A Research Piece and the Exposed Moral Distance of Australia’s New Anti-Terror Laws.

Mark Nolan wrote a chapter in the book, Fresh Perspectives on the ‘War on Terror’ called ‘Lay Perceptions of Terrorist Acts and Counter-Terrorism Responses: Role of Motive, Offence Construal, Siege Mentality and Human Rights’ (Canberra: ANU ePress, 2008) 85-107. Quite a title!

The chapter examines the perceptions of people towards terrorist acts and counter terrorism initiatives in Australia. Nolan’s motivation for the chapter is the phrase “exceptional law for exceptional times”. He suggests this phrase sums up the arguments of those who consider ‘much of the tradition and principle of law less relevant now and creating undue risks in the prevention or regulation of political violence.’

People like George Brandis I guess given the new terror laws.

Nolan examined public perceptions of politically motivated violence and perceptions of the counter terrorism initiatives to combat the use of such violence in Australia. Interestingly he uses constructs from professor Daniel Bar-Tal’s (Tel Aviv university) examination of siege mentality in Israel.

Bar-Tal attempted to explain some social relationships in the Middle East in terms of the ongoing socialisation of Israeli Jews with a siege mentality or “a socialised psychological belief orientation that shapes the view of the ‘other’ especially conceptions of Palestinians perpetrating politically motivated violence.” In seige mentality, outsiders are perceived to want to harm the group, the threat is faced alone and in relative isolation from potential allies and coalitions.

The four consequences of such a mentality are,
1. negative attitudes against the world
2. intergroup mistrust
3. pressure towards intragroup conformity
4. self protection and self reliance

Perceived isolation in the face of negative attitudes ‘against the world’ brings an associated attitude towards the use of international institutions and concepts such as international human rights norms. Nolan interestingly  notes that in principle this mentality could be equally held by victims and perpetrators of politically motivated violence.

Nolan’s work included the scenario of police investigation of “a food tampering incident effecting supplies to a leading multinational hamburger food chain established in Australia.”

Two explanatory paragraphs about the incident or crime were used, one using ‘anti-corporate conditions’ for the crime and the other ‘jihadist conditions’.

1. Anti-corporate conditions
There has been no claim of responsibility yet but police report that anonymous threats have been made to restaurant owners that state; “Don’t trust the safety of any of your food supplies today. Action has been taken so that people will stop trusting the lies of multinational corporations who control our diet.

2. Jihadist conditions
There has been no claim of responsibility yet but police report that anonymous threats have been made to restaurant owners that state; “Don’t trust the safety of any of your food supplies today. Action has been taken so that infidels will be stopped in the name of Allah!”

Participants were asked to express the apparent motive of the alleged perpetrators in their own words to both instances and then to scale the extent to which that motive is the most important factor in judging the ‘blameworthiness’ of the act.

Nolan’s research was undertaken in 2005 and his study contained more extensive material that I have not included specifically because of the difference in likely readership. However some of Nolans findings are relevant to the current focus on Australia’s proposed new ‘terror laws.’

Firstly, Nolan found no link between siege mentality and the responses of his participants, primarily because his participants did not appear to have a siege mentality and did not feel ‘alone in the world due to terrorist threat’.

This is not surprising at all, given Australia shirt tales the US on most things and it’s regularly said by our government that “we share the same values”, thus one country in the world definitely sharesany sense we might have that there is a ‘terrorist threat out there’. Similarly the UK, our parent country, obviously shares this concern, given the responses of Cameron’s government. Even recently, the sense in this country appears to be one of being more buffered than most countries, despite recent raids on supposed jihadist incitement bookshops, the shooting of an 18yo who allegedly attacked police with knives following the raids and IS fighters in Iraq and Syria being identified as Australian.

The really interesting outcomes of Nolan’s work for my part is that;
1. Even people with a low terrorist siege mentality, who did not support the idea that civil rights be weakened by asserting the right to security, still believed that jihadist motives rendered the same act more blameworthy than anticorporate political and ideological motives.

2. There was an overall rejection that national security justified general treatment of suspects by police, court or correctional services inconsistency with international human rights and laws or standard criminal practice.

For Nolan the first of these two outcomes raised concerns about “possible impact on juries of evidence of the intention to advance political religious or ideological causes”. Nolan suggests “judges may need to use jury instructions to combat attitudinal bias against defendants alleged to be pursuing particular motives.”

My concern is greater than Nolan’s. Judges instructions to juries are often lost on juries in my experience in the courts (I have numerous examples in sexual assault cases where juries may be instructed in often lengthy diatribes that the time taken to report an assault is not considered a significant factor or that prior sexual history of the victim should not be given equal consideration with other facts I the case). The outcome here suggests that merely the term jihad is highly misunderstood by most non-Muslim Australians. A more relevant term would be violent jihad where the violence is what is considered as believing in jihad which literally means to struggle or strive which is not of itself violent. This omission of clear definition shows up both the research and the general understanding of the term in the Australian community.

On the second point I am relieved to think the large majority of the 123 respondents in the study maintained a moral stance supporting consistency of police courts and correctional services with respect for human rights even when ‘national security’ appears under threat, with only 4 dissenters to that position. However, we all know how difficult it is to ‘watchdog’ from the outside or whistleblow from the inside in these services.

Luckily senator David Leyonhjelm raised concerns that “beefed-up legislation includes immunities for special security operations that are so wide as to allow for certain forms of torture, including drugging, sensory bombardment and sleep deprivation. Additionally two senior legal experts who advised the Liberal Democratic Party on the legislation who spoke to Fairfax Media, “confirmed that the immunity provisions open a wide legal grey area and are broader than any such state power in the United Kingdom, Canada or New Zealand”. see here

The new laws have rightly raised concern but only in small doses (See video of parliamentary members with concerns and read SMH article here . The cross bench committee advising changes to the proposed laws has at least recommended the ridiculous 10 year ‘sunset’ clause be 2 years but……

We’re a complacent lot really.

Globalizing Gaza » Jeff Halper, CounterPunch

Another really thought provoking re-post.

This time on Israel’s  “Lawfare” legal campaign to prevent the International Criminal Court from taking cases of their violations of human rights in warfare. We have heard a lot recently about;

  • the lack of concern for civilian lives in Gaza – a violation of the ‘Principle of ‘Distinction’
  • the disproportionality of the Israeli attacks on Gaza – a violation of the Principle of ‘Disproportionality’

Both violations if proven in the court would constitute grave breaches of international law – these are the principles Israel wants to see ‘eliminated’  or ‘significantly watered down’ by creating new terms – “non-legitimate actors” such as “terrorists,” “insurgents” and “non-state actors,” together with the civilian population that supports them – so that anyone resisting state oppression can no longer claim protection. see article below by Jeff Halper

Globalizing Gaza » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

Two small ‘l’ Liberals caught out as big ‘N’ Neocons when it comes to Israel’s ongoing Occupation and attacks on Palestinian land.

Just when I want to write about something else some idiot says something with the arrogant  liberal sweetness of ignorant certitude…….

Ah well here goes…another chance to expose slippery speak

First let me introduce the pukable baby faced neocon, Liberal MP, Wyatt Roy. Remember he’s the youngest ever elected representative in Australia’s Federal House of Representatives. Born 22.05.1990 and elected to the House of Representatives for the seat of Longman, Queensland, 2010 and 2013.

He looks like this:

Wyatt Roy 22.05.1990 Liberal Member for Longman Queensland. Son of a strawberry farmer,  Elected to the House of Representatives at 20yo 2010 and again in 2013.

Wyatt Roy 22.05.1990 Liberal Member for Longman Queensland. Son of a strawberry farmer, Elected to the House of Representatives at 20yo 2010 and again in 2013.

His latest speech recorded in Hansard weighs in on the repeal of the Carbon tax where we see him sprouting Winston Churchill… “There is a great quote from Winston Churchill which says the idea that we can tax a nation into prosperity is ‘like a man standing in a bucket trying to lift himself up by the handle.’

His maiden speech tells us a bit about his liberal politics… “It is the Liberal side of politics that believes that liberalism is the path to greater fairness, that enforced equality never liberates. It is the Liberal side of politics that is the side of opportunity. We are the party based on encouragement, rather than subsidy; of a hand-up, not a handout; the party that has achieved practical outcomes through real action, not cheap political rhetoric. Some people say we are a conservative party, but which party was prepared to endorse a 19-year-old in a winnable seat and then support, mentor and guide that candidate through one of the most fiercely contested political campaigns this country has ever seen?”

Its a clean cut naive liberal speech about “decent battlers” “hand up not hand outs”, “doing not what is popular but what it right”. Roy is “guided by plain good intentions” as he told us in his maiden speech, perhaps this is what had guided his recent drivel on Israel/Palestine situation, this and his blindly compromised Australian Liberal Party approach to ‘fairness’ in this question.

I am reminded of The Dinsdale brothers cruel but fair line from Monty Python …“Dinsdale, he was a cruel man, cruel but fair”. If you remember the sketch, Dinsdale Pirhana of the notorious Pirana Brothers had nailed someones head to the floor! It wasn’t popular but it was the right thing to do! The sketch is still really funny until seen in the light of current Liberal support for Israel’s hasbara position on Hamas rockets, land grabs and sea of lies to justify their current murderous behaviour in Gaza and the occupied territories.

Israel = Dinsdale Pirhana.

Absolutely worth a look

Wyatt Roy is embarrassingly naive, and dangerously neocon, particularly on the question of Israel and Palestine.

Here is his interview (6.6.2014) with Fairfax press. It will open in a new window.

Wyatt Roy Liberal MP-“calling-israeli-settlements-illegal-not-useful”

So Wyatt says…………

  • On calling East Jerusalem “occupied”

“Parts of what may be considered Palestine might very well end up in Israel because of the security considerations….ah..ah or it might not and that’s the blunt reality of the situation there”..

  • Challenging Lee Rhiannon (Greens) to “draw the line on the map” that separates Palestine from Israel in Jerusalem.

This response is reminiscent of the Margaret Thatcher interview with George Negus where Thatcher is asked by Negus about why ordinary people in the street would tell the crew she was ‘plain pigheaded and won’t be told by anyone’. Thatcher asks “what people”… “tell me who has said it to you, when and where”. Wyatt Roy brings these same bombastic guns out when he asks his interviewer, “What part of East Jerusalem are we talking about ? What suburb? What street?

He is then told by the interviewer,

Interviewer: There is a very clear line on the map, its the line on the map acknowledged by the UN security Council, the US … the International Court of Justice, and its the 1967 border. Everything across that line is according to them is Israeli ‘Occupied”……… Isn’t that a very clear line?

His response is classic neocon failure to acknowledge ‘what IS’ and to use their presentation of ‘what might be’ to obfuscate all rational argument…..

Wyatt Roy: No, because what I would say that in a negotiated two state solution there is the potential ah for areas er ..beyond that line to be part of Israel ..eh  and other parts of that are currently  part of whats considered Israel even in that time period could become part of Palestine. because you might very well see and this is part of the peace process that they were negotiating the idea of land swaps…so if you have a high hill in that part of East Jerusalem where you could potentially shoot a rocket or a rifle, part of  the negotiation process was trading off part of that land for another part of what has and always has been considered part of Israel. So there is the potential for that to not be the case, now whether that eventuates or not is up to politicians in Israel and Palestine to determine and I hope that they can determine that because both states could benefit from a proper two state solution. 

So he’s saying that whatever is determined by, not only the UN, but the dogmatic (on questions of Israels ‘rights’) US, and the ICJ is not important and HE doesn’t recognise it! Simply because negotiations will start sometime? By the way Israel has never formally declared its borders! Mainly because it is not done occupying and thieving yet.

Interviewer then goes to the question of the illegal settlements and asks,  Is using that term or continuing to use that term unuseful?

Wyatt Roy: I do think so…. I think that is unuseful…. some of those settlements have been there for a very very long time.. and as I said  in that negotiating process ah part of those settlements may end up as part of Israel and other parts of Israel will end up as part of Palestine because in many cases as I’ve said  their  up on a high hill and you could shoot a rocket or a rifle directly  into your neighbour’s home effectively which might be in another country if we have a two state solution ..So eh..it is I do think that that language is often very unhelpful and it doesn’t reflect the reality on the ground, and it doesn’t actually reflect what the negotiation process is between the two sides but as I said this is something that politicians on the other side of the world will have to negotiate it will have to be a political negotiation on where that line on the map will have to be…..

So that’s one of our admittedly insignificant at this point, politicians… but then there’s Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull, has been sent a letter for his latest ‘liberal’ ‘Israel faces an existential threat’ and associated comments of justification for the Gaza assault. It is interesting to look up exactly what this term “existential threat”. What!  JP Satre will force them to read Simone De Bouvoir?

No usually when considered by Israel it is the Iranian nuclear threat that they speak of in these terms, but in a recent academic article read article here by Kobi Michael he states

“Existential threat is a subjective political concept that reflects the conceptualization of a collective sense of security or insecurity in a hostile environment. But due to the fact that national security is a socially guided concept, it cannot remain disconnected from ideologies and cultural characteristics and, therefore, ‘national security doctrines often include regulations and norms that totally contradict the substantive interests of national security’s goals’…… And indeed, policy-makers frame threats by using their political ideology’s lens, which shapes the manner in which they perceive the other and explain the threat.”
and this from the Economist (on line Lexington’s blog) May 19 2009…

…”I SUSPECT that most non-Israelis think that all the talk of Israel facing an “existential” threat from an Iranian nuclear bomb is hysterical. The Iranians are no more likely to use the bomb than, say, the Pakistanis. So why not learn to live with an Iranian bomb?

Much depends on what you mean by “existential”. Many Israelis are worried about the whimper rather than the bang. A nuclear Iran will embolden local terrorists. The neighbourhood will become even more unpleasant. And the best and brightest Israelis will leave for Silicon Valley or one of the world’s other proliferating entrepreneurial entrepots, ruining the country’s innovation-dependent economy. This is as much about talent wars as anything else”. 

Well so many do have dual US/Israeli nationality

 Hmmn interesting- this is now another term that is bandied around and really has no meaning in the current context, other than the Zionist political ideology and indeed the neocon ideology which frames the current media narrative. So existential threat can mean having neighbours with nuclear power capability (as in- Israel is an existential threat to all its neighbours in the Middle East) or it can mean having neighbours who build tunnels to get supplies you deny them through imprisonment?
In an attempt to confront Turnbull’s recent statements about Israels fundemental issue of protecting its people and its existential threat,  three writers/academics have sent an open letter to Turnbull as follows, see full article here

Dear Mr Turnbull,

We read your recent interview with Chris Uhlmann with concern. When asked about Israel’s attack on Gaza, you said that “Israel risks extinction” and that the “fundamental issue” is Israel protecting the “safety of its people” because Israel “faces an existential threat.” To justify this, you referred to the rockets fired by Hamas at Israel.

So, let us set out some of the relevant facts.

According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem,  from June 2004 to 23 July 2014, rockets and mortars fired from Gaza have killed 26 Israeli civilians. If one also counts soldiers, foreign nationals and Palestinians, rockets and mortars have killed 48 people. The cumulative effect of a decade of rockets fired from Gaza has resulted in roughly the number of deaths of somewhere between a day and half a day of Israel’s current bombardment of Gaza.

So if Israel’s massive destruction of Gaza is justified because it faces an “existential risk,” because of those rockets, and Israel has an overriding obligation to “defend the safety of its own people,” what is the obligation of the Palestinian people in Gaza? To meekly accept their own slaughter and subjugation?

You say that “Israelis have to try to work out how to eliminate the source of the missiles” from Gaza. We know what it takes for Palestinians to stop firing rockets, because they’ve done so for great lengths of time in the past and the evidence indicates that it is Israel, not Hamas, who is the “serial truce breaker”.

If Israel is serious about addressing the underlying cause of hostilities, then why does it not accept Hamas’s modest ceasefire conditions? Hamas offered terms for a 10 year ceasefire. Indeed, Ha’aretz journalist Gideon Levy has written, “Read the list of demands and judge honestly whether there is one unjust demand among them.”

As long as Israel refuses to end its aggression, do Palestinians not have a responsibility to try to end the bombardment of Gaza? If you are opposed to Palestinians engaging in violent resistance to the bombardment of Gaza, how do you suggest that they protect their own citizens? Or do only Israelis deserve protection?

You may say that even if few Israelis are killed by rockets, many of them are forced to live in fear because of them. According to B’Tselem, from July 8 to July 30 this year, Israel killed at least 1262 Palestinians, including 314 children. 90 percent of those killed by Israel were civilians.

According to the latest report by the United Nation’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 137 schools in Gaza have been damaged by Israeli bombing, including 88 United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools. Over 250,000 Palestinians need emergency food assistance. 9,815 families have had homes destroyed or damaged to the point that about 58,900 people in Gaza need emergency shelter assistance. An additional 5,005 families (an estimated 58,900 individuals) have homes that are habitable, but need “emergency shelter repairs interventions.” 28,400 more families (an estimated 170,400 individuals) also require assistance with damage to their homes. In a population of 1.8 million people, about 14% have sustained damage to their homes.

Israel bombed Gaza’s only power plant, so now most Palestinians in Gaza get little or no electricity each day. OCHA has reported that:

“It is estimated that the entire population has reduced or no access to water, due to electricity shortages, lack of fuel and inability of the water network to reach certain streets, areas on higher altitude or upper levels of multi-storey buildings. Many are also exposed to public health risks due to the mixing of sewage with water from damages that occurred in the sanitation system, the lack of chlorination and the lack of solid waste collection.”

24 hospitals and medical clinics have been bombed by Israel, and 25 ambulances have been bombed too. Eight of UNRWA’s staff have been killed, and four water and sanitation technicians have been killed. 29 Palestinian Red Crescent and Ministry of Health ambulances have been damaged. Critical supplies of medicines and disposables are reported to have almost depleted too. On Saturday the United Nations described the situation as a “health and humanitarian disaster,” and expressed “grave concern about the lack of protection for medical staff and facilities, and the deteriorating access to emergency health services.”

Within the confines of this letter, we cannot even begin to explain the devastation of Gaza caused by Israeli barbarism. So consider one more fact from the OCHA report. They estimate that over 300,000 Palestinian children require “direct and specialised psychosocial support.” After all the horrors and bloodshed of almost four weeks of bombing and invasion, a generation of Palestinian children are growing up with indescribable trauma. And you dare to say that the “fundamental” issue is whether or not Israelis feel safe?

An August 2012 report by UNRWA wondered if Gaza would be a liveable place by 2020. At that time, about 80% of Palestinians depended on food aid, and 90% of water was not safe for drinking. And this because of the appalling blockade on Gaza. UNRWA asked if Gaza would be liveable, before Israel’s savage attack on Gaza.

And you tell us Israel risks extinction. You are either profoundly ignorant, or profoundly indecent.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Brull, Randa Abdel-Fattah and Amy McQuire

Michael Brull is Jewish. He has written for a range of publications, including The Guardian, the National Times, Crikey, ABC’s The Drum, New Matilda and elsewhere. He has recently completed a Juris Doctor at UNSW.

Amy McQuire is a Darumbal woman and former editor of Tracker and the National Indigenous Times.

Randa Abdel-Fattah is of Palestinian and Egyptian heritage. She is the author of nine books, former lawyer and a doctoral candidate in the department of sociology at Macquarie University.

Now here’s both Lib Israeli apologist frontmen at GQ’s Man of the year awards in 2010 – a rare shot together. …..Wankers

We have to confront this irresponsible throwaway language and get the facts out. These are our representatives and their liberalness is nauseating – welcome to Bleahland!

caught at the 2010 Men of the year awards GQ Magazine Liberal Politicians Malcolm Turnbull and Wyatt Roy

caught at the 2010 Men of the year awards GQ Magazine Liberal Politicians Malcolm Turnbull and Wyatt Roy

UNADIKUM – I CALL on YOU!

Some people see the worlds injustices and some don’t.

Why they do is self evident – an interest in people other than themselves and those in their immediate circle, a strong capacity for empathy and a belief in being fair.

Why they don’t is more complex but here’s one reason – Cutsie media and our corporate stock market driven media is behind it.

As I did yesterday (and I promise myself not to make this a habit), I opened my laptop to yahoo news – today’s headlines include a massive photo shot of Ian Thorpe who has finally revealed publicly that he is gay. Another smaller photo of Thorpy sits aside this with the headline ‘Support rolls in for Thorpe’. The smallest photo is of an Israeli tank in the dust with the headline ‘Palestinians urge Gaza ceasefire’.

Now I don’t know about you but isn’t that a case of…….. ‘WRONG’!

The news from Gaza full UN sitrep here is that on the 5th day of the Israeli attack 126 Gaza (I have since read it is now 156 see here) people are killed, 89 of these are believed to be civilians and 27 of those are children. 910 Gazans have been injured, 500 of these are women and children. 4500 Palestinians have been displaced, 750 homes are destroyed or severely damaged and 400,000 people are without electricity due to damage to power lines, and a similar number have no water supply. The UN Situation Report (sitrep) of 12th July comments  that ‘reports about the circumstances of some incidents have raised concern about” respect to the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack” under International Humanitarian Law”.

In addition Israeli troops are massing along Gaza’s perimeter fence and the sitrep alerts to this, “fueling existing fear about potential land incursion”. The Rafah border crossing is opened into Egypt to allow injured access to medical facilities.

The Al Mabrat Society, an institution for people with severe disabilities was hit by Israeli shelling killing two women and a staff member and injuring three other residents.

7000 children are in need of psychological support. The UN ‘Protection Cluster members’ …have managed to visit 58 children. All children visited showed signs of extreme anxiety, fear, sense of insecurity, inability to sleep and despair. Since 7 July, PSS teams have reached 191 children.

WE are told the Israeli’s strike surgically, Hamas rocket fire being the critical target.

We are told the Israeli government only want Hamas (The democratically elected leadership in the Gaza Strip)

We are told Hamas deliberately use ‘human shields’

We know the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

WE know there are NO DEATHS FROM ROCKET FIRE INTO ISRAEL,

The Washington Post calls the death toll in the situation ‘lopsided’ (for the WP report on Israeli ‘roof knocking’ to supposedly warn residents in buildings about to be bombed see here)

I call it ORCHESTRATED CARNAGE

Oh yeh just out…4 Israeli soldiers ‘hurt’ while undergoing an ‘incursion’ into Gaza to destroy a rocket launching site in Nth Gaza, they have now “returned to Israeli territory” see here

Graphic content warning photos

So Thorpy’s gay?…………………….Who woulda guessed it? and who cares, apparently he has lots of support.

UNADIKUM – (translated) I CALL ON YOU

….to keep reality alive – the Media Matrix must not be allowed to hide or to colour truth with barbie pink and roses and celebrity pap.

 

Four Israeli soldiers were today hurt in clashes during the brief incursion to destroy a rocket launching site in northern Gaza, the military said. It said they have returned to Israeli territory.

It was the first time that Israeli ground troops are known to have entered Gaza in the current offensive.

– See more at: http://www.independent.ie/world-news/israel-raid-on-gaza-rocket-site-30427238.html#sthash.jZ8LVHRK.dpuf

Headings, shorts and comments -The downfall of real communication?

Hizb ut-Tahrir member’s speech at Festival of Dangerous Ideas is pulled by Sydney Opera House amid flood of online protest

………A Sydney-based Muslim speaker whose planned lecture on “honour” killings was cancelled by the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday night in the wake of public outcry does not believe the barbaric murders of women are justified, organisers say.

The St James Ethics Centre arranged the lecture called “Honour killings are morally justified” for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in August. It was to be delivered by the public face of Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, Uthman Badar, but quickly provoked a flood of angry comments on Twitter and the Opera House Facebook page.

The executive director of the centre, Simon Longstaff AO, said people had not read beyond the title of the lecture, which was intended to be a discussion about how honour is used as a justification for a range of acts, including going to war and murder.

“Uthman’s view is that no form of vigilante killing is justified,” Longstaff said.

“So while honour killings are not what he believes in, he does believe there is a context in which this does happen and where those people believe they are justified.

“We wanted to begin having a conversation about these killings, which should never happen and yet the fact is, there are societies that allow it to. We wanted to examine how that is the case.”…………………………………

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/25/cancelled-honour-killings-talk-did-not-aim-to-justify-says-organiser

Facebook and twitter responses are nothing if not predictable. Their message is usually brief by virtue of the medium and public interest is fickle remaining only as long as the tweeting respondents commitment to the issue.

If we don’t talk about things like this our ignorance will continue to exceed our awareness. We are not the font of all knowledge. None of us knows everything, but we would all be guilty of comment from anassumed superior position of ethics or cultural supremacy. The belief in the ‘civilised’ nature our education and our history is the highest error.

Someone responded on facebook saying that entertaining the discussion at all was “like entertaining discussing murdering children!” as if there is some highbrow moral position about not talking about killing people. Humans kill other humans daily, children, women and men. This happens either directly through murder and war or indirectly through funding murder and war or eating more than our share.

Discussion that exposes us to tribal and cultural rationales we are unaware of, or beliefs that concern themselves with killing to retain family  honour should not be stopped by the Opera House fear of stupid tweets.

Uthman believes “hysteria has done its job” and that it has.

Consciousness or Oblivion?

The web based news outlet ‘Truth-out’ has recently reported on the call from Chilean Australians for extradition back to Chile of former DINA agent Adriana Rivas, who has been living in Australia for “36 years, despite knowledge of her participation in the crimes committed at the Chilean torture and extermination centre known as Cuartel Simon Bolivar – the place where no one got out alive..”

The article raises issues I have raised in this blog about sanitising and reinventing history to suit political propaganda interests. The article jolted my memory of Pinochet’s 1995 TV quote “The only way to solve problems is olvido (oblivion). If day after day we are always returning to the same point, we will continue fighting. Forget it, do not talk more about the issue, then you will forget and I will forget.”

This “forgeting” suited the Pinochet dictatorship by allowing them to continue to present themselves as saviours of Chile from Allende’s Marxist hell. Those who lived the struggle and were so close they could smell the dictator’s weapons of treachery and death like so many of the Chilean people who chose NOT to forget the torture, murder and disappearances remember them in terms of the struggle for justice. http://truth-out.org/news/item/24401-chilean-australians-clamor-for-the-extradition-to-chile-of-former-dina-agent-adriana-rivas

It is said that the victors write history.

This is now being challenged and our capacity for understanding can be matched by the plethora of information available to us but we have to choose this more difficult way. There is opportunity to choose conscious reflection over Pinochet’s ‘oblivion’ and government aided ‘forgetting’ to secure the survival of social truths in history. We are being challenged by very powerful propaganda machinery and can choose to dig deeper, to ignore or to question and challenge the information we are fed.

This does not mean ‘unfriending’ people who think differently or sticking with those who think like we do. It doesn’t mean blindly accepting the pap we are served. It means talking to the wise, the elders, those who were there, those who have something to offer, listening to our children and our grandparents and listening across cultures and time.

Communities that are fair, alive and creative are those that are conscious and aware, not insular communities that actively pursue ‘forgetting’ or deliberately ignore complex problems and ‘the bad stuff’ on their way to oblivion.

Muerte al olvidola verdad abraza la Conciencia (Death to Oblivion- Truth Embraces Consciousness)

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