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.
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.
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
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.
tragic inevitability of a forlorn hope
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.
One mans freedom fighter is anothers terrorist
Some historians date the beginning of modern terrorism from the 1946 bombing
by Zionist terrorists of the British military HQ in Jerusalem.
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.
We've been online since 1997.
Check out the archives
outside the square
The weather was glorious, so Joadja, Old Possum and I
drove down to Royal National Park and walked from Wattamolla to Curracurrong
and back again.
It was a fat time for PIs, but Id lost interest in work. Id
been approached by both sides in the Liberal Partys Great Wentworth
Branch Stack. Allegations that dead people, babies and dogs had been
signed up were flying thicker than rocket-propelled grenades in Baghdad,
but I turned them all down.
Truth to tell, I was flush with funds anyway. A media organization with
an interest in the Rene Rivkin Secret Accounts Scandal had payed me
top dollar to track down one of Renes mates: Bill Bible
Basher Hayden, former Whitlam Government minister and one-time
Governor-General. Id located him at the swanky Connaught Apartments
in Liverpool Street and my client had been suitably generous.
The wildflowers were out on the heath: banksias and purple Kunzea
capitata, delicate red and white Darwinia fascicularis (which
was named after old Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwins grandad).
There was pink peach-flower tea-tree, masses of ball honey myrtle, and
in the wet gullies, big yellow blooms of Hibertia scandens and
the gorgeous deep pink of native dog rose.
Lizards sunned themselves everywhere, honeyeaters were in abundance,
and Jo was warned off by a nesting peregrine falcon that swooped over
her head, cackling furiously.
What do you think about the Hanan Ashrawi business? Jo asked.
I must say, I was surprised that Bob Carr stood up to the Zionist
bullying, I said. Like most of the pollies, hes a
wholehearted supporter of Israel. Whys he doing this?
Well, I suspect the motive is entirely pragmatic, Jo opined.
Hes been running a One Nation-style Leb-bashing exercise
for months and I suppose it suddenly occurred to him that there are
an awful lot of Lebanese and Arab voters out there, and they were all
in working class seats held by Labor and the pro-Zionist Jews were concentrated
in upper middle-class Liberal seats the ALP has no hope of winning.
Makes sense that Carrd try to claw back a bit of credibility among
the Arabs --his law-and-order populism is pushing them towards the Greens.
Right. Typical. He just fakes a little segue to the left.
Old Possum sighed. Its time that sensible Jews -- people
of goodwill -- insisted that you can be a Jew and be honourably opposed
to the political philosophy called Zionism. He crossed his paws
on his walking stick and went on.
Its time to recognise that the whole Zionist project was
a tragic mistake. Understandable maybe, under the terrible circumstances
of European anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust, but a historic mistake
nevertheless. Driving another whole people off the land theyd
called home for hundreds of years, expelling them from their homes,
their farms and their businesses, and setting up an ethnically exclusive
theocratic state was just dumb and dangerous. How did they expect the
Palestinians would react?
They thought they were just backward Arabs whod vanish into
the desert. The original inhabitants were no part of the state they
planned to set up, Jo said.
They thought wrong. People never forget a fundamental injustice
like that. Then, youve either got to wipe them out completely,
or face centuries of hostility. Its no foundation for a secure
future. Just dumb, really.
Funny isnt it, I said, The American neoconservatives
say they want to build a modern, secular, multi-ethnic democracy in
Iraq, but they totally support and massively subsidise Israel, when,
by its own definition, its an ethnocentric theocratic state. Why
the hypocrisy? Why not advocate the same solution for Israel slash Palestine?
Because the motive for all US actions in the Middle East (ditto
the Brits and Europeans) is nothing to do with pure democratic ideals
-- thats just spin doctors blather -- its to do with
oil. Old Possum replied.
So whats the answer to the Israeli-Palestinian debacle?
Jo asked. The silly road map thing is a disaster.
Nicks right. Why not the solution we accept as normal here:
a single, secular, multi-ethnic, multicultural democracy? What could
possibly be wrong with that? All Palestinians get the right to return
to their homeland; anybody in the new entity gets the right to settle
within it wherever government policy allows.
And Jerusalem ... the holy sites?
Well, with a secular multicultural state the whole issue of Jerusalem
pretty much disappears. If it needs to be further defused, why not put
the holy sites under an international commission made up exclusively
of atheists. Religiously, theyre entirely neutral: its all
just culture to them. Just recruit a few atheist archaeologists and
administrators. After 50 years, review the whole arrangement.
What would we call the new entity?
Any bloody thing. Israelestine, maybe, or something
neutral like Levant. Come to think of it, Palestine
was originally a neutral name. The place was known as that for centuries
and hundreds of thousands of Jews were happy to migrate to Palestine
when nobody called it anything else.
For a while, we sat in silence looking at the view. A cool breeze blew
in. Out over the Pacific the sun broke through towering pearly clouds,
shafting into the sea in pools of silver and luminous green.
Well, we solved that one, easily enough, I said. Now
all we gotta do is implement it.