Humanity

Fraser Anning staffer and alleged Nazi enthusiast employed by Home Affairs

The political staffer accused of writing Fraser Anning’s infamous “final solution” speech and holding an obsession with Nazi Germany is employed by the federal government agency managing Australia’s immigration program, it… Nicole Hasham The Age The staffer, Richard Howard, is on unpaid leave from the Department of Home Affairs and has left the door open to returning should Senator Anning fail to be re-elected in May. However Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo on Friday said if any staff member was ... Read More »

Eminent Byzantinist Dr. Speros Vryonis, Jr., Supporter of Armenian Studies, Dies

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Eminent Byzantinist and historian Dr. Speros Vryonis, Jr. passed away on March 11 peacefully in his sleep at the age of 90. Aram Arkun The Armenian Mirror-Spectator Vryonis wrote extensively on Byzantine, Balkan and Greek history. Secondarily, he contributed to the advancement of Armenology through his research in Byzantine history, his unwavering stand against shoddy scholarship and… Incongruously, or at least unexpectedly, combining a Southern twang and courtesy with ancient Greek aphorisms, Vryonis was witty and gregarious. ... Read More »

NT to pass new youth justice laws that contradict Don Dale findings

Northern Territory laws to clarify how and when guards can use force, restraints and isolation on children Lorena Allam and Helen Davidson The Guardian The Northern Territory is set to pass controversial youth justice laws that clarify how and when guards can use force, restraints and “separation” (isolation) on children in its two detention centres, Don Dale and Alice Springs. “This is about backing our frontline staff and their ability to make decisions under difficult circumstances,” the territory families minister, Dale Wakefield, ... Read More »

Harmony in Australia Means Stop Racist Dog-Whistling

Long History of Politicians Stoking Fears Over Refugees Elaine Pearson HRW Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, known in Australia as Harmony Day. It’s especially relevant given last Friday’s attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, where an Australian right-wing extremist gunned down at least 50 people and wounded dozens more in two mosques. The attacker livestreamed the shootings and… New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has shown leadership with compassion and… Harmony in Australia… Read More »

Big gods came after the rise of civilisations, not before, finds study using huge historical database

When you think of religion, you probably think of a god who rewards the good and punishes the wicked. Authors: The Conversation But the idea of morally concerned gods is by no means universal. Social scientists have long known that small-scale traditional societies – the kind missionaries used to dismiss as “pagan” – envisaged a spirit world that cared little about the… Their concern was less about whether humans behaved nicely towards one another and more about whether they carried ... Read More »

“Dear Prime Minister …”: An Open Letter to Jacinda Ardern

Dear Prime Minister Ardern, I am a 13-year-old Muslim girl from Australia and I would like to publicly share my appreciation with you. Summer Joyan ABC I belong to the generation that was born after 11 September 2001. I have never really contemplated how dark the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant language is that permeates Australian society, because it is all I have ever known. I guess I’ve become used to hearing political leaders use that same language. But then, after seeing ... Read More »

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth

Fifty innocent people lost their lives in last week’s terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. By Recep Tayyip Erdogan The Washington Post March 19 Recep Tayyip Erdogan is president of Turkey. Dozens of other Muslims, who had gathered at local mosques to perform the Friday prayer, survived the assault with injuries. There were many historical references on the murder weapons and in a manifesto that the suspected terrorist published online. The number of times he mentioned both Turkey and myself was both curious and worth ... Read More »

It is now beyond question that the Tory party is institutionally Islamophobic

There is a very serious problem of anti-Muslim bigotry inside the Conservative Party and the problem gets deeper all the time. Peter Oborne Middle East Eye It’s just under two weeks since I last wrote in Middle East Eye about the noxious anti-Muslim bigotry that infests Theresa May’s Conservative party. I make no apology for doing so again in light of the eruption of two more very serious problems. Toxic Islamophobia The first of these concerns last night’s very troubling revelation by ... Read More »

Christchurch attacks provide a new ethics lesson for professional media

Two basic rules of media ethics apply to the coverage of terrorism: avoid giving unnecessary oxygen to the terrorist, and avoid unnecessarily violating standards of public decency. Denis Muller The Conversation The way to do this is to apply a test of necessity: what is necessary to publish to give the public a sufficiently comprehensive account of what has happened? Significant elements in the Australian media – mainly commercial television, the online platform of News Corp and that company’s… Christchurch ... Read More »

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk who introduced mindfulness to the West, prepares to die

Thich Nhat Hanh, the monk who popularized mindfulness in the West, has returned home to Vietnam to enjoy the rest of his life. Brooke Schedneck The Conversation Devotees from many parts of the world are visiting the ailing 92-year-old, who has retired to a Buddhist temple outside Hue. This thoughtful and accepting approach to his own failing health seems fitting for the popular Buddhist teacher, whose followers include a thousand Buddhist communities around the world and millions more who have ... Read More »

From Aramoana to Christchurch: A Shorthand of New Zealand’s Relationship With Guns

Nearly 30 years ago, a mass shooting in a small town reshaped how New Zealand regulates gun ownership. The attack in Christchurch could have a similar effect. Chris Fitch The Atlantic On a Tuesday in November 1990, the sleepy town of Aramoana was burned into New Zealand’s collective consciousness. The 13 residents killed in a gun rampage that shocked the nation were, until Friday’s attacks in Christchurch, victims of the country’s worst-ever mass shooting, one that opened a widespread reevaluation of New ... Read More »

Why is Turkey’s presence in Afrin, Syria any different than the West Bank?

Turkey’s continued role in Afrin, a year after military occupation began in March 2018, is under spotlight as US State Department and UN highlight abuses. Seth J. Frantzman JPost Military occupation. Stolen olives. Checkpoints. Accusations of theft of property, land confiscation, demographic change and settlers. These are claims usually leveled at Israel’s role in the West Bank, but in the last year Turkey and Syrian groups it backs have been accused of similar violations in northwestern Syria. The area of ... Read More »

The psychology of fear and hate, and what each of us can do to stop it

As an immigrant to New Zealand, I am saddened and outraged by the events in Christchurch. The apparent innocence of New Zealand has been stripped away by acts of cowardice and evil. Stephen Croucher The Conversation Police remain on high alert and authorities are still responding to events following the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch that took the lives of 50 people and seriously injured many more. Three people have been arrested, and one, an Australian living in New ... Read More »

A letter to our leaders: as Australian Muslims we live in fear, please remember our pain

How is it right that in our parliament it is OK to call Islam a ‘disease’, it is OK to refer to a ‘final solution’, it is OK to ridicule our religious attire? Anonymous The Guardian Dear Mr Morrison and Mr Shorten, I am an Australian Muslim woman. I am highly educated and hold a professional job. In fact, I spend a great deal of my working life with the Australian legal system. I am a wife. I am a ... Read More »

How European ideas motivated Christchurch killer

The self-described ‘fascist’ may have picked up ideas during a trip to France in 2017. Europe can’t turn a blind eye to the Christchurch killings. By NICHOLAS VINOCUR Politico Even though the attack happened on the other side of the world, the man who carried it out declared that he started his planning after a trip to France — inspired by ideas that have filtered into right-wing discourse across the European Union. The links were on display in a 73-page manifesto ... Read More »

The Darkest Hours: Power Outages Raise the Temperature in Venezuela

The crippling blackouts across Venezuela are a grim portent of things to come as U.S. oil sanctions kick in and the country’s crisis deepens. Phil Gunson ICG All concerned to end Venezuelans’ suffering should vigorously pursue a negotiated transition leading to a power-sharing deal. On Thursday 7 March, at around five in the afternoon, the lights went out in Venezuela. Within a couple of hours, as the tropical night descended, around 90 per cent of the country was plunged into ... Read More »