Bringing It All Home.
In just one deadly sortie Royal Australian Air Force aircraft killed scores of Syrians.
These were government troops.
Our military allies are unable to agree on a common enemy to target .
The question raised in all the confusion is ‘Which ‘Terrorists’ are to be ‘taken out’?
The Syrian government is on a different Pentagon ‘hit list’ to Daesh aka ISIS1.
Driven by their vengeful thirst for power,
ISIS finished off those troops who survived,mainly conscripts from a more ecumenical Islam.
The Australian Prime Minister stated: “We regret the loss of life and injury to any Syrian personnel affected.’
Whatever our judgement of the Syrian regime, regardless of whosoever’s forces we suspect have carried out unacknowledged atrocities, these were personnel of one more sovereign country that doesn’t threaten ours.
This on and off ‘ally’ of the U.S. has had no quarrel with Australia.
Ours has been with ISIS in whose caliphate education was restricted and precious books disposed of.
Political and military manoeuvres have to be mindful,not misguided.
Our citizenry, ‘the Australian family’ that the PM called us, has to know who we’re really up against.
The U.S. Commander-in-Chief has traced ISIS’ path back to it’s beginning.
Back to base.
He has sent a terrible message. Loud and clear: ‘Obviously, the war in Iraq is a disaster.It was a big, fat mistake. It shouldn’t have started.It started the chain of events that led to the migration. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.We get nothing — nothing out of it, nothing. Our wars here are stupid and they need to end‘.
To raise the level of stupidity the Commander-in-Chief chose as his national security adviser a notorious hawk.One who played a significant role in the fabrication of lies leading up to these disastrous wars.
Their prevailing attitude seems to be ‘If it didn’t work then,why not try it again?’
To ‘have another chance at getting the oil’ he threatens to ‘fight fire with fire! With torture. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?
Then dropping the mask of civility and baring his fangs he addresses the North Koreans and Iranians in particular, taunting, ‘We can destroy whole countries.We decimated Libya.We can do it to yours if you don’t give us the right deal. He has threatened to ‘obliterate’ Iran and bring it to an ‘official end’.
Following each other’s lead, the global gangs of killers bring civilian death and destruction to new levels.
To drive home his point the Commander-in-Chief described the first raid under his direction as ‘absolutely a success.’
It killed nine small children.
By his backing the Saudi onslaught of Yemen,the death toll rate for children became one every ten minutes.
His spokesman repeated that his missile strike on a Syrian airbase,motivated by his reaction to deaths of other children, was an attempt to “destabilise” the devastated country.
During this reign of error he doesn’t know whether he’s bombing Syria or Iraq.He has told his intelligence heads to ‘go back to school’.
His policies and his words. are applauded and mimicked by his white supremacist followers.This has lasting consequences for all the young people born into an environment of pure extremism.
The Commander, a sociocidal man seen by John Howard as given to ‘ instability’, threatens deployment of his massively built up global strike forces at will. With unlimited capability they have no hesitation to incur massive civilian losses.
The combination of his policy of isolating Iran and rejecting diplomacy, together with a policy of regime change is exactly how the Iraq War started. All it needs is a spark in order for this to lead to all out military confrontation.
As the current political climate has shifted back into nuclear mode, the U.S. has threatened to destroy North Korea with ‘fire and fury’.The President,described by his acting chief of staff as ‘a terrible human being’ concedes this ‘could kill millions’ from this tiny country resurrected from the ashes of American bombardment and invasion. He has warned Iran it risked consequences “the like of which few throughout history have suffered before” if the Islamic Republic makes threats against the United States.
The reality is that when we and our allies have intervened, in places like Syria, in places like Libya, the consequence has been that things have gotten worse. And for some reason, the people who have led all these interventions are still able to dictate our foreign policy. It’s almost as if failure is the qualification to be part of dictating what we should be doing against ‘The Axis of Evil’ and ‘The Troika of Tyranny’ (sic!)
Talking about Venezuela,according to the Deputy Director of the FBI he said ‘That’s the country we should be going to war with. They have all that oil and they’re right on our back door.’His national security adviser says that there is oil there and American oil companies should get primary access to it.’
Of course the US can go for less dramatically violent methods to bring down a government overthrow .It can strangle the economies of countries whose leadership doesn’t fit its requirements through economic warfare.By imposing sanctions it can prevent a designated country from accessing international capital markets and from restructuring its loans.It can push enterprises into default and block its trade This can lead to hyperinflation and plummeting export earnings that cannot be longer used to buy food and medicine.The U.S. can confiscate the target’s assets.It believes it can banks on the consequent mass misery and chaos as sufficient to bring about the desired economic collapse and regime change.
It believes the pain caused is well worth it.It was put to Secretary of State,Madeline Albright regarding the suffering caused to Iraq under Saddam, ‘We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
To which Ambassador Albright responded, I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.’
Unstopped the wars we support will accelerate the outflux of even more refugees.
The world is awash in more displaced people than at any time since WW 2. We should prepare for the time when we have to shoulder our responsibility as we had to after the fall of Saigon.
As Australians we have to measure up to our words.
They should be seen as more than platitudes.
We should match our sentiments with actions.
These should be our values.
We should aim to make amends for any loss of life and injury caused from our alliance in any way possible.
‘We have continually said there can be no military solution in Syria,’ the Australian Foreign Minister declared, ‘ humanitarian assistance is desperately required.’
Albeit less desperately, it’s required here on the home front as well.
A modest number of refugees from the region has slowly been allowed sanctuary in Australia.
Though the road to and from Damascus
may incur risk, their assisted integration should be both smooth and expeditious .
Picking up the Pieces.
Our government should drop the tight controls placed on how and by whom refugees and other migrants are taught about our country and culture.
There are pervasive powers against the many willing and available voluntary educators.
These come on top of those already imposed against teachers in schools.
The criteria used for their approval is based on questionable political considerations rather than professional ones.
It’s extreme vetting.
What they can teach is determined by statistical factors,not social or professional ones.They have no say in these matters.
The agencies handling refugee re-settlement are expected to keep ‘a tight rein on ideas for activities’.
They cannot assist volunteers to communicate with each other.
In certain quarters there’s a lack of trust in educators, the refugees and the Australian people.
The Federal Justice Minister told the ABC that some Australian people are prone to falling under ‘diabolical spells’ .Those cast by ‘ISIS and the Middle East’.
To catch them he casts a net overly wide and unwieldy.2
He has been led to believe that ISIS is ‘coming after us’.
He wants to ‘divert people’ moving down their ‘very dark path’
So how will this ongoing Middle Eastern nightmare affect the cohesiveness of our own society?
Can our educational and re-settlement agencies equip us to deal with the divisiveness and bitterness brought about?
According to long term official figures one in five people in N.S.W. is functionally illiterate.4
Governmental policy on literacy in NSW is influenced strongly by eugenics 5
The Justice Minister wants teachers and community service providers to get a sense of what so called ‘radicalisation’ looks like in terms of changes in people’s behaviour.
To get a true sense of how any such ‘radicalisation’ can arise in N.S.W. schools, we have to understand the intellectual void the system leaves ’.
The Justice Minister should be about filling it.
He depicts the franchised frankenstein’s monster, born in shock and awe, as ‘sophisticated in social media messaging’.
‘We can’t have our young people getting these poisonous terrible messages,’ declares the Minister. He wants to ‘ tear down their propaganda’.
Mission Impossible.The lines have already been crossed.
The global gangs of gung ho gunslingers and jingoistic jihadists are on the same wavelength.
Selling wholesale the same chilling message: ‘ To wage this big fat war on the home front as well as abroad , people must be kept in the dark’.
Just how ‘sophisticated’ is tweeting and twittering if one can’t read and write properly ?
The Justice Minister should encourage people to be better able to interpret for themselves what they read and see.
We can educate the young to control their electronic devices by themselves, without the need for government control.
The Justice Minister urges vigilance in making sure that ‘people in community institutions are getting the right messaging’.
Educational, migrant and refugee re-settlement agencies get it.6
As does ISIS. It appeals to the mystique it craves, exaggerating it’s actual sway in place and time adding to the resentment it can stoke. It plays right into their ‘us and them’ rhetoric.
Yet there need be no such great fear.
Any such malevolent spells can be cast away through public enlightenment, the sooner the better.
As is said, it takes a whole village to raise a child. Like those our Canadian cousins show on SBS Dateline.
They offered overwhelmingly to assist their governmental re-settlement program.
This led to it’s extension.
In the documentary, one of the Canadian sponsors of Syrian refugees, Sandra Walsh, encourages us to follow suit: ‘OK, they don’t speak English. You get around it. And they don’t have jobs. We’re getting around it. People of goodwill on both sides, you can make it work.’
The doco also shows the limitations of refugees having to rely on an overwhelmingly online educational approach, the one laid down to re-settlement agencies in Australia at the expense of books.
The one more favourable to the spread of the feared ‘radicalisation’.
It shows the crucial value of personal interaction between people as well as that via electronic means.
Books will always have their place in bringing this about .
They can bridge the knowledge gap.
Those who read and love great ones,like the current N.S.W.Premier, believe these too have transformative powers.
Like the internet intelligently used, they expand the mind. They enlighten.
They provide the basis for knowledge at least as well as smart phones and television sets.
History shows banning books wherever has karmic consequence.
That’s some bad juju.
Robert Menzies, founder of the Liberal Party and Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister argued that policy towards refugees ‘must be applied by a sensible administration, neither rigid nor peremptory but wise, exercising judgment on individual cases, always remembering the basic principle but always understanding that harsh administration never yet improved any law but only impaired it, and that notoriously harsh administration raises up to any law hostilities that may some day destroy it.’
Although I came from another forced migratory tribe,one feared earlier for it’s ‘fenian papistry’,scoffed at for it’s mindbending notions ’,Menzies still encouraged me in my studies.7
I went on to actively encourage all in the same pursuit.
That’s what teachers do.
The director-general of ASIO has made it very clear the refugee program is not the source of terrorism in Australia.
The Australian Treasurer has warned of the dangers of going along the path of fearful anti- immigration.
He has called for policies that effectively address the concerns of nativists,those opposed to immigration.
A genuine one is that over language and culture. NSW has huge problems across the board in teaching knowledge of English and our country.
Migrant re-settlement and all governmental agencies must address this problem.
The Australian Immigration Minister has brought up the matter of ‘mistakes’ in refugee intake.
My friend Heinz Jacobius is living proof of such mistakes,earlier ones.
Fleeing the Third Reich he was collared and interned at Hay. Our intelligence services feared all Germans of falling under the spell of that terrorist state .
The services had a poor understanding of that monstrous one too.
After the huge mistake was realised, this last remaining of the Dunera Boys joined the Australian Army, transporting chemical weapons .
The Australian Immigration Minister believes major mistakes in re-settlement were made later by Malcolm Fraser.
‘ Mistakes ‘in bringing some people here in the 1970s [ which] we’re seeing today.’
He suggests the families of these people,those who fled from from the same region as today, are predisposed to terrorism .
Mr.Fraser gave a different explanation for what he identified as the ‘ alienation of modern Muslim youth’. He believed this was ‘ because governments had not done enough to help them integrate into the general community’.
He said,‘I suspect the schools weren’t equipped (and) I suspect the communities weren’t equipped.’
I warned the N.S.W. Department of Education against maintaining these very same inadequacies after teaching at high schools in Auburn and Granville in 1985.
It took immediate action.It issued me another summary dismissal.9
Mr Fraser added, ‘Maybe the very pertinent question is: why weren’t some special efforts made to ward off future difficulties?’
The question is still as pertinent today.
Prime Minister Turnbull says he believes an ‘inclusive society’ is a vital element in countering the rise of violent extremism.
He warns of those who ‘seek to identify weakness and vulnerability and to drive and exploit fear and division’.
‘Actions and behaviours that target particular sections in society merely play into their hands.’
The Immigration Minister has declared, ‘ Lessons from past migrant programs should be learnt for people settling in Australia today.We need to be honest in having that discussion.’
He has revamped the citizenship test that prospective Australians have to undertake: ‘We need to have a look at the way we welcome people into our country.He saw the outgoing test applied as ‘dictated essentially by questions about Australia trivia.My view is we could look at a test that would more embrace Australian values.’
A position paper obtained by ‘The Australian’ cites national security and the global threat of terrorism as factors in the decision to update the citizenship tests.
A more stringent English language test is being introduced, which will include ‘reading, writing and listening’ components.
Prospective citizens will be required to have increased proficiency with the English language – a requirement Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said is “the single best thing any person coming to this country can do”.
His government will add questions to the current test aimed at cracking down on inappropriate attitudes on issues such as violence against women, child and forced marriage, female genital mutilation, etc.
These are matters involving a grasp of English that goes much deeper than those required to pass the recommended level of English .
The government says it will consult the public on what questions to ask in order to assess the ‘Australian values’ of a prospective citizen.
The questions I wish to pose relate to the requirements set by the Foreign Minister.10
Such requirements would deny Australian citizenship to those with attitudes to women like the U.S. Commander-in-Chief.A man in whose hands our national security is entrusted.
The Government might consider promoting a test which reflects the value of ‘a fair go.’
One in which educators with a resource based,community based approach are allowed some input as to how newcomers are taught and tested.
One in which the newcomer has some choice as to what and how he or she can learn.
One in which he or she is not just compelled to learn about our basic language and laws but is motivated to learn much more.
One which supplements the ‘reading, writing and listening’ components of their courses with a lifetime passport to knowledge.
The Government will require applicants to demonstrate that they have integrated into Australian society.
My approach,one the consortium was led to reject, allows newcomers to take such steps. It allows them to provide evidence they assist other newcomers and the native born with poor literacy skills.
Why not start that official discussion now?
This should include that about possible current mistakes and how they can be rectified.
A discussion revolving not around invective but around the activities of both newcomers and old hands engaged in the educational process.
Activities subject to public and open scrutiny.11
For it’s part the single best thing the Federal Government can do is relax the restrictions placed on re-settlement agencies.
They should no longer be expected to restrict knowledge of our language and culture.
They should no longer be expected to freeze out volunteers.Those willing and capable of carrying out the P.M.’s stated requirements. .
The agencies cannot work effectively towards an inclusivist society through an exclusivist approach.
They should be expected to overhaul their idea of pluralism.
They should not tolerate maintaining a variety of literacy skills levels ranging from high to low.They should discriminate against it.
They should not be expected to downgrade the most cost effective educational resources.
As to how the nation should best cut it’s cloth I was guided by Australia’s former director of rationing and postwar reconstruction.
He was charged with promoting ideas designed to make Australia something to live for and fight for.12
Pedagogy trumps demagogy.
It’s the responsibility of all citizens to promote a fully literate populace.
It should not be just content.It must be informed and alert.
To do otherwise is to do so at our peril.
The outgoing Premier of N.S.W. declared of education: ‘Everyone counts. Every single person has something to contribute and sometimes being a leader is about ensuring that everyone gets the chance to show their talent.’
Could his successor,a self confessed bibliophile, ensure this?
Her Armenian grandparents were orphaned during the death marches and attacks.
She has said, “We are a lucky country and it’s about making sure we are compassionate for people in desperate need of a home.”
Her predecessor declared the problem of ‘radicalisation’ will bedealt with broadly with the whole community.”
Why not start now?
I brought up the matter with Malcolm Fraser in the Quadrangle of Sydney University.7
I gave those gathered to discuss championship my pick of the greatest athlete of our times. Muhammad Ali.
I thanked Mr.Fraser for letting in those from the earlier refugee influx. He appreciated that.
Along with others,including John Howard, we welcomed the South African President who graced us with his presence.8
His vision was of ‘a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world’.
He was on the long term U.S. Terrorist Watch List .
This should not be held against me.
I have something to contribute to the education of both newcomers and old hands.
I can help supply the vital element the P.M.calls for.
I should have the chance to show my talent.
“The Australian people are quite savvy,” says John Howard, “You should never underestimate their common-sense and intelligence. They have a great capacity not only to see through people who are phoneys, but also to understand and support something, provided it meets two tests.
The first test is it’s got to be in the national interest: they’ve got to believe it’s good for Australia. The second thing is it’s got to be fair; not something that imposes a disproportionate burden on one section of the community. If you can satisfy people on those two counts, you can normally, over a period of time, win an argument.”
I passed this test with the Australian people.They testified to this fact.
Prefaced with a special consideration, I make the following appeal to the Premier and the public:
“The crimson thread of kinship runs through us all”
Fellow citizens and residents of New South Wales:
A cloud has gathered over the arrival of refugees in our land.
We have not always welcomed refugees in this fear-ridden way. In 1947 the Commonwealth of Australia began to bring thousands of Displaced Persons from Europe to Australia.
This policy dramatically changed the face of Australian immigration.The tuition of these refugee newcomers in English was seen as a key factor in immigration policy.
Why did we abandon this program of teaching English to refugees?
Instead today our politicians give dire warnings to Australians today about those who are fleeing the war zones of the world.
And the restlessness and despair among the alienated refugee youth and young among these newcomers are a matter of concern to us all.
The smooth and harmonious passage of those escaping the bombs into our peace-loving country requires a forward looking vision and approach.
No Australian can any longer ignore these young people.
Addressing this situation requires the vision splendid of Sir Henry Parkes, our respected long term state Premier and father of Australian Federation.
He spoke of forming “a new society based on equality, fairness and justice for ordinary people.“ If life’s chances are seen as fair and open, there is hope. Without hope, anger and violence breed from despair”.
More than this Parkes believed that all children, regardless of religion or social status “sit side by side” in free, compulsory and secular schools.
Newcomers to Australia of all ages and backgrounds deserve an approach like this today. Their needs are not to be ignored. We can do something about it.
That’s why I offer my services in a voluntary way.
I continue to offer them to the Metro Assist Community Hub at Campsie, a migrant resources provider.
I am making a proposal to it and the consortium it partners regarding education of migrants in English and in knowledge of our homeland.
I am urging Metro Assist to bring to bear all the educational resources at it’s disposal on the Welcome Centre for Refugees at Callan Park.13
If you or anyone you know would like to hear more about this and take part in this project, please contact me, Allan Davis, former teacher of English and general studies.
Phone 98183052 during business hours. E-mail: email@example.com
Or contact the Metro Assist Community Hubs: Ashfield: (02) 9798 1701 Address: Ashfield Civic Centre, Suite 1, 260
Liverpool Rd, Ashfield,
Or Strathfield: (02) 9746 8217 – 1b Bates Street, Homebush.
Thanks for your interest.
Pass it on!
Footnotes refer to other portals on this website.
1 Volta Face Find: Wesley Clark
2 Safe Haven Find:A decisive Moment
4 Desiderata Find: one in five
5 Desiderata Find : eugenics
6 Safe Haven Find:A decisive Moment
7 The Land Of Nod Find: This redoubtable father figure
8 Champion of Champions Find: At the end of the forum
9 Desiderata Find: Back on the Beat
10 Safe Haven Find: For the Sake of Argument.
11 Safe Haven Find: Fellow Citizen of New South Wales
12 ‘ Making the Science less Dismal ’ Find: the public servant’s line of duty
13 Safe Haven Find: A Masterful Plan.