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Politics, culture, humor

Manus, Nauru and an Australian Detention Legacy by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

It could be called a gulag mentality, though it finds form in different ways. In the defunct Soviet Union, it was definitive of life: millions incarcerated, garrisons of forced labour, instruments of the proletarian paradise fouled. Gulag literature suggested another society, estranged and removed from civilian life, channelled into an absent universe. Titles suggested as much: Gustaw Herling’s work was titled A World Apart; Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago likewise suggested societies marooned from the broader social project. But these were intrinsic to the bricks and mortar, in many cases quite literally, of the Soviet state. 

In the case of countries supposedly priding themselves in the lotteries of exaggerated freedom, the influence of this carceral mentality is less obvious but still significant. In Australia, where offshore processing of naval arrivals and its own offerings of gulag culture were made, six years has passed since Nauru and Manus Island became outpost of indefinite detention.

manus01_400During the years, legislation has been passed encasing these outposts in capsules of secrecy, superficially protected by island sovereignty. Whistleblowing has been criminalised; concerned doctors have been expelled; suicides, sexual assault and psychological mutilations have been normalised in the patchwork monstrosity that involves compromised local officials, private security firms and funding from the Australian tax payer.

A most obvious consequence of this is the cultivation of a thuggish lack of accountability. Australian politicians keen to visit the handiwork of their government have been rebuffed. Greens Senator Nick McKim had been trying to splash out some publicity on the anniversary, paying a visit to Manus Island. He noted a deterioration in conditions since his 2017 visit.

On Thursday, he was approached by two immigration officials who informed him that he would be deported. He had been attempting to see East Lorengau camp, was denied entry, and his passport confiscated. To SBS News, he expressed his disappointment “that they are threatening to deport me because I am here to expose the truth about the treatment of refugees, to lift the veil of secrecy that’s been draped over Australia’s offshore detention regime.”

A mistake is made in assuming clear dates of commencement in terms of a distinct Australian approach. Australia was, after all, itself a penal colony, an experiment in distant punishment and obsessive control. It made, in turn, prisoners of the indigenous population. Brutally, its various authorities relocated individuals to missions, camps and compounds. A paternal mentality, one that has never left, took hold: we know what is best for you, be it the Bible or the dog tag. Infantilism, exploitation and dispossession thrived as mentalities.

Despite being an active participant in the post-war movement to establish an international refugee regime protecting human rights…

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Wipe your Tears by Shola Balogun

Child, let your eyelids gleam
Like a thousand suns.
tears01_400Let your smiles radiate
Like the stars
In the sky at night.

The comeliness of your voice
Is more graceful
Than the nightingale’s song.

Wipe your tears,my lovely one,
There is always
A new dawn tomorrow.

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Insomnia by Katerina Charisi

lola6_400When I pass the exams, we will be together. If I pass. WHEN I pass. I will pass. I have to pass. Why not? I was studying the whole year and didn’t do anything else. Just school, home for studying, work, home for studying and so on. And such a lack of sleep. Such a lack of sleep… I just want to pass the exams and be together. Just to sleep with him. What about the job? Big deal… They will be fine without me. I will be fine without them.

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The rise of the tool by Jan Sand

Dictionary definitions of “tool” generally refer to some device used by humans to serve a purpose but recent investigations have shown that many creatures other than humans have found it useful to extend their physical abilities with various available implements. Nevertheless, humans excel above all other creatures in developing new ways to fabricate sophisticated objects to manipulate, not only their environment, but each other to create and control the complex of human society.

tools01_400Viewed as a greater generality than a specific object, a tool can also be a concept or an idea or some generally accepted social mechanism which is used to dominate human relationships. This extends the basic concept of the tool to a social continuum far greater than a mere object and becomes an object lesson in how the tool itself can overpower its creator and endanger the entire nature of society to the detriment of all life. The recent US presidential election clearly indicates how a social tool, the Electoral College, dominated its master, the democratic popular vote, to create a rather odd and quite frightening situation. The alternative candidate who exhibited an equal relish for demolishing planetary life with the exorbitant feral delight in extending the US dominance in a nuclear conflict with Russia did not seem much of an encouraging alternative. But more general human social tools such as money, the military-industrial complex, private property, and many more complex social relationships currently are in operation in ways not particularly favorable to this most peculiar species, the entirety of humanity or, to be more general, all other life on the planet.

To step somewhat aside from a strictly human viewpoint one can perhaps see the tool itself as a kind of independent creature utilizing the ingenuity of living creatures to evolutionize into an independent dynamic factor. This is not an original novel concept. It was explored in the novel “Looking Backward” published in 1888 by Edward Bellamy but it seems especially pertinent in looking over current advances.

There are several contemporary areas where this peculiar activity is becoming a dynamic invasive of and dangerous to human existence. They become strangely independent ideational ecologies with a life of their own, a jungle full of vicious conceptual monsters with frightful destructive capacities. The internet itself, considered originally as a gateway to the freedoms of availability of all sorts of wonderful human interactions has provided an incredibly rich field to distorted minds who make off regularly with huge robberies of funds never before possible and with wild distortions of information that result in frightful international and local catastrophes. One might take the opposite view that these were merely aware individuals open to new opportunities but these individuals can also be perceived oppositely as a constant field of human negative qualities available to the internet as an entity for opportunistic activity.

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July 2019 – Covers I

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by | July 23, 2019 · 7:51 pm

Cracker Jack Box Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

I don’t wear my pocket watch anymore
it reminds me of my age, 73, soon more,
outdated gadget, time hanging where
moving parts below don’t belong nor work anymore.
I don’t like to think about endings.
Age is a Cracker Jack box with no face, modern speed dial,
no toy inside, when it stops, no salute, just pops.

 crackerjackboxpoem1_400

Lesson:  “What young men want to do all night takes older men all night to do.”

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One Small Step For Man by Nikos Laios

Neil Armstrong,
Do you know
What you have
Done?

Ymoon01_400ou have showed
What is possible
With a unity
Of human
Purpose.

In space,
The boundaries
That seperate us
Disappear and melt
Into insignificance
In the vastness
Of the star-filled
Cosmos.

War, bombs,
Blood, death,
Race, religion,
Politics, violence,
Destruction, deprivation,
All dissolve when challenged
Existentially with the vastness
Of space.

We are awed
At the immensity
Of creation
And our lives
On this small
Blue planet pales
Into insignificance
In comparison,
And we become like
Small children
Looking up
At the starry sky
At night in wonder.

It was one small
Step for man Neil,
But do we need
To travel to space
To achieve a
Unity of human
Purpose?

*******************************************************

Check Nikos Laios’ EBOOK
Ida & Her Magic Camera
is online now and you can download for FREE HERE!
life_41_400

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