Legion d’honneur

Last month my father was the recipient of the highest decoration in France, the legion d’honneur. This medals were awarded at Yorkshire Air Museum as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France’s liberation during the Second World War.

I had always known he landed on a Normandy beach in 1944 and had heard some of the ‘funny’ stories of the war, perhaps because the horror of war was not a story anyone would want to tell. Even when I had watched Saving Private Ryan many years ago and Dad had said that he had been on the next beach, I had hardly wondered at how he might have felt, perhaps because the imagery in this film was linked to an American flag and an American story.

Only when our family sat listening and watching as five, frail British nonagenarians were awarded their medals and I saw the emotion in my father’s face, did the enormity of what they had experienced sink in.




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.




Ban on the Burqa – or is there?

A ban on burqas was the final straw in what seems to me, and many others, as yet another divisive move on top of mounting tension in the Islamic communities in Australia. The anti Islamic rhetoric started in early August, at a time when the government’s unpopularity was at a high point having delivered a severe budget that only seemed to be beneficial to the oil companies, big business and miners. Throughout August and September there has been moves to send ‘humanitarian’, not military missions, to the Middle East – however, troops have now been deployed and fighter jets. Then there were raids on suburban Islamic households which have raised tension, and amidst this new National security legislation has been rushed through parliament, unopposed by the opposition.

“We had a ‘budget emergency’. Now we have a ‘terror emergency’.”

So given that parts of Australia are only just beginning to feel the global economic ‘downturn’, or even ‘crisis’, and as our public increasingly lose faith in our leadership and big institutions, it is at the very least convenient to use ‘terrorism hysteria’ to try to distract or simply scare the population back into subordination. As usual the mainstream media, salivating for a good story, report with gusto, ignorance and amnesia.

Was the Klu Klux Klan a mainstream party? No.

‘Though most members of the KKK saw themselves in holding to American values and Christian morality, virtually every Christian Denomination officially denounced the Ku Klux Klan.‘      Wikipedia.

Therefore should we assume that all Muslims support Isis and Al Qaida? Our brain tells us of course not, yet we allow the Islamaphobia of  some of our media and our government to scare us into this demonisation. After all,  a majority of the people being killed by Isis are Muslims?

But is there another agenda here?

In the Climate Summit 2014  President Obama said: 

“For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week – terrorism, instability, inequality, disease – there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”

Given the tragic backward steps our country has taken on climate action, perhaps our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has his head in the hot, dry, and becoming hotter and drier, sand.

Or could it be behind a burqa?

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bigger-threat-than-terrorism-barack-obama-signals-australia-india-and-china-must-improve-on-climate-change-20140924-10l51d.html#ixzz3F0SHxkJT