arch-peace news and articles


Dog whistling in the face of distaster.

In Australia, political thinking is inherently connected to our place in the world and the world in our place. While this island continent nation is multicultural and built on an immigrant culture (2% of the population is indigenous) the contradictions of our dominant Judeo Christian values and legal system are amplified not only when disaster occurs but also when prosperity reigns. An economy of scarcity in a time of abundance pervades the political imagination in the annual attack on welfare recipients at home and a mean spirited foreign aid program and down right inhuman response to our obligations to refugees.

"They are not foreigners and that's why this disaster has especially touched the hearts of every Australian,"
Tony Abbott, Leader of the opposition Liberal Party of Australia, on the earthquake in New Zealand. Februrary 23, 2011, ABC radio
A poster in an Afghan carpet shop in Thomas Street, Dandenong February 2011. The poster asks members of the community to assist those affected by the Queensland floods, signed by the Australian Hazara Council, Rasul Akram Association of Australia.

"As people who have experienced destruction both man made and natural at home, we do understand the pain and suffering and ordeal that the people of Queensland have been affected by. Therefore we kindly request people to make donations for the flood affected people of Queensland."
Australian Hazara Council, Rasul Akram Association of Australia. A poster in an Afghan carpet shop in Thomas Street, Dandenong February 2011

An estimated 200,000 people have been affected by the floods in Queensland 2010 and at least 35 people have lost their lives.

An estimated 21 million people have been affected by the flooding in Pakistan 2010 and at least 2000 people lost their lives.

Initially, Tony Abbott wanted to propose a cut of almost $400 million in aid to Africa to help pay for flood relief in Australia.
"With so many schools destroyed or damaged in Australia we do think charity begins at home,"
Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition, February 8 2011
While Australia was perhaps the single OECD nation that survived reasonably unscathed from the greatest economic collapse since the great depression of the 1930’ we were not exempt from the latest round of global natural disasters. Through some insane reasoning, our fortuitous circumstances doesn’t bring us closer to the world or more generous, it throws up a xenophobic battle for the public's hearts and minds in a series of futile and destructive insinuations and inferences that there are, in the words of Noam Chomsky, deserving and undeserving victims of natural and man made disasters.

Anthony McInneny
17 April 2011


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