Hope in strange places

Monday, 3rd December 2007 at 16:07 UTC 3 comments

Well, its definitely nice that a few people have realised I haven’t posted in a while. Current plan is start again gradually. Its been a touch few weeks, for reasons I won’t go into, but some of you know anyhow. I have to admit, I’ve really struggled to find hope during this recent period; perhaps too much time spent on such an apocalyptic campaigning issue as Climate Change is not good. Its not like I didn’t have any ideas to post, and I’ve certainly come close to writing one of my standby bugbears, concerning Australia. And then, suddenly, in the place I least expected it, there’s  a glimmer of hope.

Its not that I think somehow all the problems Australia faces are going to be over by Christmas. Its not that I think the Australian public-in-general is any less misogynistic or racist. And I’m certainly not anticipating the abandonment of the concentration camps Australia maintains in its most northern, most deserted, territory. But I have to say I’m so very glad that Howard is gone. And even more so that he has been de-seated by a female.

I don’t think most British people realised just how very close to fascist the man is, nor that he basically pioneered (though in an even more brutal way) the asylum system that Blair would subsequently adopt. The man, quite frankly, is little distinguishable from Le Pen, who in turn is only marginally less detestable than Nick Griffin. But then, he got elected as Prime Minister, and that seems to make one a more respectable figure regardless of one’s politics.

Finally, it is possible we might see Australia withdraw its troops from the War on Terror, leaving Britain in an even more embarrassing situation. Finally the Aboriginal Peoples of Australia might actually see something akin to an apology for the horrific abuses that are still being felt and experienced today, despite the fact that the Australian government and tourism industry still exploits them for huge amounts of cash each year.

And finally, despite being an ecological disaster in slow-motion, Australia may actually sign the Kyoto agreement and join the rest of the slightly-saner world in trying to limit Climate Chaos, keeping the death toll in the millions and not in the billions, despite the fact that the Murray River (Australia’s longest) hasn’t flowed in its entirety for most of a decade, instead being effectively a series of lagoons, with permanently dried out patches between, and almost no water actually reaching the sea. But then, still no sign it won’t plough ahead with bio-fuels, thus destroying its irrigation supplies once and for all.*

But for the country who’s women have the lowest expectations in the ‘western’ world, and who’s indigenous and immigrant populations are both treated like utter shit, this is definitely a step in the right direction. If you don’t know what I mean, watch Rabbit Proof Fence and Woomera Breakout, and figure it out for yourself.

I guess there ought to be some kind of Advent message in here; afterall, thats basically what Advent is all about, and yesterday we finally made it into the season. But perhaps Advent isn’t so much about the huge overwhelming sense of hope, or the hope of something nice in a generally OK situation, perhaps instead its about that tiny glimmer in the darkness of impending turmoil, like ocean level rises and burning forests, and people’s willfull neglect of the need to transform their lives to avoid catastrophe.

No matter how bleak it might seem, there is still hope; it hasn’t gone away, and we simply need to reconnect with it. Happy Advent.

* A family friend, formerly vice-chancellor of an Aussie Uni, informed us that the amount of water being taken out of the Murray Darling exceeds the amount entering it, and that the river no longer flows into the ocean. Australia, like Israel, has taken the ability of humanity to water its crops against nature’s will to a point where it may never recover, and further desertification looms. And yes, its the Aborigines who’ll suffer, but they’re still second class citizens.


Entry filed under: Australia, Climate Change, democracy, Elections, Environment, Faith, Party Politics, Politics.

It makes you think… That time of year

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jon Searles  |  Monday, 3rd December 2007 at 20:00 UTC

    Hi Graham. Have you read Jared Diamond’s COLLAPSE yet, or is this a stupid question? He spends a lot of time talking about Australia’s environmental problems, so it might be an interesting read, as well as for the rest of what’s in it.

  • 2. Greg  |  Tuesday, 4th December 2007 at 12:40 UTC

    Hello again!

    I must admit that my political awareness doesn’t quite stretch as far as Australia, so I’m going to have to take you on tentative trust here, as I can’t think of any solid reasons to contradict you! I am, however, left feeling slightly uncertain as to who you like less: John Howard or George Dubya.

    Ah well, I’ll see you on Friday if you decide to come. Till then, advent blessings and all that.

    [I almost posted this as Duck. Hmmmm.]

  • 3. Graham Martin  |  Thursday, 6th December 2007 at 16:28 UTC

    I think the difference between Howard and Dubya is that ‘everyone’ hates Dubya, whereas my dislike for Howard makes me stand out a little more (relative to everyone else’s thoughts on Howard, I dislike him much more), even though I probably dislike him a little less than I do Dubya. But they’re in very different political climates, and I have more against the climate in Australia, more against the institutional structures around Bush in America. Politics, as you identify, is rather different in other countries, and my knowledge of Aussie politics only comes through having relatives out there, having visited and having discussed it with various other people with Aussie connections including a couple of self-exiles from Howards regime. Not that I don’t know some self-exiles from Dubya ( you know who you are! )


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