A journey out of endless war

A journey

The anonymous words below come from the reflections of a young person who arrived in Australia as a refugee.  She is currently in Australian immigration detention.  Her words were submitted to the national inquiry currently being undertaken by Australian Human Rights Commission into children in immigration detention.  Links to national inquiry and her full submissions are provided below. I am…

Belle

Belle poster

Humans are complex beings.  The movie “Belle” (director Amma Assante) explores human complexity, particularly as it manifests in everyday human relationships. The movie is set in the late eighteenth century at the height of the transatlantic slave trade.  Dido Elizabeth Belle (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is the central character of the movie.  She was born into slavery, but her father, Captain…

Hiroshima

8.15 am 6 August 1945 atomic bombing

An old eucalyptus tree grows in the ruins of Hiroshima Castle.  Although only 750 metres from ground zero when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima at 8.15 am on 6 August 1945, the eucalyptus tree survived and still lives.  All around it for miles about was destroyed. Warfare has not been central to the discussion that has unfolded on…

Fifty Million

refugeesinsyria

Not since World War II have there been more than 50 million refugees and displaced people in the world. On 19 June 2014 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced that this total had been exceeded in 2013. Half of those displaced are children. The primary cause of this increase in human suffering are violent conflict in places such…

Gattaca: a dystopian past, present and future

View from the Space Port

It’s hard to work out if the 1997 movie Gattaca presents a vision of triumph or failure of humanity. It presents a dystopian future which echoes the dystopian elements of our present and past. In this future, people are judged solely by their genetic scorecard.  Those whose parents do not engineer them for success before birth are marked out as…

A Fitting Memorial

Polos conmemorativos  para aquellos que murieron en el SIEVX fueron erigidos  por australianas escolares y grupos de la Iglesia y comunidad  en Canberra.

On or around 14 November 2010 another 97 men, women and children lost their lives as asylum seekers crossing the sea to Australia. The recent Four Corners  report (which focussed also on the people smuggler network involved) explored something of the lives of those lost. We here record their names, and what few details that Four Corners published concerning their lives.   Such…

We have to bring the world together and learn to live as one

United We have to bring the world together and learn to live as one 7 billion

Sometimes our musicians capture in few words ideas at the heart of human rights.  This article is dedicated to the song “United”, which was produced by a group of musicians “Playing for Change”.  They wrote the song in cooperation with 7 billion actions, bringing together musicians from around the world. Where some might see the figure of 7 billion as a cause…

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Money

  Everyone, without discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 23(4) This idea is hard to argue with.  It appeals to our sense of fairness. It appears in the  Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other human rights treaties, as well as in international labour conventions.  Its history and elaboration is an…

How old is the idea of abolishing foreignness?

Image from heatherlindayoung.wordpress.com

Today it is entirely natural to think that every person in the world is endowed with certain rights, ones that transcend foreignness and apply absolutely universally. We call these “human rights,” and we take them entirely for granted: We believe earnestly that everyone is indiscriminately entitled to them at birth, that we must safeguard them at almost all costs, and…