Imran’s moving words
“I am Imran” informs Australia of its great loss, and shame, and America’s gain (Imran Mohammad, July 14–20). The tears in my eyes did nothing to diminish the clarity and power of his devastating words. That he only began to learn English some four years ago is a mightily humbling thing.
– Marie Healy, Hurlstone Park, NSW
At home in the US
The story about Imran Mohammad’s long journey to freedom was inspirational. America’s gain, our loss.
– Vicky Marquis, Glebe, NSW
Blaming the victims
Australia behaves like an unrepentant offender even when faced with the articulate and moving accounts of its innocent victims. Like an unreformed abuser, it continues to blame the victim for their circumstances, viewing those circumstances as they do through a one-dimensional lens. And, when the victim calmly forgives their oppressor in the hope of moving forward with their life, Australia, the thug, doubles down. It rolls out damaging stereotypes and gangs up with “middle-aged men clinging desperately to their relevance” (Editorial, “Bad eggs, Latham”, July 14–20) and others who buy into the fear in order to avoid taking responsibility for causing harm. Though it is of little consolation, Imran Mohammad and Nyadol Nyuon (“On being not people”, July 14–20), many of us hear you, we support you and we’re sorry.
– Kylie Mulcahy, Eugenana, Tas
Stand against racism
Nyadol Nyuon’s article was timely. Within hours of the allegations about “African gang crime” going viral in the media, I received phone calls from the offices of my local representatives (state and federal, both Liberal) wanting to know how I felt about the “black youth crime gang” “problem”. I told them I didn’t believe there was a problem and that they should be ashamed for trying to inflame racial tensions in our community. I told them I wasn’t going to vote for their candidates because, either they were racist, or else they were too stupid to make the necessary inquiries to discover the truth. In either case, I said, they were not fit for parliament. Ms Nyuon is correct when she says the problem is not ethnic but societal. Arising from poor housing, and lack of access to medical services, education and opportunities for employment, it affects any number of people from any number of ethnic backgrounds, including Anglo-Saxons. If the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, then we need to be willing to stand up and oppose racism whenever and however it appears. As Ms Nyuon concludes, we need to do this “for ourselves, for our children and for an Australia that is fair and just”.
– Judith Taylor, Emerald, Vic
Wild Boars’ lucky escape
Good job Peter Dutton wasn’t sent to Thailand (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “Courage under mire”, July 14–20). First, they would have been stuck in the cave forever. Second, they would have been vilified as “an Asian gang”.
– Stephen Langford, Paddington, NSW
Other children remain trapped
What wonderful effort and empathy shown during the rescue of the children in Thailand, but why is the world silent for the children on Nauru? Where are the prayers? Many of these children have been there for almost five years. All they have known is a world of fences, security guards and uncertainty. Shame on all of us. Bring them home.
– Mieke Senior-Loncin, Swan Point, Tas
Wrong approach on centre of learning
Mike Seccombe was so right when he referred to the Ramsay Centre fiasco (“Competing schools of bought”, June 30–July 6) but it could have had a happier outcome had the proposal been presented differently to ANU. The concept of channelling funds to augment and popularise university classics and philosophy departments is a superb idea. Those departments are notoriously strapped for resources as they simply do not attract public funds as can disciplines such as medicine or astronomy. But, in terms of liberal arts education, the classics and philosophy have so much to offer in creating a more informed and thoughtful community. Having the proposal initiated by someone as divisive and inherently political as John Howard was an invitation for suspicion and disharmony. The proposal should have been crafted and proposed by someone non-political and highly respected within the academic community. When controversial industrialist John D. Rockefeller wanted to give funds to establish the University of Chicago, the philanthropy was initiated and administered by Frederick Gates, a theologian and educator, and not by Rockefeller directly. Through Gates as intermediary, the academic community was assured Rockefeller would remain hands-off. The university flourished and today is one of the world’s great centres of learning. In the case of the Ramsay Centre, by initiating the program through Howard, with intervention by Tony Abbott, everything was politicised from the outset and fiasco was inevitable. Politicians want control and that is just what universities abhor. As Howard–Abbott pushed one way; the National Tertiary Education Union rightly pushed back. What is sad is that something good could have emerged.
– Harry Melkonian, Vaucluse, NSW
Friends of the public broadcaster
Like many people who vote, I was at the Save Our ABC rally in Melbourne on Sunday. We need intelligent and honest media. If we continue to dumb down everything, including the media, people won’t even be able to spell ABC (Alex McKinnon, “Bringing in Peter to pay back gall”, July 14–20).
– Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jul 21, 2018. Subscribe here.