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.

cnd_logo_203.jpg

“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!

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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.

I Am a Recovering Thinker


“It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then — just to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone — “to relax,” I told myself — but I knew it wasn’t true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother’s.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don’t mix, but I couldn’t help myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau, Muir, Confucius and Kafka. I would return to the office dazed and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we are doing here?”

One day the boss called me in. He said, “Listen, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don’t stop thinking on the job, you’ll have to find another job.”

This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss. “Honey,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking…”

“I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!”

“But honey, surely it’s not that serious.”

“It is serious,” she said, lower lip aquiver. “You think as much as college professors and college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won’t have any money!”

“That’s a faulty syllogism,” I said impatiently.

She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.

“I’m going to the library,” I snarled as I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors. They didn’t open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. Leaning on the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye, “Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?” it asked.

You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinkers Anonymous poster.

This is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was “Porky’s.” Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed…easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

I believe the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

Today I took the final step… I joined the Republican Party. “

Thanks, dorid. 

P!nk Unicorn


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The Power of Protest Returns


I’m old.

I’m a grumpy old man. A Curmudgeon.

When I was young I believed all of us young people could change the world.

With the power of the poets and the lyricists.

We almost did.

But the old people prevailed.

Now I am old and grumpy because I failed.

What was worse than failing was that it seemed my children, and their whole generation, had turned their back on all that I had hoped for. That their job was more important than changing the world. My heroes, the protesting poets, faded into obscurity and they were not replaced.

Then, last night, at a small family gathering to celebrate the youngest tadpole’s birthday, the Bullfrog showed me a segment of a music video.

The world may yet be saved. The protest poets are not dead, just fewer and mostly silenced.

But this one slipped through the guard of the music publishing censors. And the young people are listening again.

At Wembley stadium – – –

Continue reading

We Need Another 9/11


I’ve been over at the Road to Surfdom having the wits scared out of me.

Just a simple report from a Philadelphia Newspaper, published just five days ago..

It begins;

To save America, we need another 9/11

ONE MONTH from The Anniversary, I’m thinking another 9/11 would help America.

Head over to Philly.com to read the rest of this genuinely scary offering.

The wingnuts are way outa control!

101 Uses For A John Howard #60


Leading Australian political cartoonist, kudelka, again says what we have all thought but never dared to articulate. Although the world would have been a better place without its garden gnomes, Napoleon and Little Johnny.

Who can honestly say they haven’t gone out for a big Saturday on the piss and woken up on Sunday morning facing a pounding hangover, a grinning garden gnome and an ever-expanding black cloud of remorse and dismay? Well, if that sounds like your last four federal elections, you’re not alone, though admittedly most hangovers don’t last 3 years and rather than being humped around the world in a backpack, the gnome gets its own private jet.

Lawn ornament has been the most suggested post-retirement occupation for our Man Of Plaster, and what better lawn for him to adorn than the grassy sward in front of the White House? Frozen conveniently in the Suckhole Position he could provide succour to American Presidents for years to come. An added bonus is that no other country’s likely to nick him, no matter how pissed they might be at the time.

A comment made by a reader on the above cartoon was brilliantly insightful.
Surely there is an enterprising Young Liberal out there who can cut his entrepreneurial teeth on the bulk manufacture of this magnificent icon. Supporters of the Born To Rule Party can sport them in their dried up lawns, just in front of the flag pole.

In centuries to come, quizzical archeologists from alien realms will ponder the abundance of these miniature totems, correctly assuming they were a last ditch effort to placate the Great God Satan for the continued reign of His Chosen One at the arse end of the world.

Study: Iraqis May Experience Sadness When Friends, Relatives Die


July 25, 2007

CHAPEL HILL, NC—A field study released Monday by the University of North Carolina School of Public Health suggests that Iraqi citizens experience sadness and a sense of loss when relatives, spouses, and even friends perish, emotions that have until recently been identified almost exclusively with Westerners.

“We were struck by how an Iraqi reacts to the sight of the bloody or decapitated corpse of a family member in a way not unlike an American, or at the very least a Canadian, would,” said Dr. Jonathan Pryztal, chief author of the study. “In addition to the rage, bloodlust, and hatred we already know to dominate the Iraqi emotional spectrum, it appears that they may have some capacity, however limited, for sadness.”

Though Pryztal was quick to add that more detailed analysis is needed, he said the findings cast some doubt on long-held assumptions about human nature in that region.

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, it seems that Iraqis do indeed experience at least minor feelings of grief when a best friend or a grandparent is ripped apart by a car bomb or shot execution style and later unearthed in a shallow mass grave,” Prytzal said. “Last December’s suicide-bomb killing of 71 Shiites in Baghdad, for example, produced unexpected reactions ranging from crumpled, sobbing despair to silent, dazed shock.”

Iraqis have often been observed weeping and wailing in apparent anguish, but the study offers evidence indicating this may not be exclusively an outward expression of anger or a desire for revenge. It also provocatively suggests that this grief can possess an American-like personal quality, and is not simply a tribal lamentation ritual.

Said Pryztal: “When trying to understand the psychology of the Iraqi citizenry after four years of war, think of a small American town roiled by the death of a well-known high school football player.”

According to Pryztal, the intensity of the grief does not diminish if the mourner experiences multiple bereavements over time. “If a woman has already lost one child, the subsequent killings of other children will evoke similar responses,” he said. “In the majority of cases we studied, it appeared as though those who lost multiple kids never actually got used to it.”

Though Pryztal expects the results of the study may be of some interest to students of Arab psychology, he did concede that the data may not be entirely accurate because it was gathered directly from Iraqis themselves.

“Almost all the Iraqis we interviewed said the war had ruined their lives because of the incalculable loss of friends and family,” Pryztal said. “But to be totally honest, these types of studies can be skewed rather easily by participant exaggeration.”

Psychologists and anthropologists have thus far largely discounted the study, claiming it has the same bias as a 1971 Stanford University study that concluded that many Vietnamese showed signs of psychological trauma from nearly a quarter century of continuous war in southeast Asia.

“We are, in truth, still a long way from determining if Iraqis are exhibiting actual, U.S.-grade sadness,” Mayo Clinic neuropsychologist Norman Blum said. “At present, we see no reason for the popular press to report on Iraqi emotions as if they are real.”

Pryztal said that his research group would next examine whether children in Sudan prefer playing with toys or serving as guerrilla fighters and killing innocent civilians.

The Onion

(Published in the Archive without alteration or comment. The “Humor” tag was added in a moment of blackness)

Louise Barry Speaks


What they won’t advertise on TV!

I have blatantly stolen this from Ashleigh.

If you are an Australian and value your country, please steal it and post it on your blog as well.

A Shoggoth on the Roof


There are some things man was not meant to adapt to musical theatre...

And one of them is the Cthulhu Mythos! (For those who came in late, this is a history researched by the arcane academic, HP Lovecraft, in that quiet space between the two world wars of the previous century and retold by him as gothic horror fiction.)

Some blasphemers have created an unnatural marriage between The Deep Old Ones and Fiddler on the Roof. (For those who came in late, “Fiddler on the Roof” was a musical production which first saw the light of day in that quiet space between the beginning and the end of the Vietnam war.)

As I clicked on the source of this unspeakable horror I felt a moment of absolute despair while I was transported to a maze of unhuman masonry where I heard, to the tune of “If I Were A Rich Man”:

If I were a Deep One
blub blub blub blub, blub blub blub blub
blub blub blub blub, blub blub blub
all day long I’d swim beneath the sea
if I were a Dee-eep One
terrify the tourists
blub blub blub blub, blub blub blub blub
blub blub blub blub, blub blub blub
if I were an icky icky fish
scaly slippery frog-eyed kind of man

Then, to my everlasting terror, I found additional sound-bytic horrors and even a chance to purchase the entire CD!

No matter how amusing you may find this work, never forget the warning given by HP Lovecraft himself;

“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction have hitherto harmed us little; but someday the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

Other Cthulhu related posts on this blog may be found here, here, here, here, here, here,
here,
here and here.