Platitudes and Silence

Staring through the window I sit
nursing a mug of tea.
The swish of tyres after recent rain
and the squawks of  parakeets
foraging in the flame tree
are background noise to my thoughts.
Thoughts of disbelief.
Thoughts of anger.
Colours mute as the sun descends.
Long shadows fall across the yard.
My phone beeps, more news.
I don’t look.
Enough bad news for one day.
‘Atrocities believed to have happened on Nauru.’
Believed to?
How can a government be so callous,
so cold,
so lacking in compassion?
I don’t want news.
I want answers.
But I don’t get answers.
All we get are platitudes
and silence.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/silence/

 

Spare this beautiful place

In this fragile place,

where greed talks loud.

In this beautiful place,

of moors and farmland.

In this tranquil place,

where streams run clear.

In this proud place,

where villages have stood

for centuries.

In this threatened place,

where decisions, made

in council chambers

and behind lobbyist doors,

will change it

for ever.

In Ryedale, North Yorkshire.

 

Why would you frack here?

Further Information:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/14/fracking-ryedale-north-yorkshire-moors

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/24/riding-roughshod-over-democracy-residents-on-fracking-in-north-yorkshire

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/spare/

 

 

Who’s been stealing my grapes?

Last year it was the fruit rats. And the year before. And the year before that …

We had initially thought that it was birds though and I spent hours going through old CDs for the ones I didn’t want or need, and then hanging them with shiny Christmas ribbon in the hope that as they danced in the breeze the reflection and movement would scare the birds away.

It didn’t happen. However brilliant the idea, it was never going to save the grapes.

As we waited for the grapes to grow large and succulent and turn deep red in the hot summer sun, so too the rats waited. I remember last summer the tomatoes had survived, so maybe the rats weren’t around? Each day I’d go and check on my crops and put off harvesting for just one more day of ripening and developing flavour.

But that one day was crucial. How could so many bunches disappear in one night? Exactly how many rats were there? It seemed impossible that they could feast on so many grapes and not be lying in a overindulgent heap on the ground the next day. Instead the ground was littered with the remains.

 

So this year the grapes were still green and the vine was prolific. We’d never had so many bunches before. I was optimistic that we would finally get to taste them or, dare I say, eat some. The grapes were still at least a couple of weeks from ripening when I saw the debris, a few discarded grape skins and stems scattered on the ground at my feet.

Was it the unusually hot weather causing the rats to change their eating behaviour? Did they now like the unripened grapes or were they simply trying to make sure they were one step ahead of me?  The following day the mess below the vines was worse and the day after that more grapes had been plundered.

Should I get a cat? My dog would not like that. I scoured the internet for fruit rat deterrents, to no avail. The next morning as I sat on my deck pondering and drinking my first cup of tea for the day, a noisy chatter and fluttering of wings announced their arrival. Right there in front of me, not two meters away, the thieves flaunted themselves, hanging upsidedown and sideways, defying gravity and eating my bloody grapes. Their screeching and whirring was incessant and even when I stood directly underneath them they were so confident they were reluctant to leave their morning fruit platter.

I’ve resigned myself to sharing my food with the ‘neighbours’. Even though they are a pest, they bring  colour, vibrancy and life. Again I pondered at how with their beauty I allow them to feast, whereas had it been the not so beautiful rat what would I have done?

I wonder is this a parable to how we treat people differently according to their outward appearance?

 

The rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) is a declared pest in Western Australia (WA). It is a small, brightly coloured parrot that was introduced to WA during the 1960s.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/weightless/

Finding Outrage

I watched the news and like so many other Australians, I was outraged. Three Al Jazeera journalists, including one Australian, have been imprisoned for seven (and ten) years for doing their job. How could this happen? Wasn’t Egypt supposed to be moving towards democracy? Everyone is saying the verdict is, ‘Wrong,wrong, wrong.’ There is widespread international condemnation.

 Amnesty International monitored the trial and said, ‘the prosecution failed to produce a single shred of solid evidence.’

Injustice, rage, shock, horror. So much empathy pours out to these three men, and deservedly so. Yet I wonder at where this empathy has gone when we look at an equally unjust and merciless treatment of others who are labelled as criminals when all they have done is escaped from war and terror. The country they choose as sanctuary, one that was once prided itself on ‘giving everyone a fair go’ has become one that deals out punitive measures. We aren’t talking about a poor developing nation, far from it. And we aren’t talking about high numbers of refugees. The Australian government’s policy on asylum seekers that arrive by boat is to imprison them in offshore detention centres.

These detention centers on Manus Island and Nauru are grossly overcrowded, lack adequate health services and have inadequate water and sanitation.  Amnesty International and the UNHCR have criticised them as they do not meeting legal protection standards. These refugees can be held for years while their claims are processed and in 90% of cases they are found to be true refugees. In all these detention centres, those seeking asylum, people who are not criminals, are forced to live with less and less hope. Detention has led to deaths, self-harming and attempted suicide. The asylum seekers are subjected to

 “…cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment,” according to Amnesty International.

Where is our outrage?

Where is our sense of injustice?

In trying to make asylum in Australia an unattractive option, our government is neglecting its obligation under the refugee convention and it seems that it isn’t just our sense of fairness that is at stake.

I wonder at how our perception of justice and injustice can be moulded to suit our politics, economies and nationalistic self-preservation.

 

https://scanlonjules.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/there-are-no-queues-2/

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-thirteen/