed rebel groups and foreign jihadists, with the residents trapped there and facing serious food and supply shortages.
Whether these residents were supportive of the 'revolution' - or insurgency - or not, it was in the rebel groups interests to hold them there as 'human shields'; negotiating their release. Movement to the safety of government shelters in Damascus was therefore fraught with difficulties and dangers.
Mother Agnes risked life and got 5,400 people released from rebel capture
A 'negotiating team' was assembled to go into the heart of rebel territory, led by Mother Agnes - not just figuratively. She went ahead with a white flag, risking her life and faith that a sniper would not put an end to this humanitarian mission. Joined by the rest of the team she then came to a reconciliation and agreement with rebel leaders on the release of some 5,400 people, mostly women and children.
While this was a great success, perhaps more significant was the voluntary surrender of over 500 'rebel fighters', who had clearly been impressed by her entreaties to give up the fight and return to 'fight for Syria', accepting the Government's offer of amnesty.
In her report on the 'rescue of Moadamiya' she emphasises that the Government for its part kept to its word, and faith - that those men who genuinely surrender will not be punished or ill-treated.
It is as though the spirit of reconciliation and peace embodied in Jesus' preachings and actions 2000 years earlier in this land is being reborn, and it is happening through the agency of people of such genuine good will and faith as Mother Agnes. Such a spirit is infectious, and others are inspired to forgive and to reconcile and to trust; this is the spirit now which can heal Syria's dreadful wounds.
Treacherous foreign powers
The spirit that could heal those wounds .... were it not for the treachery and ill-intent of foreign powers who have already invested so much in destabilising Syrian society and destroying its wealth and infrastructure with their proxy armies of fanatics and mercenaries. The regaining of control by the Syrian government threatens the whole project for regional influence and control that is the driving force behind 'the West's' behaviour over Syria. It is increasingly clear that the West has lost the battle, in the absence of military intervention.
What should the 'Western powers' do?
So what should 'We' do? How can the West stop the truth of the last two and a half years emerging? The truth behind the many 'massacres' confected to excuse Western intervention? The truth of Syrians fleeing from rebel 'liberated' areas? ("Liberated from their inhabitants," as Mother Agnes points out.) The truth of the 'Chemical Weapons attack' on Ghouta that nearly brought about a regional war, despite not a single proven victim? ( The OPCW team did no autopsies.)
Perhaps those responsible for the recent denigration of Mother Agnes Mariam were inspired by biblical history, realising that a 'betrayal' from those who would be her supporters could deliver a mortal blow. And so it came to pass that contributors to the Stop the War Peace Conference in the UK refused to share a platform with this true peacemaker.
Have we learned anything in two thousand years?
Neil Clark, Mother Agnes and the ‘liberal’ hawks out to silence her of 20 Nov 2013.
Candobetter.net's Mother Agnes Mariam pages.
Mother Agnes Mariam's letter withdrawing from the Stop the War conference (pdf, 66K).
Internet Site of the UK Stop the War Conference.
Juhasz is visiting the South American nation in response to an invitation made by the National Secretariat of Communications of Ecuador to join the international campaign launched by President Rafael Correa in September to raise international awareness about the environmental disaster caused by the oil giant when it operated in the country between 1964 and 1990.
Antonia Juhasz is an oil and energy expert, author and investigative journalist. She is the author of three books related to the oil industry and the influence of multinational oil companies in international politics. Juhasz is a well-known critic of Chevron, having conducted years of extensive investigations into its operations, and writing about Chevron in each of her three books and in dozens of articles. In one of her earlier books, The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time, Juhasz exposed the use of corporate globalization policy as a weapon of war during the Bush administration, and the role that major corporations, like Chevron, played in the creation of this agenda.
Juhasz will visit one of the contaminated areas in the province of Sucumbios, where actor Danny Glover, visiting last week said that “Chevron must be held accountable” for the damages. Many of these oil pits were operated exclusively by Chevron-Texaco. Juhasz will be able to confirm first-hand a fact that Chevron fails to admit in its press releases, that during its operations in Ecuador, Chevron’s predecessor, Texaco, used substandard and outdated methods to handle the toxic wastes, and systematically dumped over 18 billion gallons of wastewater and oil by-products into unlined pits, that subsequently caused the contamination of the soil, rivers, streams and groundwater in the areas where the company operated.
In February of 2011, Ecuador’s Superior Court of Nueva Loja issued a judgment (Aguinda v. Chevron No. 2003-0002), ordering Chevron to pay $18.3 billion for damages to the environment and the health of the local communities. Chevron refuses to pay the award claiming that the ruling is illegitimate, and instead has filed a lawsuit in a federal court in New York against the Ecuadorians and their lawyers based on the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
The trial began on October 15 in New York. The judge overseeing the trial, Lewis Kaplan, has been accused by the plaintiffs of bias in favor of Chevron through a petition for Writ of Mandamus, which was filed at the U.S. Court of Appeals. (11-2259) The case is Chevron Corp. v. Donziger et al., case number 2:11-cv-00691, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Antonia Juhasz is promoted by her PR agency as a regular guest commentator on issues related to the energy industry, appearing on major U.S. TV networks and national radio. They add that "Her writings have appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Huffington Post, International Herald Tribune, Rolling Stone Magazine, and others.
Images here were trawled for from Google Earth. The photos are by Marco Imbaguingo. They do not necessarily relate to the companies mentioned above, but give an idea of the terrain and of the size of some old explorations.
The real story of Moadamiya
October 31, 2013
And how the ‘release’ of over 5000 women and children was negotiated and secured by a team led by Mother Agnes Mariam.
While Western media have been talking of the siege of Moadamiya – of a siege imposed on suffering civilians by the ruthless Syrian army – and of the urgent need for intervention to prevent starvation, Mother Agnes has been working steadily with ALL parties to the conflict to negotiate a way out of this deadly confrontation for the innocent civilian population trapped in the suburb of Damascus.
On Tuesday, 29th October, the final stage of the plan was achieved, and all those civilians wishing to leave were able to reach the safety of a government ‘guest house’ in Damascus, where they will stay until new plans can be made when the Syrian army ‘liberates’ Moadamiya from the remaining ‘rebel’ fighters.
This photo reportedly depicts Mother Agnes proceeding into rebel territory under the anxious eyes of those she has left. She is carrying a white flag. "Despite the entreaties of her team, Agnès-Mariam is producing a white flag and adventure beyond the entrance arch, in rebel territory, a no man’s land known for hiding 12 snipers among the deadliest. Members of the team are watching anxiously for her. Her team follows her. Joined by Sister Carmel and two members of her team, Mother Agnès-Mariam is welcomed by the men of the revolution that came without their weapons. Out of the factory they find themselves with women from Mouaddamiyya waiting for their evacuation."
You may read Mother Agnes's account of what has been happening for the last couple of weeks, as well as showing how a remarkably committed and brave single person can change the course of an intractable conflict on the "Step Back Site." This site has the mission of appealing to journalists reporting on the war in Syria to question pro-war statements by politicians.
The site is not in perfect English and some photographs are missing. This is why I did not transcribe it here. I did not want to confuse any of the message, which is one of bravery and day by day negotiations with warlords.
#AppendixOf3521"> Appendix : Insurgent commander surrenders to the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units
The commander of the al-Qaeda affiliated "Tawhid and Jihad Brigade" in al-Hasaka, north-eastern Syria, has surrendered his group's weapons to the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG).
According to the pro-opposition and Britain-based group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the "Tawhid and Jihad Brigade", known in Arabic as "Liwa al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad", agreed to surrender as Kurdish protection units swept through the Jawadiya area of al-Hasaka.
"The weapons include a tank, 2 multiple rocket launchers, 4x4s with manned machine-guns, mortars and mortar launchers and others," the pro-opposition group wrote in a statement via their official Facebook page.
A statement earlier released by the "Tawhid and Jihad Brigade" suggest that the remnants of the group will merge with the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" with its allies and continue their fight against the Kurds and YPG as well as the Syrian government.
The Kurdish People's Protection Units have had significant success battling Islamist militants in recent weeks and the YPG announced in a statement early Tuesday that it had gained full control over the villages of Tal A'lo Ghamer, Abu Hajar, Kari Fati, Karhouk, al-Yusufiya, al-Jneidiya, the al-Sawame' area, the Dajla oil company and the fields in Reef Jal A'gha suburb, all located in the al-Hasaka province.
A candobetter.net article written in 2011 "Anti-Growth Lobby: Women in politics: why don't more participate - or do they? (Melbourne, Australia)" asserted that "women dominate politics in Victoria, Australia - they just don't draw salaries." Margot Carrol is another case in point. Her importance extends well beyond Stonnington.
I watched her at the Supreme Court Case over Orrong Towers and admired her ability to sit unpaid through hours and hours of barrister-speak for the pure benefit of her community. Such a contrast to observing the antics of our paid, mosty male, parliamentarians.
Margot Carroll gets Mayor’s Award of the Year 2013 for outstanding voluntary service to the community
In Stonnington Council's news she has been recognised for this service:
Margot is a long-term resident of Stonnington who has been actively involved in community issues for about 30 years. She is extremely passionate about preserving Melbourne’s Heritage and livability from inappropriate developments.
One of her biggest battles in recent times was to stop the over development at 590 Orrong Road in Armadale. (See "http://candobetter.net/?q=node/3257.")She has worked tirelessly to ensure the community’s voice on this issue was heard. The battle is now in its fourth year, and throughout the entire time, Margot has demonstrated exceptional leadership and negotiation abilities – and was not prepared to give up.
Under her skillful leadership, Margot has helped prove that the Stonnington community is serious when it comes to protecting the character of the local area and shopping inappropriate development.
Margot has helped bring the community together over the issue, and is prepared to keep fighting until a favourable result is received."
Margot's importance and example extends well beyond Stonnington.
"Any encroachment into our green spaces is irreversible. On the other hand, remaining faithful to the original intention of the green wedges, would give us all a more disciplined, sustainable, and welcoming city for the future." (Lady Hamer on 29 August 2012 as the Libs prepare to give bulldozers open slather on our green wedges, destroying wildlife and natural amenity.) Labor and the Liberals response is less than edifying and does not solve the problem. Basically both parties are in cahoots with the developers against the people of Melbourne.
Lady Hamer defends green wedges in absence of parliamentary backbone
Lady Hamer, widow of Rupert Hamer, a former Liberal premier who planned for Melbourne to retain the green areas (typically spreading from some major water courses radiating through Melbourne), has come out courageously against the Liberal Planning policy to horribly amputate, for more intensive development, thousands of hectares of Melbourne's green wedges, without community or electoral approval. It is great to see an elderly woman stand up and be heard, and to speak so convincingly and confidently on a moral and environmental issue. We should also not forget the many other women in Melbourne who have also spoken out on this issue, again and again. See "Anti-Growth Lobby: Women in politics: why don't more participate - or do they? (Melbourne, Australia)."
Lady Hamer said,
"Any encroachment into our green spaces is irreversible. On the other hand, remaining faithful to the original intention of the green wedges, would give us all a more disciplined, sustainable, and welcoming city for the future." Lady Hamer on 29 August 2012.
Mathew Guy's excuse is no excuse
The state's planning minister, Mathew Guy, protested that the former Bracks and Brumby Labor Government significantly expanded development boundaries into green wedge land.
Yes, and that was wrong, because it was undemocratic, based on covert population engineering through mass migration, and aggressively reduced peoples' rights and quality of life. But that only highlights the urgent need to reverse the goose stepping army of planners who are trampling our society. It does not justify Mathew Guy continuing the destruction that Jeff Kennett began and Labor continued.
People voted Brumby out (and would have voted Bracks out if he had not suddenly resigned) because of their absurdly high-handed related attitudes to the green wedges, mass immigration, and local democracy.
Brian Tee, ALP, rewrites history
Brian Tee (Shadow minister for planning) only added to the shameful obfuscation when he posted to the ALP site a laughable greenwash piece entitled,"Lady April Hamer and Bracks unite to save green wedge," (August 29,2012) following Lady Hamer's speech.
Truly, the tradition in Victoria of requiring the people to believe six impossible things before breakfast continues, proudly led by parliamentarians. The people of Melbourne are treated like complete fools. We need a giant Alice to weep on us and wash away the caucus.
Victoria is a Destruction Zone for the profit of the growth lobby!
Victoria is a destruction zone. The earth is continually churned by machines driven by greedy developers and financiers. People are becoming mentally and physically ill trying to stand up to the orkish tyrants.
At the heart of all this is the utterly undemocratic pursuit by governments of massive population growth through economic immigration. See http://www.liveinvictoria.com.au