This will be my
last podcast for the time being. I’m going away on vacation
during January and wont be back until sometime after that. So, I
guess its appropriate to have a bit of a reflection on the year
that was. In some ways things have certainly moved on and in
many other ways, they have not moved at all.
might say that we are now in a new era as the Rudd government
flies out of the blocks, all guns blazing with the spin doctors
working overtime. The policies are flying thick and fast and
even my old mate Mr Peter “Midnight” Garrett is saying nice
things about whales. After all, he no longer has anything nice
to say about Tasmania’s forests so I suppose a cute and cuddly
whale will have to do.
in the Liberal camp, that old union boss, Brendan Nelson, has
been charged with the task of telling all and sundry “we got it
wrong” as his party back tracks from just about every policy the
slimy bastards supported quicker that a snake down a hollow log.
I find it incredibly annoying that not one journalist I have
heard interview Nelson or any of the other coalition members has
asked them why they supported so vociferously policies they are
now turning their backs on. This leads me to another hobby
Australia is now a hollow farce of what it could be. When Kerry
O’Brien is reduced to doing puff pieces with celebrities
spruiking their latest book/movie/speaking tour then you know
the ABC has sold out to the bean counters. The fact that when
the most shocking exposures of the fraud the media perpetrates
on us, as mouthpieces for the ruling class, is left to the
Chaser team, we should know we’re in trouble.
I met the Chaser
boys a few years ago and even sat at that fantastic dining table
that adorns their set. What I found fascinating about them then
and still find fascinating now, is the fact that they are not
jaded former uni students with a left wing axe to grind –
although there may be remnants of that – they are just ordinary
blokes who really do care about the future of Australia and the
legacy they and we will leave to their kids. This leads me on to
my next reflection.
government conducted what it referred to as an ‘intervention’
into selected Northern Territory communities. Sending in the
army under the guise of, ‘protecting the children’, hiving off
chunks of welfare benefits if parents were deemed ‘unfit’ to
look after the kids, and sending doctors in to “investigate”
whether children had been abused smacks of something sinister
and very, very dark.
government was, as we all know, a racist, xenophobic group who
were liars and con artists. The abuse of our Indigenous brothers
and sisters by their policy “mechanisms” should have shamed us.
Yet, our media played along with the great game and didn’t
question the motives nor the implementation of these racist
policies. From the Tampa onwards, Howard’s mob were emboldened
to go one step more and then one step further. And our ‘fourth
estate’ cowered. Certainly those who operate outside the
mainstream were critical and the best stories came out in papers
like the “Green Left Weekly” and the Resistance publications.
Even school kids did better journalism than the highly paid and
well fed ‘professionals’ of the networks.
So what does
2008 hold in store?
Well now that
Blair took heed of the counsel he was offered and jumped rather
than get pushed. On a side line, I could not have been happier
than when I heard that Howard had, in fact, lost his seat. His
political legacy will now be as low as it could have been hoped
for. He will not be remembered as Australia’s second greatest
politician, but as a greedy old man who would rather sink his
own ship than retire gracefully. But back to the world stage.
Blair is gone.
No doubt Bush will follow. Putin will hang on but, like his
counterparts in the West, he too realises that you don’t have to
be the public face of anything to actually rule the land. Chavez
continues to cause conniptions in the America’s as he attempts
to cleanse the stain of US interference in the region. I guess
he will have a bumpy year ahead.
our region, the Australian support of multinational capital will
continue to dominate our diplomacy with our neighbours. While
George W Bush may have lost his former ‘deputy sheriff’ if the
region, our Mandarin speaking new leader, the illustrious Kevin
07, will ensure that the interests of big oil, big timber and
other big pillagers will be protected over and above the rights
of ordinary people to go about their business. But it is not all
doom and gloom.
now, a child is being born that will one day rise up and go toe
to toe with an oppressor. She or he will stand in the face of
power and challenge it to try and keep them silent. The
confrontation may not end well but in that one act of defiance,
others will be inspired. The revolution proceeds slowly. We need
to be patient.
first discovered that raw power overcomes the limitations of the
flesh, those who seek to create a better world have struggled to
do just that. For millennia humans have engaged in a battle with
their base desires for sex, resources, shelter and food and
their higher moral and spiritual being. The first is based on
the ‘quick fix’ response while the other strives to negotiate
and understand the eternal.
now, that child who I mentioned a moment ago, will also do
battle with their base instincts and the higher realms. Like all
of us that child will grow to adulthood and come to realise that
the ‘quick fix’ might be pleasurable for a short time, but it,
like a federal election, passes all to quickly. That child will
come to realise that the legacy he or she leaves behind will be
all that matters.
As the year
comes to a close I have to ask my self, ‘what is my legacy for
this year?’ I can look back at some of the students I have
taught and know that they became engaged and through that will
go on to achieve their dreams. I know I’ve done my bit for the
environment by doing all I can to reduce, reuse and recycle.
I’ve tried to be kind to strangers and animals. I hope that my
grating nature and impatience hasn’t dissuaded someone from
attempting something they otherwise might have succeeded in.
I met a
fantastic Malaysian poet and blogger a couple of weeks ago and I
want to close the year with a few lines from one of his poems.
Then there is yet hope
In the midnight whispers of
A babe’s cries
A young lass’ smile
A young man’s bosom void of guile
(from ‘whisper’d hope’ in “Midnight Voices and other Poems” by
YL Chong, email@example.com)