Sunday, March 27, 2011

Broken Glass, Heroic Wizards, Israel, and Imagining Justice

1. Had another weird coincidence...maybe.   Last night I read some more of Patrick White's Riders in the Chariot.   The Jewish character, Himmelfarb learns that the Germans are destroying Jewish property.  There's talk of broken glass; so I THINK White is referring to Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. 

This morning I went through my thing of reading my old Livejournal entries. I'm still in October 2005.   This was the time I was all into spirituality.   Not only did I record my dreams, but also any weird thoughts that popped into my head at random times.  When I was in the zoo parking lot with Jack, I randomly thought the words Kristallnacht.   That's strange in itself, but strange that I would read about it this morning after reading about Kristallnacht last night.    My journal entry says I also suddenly thought I want some peanut butter crackers.  I really don't even like peanut butter crackers much.   So, what's up with that?  

2. Decided to play my Adelaide/Hobart Flickr game.  

For Adelaide, my random photo was this cool car picture.  It has an interesting perspective.  

For Hobart, I got a black and White photo of an interesting art-deco building.  It's pretty cool.  I think I prefer this photo, so I'm going to give my point to Hobart.  

3. Watched Jack use one of our Australia coffee books to play with his new 3DS.  He was able to make it looks like his little green 3D doodle was dancing around the Twelve Apostles.

4. Talked to Tim about our upcoming Australia trip.  We're going to slowly start deciding on a schedule of things.  Hobart or Adelaide?   And in what order are we going to go places?   Do we stay in Sydney when we first get there, or immediately move on to Melbourne and save Sydney for last?    Lots of decisions to make.

5. Excited to see that there's a whole article about Australia in the Magic is Might Experience website.  The story is that heroic Australian wizards are rescuing British Muggle-born wizards.    They used a photo from The Wizards of Waverly Place to represent the Australians.  I'm not sure if I love that.  I've tried watching the show twice, and can't bring myself to like it.  I love witch/wizard stuff.   I like kid shows.  I often like stuff that's popular.  I don't know what happened in this case. 

6. Read article about the Green Party's election issues. They haven't officially lost yet, but it doesn't look very promising.  It's believed that the Israeli boycott idea is the cause of their disappointing results. 

The person interviewed for the story seems to be Jewish. Well, his last name is Cohen; Ian Cohen   That's a very Jewish name.    He's part of the Green Party, but is retiring.   He says it was fine for Byrne to take a principled stance.  I think it's perfectly okay, but I'm glad the voters took their own principled stance.  And I don't think it's okay that Byrne tried to downplay and hide it.  She should be more upfront about her principles. 

7. Consulted Lord Wiki about Ian Cohen. He retired a few weeks ago (March 4). The environment seems to be his main concern. 

8. Found article about Cohen and his feelings towards Israel.   He doesn't seem to be anti-Israeli, but he was against Israel's 2009 attack on Gaza. I agree with him there.  I see no reason to support such violence.

The problem with a boycott is it DOES seem anti-semitic, just for the fact that there are many countries out there doing bad things.  Why target Israel?  Is Israel really the only country out there that's oppressing people?   No. I don't think so.   There are MANY countries with oppressed groups of people—including Australia.  Should Australia boycott Australia?  That might be interesting.  

We could say Australia is different.  There's a huge gap between the Aboriginal-and non-Aboriginal living standards; but it's not like the government is bombing Aboriginal homes. There's nothing violent like that.  But what if the Aboriginals decided to fight?   What if they started a revolution?   What if they started throwing stones?  Bombing buses. Throwing rockets?  Would Australia act differently than Israel?   

 9. Listened to some of Keating's Redfern Park Speech.   I know the one line from the Get Up Mob video.

It seems to me that if we can imagine the injustice then we can imagine its opposite. And we can have justice.

I enjoyed listening to more of the speech.  It's very powerful....excellent writing.  I got a few tears.  

This website has excerpts from the speech.  

I just posted the speech on the Magic is Might Australia article.  I think it goes well with the storyline; the mistreatment of Muggle-born wizards is not unlike the mistreatment of Aboriginal-Australians.   There's a lot of Nazi-comparisons on the website, perhaps because that's an atrocity ingrained in our consciousness.   

I'd say in books 1-6, the Muggle-Born situation can be seen as symbolic of many types of racism in our world, including racism against Aboriginal-Australians.   You could also compare it to bigotry against Jews, gays, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinos, etc.  But then in book 7, it escalates to a Nazism type situation. This is where the government actively persecutes the targeted group in a violent manner, and uses negative propaganda to get the other citizens to support the discrimination and genocide.    

10. Thought about the Magic is Might experience.  Sometimes I think it's just frivolous fun; and there's nothing wrong with that.  But I think it's more than that.  The game is getting people to do exactly what Paul Keating asked us to do:  Imagine the injustice.   The difference between games and reality is that in reality you don't get to choose if you want to play or not; and you don't get to choose your character.    In the Harry Potter game, we choose if we're Pureblood racist wizards, or Pureblood wizards that are not racist and have joined the rebellion.    Or will you be Muggle-born, the target of the government's hatred?    If you pick that, then you can imagine the fear and isolation—the fact that you're no longer allowed to attend that school that you love.  You can imagine having to go into hiding.  You're away from your hometown, friends and relatives.  The life you knew is gone.   I think most people would be very homesick.   And then on top of that, they'd have to worry about being found....caught....horrible things happening to them.

11. Read Adam Bandt's Marriage Equality motion in Parliament.   He talks about how the time is ripe for marriage equality.   It COULD happen now.   The general public is ready for it.   The government just needs to get off their ass and open their mind. 

The other day I got an email with a very typical message.  I've seen it so many times before.  We need to be sympathetic towards things like the White Australia policy.   That's just the way people were back then; such feelings were popular and acceptable. I agree with that, but my feeling is we need to give mucho admiration to those in history who were ahead of their time.   When the White Australia Policy was seen as acceptable policy, who stood up against it?  When slavery was popular in America, who stood up against it?  When homosexuality was seen as a mental disease, who stood up against that?   

There are always brave people in the world who stand up for "odd beliefs" even though it may bring ridicule and alienation from the rest of society. 

So if Julia Gillard was Prime Minister 10-20 years ago, I'd see her as shamefully following along with mainstream society.  But it wouldn't surprise me.  I'd shrug my shoulders, and think.   Well, she's just not one of those BRAVE leaders.  She's a woman of her time instead of a woman ahead of her time.

But Gillard is actually standing by discrimination that is NOT of her time.  From what I've been seeing and reading, homosexuality and gay marriage is becoming more and more accepted, and not just by us on the left. Even some right-winged people are accepting it.

So WHAT is up with Julia Gillard?

Now if she was a bible-believing Christian, I might actually have a tiny bit of admiration for her.   The majority of people want gay marriage, but she's standing up for her Jesus beliefs, even though it will make her less popular. I wouldn't agree with her beliefs, but I'd admire her for sticking to them. 

Maybe all I can assume is that Julia Gillard is against marriage...period.    She doesn't want gays to marry because she's hoping one day to outlaw ALL marriage.  That would be kind of funny.  Here we are thinking Gillard is homophobic, and instead she could turn out to be marriage-phobic.  

12. Consulted Lord Wiki about Australian public opinion regarding gay marriage.    He says a poll done in October 2010 showed that 62% of people supported gay marriage.  He also lists Parliamentary Members who publicly support gay marriage. Most of them are Labor or Green, but there are four Liberals there.    

13. Looked at photos of the University of Sydney. It has beautiful architecture.  Here's a great photo.   And I like this one too.   

14.  Started to read the first Parliamentary speech of Bronwyn Bishop.    It was done in 1987, so she's been a Member of Parliament for a long time.   I don't really like what she says here.   I have asked myself many times why I chose politics so early and I can say only that it came from a study of history. History showed me that the world had two groups of people: firstly, it had those who were part of the decision-making process and actually had some say in the direction that the nation in which they lived took. The second group of people were those who had decisions made for them. I determined that I wished to be part of the decision-making process.   

Do we want politicians who believe that; that they're the only ones who get to make decisions?   I think I'd rather have politicians that believe the rest of us have a voice as well; and not just a voice that blows hot air into the pot.  I want politicians who will listen to us, care what we think, and let us influence the decisions that are made in government. 

15. Consulted Lord Wiki about Bronwyn Bishop.   He says she attracted controversy in the 1990's when she was the Shadow Health Minister.   She supported tobacco advertising.  Interesting.....   Why would a Health Minister support that?

When Bishop was Minister for Aged Care, she got herself involved in another controversy.   At a nursing home in Melbourne, residents were given a kerosene solution that caused blistering.  Yikes. 

16. Read transcript on ABC about the kerosene issue.  There was allegations that an actual death was caused by the baths; and there was blame towards Bishop for not acting against the practices earlier.