Historical

The refugee crisis isn’t about refugees. It’s about us

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I was a child refugee, writes the Chinese artist and activist. I know how it feels to live in a camp, robbed of my humanity. Refugees must be seen to be an essential part of our shared humanity Ai Weiwei The Guardisn I was born in 1957, the same year China purged more than 300,000 intellectuals, including writers, teachers, journalists and whoever dared to criticise the newly established communist government. As part of a series of campaigns led by what ... Read More »

Dunkirk and Darkest Hour fuel Brexit fantasies – even if they weren’t meant to

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The glorious myths of Britain’s wartime role are gaining ground Ian Jack The Guardian Unfortunately for our understanding of Britain’s past and our estimate of its likely future, the Oscars have no category for the untrue: “for the movie”, as the host might put it as he or she fingers the envelope, “that most energetically disrespects the historical record”. If there were, two contenders high on this year’s fibbers’ list would be Dunkirk and Darkest Hour – films that between ... Read More »

Invasion Day Post

Invation Day Post 1a Arnold Zable LLLL

A line comes to mind in contemplating those who have come to our shores over the past two centuries ‘They came from the old world to the new, only to discover it was far more ancient than the old.’ Arnold Zable Twenty-two years ago, 1995. I am standing in front of a map of the State of Victoria as seen through Aboriginal eyes. Dated 1836 till 1853, titled The Massacre Map, it marks over sixty sites of known killings of ... Read More »

Inconvenient fact: Native title can only exist if Australia was settled, not invaded

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January is here and the invasion versus settlement debate is back making news headlines The Prime Minister wants to keep Australia Day as it is while the Greens are calling for the date to be changed Sherry Sufi * WAtoday We’ve all heard the generic talking points. Team ‘Invasion Day’ says 26 January is offensive to some Australians. Team ‘Australia Day’ says 26 January is a day for all Australians regardless. Yet there is a fundamental point which goes to ... Read More »

FYROM’s Zaev to discuss name push with Tsipras in Davos

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The name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will reportedly be discussed at a prime ministerial level in the next few days, reports from Skopje said on Friday. e kathimerini According to the tiny Balkan country’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the meeting will take place on January 24 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Even though Athens by late Friday had not confirmed the meeting, Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras described the ... Read More »

FYROM media reports UN mediator’s name proposals

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A website in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Thursday published the five names it claims United Nations negotiator Matthew Nimetz brought to table in talks the previous day between representatives from Athens and Skopje. e kathimerini According to the website www.mkd.mk, Nimetz proposed: Republika Nova Makedonija (Republic of New Macedonia); Republika Severna Makedonija (Republic of Northern Macedonia), Republika Gorna Makedonija (Republic of Upper Macedonia); Republika Vardarska Makedonija (Republic of Vardar Macedonia) and… Skopje raised new… FYROM media ... Read More »

Explainer: the evidence for the Tasmanian genocide

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At a public meeting in Hobart in the late 1830s, Solicitor-General Alfred Stephen, later Chief Justice of New South Wales, shared with the assembled crowd his solution for dealing with “the Aboriginal problem”. Kristyn Harman The Conversation If the colony could not protect its convict servants from Aboriginal attack “without extermination”, said Stephen, “then I say boldly and broadly exterminate!” Voluminous written and archaeological records and oral histories provide irrefutable proof that colonial wars were fought on Australian soil between ... Read More »

Martin Luther King’s Call to ‘Give Us the Ballot’ Is As Relevant Today as It Was in 1957

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And that’s a mark of how endangered voting rights are right now Martin Luther King Jr.’s first speech at the Lincoln Memorial was not his celebrated 1963 address at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. By Barbara Arnwine and John Nichols The Nation Six years earlier, when he was still a relative newcomer on the national scene, Dr. King addressed 25,000 civil-rights activists who had gathered at the memorial for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, ... Read More »

Meet the theologian who helped MLK see the value of nonviolence

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After this last tumultuous year of political rancor and racial animus, many people could well be asking what can sustain them over the next coming days: How do they make the space for self-care alongside a constant call to activism? Paul Harvey The Conversation Or, how do they turn off their phones, when there are more calls to be made and focus instead on inward cultivation? As a historian of American race and religion, I have studied how figures in ... Read More »

Essays On Air: Journeys to the underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety

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A central convention of Greek mythological narratives is katabasis, the hero’s journey to the underworld or land of the dead – and it’s a theme modern directors return to again and again. Sunanda Creagh Paul Salmond The Conversation That’s what we’re exploring today on our first episode of Essays On Air, a new podcast from The Conversation. It’s the audio version of our Friday essays, where we bring you the best and most beautiful writing from Australian researchers. In this ... Read More »

Cypriot veterans win right to claim damages over UK torture claims

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Government’s arguments against claim rejected, paving way for ex-guerrillas to sue for alleged abuse during independence fight Helena Smith The Guardian A high court judge has opened the way for 34 Greek Cypriots to seek damages from Britain, following claims of torture and human rights abuses at the hands of colonial forces during the island’s struggle for independence in the 1950s. Passing judgment at the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Justice Kerr dismissed the British government’s argument that Cypriot law applied in ... Read More »

There Is No Case for the Humanities

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Τhe humanities are not just dying. By some measures, they are almost dead. Justin Stover American Affairs In Scotland, the ancient Chairs in Humanity (which is to say, Latin) have almost disappeared in the last few decades: abolished, left vacant, or merged into chairs of classics. So too in the same period, the University of Oxford revised its famed Literae Humaniores course, “Greats,” into something resembling a technical classics degree. Both of these were long survivors, throwbacks to an era in which ... Read More »

Number of Russians who regret collapse of USSR hits 10-year high

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The number of Russians who regret the collapse of the Soviet Union has reached its highest level since 2009, with almost an equal share saying the event could have been avoided. RT A public opinion poll conducted by the independent Levada Center in late November this year found that 58 percent of Russians now regret the collapse of the USSR. Twenty-five percent said they felt no regret about this, while 16 percent could not describe their feelings in one word. ... Read More »

How China’s first emperor searched for elixir of life

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China’s first emperor launched an obsessive search for the elixir of life before dying aged 49 in 210 BCE, new archaeological research has revealed. BBC Qin Shi Huang, who created the world-famous terracotta army, ordered a nationwide hunt for the mythical potion. The quest is mentioned in 2000-year-old texts written on thousands of wooden slats – used in China before paper. They were found in 2002 at the bottom of a well in central Hunan province. The writings contain an ... Read More »

Che, Stalin, Mussolini and the Thinkers Who Loved Them

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Why are intellectuals and thinkers, who normally face persecution and risk under dictatorial regimes, nonetheless attracted to tyrants and would-be liberators? Aram Bakshian Jr. The National Interest  Paul Hollander, From Benito Mussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 325 pp., $29.99. WE LIVE in the age of self-proclaimed “public intellectuals,” although precisely what they are has never been adequately explained. Are public intellectuals, like public transportation, providers of a…  Che, Stalin, Mussolini… Read More »

Cuba postpones historic replacement of Castro

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Communist-run Cuba extended the term of its current leadership to April on Dec. 21, signaling a two-month delay in the historic handover from Raul Castro to a new president, while announcing tighter regulations on the non-state sector. HAVANA – Reuters Hurriyet Castro, 86, was originally set to step down in February after two consecutive terms, ending nearly 60 years of Castro brothers’ rule and marking a transition from the leaders of the 1959 revolution to a new, younger generation. The ... Read More »