Long history of targeting minorities
There has been much apportioning of blame over the massacre in Christchurch, but I am afraid the malaise goes much deeper than anyone has mentioned yet and that the attitude and actions that led to this atrocity are in fact an integral part of Western and European-based society. During mediaeval times, the singling out of minorities as a threat and the persecution thereof became a standard political tool used in consolidating power throughout Europe. As Europe spread its maritime tentacles around the world it developed a coherent theory of racial division and hierarchy to justify theft and to oppress, enslave, torture, destroy and massacre anyone on the grounds of their obvious inferiority and European superiority. These attitudes and behaviours have become built into European society and are not going to disappear overnight. I bet they won’t teach this in their courses on Western “Civilisation” at Wollongong University.
– Stuart Leslie, Dorrigo, NSW
No anonymity in cyberspace
After the Christchurch terrorist attack there has been a lot of pressure on social media companies to do more. One side is asking for the banning of some live televised features et cetera, and the other side is totally against any regulations, arguing it may restrict free speech or that regulating social media is extremely difficult. One simple step is for every social media user to be issued with a “verified account” after their contact details or driver’s licence copies are obtained by the issuing authority. The day this happens, there will be a huge positive change in our cyberspace and social attitudes.
– Aziz Ahmad, Clyde North, Vic
Words to bring hope
Like many readers, I’ve been drawn to expressions of compassion in the aftermath of the senseless killings of 50 members of the Muslim community at two mosques in Christchurch. Drawn to the exceptional words of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the spare, buoyant poem for Christchurch, “Lenticular Cloud” (Poem, March 23–29), from TSP poet laureate Maxine Beneba Clarke. Each offers some consolation. Ardern, in fact, may be activating the compression of poetry in writing “they are us” when she signs the national condolence book. And Clarke’s “great spotted kiwi [who] … when she births … bring[s] new life to ōtautahi, aotearoa” is a comforting image to dwell on. Compassionate public discourse coming from a place of deep humanity that can unite us all is needed now on both sides of the ditch.
– Sally Denshire, Albury, NSW
Dreaming of a better world
I’m a dreamer. I dream: If from September 12, 2001, the day after 9/11, America behaved like Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand, and held Afghanistan in its embrace, and spent the trillion dollars on love, compassion and development, because not one Afghan man, woman or child was involved in 9/11. If from September 12, 2001, the day after 9/11, America had embraced Iraq with its population of Muslims, Christians and all others and zero weapons of mass destruction, and spent the trillion dollars on their own poor and homeless. If only the warring world, with its hate, revenge with bombs and guns, responded like Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand from September 12, 2001, the day after 9/11. I dream. At 74, still I dream.
– Reta Kaur, Brunswick, Vic
Shooters’ founder responds
I was interested to see a reference in your paper (Paddy Manning, “Shooters party set to wield power in NSW”, March 23–29) to the late John Tingle as the founder of the Shooters Party. This was my first intimation that John Tingle had died. This was fairly surprising, since I thought I was in good health and living happily, at 87 years old, on the New South Wales mid-north coast. On checking with myself, I find that your article was a little premature. I thought I ought to mention it. As an old journo, may I say your research seems a little lacking.
– John Tingle via email
Nationals clinging to fossil fuel
Congratulations to Paul Bongiorno for “Barnaby in a coalmine” (March 16–22). It shows what most of us know. Some members of the Coalition are living in a bygone era, by not recognising the global shift from fossil fuels to renewables. These people, predominantly in the Nationals, fail to see the big picture regarding promoting coal over renewables to secure a small number of seats at the expense of possibly losing many more in urban areas. As the Liberal Party relies on the Nationals to form coalition government, this behaviour by Joyce and his cohorts will not only find them losing the next election, but may well see them in opposition for a very long time. I am old enough to recall how divisions in the Labor Party in the 1950s found them on the opposition benches for two decades or so. Nationals, beware! History repeats.
– David Baird, Kurri Kurri, NSW
Beverley McIntyre (“Two women worth remembering”, Letters, March 23–29) drew attention to two early climate warnings issued by women. Another very concise early warning was published by the Rodney & Otamatea Times, a small New Zealand newspaper, on August 14, 1912. Under the heading “Coal Consumption Affecting Climate” there was a four-sentence text: “The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year. When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be considerable in a few centuries.”
– Ian Bayly, Upwey, Vic
Old Carlton knows
Yes, Dani Valent (“Singing the Blues”, March 16–22), “When children are born in Victoria / they are wrapped in club colours” (Bruce Dawe, “Life Cycle”). Thank you for your story. It could only come out of Victoria, never from northern states or codes. I have one point of difference. I think losing as a Collingwood supporter hurts most. You probably disagree but may take pleasure in this.
– Peter Dwyer, Epping, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Mar 30, 2019. Subscribe here.