Multiculturalism

From the St Louis to the Aquarius: the history of refugee boats as archipelagos of misery

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The Aquarius, a rescue ship in the Mediterranean carrying 629 people, is now on its way to Spain, after being refused docking in Italy and Malta. Simone Gigliotti The Conversation The crisis has caused a diplomatic row between France and Italy and highlighted the stalemate within the EU on asylum policy. Sadly, there have been many historical examples of boats laden with refugees, that were refused docking. In the aftermath of World War II, the historian Eugene Kulischer wrote: “The ... Read More »

How the Parthenon Came to Live in Nashville

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At first, no one expected this building to last: The Tennessee Centennial Exposition — picture something like a World’s Fair or Walt Disney World’s Epcot — was held in Nashville in 1897 and it featured a full-scale replica of the famous Parthenon in Greece. Kathryn WhitBourne Adventure – HowStuffWorks The plaster building, which fit in with Nashville’s ambition to be the “Athens of the South,” housed an art exhibition. Over six months, 1.8 million people visited the exposition, small when compared ... Read More »

Jewish students take aim at ‘distressing’ university paper

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A female suicide bomber who killed dozens of Israeli soldiers has graced the front cover of a University of Sydney student newspaper, and Jewish students who complained about the cover have been “condemned” for… Richard Ferguson The Australian Hamida al-Taher killed more than 50 people, mainly Israeli military personnel, when she blew herself up in Southern Lebanon in 1985. The special edition of the University of Sydney’s student newspaper Honi Soit, produced by the student women’s collective a fortnight ago, put ... Read More »

Bavaria plans tougher approach to asylum-seekers in Germany

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Bavarian State Premier Markus Söder has unveiled new measures to speed up the asylum process and deport rejected applicants. Christoph Hasselbach DW He believes the rest of Germany should follow his lead. With Bavaria’s elections only a few months away, State Premier Markus Söder of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) is advocating a tougher stance on asylum-seekers. The CSU, which has traditionally dominated Bavarian politics, fears large numbers of voters could turn their backs on the party and support the far-right ... Read More »

Religious freedoms should include spiritual beliefs too

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Nearly a third of Australians at the last census checked “None” when asked about their religion, up from 19% in 2006. What many people might not realise is that while some “Nones” are indeed atheists or agnostics, a substantial percentage do have faith. Jeremy Patrick The Conversation It’s just not in mainstream religion as we generally understand it. The number of people identifying as “spiritual but not religious” appears to be rising in the western world. A 2017 McCrindle report ... Read More »

The Ethnic Cleansing of Northern Cyprus

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Confessions of a Turkish-Cypriot Mass Murderer “Why is there not peace yet? How can we make peace when we have rabid murderers living among us? Instead of prosecuting them, we enable them to appear on TV and to boast about their murders…. If you do not even bring to account a murderer who says, ‘killing was my art,’ who will you bring to account?” — Şener Levent, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika. So far, these “rabid murderers” have ... Read More »

UK’s Labour Party Leader Vows to Return Parthenon Marbles to Greece

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The leader of the UK’s labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, is the latest public figure to declare that colonial-era objects that were taken unlawfully should be returned to their country of origin. ArtForum If elected prime minister in the next general election, which will take place in 2022, Corbyn has pledged to return the famous Parthenon Marbles to Greece. Also known as the Elgin Marbles, the fifth-century sculptures—made under the sculptor Phidias—were taken from the Parthenon, an ancient temple dedicated to ... Read More »

Brexit has made us more relaxed about immigration, not less

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Voters have a keen nose for authenticity. Indeed, they value it regardless of whether they necessarily share a politician’s views. Mark Wallace iNews It’s not uncommon to hear people say that while they didn’t agree with Margaret Thatcher, at least she stood up for what she believed in – or to express their contempt for Tony Blair’s weasel words, even if they broadly liked his actual policies. In recent y ears, the mercurial quality of authenticity has become all the ... Read More »

The Grey Zone: space that gives us freedom is under threat

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In recent years, a Middle East-based organisation has been thinking about what it calls “the Grey Zone”. The term refers to the pluralist, open, multicultural space that is fundamental to the way a functioning democratic society works. Peter Greste Brisbane Times The Grey Zone allows us to live alongside different faiths without killing one another; it is the space that means we can have robust political debates without punching each other in the nose. It is the space defined by ... Read More »

Catholics offer burial spaces to Muslims as Sydney cemeteries fill up

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Muslim community leader Kazi Ali was distressed to see the nearly full Muslim section at Rookwood Cemetery that he helped transform 40 years ago from paddock to an oasis of palms. Julie Power The Sydney Morning Herald Many who helped Mr Ali build the cemetery in the 1980s are among the 6000 Muslims buried there now. A friend’s daughter was buried behind a white picket-style fence. Mr Ali pointed to a grave of his former teacher. “Our tradition is to ... Read More »

Your personal space is no longer physical – it’s a global network of data

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In the digital world, any action we do generates data – whether browsing the internet, answering emails or messaging our friends. Translated into radio waves, this information can travel almost effortlessly through space in a split second. Silvio Carta The Conversation Data are all around us, invisibly occupying the space between ourselves and other objects in the built environment. My colleagues and I conducted a study to understand how the presence of all this data alters our understanding of personal ... Read More »

Aboriginal reconciliation and what we can learn from a French philosopher

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What can a French historian and philosopher tell us about reconciliation between black and white in Australia? More than a century ago, when in Australia it was still widely presumed that Aboriginal people were a dying race, Ernest Renan was grappling with the question, what is a nation? By Matter of Fact host Stan Grant ABC It remains one of the most profound and powerful statements of identity, written in 1882 in the shadows of the French Revolution. Renan sought to ... Read More »

[CENSORED] was meant to celebrate freedom. Instead it exposes something darker

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Sari Braithwaite watched all the scenes cut by Australian censors between 1958 and 1971. What she discovered was deeply disturbing Sari Braithwaite The Guardian n 1969 Australian government censors claimed a Swedish film playing at the Sydney film festival included an actual sex scene involving a heavily pregnant woman. The film could only play, they said, if the offending copulation were deleted. But the scene in question involved no sex whatsoever. The censors apparently couldn’t distinguish between an embrace and ... Read More »

5 Latino authors you should be reading now

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You likely recognize that the depiction of Latin American immigrants in politics today – as a menacing mass of recalcitrant Spanish-speaking invaders – is overwhelmingly negative. Laura Lomas The Conversation What you may not know is that stereotypes suggesting that Latin Americans represent a threat to United States culture are not just morally repugnant – they’re also historically inaccurate. Spanish-language literature actually predates the Puritans’ writing in English by nearly a century. As my research reveals, many renowned Latin American ... Read More »

What’s it like to be young and from overseas in Australia?

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The first ever census of young Australians from refugee and migrant backgrounds paints a mixed picture of optimism and belonging against a backdrop of ongoing discrimination By Professor Johanna Wyn, Dr Rimi Khan and Dr Babak Dadvand, University of Melbourne The majority of refugee and migrant young Australians feel strongly that they belong here, despite almost half experiencing some form of discrimination or unfair treatment in the past twelve months, the first Multicultural Youth Australia Census shows. Nearly 2,000 young ... Read More »

Super Saturday: Greens attack Josh Wilson over offshore detention

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Greens Fremantle candidate Dorinda Cox has attacked Labor’s Josh Wilson over his party’s support for the offshore detention of asylum seekers, accusing him of lacking compassion after a… Nathan Hondros WAtoday Ms Cox urged Mr Wilson to support closing offshore detention centres on Manus and Nauru and “bring the refugees to Australia”. “I know Fremantle,” Ms Cox said. “This is a progressive and caring community and we are absolutely horrified by the organised suffering going on in offshore camps that ... Read More »