Friday 29 June 2018
1 As I was basking in the sunshine of my granddaughter’s birthday party last weekend, watching their childish frivolity, their laughter and their naughtiness – the inventiveness of their play, in staggered flickering pictures I was taken back to the body of a little boy washed up on the shore like a rag doll.
It’s a picture that has remained indelible on my mind but is now erased by one depicting another little boy looking up at the President of the United States. It’s on the front cover of Time Magazine.
Both pictures in their own way depict man’s inhumanity to children of a lessor responsibility. Kids of insignificance. Leaders suggest we shouldn’t be that bothered because they aren’t us: they are of another creed. Australia’s reputation in the treatment of other nations brings tears to the eyes of an old man desirous of pride in his place of birth.
Oscar Cásares in a piece for the Washington Post tells an amazing story about children crying that captures the essence of the language of crying:
“There’s a reason we took a collective gasp when we saw the photo of the bloodied and ash-covered face of a 5-year-old Syrian boy after an airstrike hit his family’s home in Aleppo, or the image of a 3-year-old Syrian boy whose drowned body had washed up on a Turkish beach, or even further back, the iconic photo of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl, naked and terrified after her village was scorched with napalm. That wasn’t a Republican or Democratic or independent gasp — it was just a gasp, proof of our shared humanity.
We are wired to take care of those more vulnerable. This is what we do as humans.”
We always pick up the baby first.
At this point I wonder if at the beginning of any peace conference if it would make any difference if the participants were given a baby of another race, in a bassinet to look after for the duration of the conference.
When the babies all began crying for their milk in unison would the politicians “pick up the baby.”? What would they do? One would hope that they wouldn’t reach for a jacket with “I really don’t care. Do U? ”Silk screened on the reverse.
Meanwhile in Australia I read that “In three weeks, Bernadette Romulo will be sent back to the Philippines while her son remains in Australia.”
“I don’t know where to start,” Romulo says. “It’s painful every minute.
“Every day I remind him of what’s going to happen, I’m preparing him. I always tell him, always pray at night, always remember everything that I tell you, be kind to people, spread love to everyone.
“And then I always tell him … I don’t want him to be angry about what happened. He is angry and he wakes up in the morning and he’s angry. He’s a child, he doesn’t really understand things at the moment. I help him, I say keep praying and I will be there always.”
THIS IS NOT THE AUSTRALIA I GREW UP IN.
THOUGHTS FROM 2015
2 On this day in 2015 I wrote The PM gets what he wants from The Murdoch papers? What an utter disgrace. He knows whose side Rupert is on. Front pages of The Courier Mail and The Daily Telegraph are totality reprehensible and a leader with any character would say so.
3 Also in 2015. A week is a long time in politics. Last week in parliament the PM was enthusiastic in his praise for the ABCs production of The Killing Season. This week he wants to know whose side they are on. Pathetic hypocrisy but totality predictable. I note that Peter Greste says Q&A with Zaky Mallah ‘didn’t cross the line’ to incitement. He says the government is shooting the messenger in slamming the program.
I thought Richard Ackland got it right with this quote:
“The hysteria over Zaky Mallah on Q&A would make Joseph McCarthy proud.”
The public have faith in the ABC, as shown by this week’s Essential poll, which found the most trusted media were ABC TV news and current affairs (63%), SBS TV news and current affairs (61%) and ABC radio news and current affairs (58%).
4 I am assuming Andrew Bolt will come out strongly in support of Zaky Mallah’s right to free speech in his column this week.
Come on, Aunty, defend yourself
AND ANOTHER THOUGHT
In case you didn’t know, Murdoch’s share of English newspapers is 34% but in Australia his newspaper titles account for 59% of all sales of daily newspapers, with sales of 17.3 million papers per week, making him the most influential newspaper publisher by a considerable margin. His closest rival, Fairfax Media has 22 per cent.
MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
“I feel people on the right of politics in Australia show an insensitivity to the common good that goes beyond any thoughtful examination. They have hate on their lips and their hate starts with the beginning of a smile.”