Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wikileaks for Democracy.

Wikileaks is providing a valuable service to those who support democracy and our right to know. Many decisions are made without the public knowing the truth such as the war in Iraq, Vietnam and probably Afghanistan. Governments can hid behind the 30 year limit on releasing information by that time a whole generation is dead who were at the time concerned about these decisions. As western governments become more secretive and decsison making less transparent we depend now on the internet to provide us with a balanced view of the world. As media empires are now in the hands of so few and interfere in the political process to the point of making and breaking the election results we must have other sources of information to make up our own minds. The team at Wikileaks are brave and courageous I also hope they are well guarded and watch their backs. I think they are doing a service to society as media outlets dumb down news and current affairs. We can so easily be manipulated as we see attitudes to assylum seekers, mining taxes and climate change being distorted by vested interest groups. I would be fascinated to know who is leaking public servants at times find it so frustrating when they hear political leaders telling porkies that the urge to leak would be irresistable. Of course hackers are also skilled in getting information right from the source.Good luck guys I am most interested in what else is coming.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Get Well Christopher Hitchens.

I was so sad to see the interview with Mr Hitchens where he talked about his current illness. Here is one of our greatest minds that stands out in the sea of stupidity that denies climate change, takes us into unwinnable wars and so on. To read his books is a challenge the words and thoughts are dense with ideas. His life is fascinating and the envy of anyone forced to mix with and listen to the mediocrity that flourishes in the world today. I have just finished reading Hitch 22 and will have to reread several times there is so much to think about and absorb. My fascination is always what sort of influences created such a man, the book in some way answers these questions.
I am deeply offended by those of faith who feel the need to hope for his conversion to religion. Are their beliefs so shaky that they must convert every last one of us? I can quite happily face death without wanting the world to see it as I do. I am always puzzled by their ambivalence toward the heaven that waits after death. None of them seem to be in any hurry to get there. Is there some doubt in their minds? I can pray.
I wish Mr Hitchens a recovery so I van go feeling that I am not alone. There are others out there who think and challenge the mainstream party line. I don't always agree with him but so what I enjoy the fact he can change his mind. This is a quality many of us could adopt.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Have we been lied to again.

Isn't it convenient as the war in Afghanistan is now so unpopular that we even have members of the Liberal Party saying we should get out that we now have a new terrorist threat? It may be true but how can we trust this story. The footage across the television screen could be of anything. Hijab clad women, a Fed ex truck, the guts of a printer and a plane taking off. We have been mislead so many times children overboard and weapons of mass destruction are just a few. I am highly suspicious. In order to keep the troops in Afghanistan we must feel that terrorism is a real possibility so the threats have to keep coming. Is the invasion of Yemen now imminent as Al Queda has now set up base here? I don't think so.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pornography and young women

I was recently challenged as an older woman taking a stance against pornography. As an old feminist I remain committed to we can't be equal if we are selling our bodies like any other kind of commodity. A group of young women recently challenged me at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas saying that they use porn and they have no problems with it. I was curious. Of course they are safe in Australia with good jobs and choices about how they earn a living. They are not poor women in developing countries who have limited choices and are often lured into offers for a better life by unscrupulous people operating human trafficking networks. Many children disappear from countries that have been affected by disasters. They are whisked away in the mayhem and unable to be traced. Some end up in the sex industry.
There are many questions to be answered about what porn does to realtionships between people as the expectations around sex are altered. Many young women are now being pressured to have plastic surgery because their partners have had a steady diet of women online who look a particular way. I know of marriages in trouble as one partner spends time sitting in a dark room alone looking at porn. And what happens to the women involved in making porn? I don't know but come back to how women are regarded and treated and we still have a long way to go in this area. Misogyny is still rife, attitudes to women are still not what we would want and the sexualistion of young girls is of great concern. I must of course hand over to younger feminists to decide the future but we don't even seem to be having the debate. Most women are again silent.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Travelling to Bali

I have resisted to date travelling to Bali but won a trip so thought it churlish not to go. I was worried about hordes of Australians crowding the island out. It was the taking over of the place to make it just like home that shocked me the shopping malls, the fast food places and the disregard for dressing in accordance with local sensitivities. The sight of young Balinese sitting in endless shops waiting for tourists to come in and buy more stuff, they looked bored and miserable. Even at 2.00 am in the departure mall at Denpasar Airport the shops were still open with bleary eyed young people still working. I know it is a poor country and depends on tourist dollars for income but what a price to pay. Thong wearing aussies putting their dirty feet up for a maasage by young women is a truly cringe worthy sight. Surely we go overseas to observe other cultures through meeting locals, eating the food and enjoying music, dancing and theatre not demanding Starbucks coffee and chips and hamburgers.
The countryside is still beautiful and I enjoyed myself but felt sorry for the next developing country tempted to look to tourism for its economic survival. Perhaps we could just send the money and go to Byron Bay.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Climate Change

I went to a talk given by Clive Hamilton on climate change. He gave this talk in Newcastle where climate change is a joke. The third coal loader is nearly complete so this town can become the biggest exporter in the Southern Hemisphere. There are so many ships waiting to get in to load up you can't even begin to count them so anything the government comes up with is a nonsense when you look at this. Clive raised however a more disturbing issue that we are now entering a new era of McCarthyism. Scientists are now being put in the position of losing their jobs and credibility if they support the science that affirms climate change. Their computers are hacked into and their research is discredited. How can we have any sensible debate when this sort of behaviour goes on? We know who the sceptics are backed by Andrew Bolte, Piers Ackerman et al. The Liberal Party is now lead by a man who thinks it is all crap and he has support within the party for these views that's why he was elevated. Coal will continue to be the major source of fuel while we have an abundance of cheap supplies. I can't see how we are going to win this one. Australia is now in the position of digging up everything that we can sell no matter what the environmental impact.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CD Launch

I was very fortunate to win the Australian Slam Poetry last year and with the prize money I am producing a CD of my work. It has been a very interesting journey for a slam poet. We exist outside the world of agents, managers and publishers. I had a job finding someone to record, one person wouldn't because of the content and the next person didn't turn up to three appointments. I was beginning to think it wasn't ever going to happen. I then managed to get the recording done and needed to have it classified as it contains some language which if you walk down the street you will hear every second soemone speaks and it contained correct names for genitalia which apparently is offensive. This has been a shock and I think where have I been for the last twenty years that I am so out of touch. The lables have now arrived after some difficulties in finding out how you get a CD classified. I then went to book a venue and shock horror I was knocked back by one due to the content of some of the poetry. I couldn't believe it. I can turn on the television or internet and watch as much degrading of women and children's bodies as I like, as many murders and incidents of violence as I can cope with and we are at war slaughtering people who pose no threat to us but I am offensive. It is a funny society we have it is like being back in the fifties all over again.