October, 2012

“I was the last one in the death link”: A response to Samuel Maoz’s Lebanon

, Oct 24, 2012

As with Ari Folman’s animated documentary Waltz with Bashir, this film is most commonly viewed as a confession, by a former Israeli soldier, about his part in the 1982 Lebanon War. Indeed, in interview, director Samuel Maoz confines his remarks to the personal. As in: “I cannot escape the fact that I was the last one in the […]

Exercise caution with KONY 2012

, Mar 08, 2012

A brief comment on the KONY 2012 that has flooded social media over the last two days. I would suggest exercising extended  critical reflection on the issue before further circulating it. The issue is not as black and white as it is painted nor will any good solution come easily. Invisible Children’s suggestion of a […]
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A response to Luca Lana’s Eclipse 1

, Mar 02, 2012

The Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – all attach an unrivalled degree of sacredness to the city of Jerusalem. Even today for their followers it remains a symbolic source of theological, scientific and aesthetic purity. But nothing of religion, science or art is natural – all ideas and institutions are constructed by human society. Put […]

Notes from Occupied Melbourne, 2012

, Feb 15, 2012

a) Why, it’s kicking off everywhere… except Melbourne It’s been a wild year. After two to three years of seeming paralysis after the GFC, things kicked off. Indeed, as Paul Mason’s timely canvassing of the issue says, it appears to be kicking off everywhere. Everywhere except Australia. A pedal through Melbourne’s leafy north-east the other […]

What do we mean by ‘sexist’ when we refer to the criticisms of Gillard?

, Feb 09, 2012

The lack of agreement on the question of whether undue criticism of Gillard is sexist boils down to how we think about sexism. Is sexism something we view at an individual level or a wider social structural level? Is it still sexism, when gender discrimination occurs at a structural level? Before addressing this, I’d just […]

From the Worrier Pose to Narcissisasana (and Back): why it might be no bad thing if yoga wrecks you

, Feb 02, 2012

We know how yoga can wreck your body. But I wonder: isn’t it more that we’ve wrecked yoga? In other words: ask not what your yoga is doing to you; ask what we are doing to our yoga. Responding adequately to that question would require knowing about how yoga ought to be, ideally. I have […]

Homeland: TBH TV Review

, Jan 31, 2012

Airing on Sunday nights is a new TV drama, Homeland, which explores the phenomenon of ‘sleeper cells’. Understandably, this show seeks to position itself as something other than an alarmist Bush-era program about terrorists. In this case the potential sleeper agent is a serving marine. Ultimately, however, this plot innovation is really just an elaborate […]

Update: Colbert’s (sort of) presidential campaign

, Jan 27, 2012

Last week, comedian Stephen Colbert announced his entry into mucky world of American electoral politics with a satirical bid for nomination in the Republican South Carolina primary. In this short space of time Colbert was able to momentarily overshadow the deep banality of the Republican nomination process and cast attention on the absurd system of […]
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Celebrate Australia Day, $3.99!

, Jan 25, 2012

Australia Day used to be controversial. I kinda liked that. I remember going to the Big Day Out in Sydney 1996 on Australia Day and hearing Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha do a big rant about Invasion Day, and feeling stirred when the crowd roared in approval. I should add: no one, […]

Fitter, happier, more productive: this yoga harms?

, Jan 24, 2012

By this stage in January, your resolutions are probably in the process of being sorely tested. Especially when the tennis is on, the sun is shining, and the afternoons are just so dreamily endless and given to, well, drinking beer. Well, I speak for myself… I just finished an introductory course at a yoga school […]

A.Q. Khan’s fourth customer: India?

, Jan 18, 2012

Oddly enough, Playboy Magazine has uncovered something that should interest all Australian parliamentarians. Given the Labor Party has just lifted the ban on uranium exports to India, I believe it has the capacity the cast any future deal in doubt. In sum, the article by Joshua Pollack concerns an already infamous Pakistani and a group of Indian nuclear […]

Stephen Colbert is running for president… well sort of

, Jan 17, 2012

Amidst an increasingly nasty lead-up to the upcoming South Carolina Republican primary, yesterday saw the release of an attack ad accusing the overwhelming favorite candidate Mitt Romney of being a serial killer. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW0JTcYeKXg[/youtube] If this campaign ad seems a little bit odd or over the top it is because it was released to support Stephen […]

Gambaro’s migrant hygiene policy stinks

, Jan 11, 2012

It says a lot about a major political party when their shadow spokesperson for ‘Citizenship’ comes out with a statement about migrants predicated on offensive racism. Gambaro attempted to reignite national debate over Australian multiculturalism with a statement about migrants on skilled working visas needing ‘cultural awareness training’ on hygiene and social etiquette, including being […]

The silencing of West Papua

, Jan 09, 2012

In February 1995, Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto announced three deals that secured access into Grasberg, a massive gold and copper mine in the Indonesian province of West Papua. This is the story of why the mine has been deemed "gorssly unethical" by the Norwegian government.
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Leste we forget: what lies beneath East Timor

, Jan 01, 2012

Expats and Timorese working for the UN, NGOs and in government have differing views as to what will happen in 2012 as the election season approaches and UNMIT withdraws. What we do know, however, is that there are more than just grenades beneath the surface in East Timor, says Mark Notaras

Lest We Remember: reflecting on SIEV 221, one year on

, Dec 21, 2011

What follows is the final in a three-part series of three related reflections on the anniversary of SIEV 221, the Christmas Island Boat Tragedy. Here are parts one and two. Part Three: Getting the message What is the message of border security, and who is its intended recipient? The imputed message is for the categorically […]

Lest We Remember: reflecting on SIEV 221, one year on

, Dec 19, 2011

What follows is the second in a series of three related reflections on the anniversary of SIEV 221, the Christmas Island Boat Tragedy. Part Two: It *must* have been the weather… The ocean is inherently hazardous, yet our culture has no word for fortuna, or the Gods. After technology, the other general lesson the reports’ […]

Lest We Remember: reflecting on SIEV 221, one year on

, Dec 15, 2011

What follows is the first in a series of three related reflections on the anniversary of SIEV 221, the Christmas Island Boat Tragedy. Part One: The integral accident In the dark reflection of the one-year anniversary of the shipwreck of SIEV 221 – the Christmas Island Boat Tragedy – it’s time to ask ourselves and […]

Australia’s Middle East diaspora on the competing “harms” of the Israeli BDS campaign

, Dec 13, 2011

Last month I approached five members of the Middle East diaspora resident in Australia to each discuss, in their own words, the following proposition: “To what extent is the ‘Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Against Israel’ campaign effective at balancing competing “harms” – the use of ”non-violent” harm to injure Israel economically, politically, reputationally and militarily and the […]
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Moammar Mashni on the boycott, divestment and sanction of Israel (Discussant 5 of 5)

, Dec 13, 2011

Moammar Mashni responds to This Blog Harms' NAJ Taylor, who asks: "To what extent is the BDS effective at balancing competing "harms" - the use of "non-violent" harm to injure Israel economically, politically, reputationally and militarily and the relief of the "violent harm" endured by Palestinians under Israeli occupation? How useful is a campaign that "balances competing harms" for the Israeli and Palestinian, as well as Jewish and Muslim, diaspora - and wider Middle Eastern community - in Australia?"