Bedridden and ignored
That was a very confronting image of Nima on the front page this week, but Australians need to be confronted with the reality of what our government is doing, in our name, on Manus and Nauru (Abdul Karim Hekmat, “I am not a ‘death meat’ of Australia”, September 15–21). You are doing very important work with your dogged coverage of these dreadful events. Keep doing it, even if there are times when nobody seems to be listening. Australia needs you.
– John East, Greenslopes, Qld
Royal commission needed
The appalling abuse of “clients”, the obscene negligence, the total lack of proper care, overcrowding, substandard facilities and staff, the shameless waste of taxpayers’ money doesn’t only apply to aged care but also to the government’s failed duty of care to its “clients” incarcerated on Manus and Nauru. Just as children helplessly sit and watch their parents deteriorate in nursing homes, you have revealed the same heartbreaking scenario as “Ashkan watches as his partner, Nima, descends into a catatonic state, denied medical treatment by Australia”. We need a royal commission into the cruelty of offshore detention and the hostages must immediately be released into safety here as required under international law.
– Vacy Vlazna, Collaroy, NSW
The centre of pain
Thank you to Martin McKenzie-Murray for sharing his experience (“In the seedy twilight”, September 15–21). Telling one’s own story requires courage, rising above the shame. Depression is a bastard of a thing. Me too, no hashtag.
– Jonathan Silberberg, Newcastle, NSW
Reflection on the past and present
It was refreshing to read your editorial (“News agency”, September 15–21) about Mark Knight’s racially derisory cartoon. You did not overlook left-wing progressive elite’s racial biases. Like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the ABC draws on the same pool of white, university-educated Australians whose racial thinking circles the same drain. Note, for example, Red Symons’s embarrassing faux pas on ABC’s “It’s Not a Race” podcast in 2017 where he jeeringly asked his Asian guest, “Are you yellow?” Also in 2017, we witnessed the awkward interview by Radio National’s Michael Cathcart with African–American writer Paul Beatty. Cathcart’s ludicrous claim about Australia’s race relations – “I believe that we are an example to the world of what is possible” – was followed by audible approval from the audience. That’s the sound of Australian white middle-class smugness that was, of course, shattered by an Indigenous man in the audience who shouted at Cathcart: “I want white Australia to look at themselves!” The blame cannot be laid on journalists alone; they are merely catering to the market. Yes, Serena Williams was ungracious during her loss to Naomi Osaka. What is more significant for all of us in Australia is how this opportunity was seized on by Knight to reproduce an age-old European racial stereotype of an unattractive sub-Saharan African woman, especially when compared with a white European woman (hence Osaka’s “whitening” in the cartoon). Knight was tapping into the lucrative market where such racial stereotypes still induce Eurocentric jeering and approval. The racial trope of a supposedly ugly “Ethiope” woman (compared with a European woman) was often deployed by William Shakespeare. Perhaps, the Ramsay Centre should show some integrity and fund research into exclusionary racial laughter in early modern literature and how it retains a cultural currency in modern Eurocentric societies such as Australia?
– Rajiv Thind, Brisbane, Qld
A precious gift
I thought my first letter to The Saturday Paper would be a weighing in on the state of politics in this country. But no, it’s to thank Dave Faulkner for bringing The Lemon Twigs into my life (“Home schooled”, September 1–7). Unbridled joy.
– Derek Allan, Glebe, NSW
My heart goes out to Nayuka Gorrie and all Aboriginal people for the sentiments she so eloquently expresses in regard to Scott Morrison flicking his problem with Tony Abbott to the Indigenous community (“Abbott and the politics of envoy”, September 15–21). As an interested observer I find it obvious that Abbott cares nothing about understanding or really finding long-term solutions for the problems that still beset Indigenous Australians. Morrison and Abbott are just the latest in a long line of Coalition politicians – most notably John Howard – who pretend to care while actually having only white solutions to the Indigenous future. The words “respect” and “self-esteem” are not in their vocabulary. However, “hypocrisy” is. It is amazing how these professed Christians care so little for anyone not as fortunate as themselves, when it comes to getting what they want.
– Sue Milliken, Queens Park, NSW
The politics of power
Mike Seccombe appropriately scrutinised the bizarre fixation of some Liberals with coal power (“Love for a coal climate”, September 8–14). However, the real question remains unanswered – why? Why are a group of Liberals hellbent on promoting coal power and denying climate change, especially when it’s at odds with voters? The only logical reason to promote unpopular policies is the presence of vested interests. What are the fossil fuel companies giving them?
– David Webb, Melbourne, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Sep 22, 2018. Subscribe here.