When a prime minister has discovered that only one tactic — ratcheting up the fear factor — helps to boost his poll numbers, and his poll standing is desperately low, what does he do?
Tony Abbott has made a profession of demonising asylum-seekers and Muslims and pretending that the world faces an existential threat from the terrorist Islamic State group.
In recent times Abbott has gone back to similar tactics. First, he engineered a “request” from the US, for Australia to join in air strikes on Syria.
Continue reading Abbott ratchets up the fear factor to boost poll standings
AT THE end of World War I, many ethnic groups were able to get a patch of land for themselves, with the area and population therein largely dependent on the extent to which they had pleased the imperial powers that came out as victors of that war – France and Britain.
The Kurds were one group that missed the bus and ended up scattered over four countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. They are a restless lot and the countries in which they lived often had to keep them quiet by one means or another.
The late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein gave them a limited measure of autonomy. But there was always the implicit understanding that if the Kurds got too ambitious, then they would be met with blanket slaughter. Dictators like Saddam — and his neighbour, the late Hafez al-Assad of Syria — do not do things by half-measures and for years the Kurds were content to remain within their allocated freedoms.
Continue reading America’s Kurdish adventure will end in tears
Today marks 11 years since Al Qaeda flew planes into the towers of the World Trade Centre in New York and made the US aware that it was not safe on its own soil. Sad to say, the US has used the attacks down the years to curtail freedoms for its own residents.
All kinds of ridiculous curbs have been put in place; fear has been used time and again to restrict the lives of ordinary citizens, with the government all the while claiming to be doing so in the cause of freedom.
With the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, the US has been claiming that it has emerged victorious over the attackers. But is that really the case?
Continue reading It’s a bitter pill to swallow: Al Qaeda has won
IN AUSTRALIA, Anzac Day is a means to promote militarism and nationalism. It marks the day when Australian forces invaded Turkey in 1915, entering World War I.
Sixty thousand Australians were killed in that war and nearly 16 million people died worldwide. It was no event over which to rejoice.
Anzac Day was initially used during the war to recruit people to fight on the other side of the world. In 1916 and 1917, Anzac Day became a means of supporting conscription.
Continue reading Anzac Day glorifies war