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Jake Bilardi and the Helen Lovejoy Approach to Justifying War

Front page news in todays Herald Sun:

“PLOT TO BOMB US”

“Jihadi Jake’s plan to attack Melbourne”

The photograph of an eighteen year old boy stares back at us from the right of the headline. The article describes his blog posts, which detailed the boy’s fantasies of bombing Melbourne and carrying out grenade and knife attacks as “chilling”, and states that “chemicals” were found in the boy’s home. Jake Bilardi is now dead, allegedly as part of a suicide bombing which resulted in the deaths of ten or more people.

How hysterical has the media become to trot out this story as if it were proof of an existential threat to Australians everywhere?

In between lazy appeals to the public’s fear of ISIS, the article mentions that Jake Bilardi was intensely interested in world politics, and prior to his ‘radicalisation’ was an atheist. In a blog post Jake penned some weeks before his death, he states that he was “growing tired of the filthiness and corruption of Australian society” and that his research into the war on terror led him to form a “complete hatred and opposition to the entire system Australia and the majority of the world was based upon.”

We can all agree that the path Jake took was not an exemplary one. He chose to side with a group of fascists responsible for horrific crimes against humanity, an act that we must condemn wherever it occurs and whoever it involves.

But why, when context is so key to understanding these complex issues, is the Herald Sun not asking important, difficult questions?

The question we should be asking ourselves as a country is, what could we have done differently to prevent this from happening? We can blame ISIS until we’re blue in the face, the fact of the matter is that in doing so we are accomplishing nothing except for currying a feeling of moral, cultural and nationalistic superiority. Whether this is grounded or not, it confers no benefit to us as a community.

Jake’s mother had died several years prior to his involvement with ISIS, and friends and family point to this as a turning point for the boy, leading an already quiet young man to withdraw even further into himself. Where were the support services this human being needed? Where was the funding that could have provided those services, services which may have prevented his eventual death in a foreign land at the hands of sick old men? It was being spent on fighter jets and defence.

It’s true that we each have personal responsibility for the choices we make, and that as adults we bear the consequences for our actions. But Jake was not an adult. He was eighteen years old, a vulnerable, seemingly confused but intelligent young man looking for a sense of meaning and belonging in a world that had painfully wronged him. Why did we, as a people, not provide that for him? What is it about our culture that makes that search for meaning lead to the ranks of a bizarre quasi-religious militia on the other side of the world?

To use this child’s death as grist for the war mill is despicable behaviour, and the editors of the Herald Sun should be ashamed of the tone of the articles they allowed to be published this morning. We could have used this as an opportunity to ask ourselves what each of us can do to fix the endemic social problems here at home, and in doing so create a society so vastly preferable to religious extremism that it would be next to unthinkable to leave it to engage in such chaotic violence. We could have fostered some empathy with the real victims of this situation, the ten or more innocent human beings who may have lost their lives because of our inability to constructively criticise our own nation and implement support networks for those most in need, or perhaps with his family, who no doubt will experience vilification and hatred from the strikingly ISIS-like neoconservatives calling for a nuclear genocide in the middle east.

Mark Knight’s cartoon depicts Jake at his computer, surrounded by shadowy figures with culturally incorrect facial hair and overemphasised features, disturbingly reminiscent of antisemitic propaganda from the second world war. The caption reads, “you’re never alone on the internet.” A statement that is all too true, but that applies not just to the violent extremists overseas, but equally to their equivalents in our own parliament.

The Herald Sun’s comment:

“President Barack Obama may have to put American boots on the ground to stop the slaughter.”

Are we so afraid of the spectre of terrorism that it has become an acceptable behaviour for the mainstream media to sell war using the death of a child?

Whatever the answer to that question may be, we can be sure of one thing: if Obama puts American boots on the ground, the last thing we’ll see is an end to slaughter.


This article was originally published on the author’s blog, which you can find here.

31 comments

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  1. australianphotographcollector

    As sad and unfortunate as this deluded young mans death may be I dont believe as a society we could have prevented it unless attention had been brought to his circumstances and state of mind by those who knew him. One may ask whether any of his ‘conversations’ with ‘his brothers’ may have been overheard by our intelligence agencies and whether action could have been taken to circumvent his departure although what action could be taken next? He would have been incarcerated for terrorism and rightly so. His pointless death just serves to highlight the dangerous paths that a delusional mind can take.

  2. Kaye Lee

    I so agree that our government’s punitive approach is wrong. Our government is a reactionary one. It never seeks to address causes. Adaptation rather than mitigation on climate change. Defunding support groups, refuges and legal aid for victims of domestic violence. Defunding preventive health initiatives. Repealing gambling reform laws. We need more investment in addressing mental health.

    It is our vulnerable children who are being seduced and our reaction is to punish them and their families instead of addressing our failings in allowing this to happen. How have we failed these children that they feel so alienated in their own country, or why is such barbaric violence attractive – we need to understand and invest the time and care to make positive changes early and support those who are struggling.

  3. Jexpat

    The time is drawing near when the Murdoch press won’t be considered by most people to be little more than a fringe group -far out of touch with any “mainstream.”

  4. Rob Marsh

    @australianphoto, What I mean when I say, “what could we have done”, I’m not only talking about intervention services and tipoffs, I’m speaking to what we can change structurally about the way in which we as a society relate to one another, our basic mythology around what reality is and how to deal with it, and so on.

    Jiddu Krishnamurti I believe said it best when he described our predicament as a “crisis of consciousness”. I believe we can prevent these tragedies by profoundly shifting ourselves along ontological, epistemological, philosophical and cultural lines, and that with the rapid acceleration of technological sophistication and complexity, the quicker we do it, the better.

  5. Rob Marsh

    “How have we failed these children that they feel so alienated in their own country, or why is such barbaric violence attractive – we need to understand and invest the time and care to make positive changes early and support those who are struggling.”

    Agreed Kaye, and we each need to answer those questions for ourselves, and as part of a national dialogue on the issues around these cases.

  6. Annie B

    An excellent article by Rob Marsh.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    The Herald-Sun is a trashy rag that promotes fear, sensationalism and Murdochian principles of ‘how to sell newspapers’ …. all for big profit, mostly with garbage content, and far more suited to wrapping up mouldy, smelly and unusable foodstuffs.

    But I do so hope that Jexpats’ comments are correct – and come to being.

    The H-S proudly announces ( usually front page ) when Andrew Bolt gets his poisonous pen out and raves on ( see page X ). Yet it is purchased day in day out – and every damned word is believed, by the buyers of such a paper.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Kaye asks “why is such barbaric violence attractive “. … May I suggest that the types of ultra violent games available on X-Box et al, to young teens and some adults, has the effect of desensitising – particularly the young. They become used to the violence. ….. Not only that, but the content on TV these days – particularly from the U.S. but admittedly from elsewhere, is at the least aggressive – in all behaviour ( even sit-coms ) … and at worst, explicit in detail and violent, bloody confrontation. …. That’s just a couple of thoughts about it.

    And of course, the main object of the making of these games, and films / series on TV, is money and more money….. Never mind the impact on impressionable minds. It moves on from there – to marginalised youth who see some grisly purpose in war, and becoming a part of it. Hey presto – specific attainable terrorism beckons, aided and abetted by continual references to it from the Government and in the MSM – in volatile style.

    Advocating censorship ? Too late for that now perhaps, yet – going back not so far, censorship was simply accepted – it was seen to be the right thing to do – and it was done. No-one complained, civil libbers did not get up in arms about it. Censorship still prevails in many countries. The U.S. still has it – on their free-to-air TV networks ( from the last I heard ). Why not here – again ? ( oh yes, I know – our ” freedoms of choice ” that are being eroded daily anyway by the incumbent Government ).

    Enough already ……..

  7. old woman

    Why did the government not, as a body entrusted to the care of its people, have in place systems of support? Because there is no power or money in compassion…
    Unless you’re a new cager wanting to peddle your snake oil supplements or thirty second mind over matter cure-alls….

  8. Rob Marsh

    “May I suggest that the types of ultra violent games available on X-Box et al, to young teens and some adults, has the effect of desensitising – particularly the young. They become used to the violence. …”

    I have to disagree with you there Annie, having played these games since I was about six years old I can say they’ve had no negative or desensitising effect on my attitudes towards violence. There are also numerous recent studies that show no link between violent behaviour and consumption of violent forms of media.

    What I think does desensitise and glorify violence in the minds of children is the mainstream media’s treatment of war. Rather than showing the horrific realities of armed conflict, the network news instead chooses to portray valorous soldiers fighting for freedom in an ethical and above board fashion. This sends a message to our kids: violence is fine as long as you’re doing it for us, and war is fashionable.

    And even with that said, the buck doesn’t stop with the media, it stops with the primary caregivers of young people everywhere, to explain the context of these events, to provide alternative viewpoints, and to educate their children in how to live nonviolently. We cannot simply censor violence, but we can censor those who use it as a political tool with our feet, our wallets and our votes.

  9. Dee4peace

    “What I think does desensitise and glorify violence in the minds of children is the mainstream media’s treatment of war. Rather than showing the horrific realities of armed conflict, the network news instead chooses to portray valorous soldiers fighting for freedom in an ethical and above board fashion. This sends a message to our kids: violence is fine as long as you’re doing it for us, and war is fashionable.”
    It’s also the government via the schools who promote war to our children. The depiction of Gallipoli as the beginning of us as a nation, the mateship and heroism of fighting in wars and how special and righteous we all are in whatever international conflict our government chooses to involve us in. This kind of promotion has brainwashed several generations of young Australians who are now ripe for the picking and have no concept of the truth of history and the dark side of war. From next month onwards we can expect to be bombarded with this government programme designed to sign them up willingly as heroes in future wars. How is this very much different to how Jake was brainwashed at his time of great vulnerability. No one seemed aware of his internal pain and therefore there was no one there to support him so he fell into the trap set for him.

  10. Colin

    Without wanting to sound too conspiratorial, when I hear stories like this Jake Bilardi one I am very sceptical as to whether he is even real. Orwell’s 1984 taught us how enemies of the state can be invented out of thin air (Emmanuel Goldstein), and the technological capacity the powers-that-shouldn’t-be now have to concoct identities is way beyond anything Orwell could ever dream up. People’s backgrounds and their whole lives can be fabricated.

    Funny how these sorts of stories and events always happen when the (usually conservative) governments are having a bad run. No government in history has had a run as bad as this one.

    I’m not saying that is definitely what’s happened here – I prefer to draw conclusions based on evidence, not speculation – but it’s worth a thought when considering the whole Jake Bilardi story.

    In short, question everything you read, hear and see. That applies to everything in life, especially on the political level, and particularly when it comes to war, terror, enemies etc. Kids question everything, so why shouldn’t we?

  11. eli nes

    At every level of society, especially as portrayed on TV, violence is acceptable, if it is followed by contrition or deemed justified. I saw an American mother, played by an aussie, punch a 15 year old boy to the ground in the schoolyard and watch as her son rushes in and kicks the boy. This is justified by the revelation that the boy insulted her daughter.
    Even more pervasive is the acceptance that people can smash something to release frustrations or punch the wall to register displeasure.
    Hundreds of thousands were convinced abbutt’s lies were true by a biased self interested media and were/are conned. How many jakes are there who can be lured by lies and seduced by the prospect of taking a penis with you, on death, for use on heavenly virgins.

  12. Dee4peace

    @ Colin. You’re not alone there. I must be a conspirator type too. It did cross my mind how convenient the timing was here and also how conveniently the photos were produced. I wonder why they didn’t make a huge thing about the “white Australian teenager” leaving for the Middle East. (since they apparently knew about it) Yes, I’m sure many news events are fabricated and real events are always played to suit political purposes. Where are the interviews with the rellies? mmmmm! Anyway, either way, the drama doesn’t seem to be gleaning favour in the polls.

  13. David Bruce

    As Lord Jacob Rothschild recently observed, the investment climate throughout the world has never been so bad since 1939, just before World War II.The 5 eyes + 1 include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK and the US + Israel, and we are being groomed for another world conflict. That will appease the oligarchs like Rothschild and the bankers, as their investments in the military-industrial complex (MIC) will pay substantial dividends, again. Regrettably, the death of one young Australian has been used to by the conventional media as part of the slow boiling of the population (frog)…

  14. Annie B

    @ Rob Marsh. ….

    It is more than evident, from your very writings, that you are a person who would NOT be influenced by video games. …. But there are many who would be. Sorry to say that – have seen it for myself ( admittedly only a few, who walked the walk, and talked the talk, and were absolute brutes to their parents – I blamed THEM, the parents, for allowing access to gratuitous violence ). …. Then again, I may be wrong – according to your mentioned stats ???

    Also have to totally agree with the sensationalism portrayed by the MSM who are getting worse by the week, in allowing increasingly horrific visuals on screen ( usually at dinner time to boot – Heaven help the kids who are allowed to watch the news !!! ) – and who glorify war and promote valiant soldiers in battle. … the U.S. recent film ” The Sniper ” illustrates that. He ended up in real life, being killed by a vet. with PTSD, who he was trying to counsel and assist. …. Sad situation, but did they have to go and make an ‘old glory flag, beat the chest, we are the greatest, bloody movie of it ” ???? …. The MSM here is not much better in fact.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    War has been fashionable, on and off for centuries. … we get sick of it, until it all starts up again. And then we go for it. It’s part of the human condition, unfortunately. We haven’t changed much for the better, have we ?

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    ” We cannot simply censor violence, but we can censor those who use it as a political tool with our feet, our wallets and our votes.” ……… Not sure we could not censor some items shown, but apart from that – I completely agree with the remainder of this statement. …. Well said.

  15. Annie B

    Have to say I too was somewhat suspicious of the medias’ attention to the young bloke from Melbourne, who allegedly blew himself to bits plus 10+ others, in the past few days. …. As Colin noted, fabrication is so easily done these days, and often beyond the wildest of imaginations.

    Some interesting food for thought from Dee4Peace and Colin, about this. …. Reminded me of the dozens of police who infiltrated an alleged ‘terrorist’ cell ( some few months back ) yet nothing came of it from thereon in. …. I think they succeeded in yanking out 2 people ?

    All then was shut down. hmmmm !!

    However, would we ever really KNOW ? It could be true, but …. Canberra pulls some very odd strings at times.

  16. CMMC

    Won’t somebody think of the oil fields!

    Abbott labels them a ‘death-cult’, as if they were a gigantic ‘Manson Family’, killing at will wherever they go.

    How many Native Americans died in the creation of the United States, beheading was not widely known, but the practice of ‘scalping’ was considered a good metric for their very own ‘final solution’.

    Forging a new nation is a messy business.

  17. paul walter

    The point is, maybe Jake Bilardi did not see himself as joining fascists, but a liberation movement to free his people from bloody handed, bloody minded, greed impelled Western tyranny.

    I wonder whether he was made to feel an outsider in the Australian community and if so, whether this, rather than any alleged silliness on his part, convinced him of the rightness of an action he felt he was unable to avoid.

    A sad commentary on our refusal to present the Middle East and its issues as they actually are.

  18. robmarsh777

    Annie B,

    Thanks for your comments, they’ve been great to read and have got me thinking.

    “It is more than evident, from your very writings, that you are a person who would NOT be influenced by video games.”

    On the contrary, I feel that not only have I been influenced by games, but I feel that influence has been overwhelmingly positive, even from many extremely violent games such as Grand Theft Auto and Far Cry. The stories of these games are complex tales of criminal and political intrigue, and feature apt social commentary I’m sure you’d love Annie.

    This recent study showed that first person shooters like Call of Duty “retune connectivity across and within different brain areas,” leading to improvements in reaction time, memory and learning. [http://www.polygon.com/2013/1/30/3932876/research-playing-first-person-shooters-improves-learning-abilities-cognitive-function]

    And here’s that research I mentioned earlier on the links between violence and video games: [http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/gaming/longterm-us-study-finds-no-links-between-violent-video-games-and-youth-violence-9851613.html]

    paul walter,

    “The point is, maybe Jake Bilardi did not see himself as joining fascists, but a liberation movement to free his people from bloody handed, bloody minded, greed impelled Western tyranny.

    I wonder whether he was made to feel an outsider in the Australian community and if so, whether this, rather than any alleged silliness on his part, convinced him of the rightness of an action he felt he was unable to avoid.”

    Couldn’t have put it better myself.

  19. Mike

    @ Rob Marsh
    its all about the stability of the family dynamics and what children have learned being brought up that dictates ones outlook, decisions etc.
    I also don’t think video games no matter how violent they are, are a problem unless their unsupervised or violence actually is occurring in the kids homes.
    For me a solution could well be that all children are taught in school from a mid primary school age onwards social acceptance incorperated with basic pyschology, no doubt kids will then go on and question their family dynamics and maybe even along the way set some alarm bells ringing. “Children learn what they live”

  20. mark delmege

    https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=924418937608631&pnref=story

    Life in the crumple zone.

    The signature image of the Obama rein? I haven’t yet worked out if he is the weakest Emperor of the modern era or the most vicious … anyway this could be any number of cities in any number of countries. Call it neo liberalism, empire, imperialism, global chess board fanaticism or whatever. These sorts of images are used for various purposes often for straight up propaganda and the editorial staff in the MSM mix and match – taking one image from a conflict and past it into another conflict to draw your emotional response to back this war or that. Front groups like AVAAZ are good at that too. And our young now fragmented jihadi Jake was most likely motivated by similar images or the fake claims of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government and similar stories and fabrications – to get out there and make a difference.

    (yes Paul Watler) Blow back is a bitch.

  21. Annie B

    @mark delmege …

    Shocking images in that video. … Doesn’t matter if it’s been edited or not for impact – it was not a Hollywood staged set up … and it was diabolical.

    Not sure if I understand or not – but I am taking from your remarks that you are not fond of Obama at all ? From what I have learned of him – and I read a fair amount and listen, he is a brilliant speaker, he is definitely NOT far right of centre – is more left ( which is traditionally what the Democrats are – similar to Labor here ) …. and he is personally not at all fond of the Israeli’s – and has said so ( will look for that link if I get time ).

    Then again, ( as in all political spheres, especially here ) that could all be propaganda and lies. A President is not his own master anyway – they are puppets to the likes of the CIA, the FBI, the NSC and the Dept. of Defence (Pentagon), even though a President is alleged to be Commander in Chief – of what I would like to know.

    Just askin’ ………..

    As for that misguided young bloke Jake Bilardi, he must have been a plum, ripe for the picking. … Something in his background or his make-up, made him feel unutterably vulnerable, and he perhaps made a desperate attempt to ‘be something’ …. which is all the Jihadists want or need. Those who feel marginalised ( whether they are or not ) and those who have been impacted by violence, in some form or another, are in the most danger of being radicalised.

    I do hope magnifying glasses are on the North of Melbourne mosque where he initially went, and must have been persuaded – by someone radical there – to join the movement.

  22. mark delmege

    Annie , where to start… Lets just say if Bush was in the White House I think you would understand better but because Obama is kinda black, smiley and can hold a sentence together – mostly if the Teleprompter is working and because you think he is like the ALP you want to believe he is better than that. Have I got news for you…. no actually I can’t change your opinion but you can. But you will waste your time reading or listening to the main stream media if you want to understand how the world works.

  23. Annie B

    @mark delmege …

    Well, that answers one question – you in fact do not like Obama. Ok – you’ve the right to your opinion – we all do. No problems there.

    At 73 yrs of age, I figure I have a reasonable handle on how the world works, but can always learn more. We ALL can learn more, including yourself. …. I don’t read MSM at ALL, and I watch a newscast once a day. I do not listen to radio – but do listen to my own music. …. Most of my information I get is from here at AIM ( nowadays ) – and then go rummaging around on the Internet if a comment intrigues me. So you are very much incorrect about how I learn, and what I concentrate on. It certainly is NOT the MSM. Sheesh. !!

    Read my post again please … I did not claim Obama was like the ALP at all …. what I said was, and this IS fact – the Democrats are the equivalent to the ALP here ( more or less ), while the Republicans [ and their rotten Tea Party ] are equivalent to the LNP here. … To that I will add, the LNP is more like them now, than ever before – being so very far right … the LNP are almost Tea Party candidates.

    If Bush had remained President ( and the 2 terms only allowed were not in place ) … you’d have had a very very different point of view from me. …. I couldn’t stomach the man and his extreme right wing policies and never will. … He was a war-monger of the first order…. Remains to be seen how much of a war-monger Obama is, or might be persuaded to be by his Agencies.

    I seriously believe you almost completely misunderstood most of what I said.

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    p.s. ( but then it IS early hours of the morning, last we have both posted – and brains need sleep !! 😉 )

  24. mark delmege

    oh well … I think you are quibbling over words. But your finish ‘ Remains to be seen how much of a war-monger Obama is’ if you dont know by now you may never. Have you forgotten the destruction of Libya, his support for terrorists and the overthrow of the government in (and the destruction of) Syria, (that might have changed now but only because he failed) his coup in Ukraine blah blah blah. Or even his backing/protection at the highest level of the UN for Israel and his continued funding and arming of them? The Democrats are little more than an arm of big business and if you think that is the place of the ALP then so be it.

  25. mark delmege

    anyway that wasn’t really my main point. I was trying to get across how our media is so full of propaganda, hate speech and lies that young people like Jake are easily misled and choose a course of action that they may not had they been better informed. Maybe if he thought (knew) the (US partners in crime) Saudi’s Turkey and Qatar were waging an immoral unjust illegal and dirty war against a muslim brother country and that they had used chemical weapons against the Syrian people in order to get the US into a deeper commitment he may have had other thoughts. ie our media is part of the trouble and should share part of the blame – the ABC/SBS included. But still they regularly use al Jazeera to report on events in Syria when quite clearly Qatar is an active aggressor player in that country.
    Propaganda, after all, was seen as a crime worthy of death at Nuremberg.

  26. Annie B

    Interesting comments mark delmege …

    and yes, I had forgotten about Libya ( destroyed by the U.S. and Nato ) … I knew about the backing of Israel – which was against the terrorist regime in Palestine – Hamas et al … although if one bomb lands in Israel they retaliate with 10 bombs ( putting it simply — they employ complete over-kill, and yes, armed by the U.S. ). … I don’t agree with ANY of it.

    So ok – I take your point – Obama is already a war monger ?…. On reflection, what else could he be, living in and grandly ruling as titular head, the largest and strongest ‘ war ‘ nation on earth. ( Not to mention the huge amount of money the U.S. makes selling its’ arms to whoever asks or wants them. )

    In our country, the ‘arm of big business’ is most definitely the Liberals. … it is what they stand for, worship and donate huge wads of money to. … and to hell with the ‘smaller’ peoples. … So if the Dems in the U.S. are the same ? it only goes to show how manipulative, and rotten to the core ALL politics is – because ALL of them will jump whichever way suits their own agendas at any given time. …

    Your link proves exactly that, as well. …

    The ‘blackmail’ that whinger Pyne is currently
    hurling about is a good example of it too.
    ( yeah – that’s off topic ).

    I literally cannot stand the U.S. .. in any way, shape or form. They are a rampant propaganda machine, in every way … always have been. … I have friends in the U.S. and those friendships have been tainted by their relentless ’emails’ promoting their dominance over the world … no matter WHAT the situation, subject or anything else. I see them, and delete them. … they are insults, and an overt attempt at proselytising. .. I no longer reply at all.

    So please don’t think I am in anybodys’ corner over THERE.

  27. Annie B

    ….. furthermore –

    I am also well aware of the Arab nations that continue with barbaric practices, against their own and against similar nations in the Middle East. …. But then – that’s the Middle East isn’t it – nothing will EVER change it. … Which makes our involvement in it all, fruitless, expensive and redundant. …. but wow – it is war, so we have to go ( according to our own little war monger here – our ‘leader’ ?? – pfft ).

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    What can be done for the likes of Jake Bilardi – I do not know. … We could teach them everything they need to know ( as you have suggested ), but the beckoning to be recognised and lauded as a ‘martyr’ … would still be overpowering to many of them. .. In that respect, I totally blame the MSM for continually making headlines about people such as Bilardi, which only appeals to more and more disenfranchised young who watch it. … and the danger is, that it can spread like some kind of virus. … Horridly, I think the incidence of our youth being persuaded to join terrorism, will get worse, before it gets better.

    So – as an end note – I think we will always have to agree to disagree – on some matters at least. …. It is never boring though. !!

  28. mark delmege

    Thanks Annie for your considered response. I’ll just put up the force field first. I suspect the problems facing the ME and many other parts of the world can be compared in some way with how the Aboriginal peoples of this country are treated. Recent history they have rarely been allowed the authority to govern in the way they choose and in a manner where they can learn from their own mistakes and victories. Always being told what to do, how to live, who are their permitted friends etc. And when they have had the chance to develop a little independence they have been smashed. So many ‘representative and popular’ governments have been overturned – Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Libya etc etc when they go against the global bully – never having the chance to develop their own internal structures. Most often religion has been used to divide and destroy often secular governments and those religious freaks have been armed and trained to do the dirty on their own people. It doesn’t have to be this way. The Yanks are only doing what the English (in particular) but also the French and other Europeans have done prior. This is no way to promote harmony and progress. Aboriginal people here suffer similar problems. People don’t need a university eduction to understand what is happening to them when they live that life. Its harder for most of us to understand when we live a life of relative comfort and often harder still for those in the upper ‘classes’.

  29. Annie B

    @mark delmege ….

    Your last comment I totally agree with, particularly in relation to our own indigenous people.

    There is one thing I can NEVER forget. …. and I am reminded of it often enough, from people ( in my own friends / family circle with remarks that are bigoted and racist ). …

    That is, the numerous comments about the drunk state of allegedly ‘many or most ( insert any racist epithet that may come to mind ) … aborigines ‘. Sure – there is wild and out of control alcohol consumption in aboriginal camps – but there’s also very much the same with white people. The white supremacist racists among us conveniently forget that.

    And they forget it was white people who INTRODUCED ‘fire water’ ( I think that’s an Americanism ) to these remarkable people…. from the beginning, to keep them quiet and compliant. … The aborigines knew no different, and it has been passed on from generation to generation ( to a degree ) … which leaves them wide open to the worst kind of criticism … from hypocritical white ‘trash’. …. At present – it is found to be a frequently scattered problem – here and there among aboriginal settlements.

    It angers me beyond belief, that we poke fun at, and cast aspersions upon – the ‘black fella’ ( which they call themselves ) …. because they drink / get drunk. …. It was all the ( British ) white fellas’ fault in the first place.

    Education is making headway, and some remarkable aborigines have by-passed all that and become academics, politicians, musicians, artists, doctors et al, and productive citizens for the betterment of us all. Good on them ….. more power to them.

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