Tag Archives: anti-war

I Am A Racist

Are you a good parent? Do you love your child? Would you would do anything to save it from harm?

“Yes,” you say.

And I reply, “That is what makes you and me racists!”

Harsh words in these days of political correctness yet perhaps they reveal a truth about humanity which is being hidden from us by those who believe the word is the thing. The “word-nazis” who believe that if we all say we are not racist, then we are not racist.

Shall we set up a small “mind game”. Imagine that your four year old daughter has a friend over for the night. They’re both sleeping in the same room which catches fire. In breaking down the door to their bedroom, you have dislocated a shoulder.  You now have only one arm to carry a child out of the burning room. Both children are equally within reach. Which child do you grab?

An impossible situation in which to make an instantaneous life and death decision. A decision we all hope we would no have to make. I will try to be as honest as possible here. I would grab MY daughter. I think most parents would do the same. Because my daughter is more important to me than my neighbour’s child.

Let’s leave that mind game. It just stopped being fun. The conclusion you came to, though, is important.

It follows from that conclusion that my family is more important to me than your family. This is so obvious that it hardly needs repeating. By extension, the people in my extended family or my neighborhood are more important to me than those people on the other side of the city. When my children’s school plays sport against the school from the other side of town, I support MY school.

Even more important is the City Team, basketball, baseball, football or tiddlywinks. It doesn’t matter. I support my City team against your City team.

Our civic officials know how important it is for them to win that big new factory for our city than it is for the next city down the highway. It means jobs for OUR city. The fact that there will be no jobs for that city down the highway is just their bad luck. We are looking after our own citizens.

I think you can see where this is leading. Me and mine are always more important to me than you or yours.

This is true at family level, city level, state level and at country level. It is also true at a language level and at a racial level.

We are all racist.

It is how we react to that truth which determines whether we are good human beings or not.

It is impossible to like everyone in the world. Heck, there are people in my family I don’t particularly like. But those people, I mean, those supporters of the opposition tiddlywinks team MUST know they are supporting cheats. Those men in that army we are fighting really are bad people who will destroy our civilisation, given the chance. Of course, we are fighting this war to change THEIR civilisation, but that is an unimportant distinction and should never appear in the media or in the public conscience.

There is every reason to dislike people who are different. Yet we see examples of different groups combining for a common cause. It may be opposing Soccer teams combining into a national team to compete at the Olympics or in the World Cup. It may be groups of people from different states forming into a unified national defence force.

Who are they going to defend against? Why, those people who are defending their own city, state, nation. Of course there are reasons for war between countries and races. Often not the reasons which we are told. If we depend on oil for our economy then we must make certain of its availability. If we have too many people for our water supply, then we must ensure a greater water supply and if it means taking it from those people over there, then so be it. If our population is too large for our available land supply, then we must increase our land area. Sorry, in this time of rising sea levels, neighbours, we have to move you out.

There will now be a couple of new words invented. I cannot find recognised English words to use for the exact thoughts I need to express. “Them-ist” refers to that quality other groups of people possess which causes me to mis-trust or dislike. “Us-ist” refers to that quality members of my group possesses which cause me to like and trust them.

All this seems to be a long way from saving your daughter from a fire. Going backwards through all the steps, it is simply a difference in degree. There is no way that we can overcome this, maybe not “racist” but perhaps “them-ist” problem, even with religion. Religions are inherently exclusive. Yet there is still one final hope.

Many of us know the story of the groups of German and English soldiers in the First World War at Christmas, 1915. They both fell into the Christmas spirit, sang carols together and walked into “No-Man’s Land” where they talked together and exchanged gifts. Their generals recognised the danger of this sort of behaviour and moved both regiments to different areas of the front line.

CS Lewis once wrote;
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
‘What!  You, too?  I thought I was the only one.’ ”

With Twitter and Facebook and all the other platforms we have the chance to make friends. In making friends from all over the world we have a chance of overcoming the “Them-ist” prejudices which are built into the human psyche. Suddenly we realise that the friend we are communicating with on the internet is supposed to be one of “Them”. But that friend is just like me. The same likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, failures and successes. If we become enemies, we are tearing an “Us-ist” group apart.

I have made friends all over the world through social media in all its forms. The people I have met and made friends with have met and be-friended others. In the continuation of that series of small steps, there is hope for mankind.

In spite of our inbuilt racism.

(I first wrote this essay decades ago. Every now and then I return to it and make changes which I hope improve it. In its last incarnation it was a blog post in 2006. I know it exceeds my self-imposed 1000 word limit)

For Eli

I spend a bit of time on Honjii’s blog.

She is a dab hand at playing with Photoshop and I may steal more of her evil doings.

She also writes some very powerful rants. The sort of rant I once thought I could write.

And she finds some of the most powerful stuff on the internet.

If you are ready to be hit by a sledgehammer, take a look at Andrea Gibson at the 2006 poetry slam.

And remember that this was two years ago. How much more human misery has been caused during that two years by the recalcitrant wilfulness of the current American mal-administration?

Unwarranted sexist assumptions about Honjii corrected  and forgiveness requested  :)

Half a Century of Peace, Protesting

Fifty years ago, on a chilly Good Friday, thousands of British anti-nuclear campaigners set off to march the 50 miles from London’s Trafalgar Square to the weapons factory at Aldermaston. The demonstration had been organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined them.

Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. He combined the semaphore signs for “N” and “D” into what has become one of the iconic symbols of the modern world.


“I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad.” Mr Holtom explained.American pacifist Ken Kolsbun, who corresponded with Mr Holtom until his death in 1985, has written a book, “Peace: The biography of a symbol”, to commemorate its 50th birthday. In it he charts how it was transported across the Atlantic and took on additional meanings for the Civil Rights movement, the counter-culture of the 1960s and 70s including the anti-Vietnam protests, and the environmental, women’s and gay rights movements.In just over a decade, the sign had been carried by civil rights “freedom” marchers, painted on psychedelic Volkswagens in San Francisco, and on the helmets of US soldiers on the ground in Vietnam. The peace sign was adopted by the counter-culture movement. “The sign really got going over here during the 1960s and 70s, when it became associated with anti-Vietnam protests,” he said.

As the combat escalated, he says, so did the anti-war protests and the presence of the symbol. “This, of course, led some people to condemn it as a communist sign,” says Mr Kolsbun. “There has always been a lot of misconception and disinformation about it.”

As the sign became a badge of the burgeoning hippie movement of the late 1960s, the hippies’ critics scornfully compared it to a chicken footprint, and drew parallels with the runic letter indicating death. In 1970, my favourite stalking horse, the conservative John Birch Society, published pamphlets likening the sign to a Satanic symbol of an upside-down, “broken” cross.

While it remained a key symbol of the counter-culture movement throughout the 1970s, it returned to its origins in the 1980s, when it became the banner of the international grassroots anti-nuclear movement.

Free Burma

Today, October 4th, is


International Bloggers’ Day for Burma

Support the Monks, Support the People

Remember the Dead!

Missing Person

After four unsuccessful years of war, thousands of casualties (well, alright, tens of thousands of casualties) and sending the USA almost bankrupt, the Bush Administration has finally decided to get serious about finding that Bin Laden Guy!


The Iapple Irack

This has been around for a while but it is worth watching again!

101 Uses For A John Howard #74

 Desperation is setting in in the great USA.

Some even see the Heads of State APEC meeting later this week in Sydney as a chance for Australia’s John Howard to impart some wisdom to George W Bush.

It won’t happen!

Great cartoonist Kudelka shows us why!

Mark Latham: a man not averse to calling it like he saw it and “conga line of suckholes” was some of his best work. Dress up your old vacuum cleaner as George W, point John W at the appropriate orifice, whack on some conga music and the awesome suction power of the Liberal Party is at your service.It’s been worked out by reputable scientists acting on the best data available to them at the time that if John Howard were attached to the rectum of a real human being who he was convinced was either George W Bush, the Queen, a talkback radio presenter or any past or present Test cricketer, he would suck that person’s brain right out their backside. Some conjecture is that this has already occurred with at least one of the above.

Pictured here with the optional extra Alexander Downer module, the Howard CongaCleaner™ is suctioning up the gigatons of bullshit still festooning the landscape of Iraq. Even with industrial strength bullshit-inhaling capacity available, it’s going to be quite a long time before The Job Is Done, but at least we know now what The Job is.