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Continuing strategic dependence on the US or strategic independence for Australia?

by Bevan Ramsden *

Bevan RamsdenA People’s Inquiry has been opened by IPAN for submissions on the impact of the U.S. -Australia alliance, its costs and consequences and to canvas alternatives. Readers and contributors to Pearls and Irritations are invited to respond and join this urgent national conversation.

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has launched a national People’s Inquiry into the costs and consequences of Australia’s involvement in US-led wars and the US alliance and what are the alternatives.

Its aim is to promote a national conversation on this vital subject and is inviting submissions from a wide range of organisations and individuals, and that invitation is extended to the readers and contributors to Pearls and Irritations. The great majority of Australians have never been asked about this alliance, it’s implications and its limitations.

Read more: Continuing strategic dependence on the US or strategic independence for Australia?

Parent Category: Spirit Content

Black Madonna

by Humphrey McQueen

Have you paid much attention to your Xmas card stamps? In this article, McQueen surveys Australia's stamp history. Commenting on the contenders who got a guernsey, he points out that First peoples' art is missing, other than for mere decoration, from the collection. Given the current state of vitriol and ideological state of affairs in Australia First Peoples' art won't appear too soon on Aussie stamps. The conqueror's mentality prevails.

Our Lady of the AboriginesWhen Pope Paul VI visited Australia in December 1970, the Vatican issued commemorative stamps. One is of St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. The other shows a painting from the St Mary’s Star of the Sea Cathedral in Darwin entitled ‘Our Lady of the Aborigines.’

The artist was a Czech, Karel Kupka, who lived and worked with Aborigines in northern Australia, on and off, from the mid-1950s. Darwin’s Bishop O’Loughlin commissioned him ‘to bring religion to the people in terms of local understanding’ by creating something similar to Chinese and Japanese Madonnas.

The Virgin’s face is individual and the child is a person, each expressive of ‘nobility and natural dignity,’ in the words of the Darwin missionary, Father Frank Flynn.

Read more: Black Madonna

Parent Category: Spirit Content

Return to the Scene of the Crime and the SAS

by Jim Dowling * - 8 December 2020

Swan Island Gate

In 2014 Greg Rolles, Tim Webb. Sam Quinlin, and Dave Sprigg were brutally assaulted by SAS soldiers on Swan Island, a highly secretive training base at the bottom of Victoria. They were hooded, stripped naked, threatened with rape and drowning, dragged along the ground kicked and walked on.

Last weekend I returned with Greg to Swan Island along with Dominican priest, Fr Peter Murnane and a friend, Shane Anderson. We went there once again to offer ongoing witness and resistance to Australia’s war crimes in the Middle East. For Greg it was also a chance to face the demons of his own home-grown torture at the hands of the SAS.

Read more: Return to the Scene of the Crime and the SAS

Parent Category: Spirit Content

Skewed Responsibility: Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan

by Dr Binoy Kampmark

SAS fly Nazi flagThe Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry was always going to make for a gruesome read – and that was only the redacted version.  The findings of the four-year investigation, led by New South Wales Court of Appeal Justice and Army Reserve Major-General Paul Brereton, point to “credible evidence” that 39 Afghan non-combatants and prisoners were allegedly killed by Australian special forces personnel.  Two others were also treated with cruelty.  The Report recommends referring 36 cases for criminal investigation to the Australian Federal Police. These involve 23 incidents and 19 individuals who have been referred to the newly created Office of the Special Prosecutor.

Read more: Skewed Responsibility: Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan

Parent Category: Spirit Content

Charlie Joyce's speech for the 166th Eureka Anniversary

Charlie Joyce is a member of Spirit of Eureka and a student activist and organiser with the University of Melbourne Student Union.

Good afternoon everyone and thank you for the introduction.

I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am calling in from the unceded lands of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation.

I’d like to pay my respects to their elders past and present, and to any first nations people who are here today.

I’d like to extend, both personally and on behalf of Spirit of Eureka, unconditional solidarity with the struggle of first nations people around this country for justice, decolonisation and self-determination.

The goal of Spirit of Eureka – to fight for a just, sovereign and democratic Australia – is intrinsically connected with the first nations struggle.

First off, I’m sure I speak on behalf of Spirit of Eureka when I say thank you to you all, once again, for joining us today, as we celebrate and mark the 166th Anniversary of the Eureka Rebellion.

Though it is sad the coronavirus pandemic has meant we haven’t been able to do this event in person, we’re lucky that these new circumstances mean that we can be joined by comrades and friends from all over the country – and maybe even internationally as well!

Read more: Charlie Joyce's speech for the 166th Eureka Anniversary

Parent Category: Spirit Content