premonition of radical evil
the days of rain blue skies returned. I woke late on Sunday morning
and took the papers and brunch down to Joadja's garden to warm my fur
in the sunshine. A spotted pardalote flitted about in the woollybutt
and little skinks scurried among the leaf litter.
garden is a fine place to contemplate the state of the world and the
morning is the right time to read the newspapers. It's best to do it
while you feel fresh and upbeat, or in my case bright and bushy-tailed.
If you leave the papers until the evening they become ugly and difficult
flicked the pages over at random. The Sun-Herald featured a ghastly
puff-piece by former Trotskyist Alex Mitchell about a proposal to "clean
up" Cooks River by building a $500 million mini city on its banks
opposite the airport's International Terminal. Yeah, right. The whole
thing seems to be a bright idea of "property wizard" Robert
Whyte and Mitchell's story read like one of his media releases lightly
edited. If it goes ahead, "Proposal A" will be another nail
in the coffin of the Cooks River, which is threatened by riverbank development
at North Arncliffe and a plan by the RTA and its front group, Bicycle
NSW, to infill a long stretch of the river's main tributory, Wolli Creek,
for a creekside cycleway.
to a tiny bit in the Sydney Morning Herald, Bob Carr was flying
to the US to try to drum up business for NSW. While he's there he'll
probably visit Bill Clinton or James Ellroy or even Gore Vidal if he
wants to look really radical. No doubt he'll drop all these names to
Craig McGregor when he gets back and Craig will dutifully report them
in about 2000 words of pure gibberish depicting the premier as a thoughtful
scholar and a modest long-suffering statesman.
it was a story out of the Poland-Ukraine border that got my interest.
A Lace Curtain is descending across Europe -- a 1200 kilometre wall
of razor-wire topped fences and watchtowers designed to keep hordes
of dirt-poor Russian, Ukrainian and Lithuanian untermensch from swarming
into the Common Market.
Poles, they say, are deeply embarassed by the Lace Curtain and are downplaying
rumours that the German Army will help patrol it, but the curtain is
the price of Polish entry to the Common Market.
are only so many moves the nations can make on the chessboard of Europe",
Old Possum said later, when I bought him a drink over at the Brushtail
new generation of Poles are learning all over again what the nation
state means for Europe. In the wide-open spaces of Eastern Europe there
are no secure natural borders, such as England has enjoyed for centuries.
There are just rivers. The various ethnic groups have pushed their borders
back and forth across these puny barriers with waves of peaceful infiltration
and violent ethnic cleansing since time immemorial. The nation state
just made the matter worse.
the nation state lasts, Poland will always be a buffer state for either
the Russians or the Germans. It is a role set in geography far more
certainly than any gene determines how humans behave (or for that matter
they were throwing off the yoke of Russian Stalinism, the Poles kidded
themselves that they were in the forefront of a fight against Communism.
Actually, they were struggling against Great-Russian nationalism, and
now that the Soviet army has left, the big dogs of NATO are flowing
into the vacuum. Poland is fated to be a farm, a market, and reservoir
of cheap labour for the Germans and the French ... and the bandit capitalists
of the new Russia will eye it covetously and bide their time."
stopped, and scratched the fur behind his ear and sipped his cider with
the weary resigned air of a battered old marsupial who has seen history
repeat itself too often to be indignant at what might happen next.