From under the linoleum
Old newspapers show Mussolini's imperialism looked a lot like today's

I sat on the floor and picked through the tragedy of the country we now call Ethiopia laid out on the yellowing pages. It was eerily reminiscent of the current Iraq adventure.

A tale for our times
The December 1934 assassination of Sergei Kirov

Seventy years on, the killing of Sergei Kirov casts an eerie light on the events of 11 September 2001, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the “war on Terror” and the state-sponsored hysteria surrounding the shadowy figures of Osama bin Ladin and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Ninety-three years of bombing the Arabs
It was the Italians, hell-bent on acquiring an African empire, who got the ball rolling. In 1911 the Libyan Arab tribes opposed an Italian invasion. Their civilians were the first people in the world to be bombed from the air.

Dispossessed all over again
After spending nearly two months in the West Bank the pull towards my village was growing stronger, especially after being detained twice and threatened with deportation … an Australian Palestinian returns to her ancestral home.

The tragic inevitability of a forlorn hope
Australia slides further into the Iraq quagmire
Cabinet documents recently released under the 50-year rule show that, in 1954, Liberal (conservative) Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, and key figures in his Cabinet were extremely gloomy about the prospects for success in an American war against nationalists in Indochina. But eventually they went to the Vietnam War anyway.

Bombing King David
One man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist

Some historians date the beginning of modern terrorism from the 1946 bombing by Zionist terrorists of the British military HQ in Jerusalem.

Don’t loiter near the exit
Military debacle and economic decline haunt the Bush regime

When I was just a young possum in the school cadet corps there was a hoary old war story that we all knew. It was almost certainly apocryphal, but it ruefully expressed a nasty historic truth about the US role in the demise of the British Empire.


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Brushtail Graphics

A nation of losers

3 July 2012

Every now and then I wander over to the Sydney Hotel on the other side of Sydney Street to check out the scene. Personally, I gave up on the old pub years ago, when it began to slide downmarket . Pokies proliferated and then the TV screens, until there wasn’t a corner where the nerve-shattering jangle didn’t reach.

When I went back a couple of days ago, the huge power-guzzling screens that were normally on a motor racing or rugby league feed were juggling between channels looking for the first signs of carbon tax disaster.  A whole mob of pissed Angry Andersons with bad tatts and Jack Daniels’ tee shirts were gathered around, cheering the occasional appearance by Tony Abbott.

“You know,  on the other hand the carbon tax will turn the boats back”, I said to one of them.

“Whataya fucking talkin’ about?” He asked.

“Well, when the asylum seekers hear it’s all over here – that Paradise is going down the plughole  – they won’t want to come. They’ll head for Africa or the Arabian Peninsula instead.”

“Geez, ya reckon?”

“Fair dinkum  mate. No way they’ll have a carbon tax in Yemen or Sudan or Somalia and I know for a fact that the Nigerians are really hostile to it. You’d never get a carbon tax past Sharia law, or even carbon trading. The mullahs reckon the Prophet was against it.”

He looked bewildered. I contemplated hitting him with the irony of Tony Abbott suddenly  lining up with the Greens for a bigger asylum seeker intake but I decided that would be too cruel and I hurried back to the relative sanity of Werrong Lane and the Brushtail Café.

The whole scene was different down at the café where everybody had solar panels, rode a bike and thought Ian Plimer was a dickhead. Down at the café they were talking about the asylum seeker crisis.

“What the hell are we going to do?” said Joadja. “This thing is going around and around in circles and people are dying horribly”.

“Awww … why don’t we ditch the rest of the migration program and just take refugees?” I replied, savouring my first sip of cider.  “At least these desperados really, really, want to come here. Face it. This is a nation of losers. It started with the First Fleet and transportation.  A hell of a lot of those convicts were Irish rebels and the rest were minor crims who were crims because of the economic upheaval of the industrial revolution.”

“I do worry about the Irish”, said Joadja “Look at Irish Catholicism. No wonder the church has never contemplated an Irish pope. It’s produced some terrible people … people like George Pell, and Paul Sheehan with his ‘One language, one law, one culture’ – or as the Nazis would have put it: Eine Sprache, ein Gesetz, ein Kultur”.

“Hang on, Joadja, your surname is Murphy, is it not?” Asked Old Possum.

“True, but I identify as a Koori. The Murphy thing was on my granddad’s side.”

“Which makes you a two-time loser.” 

“The Irish are no worse than the bloody Scots”, said Tarkis. “Half of those losers ended up here with the arse out of their pants as a result of the land clearances. In no time at all they were running the conservative parties and bitching about multiculturalism.

“And remember the early post World War Two migration. Labor wanted migration to build the nation up, but they were shy of Mediterraneans because in the public imagination they were, well, sort of woggy. So they cunningly imported a few thousand tall, blond, Aryanish, Baltic losers who were mostly ex-Nazis and after the idiot voters relaxed they did the big switch and then the Greeks and Italians arrived.  Now everybody thinks Greeks are wonderful and Italians disappeared into the population so completely it’s hard to find them except along Norton Street”.

“Well for a start, whatever we do about the asylum seekers on the way here now,  we  should stay out of these bloody hopeless, immoral, American wars”, said Stan, the old retired colonel.  “Every time we get involved in one we destabilise the goddamn world and the victims arrive on our doorstep – often because they were the hapless indigenous footsoldiers we hired to do our bidding and they ended up on the losing side.

“I mean, we follow the Yanks into Vietnam, and we get Vietnamese boat people. Then we blunder into Afghanistan and Iraq and stuff those places up and we get displaced Afghans and Iraqis.”

“Hey, better still”, I said, “Let’s be a neutralist ‘honest broker’ and use our influence to stop those wars in the first place.”