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My Land

By Khaled Elomar 

I reflect on my childhood in a war-torn country (Lebanon). The absence of hope, security and prosperity. The instability of rule and governance. The limited education that any child or adolescent is exposed to, if they are lucky to be exposed to any of it at all.

Then I see where I am now. The smorgasbord of unlimited education and work opportunities placed before me to pick and choose from. The voice and tone given to me to speak out against politicians irrespective of party inclination, to be able to speak out against racism and bigotry.

Things that I could only dream about back home are factual and within an arm’s reach in this country.

I make this urgent plea to my fellow Australians: don’t let fools such as Avi Yemeni, Pauline Hanson and others, make you think we, migrant refugees, are here to destroy this great country. On the contrary, we are forever thankful and appreciative. We will defend this country because we would never want our kids to live the life we did back in our homeland.

I used to hear and feel the whistling sound, vibration and impact of missiles whilst looking into my teachers’ eyes and wonder if this was the last face I would see before taking along endless sleep. I would never wish that feeling and experience on anyone, including my worst enemies. So why would I, a proud Australian Muslim, a proud migrant refugee, the son of one of the greatest men to have ever lived, want to bite the hand that feeds me?

We appreciate this country as much, if not more, than any born Australian and we pay an unreserved respect to the true owners of this great land for allowing us to live here. I love my homeland for it made me a resilient human. I love My Australia, for it kept me a resilient human.

158 comments

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  1. Shaun Newman

    It’s not too late to go back.

  2. Paul Davis

    Shaun, sorry but i don’t understand your comment, could you expand on it please?

    Hullo Khaled, thanks for your essay, cheers.

  3. Jon Chesterson

    Shaun your comment is highly ambiguous, you really need to clarify what you mean.

    Khaled I hear you and your words are most inspiring, if only all Australians appreciated and were willing to share this land rather than exploit it just for themselves. Aboriginal people are willing and welcome to and no-one has the right to dispute their heritage.

  4. Matters Not

    Shaun’s comment is not ambiguous. Rather it’s very deliberate. And comes from a man who is clearly an immigrant himself. So there can be no excuses.

    But you can see why the LNP policies resonate with so many and why the dog whistle ‘works’ – to our everlasting shame.

  5. Michael Taylor

    Shaun, my mother’s family were refugees from Lebanon. Would you like them to go back too?

    I expect an answer from you.

  6. Carol Taylor

    Khaled, thank you so much for reminding us all of the many privileges we enjoy here in Australia. It is a privilege and an honour to have someone as caring as yourself to join us in this great land.

  7. Robyn Stevenson

    Khaled your writing gave me goosebumps and I believe I speak for most of us when I say Welcome!

  8. Roswell

    Well I guess I’m out of here too. Best I pack my bags and head back to Washington.

    Better still, why don’t we all go? Let’s give the country back to the First Australians. Come on, Shaun, that means you as well. Start packing!

    By the way, beautiful words, Khaled.

  9. Khaled Elomar

    Shaun,
    My late father always told me to give people the benefit. Hence I will comprehend your comment as though it is in relation to conditions being slightly better in Lebanon.
    From my end, its never too late to go back. However my wife and boys are Australian born. They will stay here and I shall remain by their side for the rest of my life. Plus with my profession and discipline of work, I contribute to this country more than many born Australians do. That’s another reason why I will remain here.
    I’VE CEMENTED MYSELF HERE MATE.
    God Bless You and Your Family.
    K

  10. Diannaart

    Khaled Elomar

    You demonstrated your resilience in your reply to Shaun.

    Australia needs all the resilience it can get.

    Dianna

  11. Kronomex

    The right wing nut jobs, racists, and nationalist thugs can (and will almost) always fall back on the mongrel “fear of the other” to create uncertainty and anger and fear when they have nothing else left in their limited policy arsenals. Why create when it’s simpler to pull things down and create ruin.

  12. Oscar

    Nice piece Khaled. I agree with your sentiments.Though by the same token we shouldn’t be blindly naive about immigration and how it is implemented.The Australia people need to take back the type of democracy and cohesiveness and fair minded place we once were.And not be hyjacked by economic pulls of Globalism/ NeoLiberalism and Big Business to define us.We need a nationwide discussion to develop who we want to be outside the economy.

  13. Karen Kyle

    Khaled A most uplifting story. So glad you found us and you are as welcome as rain in a drought. And my thought are with Lebanon. May your birth country find peace.

  14. Joseph Carli

    You’re not alone, Khaled…and you’ll never be abandoned by the majority of honest Australians….The irony of racism is that even though your ancestors from the middle east along with so many other ethnicities were among the first migrants to land on these shores..there was even Italians on Captain Cook’s ship and one ;Rafaello Carboni was tried alongside Peter Lalor and wrote a definitive book on the rebellion of the Eureka Stockade battle…and the early Germanic settlers rescued South Australia from going down the gurgler…we each had to stand in the queue to suffer the racist rubbish of fools and scum of posterity…But the sons and daughters of such stock are hardy people..with broad shoulders.
    To not know or feel for the suffering of others is to live an ignorant life.
    Best of lives to you and yours…

  15. New England Cocky

    Well said Khaled. My late mother used to say,”The best idea is for immigrants to leave their problems at the departure gate of their home airport and take all the opportunities that Australia offers them to contribute to Australian society”.

    @ Shaun Newman: There are very many Australians who have never personally experienced life in a war zone, especially Liarbral Notional$ politicians like Menzies, Howard and RAbbott, who have committed Australian military personnel to fighting the imperialist wars of the USA (United States of Apartheid) then lived on to enjoy their post politics retirement packages as perpetual parasites on the public purse.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Khaled,

    The vast majority of Australians find the views of Pauline Hanson abhorrent. Forget nationality, I don’t even feel she and I belong to the same species. In ways, I feel sorry for her. Her fear comes from her ignorance. The woman is dumb as a post yet carries the responsibility for passing laws she is incapable of understanding. She is constantly flailing around out of her depth.

    She will fade off into the sunset as she did last time we had to endure her two decades ago. Unlike you and your family, she has nothing positive to offer this country. I am truly sorry for the hurt she, and a very few others, are causing.

  17. Paul Davis

    Saw the heartfelt apology last night by the NZ prime minister to the family of the murdered backpacker. Extraordinary. She said that her country had a duty to protect visitors.

    Contrast this with the attitude of our government and regretably a significant proportion of our population. Backpackers are too often seen as vunerable suckers to be exploited, ripped off, raped and abused.

    Cant imagine Howard, Abbot or Morrison ever apologising for mistreatment of any of the lower classes coming to grief here.

  18. helvityni

    All the best Khaled ,welcome to the mix….

    I’m a Finn married to a Dutchman, our immediate and extended family include partners from: Russia, Poland, Germany, Croatia, Australia, Nepal, Greece, the US, Philippines…I hope I have not forgotten anyone…..one big happy multi-cultural family….

    My motto: I practice what I preach.. the.family is obviously doing the same…Smiley

  19. helvityni

    Paul Davis, I was most impressed with Jacinda, her words came across as genuine…..

  20. helvityni

    ….oops, I did forget; one of the nieces is married to a Syrian, so sorry L…..

  21. Khaled Elomar

    Kaye Lee,
    My love for this country and the people is neither impacted nor influenced by Hanson and her ilk.
    Her rhetoric hurts indeed. However ehen I called names, which happens quite often, I look around for the person that hurled the words at me but all I see are eyes of people who are compassionate, caring and loving. Hence I can brush off that vile person’s words luke dust off my dirty safety boots.
    You have nothing to be sorry for and the same goes to everyone else.
    K

  22. Joseph Carli

    Here, Khaled…this is the crowd I grew up with…

    Maris Zalups.

    One of the lads I went to school with died about a year ago…of a heart attack, I am told. His name was Maris Zalups…Of course, we kids lazily condensed his Latvian surname to more suit our casualness and his happy easy-going nature to “Slopsy”….His brother’s name was Arrtis (sp?)…..too hard!…he got called : “Harry” (He too passed away just recently)….Harry grew from a gangling boy to a full-blown archetype “Viking Warrior” in both phiz and psyche!.. a body like “Conan the Warrior” and a voice like Barry White….he was much in demand by the “gentler sex”….we scowled in the corner of the local front-bar…but we scowled quietly!

    Their parents were escapees from a turmoiled Europe after the second world war…the father was a very good musician…before a very bad motorcycle and side-car accident….I remember him tirelessly trying to teach Harry the piano, and he succeeded..even against Harry’s wishes (too much sun..too much surf in Australia!)…there was a small bust of Ludwig van ‘ on the upright piano and Harry would everyday be there rolling out some turgid piece, with his father smoking a dour pipe whilst sitting in a teacher’s contemplate at the end of the keyboard. I remember once the father went out of the room to fill his pipe as Harry played…he had no sooner gone than the rebellious spirit grabbed the youth’s hands and a playful Jerry-Lee Lewis piece sprung from the keyboard….parents came running and Harry immediately fell back into the rhythm of the classical piece as if nothing had happened!

    Maris was a lost cause as far as artistic instruction went and his father left him alone and he, with all us adventurous kids would immediately make for the gully to swing from the trees like Tarzan, or wooden sticks in hands, make for the seaside sand-dunes ala Beau Geste!…we could always see Harry, finally released from Tchaikovsky, running toward us in frenetic glee!

    Their mother was an artist..with oils…she could often be seen UNDISTURBED! in a small side room off the shed painting away. I remember once..I must have been about nine or ten..chasing Harry through the house and we were pulled up in the lounge room where Mrs. Zalups had a lot of her framed paintings propped on the chairs there…She held us up ..”Boys, boys…stop!..I would like you to meet Mr….” of course, young boys are even less inclined to remember names than manners and we said hello to the grey-suited stranger standing there hat in hand and stolid standing…and then ran on. It was only many years later, whilst walking down Rundle Mall, past a Myers window display of a full-size photo cut-out of a man in a grey suit with several framed paintings of his on display that I recognised him as that same gentleman in Mrs. Zalup’s lounge-room ..and her introductory words came straight back to me..”Boys, boys..stop!..I would like you to meet Mr. Hans Heysen”.

    This is an important story…look at the players..Myself ;Italian / Irish..them Latvian..others in our group incl’ English, Dutch , German..and well..you know it…..AND…let us embrace the reality..: All Australian!

    This..is the Australia I vote for, not a mean-spirited polarising of one ethnic group against the other…for there is no one ethnic majority that can work this huge nation on it’s own…there never has been….This is the Labor objective I support..it’s motto, no less intense than us kids on a limb of a huge pine tree about to group-swing way out over the gully depths, all clasping onto the one many-knotted rope..: “One in -All in!”…..GO!… this is the spirit of the people who still stand united together around the “light on the hill”.

  23. Khaled Elomar

    Absolutely beautiful Joseph

  24. Roswell

    I’m truly heartened by the support shown to Khaled. When I saw Shaun’s comment I thought; “Uh oh, here we go again.”

    I should have thought better of the commenters here. You shame me for thinking the way I did.

    Everyone of you (bar one) can hold your head up high.

  25. Roswell

    When I first came to Australia it was the Italians and Greeks who were vilified. That blew over but the winds of hate blew over the Vietnamese refugees. They too were eventually accepted but have been replaced by a loathing of refugees from the Middle East.

    The big difference, however, is that the latter is encouraged by the government.

    I don’t need to mention that this is thoroughly appalling.

  26. Diannaart

    Roswell

    We expect more from our politicians (I’ll refrain from calling them leaders) than they appear capable of at present.

    I have lived most of my life in Melbourne, watched the influx of new people, watched Melbourne transform from parochial and inward looking into a vibrant, entertaining and interesting city.

    Peter Dutton, is a person with the privilege of a public platform, the MSM, political influence … quite a step up for a former Queensland cop. I don’t know if Dutton has ever travelled further south than Canberra. He is certainly ignorant of Melbourne … yet he gets to broadcast lies, about my city, about its safety and about the people who live here.

    And Dutton is just one of a festering pustule of politicians who create division and spruik for bigotry.

    I do not understand people who believe labelling and castigating others achieves anything positive. In my life, the vast majority of people I have encountered have good hearts, irrespective of background, be it one of wealth or humble circumstances.

    Even here at AIMN, there are those who, like Dutton, believe they are right, refuse any discussion which does not fit their worldview. These people are a tiny minority. Thank the universe.

    Therefore, the more varied the contributors here, the more opportunity for truth to shine a light on lies or dogma.

    Welcome to Khaled, adding to the mix of people at AIMN.

  27. Kaye Lee

    I am currently enduring house renovations. The tiler is a refugee from Vietnam who, as a child, escaped on a boat with his family and ended up in a refugee camp in the Philippines. Eventually the family came to Australia.

    Not only is he a hard worker and a damn fine tiler, he, and several of his friends who also came here as refugees, go back to Vietnam each year with money and skills that they personally donate to build homes for poor people.

    He is truly contributing towards making the world a better place and has my admiration and gratitude.

  28. Joseph Carli

    Bloody typical, K’ Lee…..While the rest of us have tradies that we have to argue with about the sploging of the paint on the window sills, or..or…the light-switch that turns on the wrong light…..or the smelly septic tank or sumfin’….YOU…get the next best thing to Mahatma Ghandi’s hand-spun loin-cloth!….I just bet!…I JUST BET…that nun that taught you what the meaning of being humble is at your old boarding convent was Mother Bleedin’ Therese!!

  29. Roswell

    Joseph, why are you intent on turning another thread into an argument?

    Kaye Lee did nothing to provoke this.

  30. Joseph Carli

    Provoke??…Roswell..surely you’ve lived in Oz long enough to appreciate Aussie sardonic humour?….Lawson, Morrison, Banjo, C.J.Dennis?…..et al…..ok..so I might be as funny as a cry for help…it’s all in good humour…I’m certain K’ Lee gets it….she’s got a funny-bone as tender as a chilblain’d toe!

    . . . and as cheerful a demeanor as a ballet-dancer with an ingrown toe-nail!

  31. helvityni

    I watched the Q&A last night, and I have to say the smartest, the bravest person, on Tony’s panel was Nyadol Nyuon, a black female Lawyer and community activist; born in Ethiopia, grew up in Kenyan refugee camp…..WOW, I’m full of admiration for her, it has not been easy for her, and it’s still not easy, a lot of ugly racist stuff thrown at her…

  32. Roswell

    No worries, Joseph.

    It was just the detective work coming out of me, plus my “everybody is guilty until proven innocent” attitude.

  33. Roswell

    Diannaart, I think you showed the other day that we all have reasons for thinking the way we do. Your dislike of domestic violence is truly justified.

    It also showed us that we all have shadows in our lives that are invisible on a public forum. We all need to be aware that other commenters have sensitivities.

  34. Jon Chesterson

    I learned all I needed to know about racism, sexism, prejudice, bullying, friendship and justice when I was sent to boarding school in Sussex at 6 years old. Before that I was half cockney living with my mother who was a single parent on the Old Kent Road in the mid to late sixties before she died, my fondest memories thus were before six in London and a few of those later half terms when I couldn’t go home, the only others left behind were from other countries, like orphans we were. I was never comfortable with privilege, wealth and elitism, and because I am white male with a boarding school education and particular spoken accent, I know what privilege means and I know also what it means to be marginalised for reverse racism as much as racism itself (and they manifest the same). It is a cruel mix when you do not fit the class and race others box you into, you become the true outsider even in your own perceived/presumed predominant culture and gender; and that has played out so many times since I came to Australia thirty years ago.

    I love all the countries I have ever been to and all the people from those countries I have ever met, including both my country of birth and adopted country. And I miss them all for all the reasons and loves one would naturally have for the people and places you visit and then be separated from. We do not choose to be born, we do not choose where we are born, we do not choose where or how we are brought up, but yet we are forced to take sides and blame others for the terrible places they’re forced to flee from. We do choose what we learn and what we learn to become. We may choose to be free but we rarely know what freedom really means in this world, when there are others who would in their ignorance and prejudice take it away from us or box us in. They too are not truly free, but they exploit the freedoms they steal from the rest of us and take those spoils and privileges for granted. The structures or societies of neoliberalism, nationalism and religion legitimise the core abuses of the society we see today.

    Resilience is a key and diversity is a virtue we must encourage, tolerance of others and our differences but we cannot afford to be tolerant of abuse, prejudice and indifference. We cannot afford to be tolerant of everything, it cannot be a universal quality otherwise we see again the bigotry and hypocrisy, the hatred, the lies and the sophistry that steals away our freedom we see today as it has in almost every other civilisation before us.

    Hearing Khaled’s words brings back my dwindling faith in humanity, which as I get older falls away to shock and despair. I find myself retreating behind the passion and the reason, into the very same world I used to know as a child, we come full circle. I feel as Khaled has described for himself and I wish I could shrug off the cruelty, claim that resilience but I can’t.

    I’d far rather fly to Trantor with whales, dogs and aliens than sit on the same side of the fence in this world with those who think that because we have the same coloured skin I’d share or even begin to understand their cruel view of the world. And yes it is so often those and their recent ancestors who have come here and now think they have the right of ownership, the right to abuse and deny. They think they are Australian, I think they are not.

  35. Diannaart

    Roswell

    I am reading some heart felt words, not the least Jon Chesterton’s comments above.

    I know I am the sum of my memories, for good or ill, as are we all.

    I too, watched QandA last night, agree with Helvityni that Nyadol Nyuon was outstanding, again. She eloquently rebutted Brendan O’Neill’s claims that free speech meant anything goes, such as his airing of Nazi views. Like we need more opinions from fascists. Free speech is not a right, it is a privilege many nations do not have. Using free speech to denigrate others is a corruption of the intent of open discussion. Opinion can be expressed respectfully, no matter the subject.

    What we need are the quiet majority refusing to be silenced by the strident and vexatious minority. No matter how many times put downs such as “I was only joking” are used to excuse poor behaviour.

  36. Khaled Elomar

    Jon

    Your words are an inspiration. Your attitude should be taught at schools.
    Many thanks for sharing your sentiments and experiences.
    Bless you.

    K

  37. Kaye Lee

    You may think it’s no worries Roswell but I am heartily sick of Joseph’s completely ill-informed personal barbs and I would like it to stop. There is nothing innocent at all about his personal vendetta. You know nothing about me Joseph and I would appreciate it if you stopped all refernece to me in future. Discuss the topic. Leave me out of it. Thanks in advance.

    I apologise Khaled. I don’t want to derail an important thread.

  38. Carol Taylor

    Jon, bravo. My grandmother was born 1888 at St. Mary in the Castle, Hastings, Sussex. I am pure Anglo, but I ask myself, who am I? I’m the descendant of ‘economic refugees’ or those fleeing persecution in Wales and poverty in Gloucestershire. Today’s refugees tell far worse stories than what brought our ancestors to these lands; a promise of land or a promise of gold. Michael’s ancestors crossed the desert barefoot, the Turks having stolen their shoes with his great grandmother and great uncle dying on the way. As a Lebanese descendant, the right wingers would tell you that he or his mother have no right to be here. They fought, they died, they deserve a place.

  39. Carol Taylor

    Kaye Lee, I have it. All off-topic comments will henceforth find their way to trash. Joseph, smug sexist comments will not be tolerated. You are an intelligent person fully capable of addressing the argument rather than attacking the person. Carol Taylor (blog owner).

  40. Khaled Elomar

    Thank you Carol.
    Most appropriate action.
    K

  41. Khaled Elomar

    Kaye Lee
    My unreserved apologise if I’ve contributed in any way shape or form to your feelings.
    K

  42. Carol Taylor

    Khaled, you are the author so deserve the utmost respect. Sadly sometimes it’s human nature to vent one’s anger at innocent people, those who just so happen to get in the way. I suspect that blogs can be a microcosm of real life. Thank you for your thumbs up.

  43. Joe Carli

    The delay in my response was because of a computer failure..and I say most truthfully I was only using that Aussie sardonic humour as light-hearted levity..and if it so offends Kaye Lee..I do apologise and will henceforth never approach with such frivolity again…Although I will add that I am staggered at the level of sensitivity expressed on this..a public blog…at common Australian sardonic usage…But ..again…my apologies if Kaye Lee is offended and again…rest assured I will desist from future slights.

  44. Karen Kyle

    Hearing Jon’s words bought back memories of what he describes as reverse racism That is unnatural and bigoted hatred of privilege.or rather those who are seen as the privileged . It was on Facebook as usual and the subject was the Monarchy. Always a favourite subject for vituperation from the left. One of the participants began to heap contempt and hatred on Prince George who was two years old at the time. His comments shocked and dismayed everyone. When was it ever ok to make a two year old child, (any two year old child) the subject of such hatred?. He was quickly pulled into line, thankfully and was indignant about it.

    There are many good reasons for Australia to become a Republic. Hatred and contempt for the Monarchy isn’t one of them.

  45. Josephus

    The horrors of Lebanon’s civil war were horrifically shown in the film ‘Incendie’. That film has marked me for life. But this country is bigoted too, even if not setting buses on fire. I am so ashamed of the bigots among us, and blame the schools. Meanwhile, time to negotiate a peace treaty with our First Peoples. Then stop fighting the US’s wars. I know that like so many of us you will be marching in support of those rotting in the offshore prisons. We cannot rescue everyone, but State sanctioned cruelty should have died at Nuremberg. Shame on the Coalition, and Labor too.

  46. Lee

    Khaled, sounds like you are fitting in well. As for the name-calling critics hiding in the shadows sneering memes, do they think they are being courageous? When all is said and done, all they will have left in their hands is a lack of understanding. What a useless legacy.

    I find it very strange the way people who survived war zones are treated by some.
    It really is delusional, projecting pain onto others, what is the point they hope to achieve?

    I would enjoy to hear some more stories of life in Lebanon – before, during and after the civil war.
    I’m certain you will find an appreciative audience here.

  47. Roswell

    My apologies, Kaye Lee. I meant not to trivialise the issue.

  48. Kaye Lee

    Thanks Carol.

    Khaled, Joseph and I have been to-ing and fro-ing for a while. Your thread is too important for us to continue our irrelevant bickering here.

    Joseph, we are on the same side. I hope I have drawn MY line – if you get my drift.

    Roswell, I know how hard your job is and I appreciate your support and patience. I think Joe and I have it sorted now.

  49. Kaye Lee

    Josephus,

    “I am so ashamed of the bigots among us, and blame the schools.”

    I have to disagree. Bigotry is usually learned at home. Kids aren’t naturally prejudiced. Teachers in public schools do their level best to encourage tolerance and inclusivity. The school community have often been at the forefront of trying to help and protect their refugee students. I should add, my experience is with the public system. It may be different in faith-based schools or elitist private schools.

  50. New England Cocky

    Joseph Carli, I have great trouble with bullies. You are a bully!! Now do us all ONE BIG FAVOUR and be respectful to the ladies who post on AIMN threads …..especially those whose objective analytical abilities are much better than my own.

  51. Kaye Lee

    I don’t think Joseph means to be a bully and perhaps the conversation does bear some relevance.

    We Aussies often say hurtful things and pass them off as humour. It’s like a test – if people can take it then they pass.

    Which is why the discussion that Hannah Gadsby started about who gets to draw the line about what is ok is an important one. It ties in with the proposed changes to Section 18C of the racial discrimination act. Whose right is greater – the person who wants the right to insult and offend or the person who wants to be protected from abuse?

    Just as Hannah said all men think they are good men, no-one thinks they are racist. We must be able to view our words and actions from the other person’s perspective.

  52. Matters Not

    Re:

    and blame the schools

    Why not? After all, they are just like brick factories. Pour the kids in one end – add a bit of discipline, a dash or reading, riting and rihmetic – give the black box a few turns – and lo and behold different kids emerge. Shock, horror!

    Golly gosh – must be something wrong with that black box. Or it might be the teachers who don’t know the proper way to do the turning. After all, the brick factory has no problems in making exactly the same product.

    As for Hannah Gadsby, maybe it’s an acquired taste, or at least that’s what my wife thinks. Me? I know nothing.

    As for the special Is Australia sexist – would have to be rubbish. Lumby should hang her head in shame.

  53. Kaye Lee

    MN,

    I struggle with strident feminism when it becomes very negative against men as a gender so found myself disagreeing with some things she said. I wouldn’t call myself a fan by any means. But the question she raised about line-drawing has got me thinking in a direction I hadn’t really considered before.

  54. Matters Not

    KL, re Gadsby perhaps I’m biased and stopped ‘listening’ years ago. Putting that aside, I watched Is Australia Sexist (but only for a short time) and saw what was a methodological joke. Men at beachside resorts are sexist because they toot and ogle (relatively) scantily dressed women? What a surprise.

    Ever been to a night out when Bad Boys (or equivalent) are performing? The point being – lower the inhibitions and see what results – for both men and women. Try schoolies as another example.

    Perhaps if they compared apples with apples? Context with context? And so on.

    Yes there are serious issues to be discussed, but academics who go down that populist path are rubbish. SBS need a kick up the … as well

  55. Michael Taylor

    Carol, thank you for sharing my family’s story. To fill in the pieces …

    My mother’s family fled Damascus at the end of WW1 (they were Lebanese, but in Syria at the time). Their destination was Port Said – 200 miles away – where my grandfather had Egyptian relatives. They had no transportation so they had to walk. Across desert. It was an arduous journey that claimed the life of my great-grandmother.

    If walking across the desert was bad enough, they were forced to do it without shoes after they were stolen by a group of marauding Turks. (My mother – until the day she died – never forgave the Turks for this).

    Safely in Port Said it was decided that the family would move to Australia. My grandfather would come here first, find a job, and save enough money to pay for his family to follow.

    One small problem: he wouldn’t be allowed to come to Australia. Problem fixed: he obtained a fake passport – a Greek one. Greeks were allowed to come to Australia.

    He settled in the Mallee area in South Australia and soon found work. It took him twelve years to save enough money so that his family could be reunited with him.

    Over time, four out of five of his male children – and a number of grandchildren – served in the Australian armed forces. They were willing to fight for this country if called upon. One could assume then, that they were willing to die for it.

    Yet some people would wish we’d go back where we came from. If only they knew what brought us here.

  56. Michael Taylor

    Well that’s the Lebanese half. The other half is a mixture of Scottish and Aborigine.

    (The Aboriginal bloodline is mere speculation, although I am recognised as an Aborigine by the Adnyamathanha people of South Australia).

  57. Jesus

    NEC: I don’t think Joseph is a bully.I feel he may suffer from low self esteem and a grandiose ego simultaneously.An affliction I’m sure he is very aware of and is dealing with.Many Australian males suffer from this illness.

  58. Joe Carli

    Just wondering…….er..have many of you here ever read that Franz Kafka novel..: “The Trial”?….just askin’ !

  59. Khaled Elomar

    Amazing story Michael. Many thanks for sharing it.

    I can fathom your mother’s unwillingness to forgive the turks for making then walk across the desert without shoes. Even thinking about the situation makes your feet feel the burn.

    I was brought up in North Lebanon, Tripoli to be exact, during the days of extreme civil war. Those days, there were many organised crimes and criminals that supported certain parties and countries which funded them and supplied them with arms. One particular man who referred to himself as Hantoor, used to shoot women off their balconies and watch then fall to their undignified death for no reason other than betting on whether he can shoot them in the breast. I eve saw one of those crimes with my own eyes. I was merely 11yrs of age.

    One day, walking to the mosque with my Dad to perform morning prayer, we climed the stairs leading the main entry only to see a severed body of a man that was blown to pieces in front of the door. My dad covered my eyes and asked someone “is that Hantoor?” The response was yes. He quickly uncovered my eyes and said “spit on him for he deservesno mercy”.

    As far as I know, his body was never buried.
    I completely see why your mum, God bless her soul, never forgave the turks.
    K

  60. helvityni

    Matters Not,

    “As for Hannah Gadsby, maybe it’s an acquired taste, or at least that’s what my wife thinks. Me? I know nothing.

    As for the special Is Australia sexist – would have to be rubbish. Lumby should hang her head in shame”.

    I think your wife is right, or maybe I have not watched her long enough… ( I’m referring to her humour, not her sexuality), totally agree about the Sexist Show, could not keep watching…..

    Don’t you all think that we have spent enough time on Joe bashing; variety is the spice of life, let’s not drive people away from here…

  61. Kaye Lee

    If Joe desists from making personal comments about me (and others) there won’t be a problem helvityni. I enjoy discussion about topics and welcome different points of view, but we should not be commenting on each other.

    As for Gadsby, I haven’t seen much of her comedy and what I have was not particularly entertaining. As I have said, it is the question that interests me rather than the person who asked it.

  62. Winston Smythe

    All the same Joseph a date has been set for your court hearing at The AIMN court of petty sessions next Tuesday at High Noon.You won’t need anyone to defend you as The Honorable Kaye Lee will be presiding and our Juror Roswell will take good care of you.

  63. Kaye Lee

    Oh for heavens sake. Joseph is a valued author here. Please get back to the topic.

  64. corvus boreus

    Khaled Elomar,
    Thank you for presenting your experiences and sentiments in such an eloquent way.
    My only quibble would be to admit that I am skeptical about the ability of any individual to truly speak for all the variant views within any distinct demographic (eg I can’t claim to represent the opinions of every agnostic Australian descended from voluntary European migration), but I fully respect the values you espouse.
    I would add that the cry of ‘go back to where ya came from’ is often uttered by people with a complete ignorance of the horrific realities that can cause people to flee from their homelands.
    May good grace always be projected and reflected,
    A fellow Australian

  65. Kronomex

    Winston, what a daft statement!

  66. Kaye Lee

    cb,

    I agree that none of us can speak for a particular demographic but that is one of the real problems here – some blame all Muslims for every crime committed by an individual who has any link to Islam.

    Look at what the Muslim community in Australia are facing….

    They are receiving the blame for events which they had nothing to do with.
    Recent migrants have often witnessed their country of birth and their family decimated by war.
    Their children are being targeted and groomed online by bad people.
    Their leaders are criticised for not condemning every crime committed by a Muslim despite their many public statements condemning violence and extremism.
    Women have been targeted for abuse purely because of their identifiable clothing.
    Some young people feel ostracised by community suspicion.
    Attempts to build mosques have been met with opposition.
    Even their dietary choices are criticised.
    Ridiculous fears and accusations about jihad are thrown around with hysterical pronouncements that all Muslims are lying in wait to behead their neighbours.
    Cultural practices from other countries are wrongly ascribed to Islam.
    Mental health issues are ignored.
    Migrants in general are being blamed for everything – lack of housing affordability, congestion on our roads, hospital waiting times, overflowing schools, insecure employment etc

    Khaled cannot speak for all Muslims. Nor should he be held responsible for the actions of others any more than all Catholics being held responsible for pedophile priests (a far greater problem in Australia than terrorism).

  67. Lee

    Shaun, I just now read your first comment on this thread and it’s a crack-up, I laughed as a vision of the reactions it might cause came to mind. Sure enough there have been many reactions. By the way, I am not judging you as one comment does not a person make and your other comments on other threads I agree with.

    Khaled, I’ve worked with a couple of Turks over the years and found them to be respectful and fun. Carrying forward age old grudges is not intelligent in my view, but that is just my view. I know many people think like that, I watch them dreaming, they are lost to the present. When I said I would like to hear more stories of a civil war I meant it in respect of stories that shine a light on how people grew up and out of tragedy, how their heart was expanded from a personal devastation. I understand that might not be part of your observed experience, perhaps it is not as common as I expect.

  68. corvus boreus

    KL,
    When I hear that someone is a Muslim, I do not immediately assume that they are, for example, a militant Salafist extremist, any more than I think that being a Christian automatically confers a default affiliation with the Westborough Baptists.
    On the flip side, just as I have concerns with the organized efforts of hard-line Christians to dictate public policy, I am also concerned with the Saudi-based promotion of radical fundamentalist ideology through their subsidized institutions.
    None of which reflects upon Khaled.

  69. Kronomex

    Read “The Arabs A History” by Eugene Rogan and you can see why there is so much enmity on the part of, not just Muslims, but a fair proportion of the Arab culture as a whole. A big chunk of the blame can almost be placed almost squarely on the shoulders of the West for how things stand now.

  70. Kaye Lee

    cb,

    I also have great reservations about religion dictating policy anywhere. I can be tolerant of others’ beliefs if they don’t try to dictate silly rules for my life. Personal choice. Extremist Islam is of great concern but would they really want to even come here? Our way of life would surely not be a fit for them? Some of the people accused of plotting or committing crimes here only did it because their passports had been taken away. They wanted to leave.

    The Saudis are a worry for many reasons.

    Kronomex,

    That is the part the West is bad at – accepting that they may have contributed to the problem. But always looking back for blame tends to retard progress forward. At some time, we have to forgive even if we don’t forget in order for us to make things better for our kids. The past should instruct us about mistakes but that can only happen if you admit you made one. And I can’t see that happening too often – from anyone.

  71. Karen Kyle

    Kronomex…..I have to disagree with your assertion that a big chunk of the blame for the problems of the ME lie with the West. The problems began and were well entrenched before European Colonialism. In fact no sooner was the Arab Empire established than it began to slowly and at first imperceptibly decline. Over time the decline was hastened and there were a multitude of reasons for this decline most well understood.

    So that writing a history that begins with the Ottoman Empire which is a natural demarcation line for an historian but it has the effect of coming into a room in the middle of a conversation and getting it all wrong because you missed the vital beginning. Best to begin with the Arab Conquest.

    This is not to suggest that European Colonialism and the necessity to secure reliable and affordable oil supplies to keep Western economies moving did not cause friction and resentment on a population already resentful and humiliated.

    After WW2 the Americans were anxious to spread Democracy. Imposing their own image on the world. And the Soviets were anxious to spread Socialism/Communisim imposing their world view. The KGB were very active in the ME with a long campaign of meddling, subverting, dividing and the wholesale spreading of misinformation and anti Semitic propaganda.Israel as a client state of the US was a prime target.

    I am not suggesting the West have been choir boys in the ME, far from it. But the problems were already present and the Soviets did their usual fine job of dividing and confusing which made the situation worse. The Soviets also supported, trained and armed terrorists because terror was a weapon which could be used without engaging standing armies.

    We have only to look at the USA today to realise how implacable, brazen, and fanatical some elements within Russia remain today. After all they spent billions and generations honing their subversive skill to defeat their American enemy. Why would they stop now?

  72. Karen Kyle

    And the West has been used as a scapegoat by some in the Arab world for the situation they find themselves in. Having someone to blame for largely self inflicted woes is handy. Not all Arabs do this. There are signs of a debate struggling to be born where ME peoples are asking hard questions of themselves and not laying the blame at the feet of the West. And this is a very brave debate to be having. Dissent can get you murdered in the Turkish Embassy. Dissent in the Arab world is very dangerous. I stand in awe of those who raisetheir voices and more seem to be doing it all the time.

  73. Kaye Lee

    Let’s not forget the Crusades.

  74. Matters Not

    KK have you heard of the Sykes–Picot Agreement? And how the ME became partitioned ?

    Secondly, are you aware of religious divide between the Sunni and Shia which goes back to the mid 7th Century?

    Seems to me that acknowledging same is essential to any understanding of what is happening in the ME today,

    There’s one thing that followers of Islam are very aware of and that’s their history. And the West’s role in that. While we may forget – they don’t.

  75. Kronomex

    Karen, take time out to read the book I mentioned and you might, just might, learn something new. You almost come across as an apologist for the West at the moment.

    Why do you have this, what can only be described as, obsession with the Communists and Russia?

  76. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee……..The Crusades were a reaction to the Arab conquest of Christian Byzantine, the conquest of Spain and incursions into France. It took time and could be reconquered only when Viking raids were at an end in Europe and no longer a threat..

  77. Karen Kyle

    IMN….Yes I am aware of the Sunni Shia divide and Sykes Picot. I didn’t want to bore everybody and write a book. What would have been the alternative to Sykes Picot? One big Arab State without the overseeing rule and military of a Caliphate?. Bedlam given the centuries of pent up resentments and the lack of Government experience. Nationalism was the buzz word and Nation States is what the Arabs (most of them wanted). And that is what they got.

  78. Karen Kyle

    And yes they are aware of their history. In fact Palestinian Arabs are so aware of it they can re write it. They now see Jesus as a Palestinian…….sometimes as a Palestinian Freedom Fighter.

  79. Karen Kyle

    Kronomex…. If I come across as an apologist for the West it is because I can’t stand the vicious self hatred and flagellation displayed by hard Line lefties. It is destructive and downright subversive and much of it is not accurate. And I hate liars. A world built on a propagandist enlargement of the stories we tell ourselves which goes further and further away from fact and reality is dangerous and frightening.

    And the Soviet Union has come across as a spinner of dirty lies of harmful and death dealing lies. And hard line Lefties in the West obligingly soak it all up and vomit it back out. Shame on you. Critical thinking is something you often fail to do.

  80. Diannaart

    Karen

    Trump on your List of Liars?

    🙂

  81. Karen Kyle

    Dianne……You bet. First on the list,although he is a small man who tells pathetic lies.

  82. Diannaart

    A little man with more power than Putin.

  83. Kronomex

    Here’s another book you should read, “God’s War: A New History of the Crusades” by Christopher Tyerman.

    “And the Soviet Union has come across as a spinner of dirty lies of harmful and death dealing lies.” Exactly the same thing can be said about the West. Who bombed Cambodia? Was it the Russians disguised as Americans? Who invaded Iraq? Was it Russians disguised as Americans, English, Australians? Wake up and smell what you are preaching, the West is just guilty as Russia! No matter what spin you put on it, it is not all one-sided with one country or belief system as the core problem.

    Oh yes, who invaded Tibet? Was it Russians disguised as Communist China?

  84. Kaye Lee

    “Nationalism was the buzz word and Nation States is what the Arabs (most of them wanted). And that is what they got.”

    I think you are doing a bit of your own rewriting of history there Karen.

    France had decided to govern Syria directly, and took action to enforce the French Mandate of Syria before the terms had been accepted by the Council of the League of Nations. The French issued an ultimatum and intervened militarily at the Battle of Maysalun in June 1920. They deposed the indigenous Arab government, and removed King Faisal from Damascus in August 1920. Great Britain also appointed a High Commissioner and established their own mandatory regime in Palestine, without first obtaining approval from the Council of the League of Nations, or obtaining the formal cession of the territory from the former sovereign, Turkey.

    Following the award of the British Mandate of Mesopotamia at San Remo, the British were faced with an Iraqi revolt against the British from July through February 1921 as well as a Kurdish revolt in Northern Iraq.

    The agreement is frequently cited as having created “artificial” borders in the Middle East, “without any regard to ethnic or sectarian characteristics, [which] has resulted in endless conflict.”

  85. Roswell

    And the Soviet Union has come across as a spinner of dirty lies of harmful and death dealing lies. And hard line Lefties in the West obligingly soak it all up and vomit it back out. Shame on you.

    Huh?

    Tell me again which political party in the USA is cuddling up to Putin.

  86. Roswell

    Another post … another history lesson from Karen Kyle.

    Hmm, did I just say “another history lesson”? I meant “same history lesson”.

  87. Karen Kyle

    Kronomax……Cold war devolving into hot war. Stop the spread of Communism. I know who bombed Cambodia and I know why. Then they got Pol Pot. Does that make both sides even in the evil stakes? Iraq was a tragic mistake and that has always been the thinking about it. Even if Saddam did invade and annex Kuwait. He was becoming more and more unstable over time and the American had a bill in the Congress to go to war with Iraq for two years before they did it.. It took 9,11 to get them moving against the wrong county. The American were worried about rebuilding Iraq. They were an occupying force for decades in Germany and Japan while they supervised the rebuilding of the country.They were prepared to do the same in Iraq.

    Saddam was a bad man, He really did have to go. And he wasn’t above supporting terrorists.He was approached by a Palestinian Arab requesting money to wage terror on the Israelis. Saddam obliged, and when the KGB learned of it they took over the money and the terror group. I know who invaded Tibet thank you.The Soviet Union…..Red China. Not a lot of difference.Thanks for the book recommendations. Don’t you think I can find my own?

  88. Roswell

    Thanks for the book recommendations. Don’t you think I can find my own?

    What a snide little creature you are.

    We’ll remember that whenever you try preaching to us.

  89. Diannaart

    “Saddam was a bad man”

    Correct, Karen.

    And Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights remains appalling. For some reason the USA continues friendly relationships, of course, this could simply be a Trumpian tanty simply because Obama was cooling relationships. However, the USA and SA have been best buds since 1933 when oil exploration began.

    Whereas the erratic Saddam was fond of switching oil supplies on and off. Can’t have that now.

  90. Kronomex

    “I know who bombed Cambodia and I know why.” Evidence to back up your claim would bolster your point.
    “He was approached by a Palestinian Arab requesting money to wage terror on the Israelis.” Again, evidence to back up your claim would bolster your point. You make a lot of anecdotal statements with providing anything to back them up.

    “Don’t you think I can find my own?” Tad petulant there, in which I won’t bother suggesting any more books because they’re obviously not going to read because they won’t fit into your rather tight world view. And before you get all up in arms just remember your “And hard line Lefties in the West obligingly soak it all up and vomit it back out. Shame on you. Critical thinking is something you often fail to do.” Change “Lefties” to “Right” and it’s a case of pot and kettle.

    I’m almost ready to retract my statement about having respect for you. I won’t be back on this thread.

  91. Diannaart

    For further reading on USA and Saudi Arabia,

    http://time.com/5428669/saudi-arabia-military-relationship/

    The 75-year alliance between the two nations has been built on a simple arrangement: American demand for Saudi oil and Saudi demand for American firepower.

    But, Saddam was not only a “bad man” – he was uncooperative, unlike the those warm and fuzzy Saudi’s.

  92. Roswell

    I won’t be back on this thread.

    Karen Kyle, you have a habit of driving people away. As Michael Taylor said the other day a lot of time and effort goes into bringing people here, so it’s a pity that you undo all that work.

  93. Karen Kyle

    Kay Lee No I am not writing my own history. A mandate is a mandate and the purpose was to was to prepare the Arab countries for Independence and self rule. and to develop those countries which was in the French case done. It was not colonialism.And there was a terrific grab for land and power before WW! had ended and it was the Arabs doing most of the grabbing ie King Faisal who was born in Saudi Arabia. and thought he should be King of Syria, That didn’t work out and the Brits gave him Iraq instead. It was a mess.

    One enduring legacy of the Vichy Government was the Ba Ath Party. Fascist, and the Party of Assad. Pardon my spelling I have had not much sleep. And Pan Arabism and Nationaism were competing ideologies just to add to the mess. It doesn’t really matter what went before the Mandates……because the Mandates were all going to stick and by and large they did.

  94. Matters Not

    KK, after perusing the amusing nonsense above, I honestly don’t know where to start.

    So I won’t!

  95. Karen Kyle

    Dianne…..Yes the Saudis do have an appalling human rights record etc. The relationship between them and the USA is problematic based on interests according to the Americans and not values. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of oil. It is vital to the world economy that oil supplies be stable and affordable. Otherwise you might not have been fed and sent to school. As it is the Saudis can cut the amount of oil on the market which they did after the Yom Kippur War and plunged the Western economies into crisis. They had great power and they were pulling the strings forcing the West into relationships they might have wished to avoid.That is why fracking began around the world to find alternative sources of oil and be less dependent on the ME..The ME is so difficult and so problematic that the USA wants out and they are becoming less dependent on Saudi oil. One day we will all be responsible for generating our own power from renewable sources. That will be a great day. We will not be subject to blackmail by anyone.

  96. Karen Kyle

    Kronomex. I read a lot. I pick up information sometimes over years. I can’t remember where I got it from. Every body has this experience. You as well. Sorry I cant footnote every scrap of info in my head.

  97. Karen Kyle

    Roswell……….The Republican Party. Cuddling up to Putin. They need help to win elections. Soon Gerrymandering and voter suppression won’t be enough. I think by 2040 or 2050 white protestants will no longer be the majority population..They are terrified. It isn’t fair. It isn’t what god wants. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

  98. Paul Davis

    “The purpose of our discussion is not that my words will triumph over yours or yours over mine, but that between us we can logically and without acrimony approach something closer to Truth”. Misquoting our psychology tutor circa 1966.

    But then there are egos……

  99. Matters Not

    KK, you present as a classic example of a Gish Gallop exponent.

    Gish Gallop is a technique … whereby someone argues a cause by hurling as many different half-truths and no-truths into a very short space of time so that their opponent cannot hope to combat each point in real time

    Further, it seems to me that you do so without conscious intent.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gish_gallop

    Reflect on that? Perhaps for a day or two? Or is there no need? Because you have the truth ?

  100. Roswell

    Matters Not, I do enjoy your acid wit. 👍

  101. helvityni

    Paul Davis,

    “But then there are egos……”, yes, kings and queens of the castle, it starts in the sandpit….

    Roswell,
    yes, me too….

  102. Paul Davis

    Helvityni 🤔😆 love how you take the pith …..

  103. Karen Kyle

    Dianne…..re military relationship between USA and Saudi Arabia,That is Trump’s view. It may not be the view of the new House of Reps in Congress. We will have to wait to see if Congress takes action.

  104. Karen Kyle

    IMN re Gish Gallop. Such a technique would work with verbal debate. Hardly a debate in writing on a computer blog. You are sitting on your backside in font of a computer with access to a huge amount of information. You don’t like to fact check? I do it all the time.

    Kay Lee gave us s run down on the Arab reaction to the French and Brits before the Mandate which she carefully recorded as examples of Arab objection to the West and Western chicanery.

    I took the view that the situation had to be seen in context. Context is everything, especially in history and so many people will take a situation or incident isolate it and then make it possible to draw either wrong or purely propagandist conclusions.

    The context was the fall of the Ottoman Empire with all the upheaval chaos killing and general instability which inevitably follows just as the fall of the USSR resulted in a bloodbath in the former Yugoslavia and general instability and trouble elsewhere in parts of the Empire.

    Then I look at intention which is crucial in historical terms. The intention was to award France and Britain the Mandate for Syria Lebanon Iraq and Palestine. They were under orders from the League of Nations and later the United Nations to develop these countries and prepare them for self rule. Countries, as in potential Nation States and not one Pan Arab entity. That was the purpose of the Mandate. It was not Colonialism, rather it was to be the end of Colonialism.

    Then I look at the result. The French probably achieved a better result than Britain who was forced to give up the Mandate of Palestine having had enough of a well nigh impossible situation. Palestinian Arabs did not prepare for statehood. The Jews did.

    Over all the result was as planned by the UN. Britain and France both withdrew and the countries handed over to the occupants amid plenty of trouble which in hindsight probably couldn’t have been foreseen with much accuracy. Not until years later when historians began to unravel and explain the reasons.

  105. Diannaart

    Khaled

    Could Bernie Sanders make America great again?

  106. Kaye Lee

    Karen,

    The League of Nations didn’t even exist when the Sykes-Picot agreement was signed. The controlling powers were also left free to determine state boundaries within their areas. It caused a great deal of angst.

  107. Karen Kyle

    Khaled……some wonderful news at last. Thank you for that hopeful and cheering video.

  108. Karen Kyle

    The Sykes Picot Agreement underwent considerable modification as a result of British and International negotiation. Lloyd George in 1917 was determined on full sovereignty for the Arab peoples. The principle was continued by the Big Four i.e. Britain, France, USA Italy and Japan who proposed a Mandate system which became Article 22 of the League Covenant. The international community was very much involved….Kaye Lee

  109. Karen Kyle

    There was extensive consultation with Arab Leaders. Kay Lee

  110. Kronomex

    “There was extensive consultation with Arab Leaders.” I call bullshit on that comment Karen –

    https://www.britannica.com/event/Sykes-Picot-Agreement

    https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/britain-and-france-conclude-sykes-picot-agreement

    https://theconversation.com/the-sykes-picot-agreement-and-the-making-of-the-modern-middle-east-58780

    The Arabs: A History by Eugene Rogan.
    I’m sure we can find other sources to dispute what you said without many problems.

    If you can refute it then supply evidence otherwise it’s just another of your unsubstantiated comments.
    Any changes to the agreement did not happen until years, if not decades later.

    Yes, I said I wouldn’t be back but that comment was wrong on so many levels that I had to say something

  111. Diannaart

    When I posted my cryptic question to Khaled.

    Probably should’ve elaborated a bit.

    I don’t believe Bernie Sanders’ vision for the USA is the same as Trump’s. I would like to see a fairer more equitable USA, one which has existed more in imagination than in reality.

    The hokey 1950s white picket fence USA was inequitable for at least 50% of the population and all minority groups. Nor do I want the world’s sherif strutting the world’s stage again, anymore, ever. Therefore I wonder what Bernie Sanders vision is for his land.

    Something I’d like to see for Australia as well. No more government by ideology, more linear structures, less “my way or the highway” attitudes.

  112. Khaled Elomar

    Diannaart

    Not sure if Bernie is the answer. Don’t get me wrong, he is the best alternative. Just not sure what effects the Oval office will have on him.

    K

  113. Diannaart

    Khaled

    Power is always a problem. I imagine the Oval Office proves too much for many well intentioned, thinking of Barack Obama …

  114. Karen Kyle

    Kronomex. It’s in the Wikipedia entry.

  115. Kronomex

    Wikipedia, snort! Will you at least entertain the idea of looking at the three links I posted? Probably too much to ask after your “Don’t you think I can find my own?” comment I suppose.

  116. Kaye Lee

    From the Wikipedia entry….

    “The agreement is seen by many as a turning point in Western and Arab relations. It negated the UK’s promises to Arabs made for a national Arab homeland in the area of Greater Syria, in exchange for supporting the British against the Ottoman Empire.”

    Reinforcing that view….

    Pointing to a map, Sykes told his political masters in London that he wanted to draw a straight line stretching from the ‘e’ in Acre, Palestine to the last ‘k’ in Kirkuk. France would control the territories north of this border and Britain those to the south.

    Sykes had travelled in the region, mainly as a tourist rather than a diplomat, and managed to persuade his government he knew more about it than he actually did. Picot was a promoter of France’s self-proclaimed civilising mission and liked to summon up his country’s centuries-old engagement with the Levant, dating back to the Crusades.

    The Sykes-Picot plan established artificial borders which failed to reflect the demographic, cultural and social identity of the varied communities that had lived for centuries under Ottoman suzerainty. The signatories to the agreement are accused of reneging on promises to the Arabs that they would be rewarded with independence for their rebellion against the Turks. That leads on to the charge that they laid the groundwork for a partition of Palestine that ignored the rights of the indigenous Palestinians.

    ….the victors sought to determine the Middle East map with the Treaty of Sèvres which in 1920 effectively dismantled the Turkish heartland in Anatolia Three years later, with the Treaty of Lausanne, a resurgent Turkey under Kemal Ataturk regained what it had almost lost. Earlier promises that Kurds and Armenians might be allowed to determine their futures somehow evaporated.

    http://time.com/4327377/sykes-picot-the-centenary-of-a-deal-that-did-not-shape-the-middle-east/

    Broken promises….

  117. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee……Quite a good article from Time. I am surprised you put it up. It is written with heavy irony and exposes the essentially propagandist use of Sykes Picot as a sort of talisman of western evil. Ts tsk tsk..

  118. Karen Kyle

    The final borders did not much resemble the original Sykes Picot.

  119. Kaye Lee

    Wow. That just shows how two people can read the same information (presuming you actually read it and didn’t just react to the headline) and get an entirely different understanding from it. The whole article is about how the Arabs were lied to and let down as Britain and France planned to divide up the spoils of a war they hadn’t won yet and yet you see it as some sort of endorsement?

    “Apologists for the 1916 agreement—these days it would be hard to find any serious defenders—would claim it was more muddle than conspiracy. The plan devised by two otherwise rather undistinguished diplomats, Sir Mark Sykes for Britain and François Georges-Picot for France, sought to map a post-World War I structure for Turkey’s Middle Eastern territories. With the conflict against Germany and its Turkish ally still under way and the outcome far from certain, they drew artificial lines in the sand which reflected their countries’ interests rather than those of the inhabitants.”

    How can we understand this so differently? Which quotes are you looking at? The Turks fought against us and ended up ok. The various groups that fought with us were abandoned as is so often the case.

    And I have no idea what your tsk tsk tsk means.

  120. Rossleigh

    Karen, having read the way you argue and your syntax, I think the thing that upsets people is that you write like a man.
    Now, I don’t mean to suggest that there’s anything wrong with that… From time to time, I also write like a man. However, it tends to upset people in these politically correct times where people expect that you don’t presume that just because you think something it’s worth recording and they tend to become upset when one writes in a way that suggests that everyone else should not only note it but just re-assess their whole life because you’ve explained it to them. If you keep going down that path, it’s only a matter of time before you start to understand Scott Morrison and believe me, it would be better to experiment with LSD…

    I say this more out of compassion than anger…

  121. Roswell

    And I have no idea what your tsk tsk tsk means.

    I know what it means.

    It’s her smug, sarcastic put down.

  122. Kaye Lee

    I went and sat on the verandah and realised what we have done. We are arguing about what has caused the problems in the Middle East which is a question with too many answers. Khaled came to this country to escape that argument. He is focused on a better future. As we all should be. I apologise Khaled. I hope we have not caused you too much distress. We must learn from the past but we must focus on the future.

  123. Karen Kyle

    Kay Lee…..The article is very good because it it honest in that it includes all the warts. But it is heavily ironic. The theme of the article is captured in the headline and the last paragraph. And as far as I can tell it is dead accurate Sykes Picot simply did not survive the further rounds of international negotiations and the more developed thinking of statesmen and diplomats, like Lloyd George. And the trouble in the ME after WW1 was as inevitable as the sun shining. After all the Ottoman Empire was gone and a Caliphate had ruled for more than 1000 years. Such big changes don’t take place without chaos and upheaval.

  124. Khaled Elomar

    Kaye Lee
    The past is nothing but a database of Lessons Learnt. Unfortunately, we all, including myself at times, never revert to History for the right reasons which are to Learn from it.
    We keep making the same mistakes over and over and over.
    K

    PS. Many thanks for the apology.

  125. Karen Kyle

    Khaled…….I like your view of history.

  126. Michael Taylor

    Well I learnt something today.

    My oldest uncle – one of the “illegal” refugees who came here after WW1 – actually did fight for Australia. He served in New Guinea in WW2.

    My heart pumps with pride.

  127. Kronomex

    Roswell, I think Karen went into a trance and was channelling Skippy.

    I’m off to listen to Autobahn and Rainbow Rising.

  128. Kaye Lee

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all just forgive each other for past mistakes and start working together as people to make the world a better place for our kids.

  129. Kronomex

    A utopian dream, a good dream, but I think we’ll destroy ourselves and planet before that comes to fruition.

  130. Khaled Elomar

    This happened to me just today….

    Went to Pet shop today to buy toys for the cat Scar and frozen mice for the snakes Eve and Enes.

    Whilst waiting i the queue to pay, I notice a couple standing a few customers behind me with the husband carrying a large bag of dog food. I noticed he was struggling with it whilst standing. They were much older than me.

    I looked at the man and said to him “give me that bag mate. I only have a few items so I’ll carry it for you”. He said “cheers mate. I’m recovering from a knee replacement.” Before he could answer though, the wife said “don’t need your help; it’s all good.” But when the man gave me the bag, I obviously, ignored her and took it off him.

    I paid for my stuff and waited for them to pay so that I can carry the bag for them to their car.

    The wife turned to me and said “are you alright?”.
    I said, “yes I am. Just waiting for you guys so that I can carry the bag for your husband.” She said, “I told you we’re alright.”
    The look on the husbands face was yelling out “SORRY”.

    I said to myself then, ‘suite yourself woman’.

    I walked out and when I got to my car, I noticed a young Pet shop employee carrying the bag for the couple to their car. The employee was white with blond hair; same as the couple.

    Am I thinking incorrectly about this when I say I experienced racism even when I’m trying to help? Did the woman object to my help because of my prominent Arab Muslim features?

    Despite how the woman reacted, I am giving her the benefit of doubt. FORGIVE AND FORGET…

    K

  131. Khaled Elomar

    Michael Taylor
    Something to be extremely proud of brother.
    K

  132. Roswell

    Forgive, but never forget.

  133. Kaye Lee

    I do not understand either Khaled. I read things on facebook, even from politicians, and I do not understand. ‘Hatred makes your tummy hurt.’ I don’t mean to trivialise – that is just what I always said to my kids. I was a teacher and I know, in that context, that the kids who lashed out were the scared ones, the ones that felt inadequate, the ones that felt frustration because they couldn’t understand, the ones that lacked the security that confidence about your own worth brings.

    A few politicians and a few media sources have tried to spread fear. It doesn’t work with most of us. Think of her poor hubby. He has to go home with her.

  134. Roswell

    Kronomex, Kraftwerk. 😀

  135. Matters Not

    Re:

    past is nothing but a database of Lessons Learnt

    Well that’s one possible interpretation (and what we sometimes call history is in large part all about ‘interpretation’) but I also entertain the exact opposite – which is about the past being a database of Lessons not Learnt. Just sayin ..

  136. Diannaart

    Our Prime Minister believes we need extra measures to ensure Christians, I mean, all religious people are protected from discrimination.

    Perhaps he could start with love thy neighbour … and lead by example.

  137. Roswell

    Khaled, I can’t let this pass without saying it: I like you, I respect you. You’re a better man than I’ll ever be.

  138. Karen Kyle

    Very sorry you had that experience Khaled. It is a nasty behaviour and would make you feel bad.Every time you have such experiences you will have to tell us about it. We need to know. And we can support you.

  139. Kaye Lee

    Just be thankful you aren’t her husband. Empathy for those worse off puts things in perspective (smile).

  140. Kaye Lee

    Kronomex,

    I call it verandah dreaming. I do some of my best work there….usually accompanied by a champagne bottle.

  141. Diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    😁

  142. Diannaart

    Wandering around the Internet, (or should that be the Electric Zeitgeist?) found this:

    “When given the choice between being right, or being kind, choose kind.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

    I think I am kind to those I like and not so much to those I find not so endearing. Clearly, I have more to learn.

  143. Kaye Lee

    Diannart,

    I can’t imagine what it would feel like to not know there is so much to learn and even so many ways to keep improving. It would be stultifying. Not to mention a burden – perfection is hard to maintain….but the journey is made up of little steps forward towards a goal we will never reach.

    Ok, I think I should head back to the appropriate place for this sort of philosophisng – the verandah beckons….

  144. Paul Davis

    Hi KE
    i am a 70yr old blond haired white guy living in a central qld regional city. I see what you just described every time i go to shops. From simple things like the look of surprise on indigenous lady when i hold open door for her or similar, to being dismayed when white checkout operator or shop assistant shows me deference and respect after providing poor or disinterested service to an “ethnic” person…
    The other day in woolies, the lady in front of me wasn’t offered the xmas assembly cards (kiddie giveaways one for each $30 you spend)…. i asked her as she was about to leave if her kids were collecting the cards, she said yes, and as she had spent over $200 suggested to the young cashier that he might want to give them to her…. he did so with no apology …. she was black of course.
    Since moving here from riverina two yrs ago have learnt to, as my partner calls it, to STFU when out in public and confronted by redneck rants etc, it just goes with the territory i guess.
    I would be mortified and ashamed if any of my mostly white anglo celtic euro family spoke or acted like what seems almost normal here….

  145. Dianna Arton

    Kaye Lee

    A couple of days ago a good friend and I were laughing about how much less we know the more we learn. We agreed her nine old knows everything… 😋

  146. Diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    Just a couple of days ago a good friend and I were laughing about how we know less and less the more we learn … we agreed her nine year old knows everything … just like we did … 😋

  147. Kronomex

    Karen,

    “Every time you have such experiences you will have to tell us about it. We need to know.”

    Rather condescending don’t you think? And no, Khaled doesn’t have to tell us about it UNLESS he wants to. What are you, some sort of agony aunt?

    Thought I’d give Rainbow Rising a miss for the moment and listen to Neon Lights and Europe Endless. My two favourite Kraftwerk tracks

    Kaye Lee, “….usually accompanied by a champagne bottle.” Wouldn’t the contents of the bottle be better? Me? I’d rather sit on the verandah and watch a brilliant sunset or great thunder storm.

  148. Kaye Lee

    It is sad when kindness is viewed with suspicion. Is that because it is too rare?

    diannaart, the less you know the easier it is to think you know it all. The confidence and passion of youth is to be nurtured. Life will teach them as they go along. May good people help guide their journey.

  149. Khaled Elomar

    What I did should never be classified as Kindness. It’s the humane thing to do.
    K

  150. Kaye Lee

    Kronomex,

    The champagne is not compulsory. I am so lucky. I look at the ocean. I hear the waves. The birds at dawn are beautiful. I see the storms coming from the south and love watching the lightning (though have seen a few fires started by it). I watch sun and moon set over a distant horizon. The world is a beautiful place. We just need to be nicer to each other maybe?

  151. Karen Kyle

    For heaven’s sake Kronomex you are irritable. I was not patronising Khaled. I thought he might sometimes need support and he would find it here.

  152. Kronomex

    “The champagne is not compulsory. I am so lucky. I look at the ocean. I hear the waves. The birds at dawn are beautiful. I see the storms coming from the south and love watching the lightning (though have seen a few fires started by it). I watch sun and moon set over a distant horizon.”

    I’m not jealous.
    Go on, whispers the naughty me. Be jealous.
    Okay.
    (Blows raspberry.)
    Happy?
    No, I’m not, says the naughty me. That was terrible. Try again and put some real razz in there this time.
    Okay. Draws in deep breath and…
    Thhhbbytt…pop…clatter…oh ratths, my dental plateth flown out and landed in the think. Happy now?
    Snigger, chortle, says the naughty me and disappears.
    Come back! You did that on purpoth you ratfink!

  153. Kaye Lee

    When offers of help are rejected it is often hurtful. But it happens to all of us at different times and in different circumstances. I can understand feeling dismayed if you feel the rejection was based purely on racial grounds. Older people tend to be more fearful about being scammed so perhaps that was a factor in the wife’s reaction. Some people are just very private and are embarrassed by offers of help. People are a complex mix and hard to understand at times.

    Kronomex,

    I live in a truly beautiful part of the world. I can’t walk to the shops but I can walk through the bush to the beach.

  154. Roswell

    Gosh there are some wonderful people on this site. Speaking of which, I just love you ladies. I feel your passion, your power. It’s electric.

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