foreignness

Much of what is published on this site relates directly to the question of foreigness: or thinking of people as being “foreigners”. Because of its pervasiveness it is important to challenge the assumption that it is OK to treat non-citizens differently – that they are somehow less entitled to human rights. Many articles explore how we unconsciously think in this way.

Silence

Silence

Silence. One day I visited a bookstore. It’s one of those clinging to survival in an increasingly post-book world. Aimed at a “discerning” audience it carries a rich diversity of titles – fiction and non-fiction on virtually every topic.  It is particularly well stocked with historical works – Europe, America, Australia, Germany, Britain, France  and others.…

Peace Bell

Peace Bell Cowra

In Cowra, the Peace Bell tolls a warning, And magpies caw their raucous and wry chorus in reply. Their voices reach a quiet graveyard, An unusual place, Here Japanese mothers and children sleep. So far from home – they are not forgotten. ANZACS sleep nearby -almost – almost – beside them. They too attract the living –…

When English Kings Studied the Learning of the Arabs

abelards-euclid-translated-from-arabic

Once upon a time, Norman kings of England studied the learning of the Arabs. A strange story, largely forgotten. At that time the “English” were subjects of their Normans rulers. And Norman cousins also ruled in another island to the south. Before they arrived it had been called the Emirate of Sicily. The hero of our…

The Middle West hiding in the Middle East

Dubai

There is something wrong with the term “the Middle East”. To come straight to the point, it should really be the Middle West. Of course it won’t escape the reader’s attention that this thought bubble occurs in a moment angst about the relationship between the “West” and “the Middle East”. And in the western public…

Beginnings Old and New

beginnings

It might seem odd to start an article about beginnings by talking about the end, but that’s the whole point. Our assumption is that time is linear. The beginnings are behind us, and, inexorably, we will arrive at “the end”. And culturally, much of our story telling encourages us to have the sneaking fear that our collective end…

The Poetry of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

Racism and problems of race relations continue to generate injustice and racial animosity around the world. The problem is not confined to any one people or country, but the case of the United States is better known in the English speaking world. The poetry of Langston Hughes comes from a period in which racism had…

Agora movie – seeing ourselves through an alien past

rp_agoraposters-e1455331882263.png

Agora movie review The movie Agora (director Alejandro Amenábar) is not history, but perhaps, it rises to allegory. It is well worth watching, despite its ‘interpretative’ approach to history. It is a movie which captures deeper truths about human relationships and its fictionalized past helps us understand the challenges of our conflicted present. The struggles…

Patriotic Cosmopolitanism

patriotic cosmopolitanism - astronaut with international flag of planet earth designed by Oskar Pernefeldt

Can we, at the same time, love our family, our neighbours, our country, our people, humanity and the world we live in? Surely we can. And to love any of them, properly considered, is to love them all: for their welfare is intimately interwoven.  There is no contradiction in speaking of patriotic cosmopolitanism – understood…