Monday, July 11, 2005

One for the spooks

The fallout from the London bombing continues and as I trawl through the different reactions to the event, it has reconnected me with my past life as a political science student. Except then I was too busy getting into extracurricular activities to really get my teeth stuck in too much. That, and I was a tad academically lazy at times. And young. In my teens, what the hell did I know of world events when what went on in my own love life was inevitably more fascinating? It is also weird to remember what it was like to be a tertiary student before the internet, painstakingly sifting through microfiche and searching through the little wooden boxes of the card files for journals, then to locate a item number and physically search shelves to find a hard copy of something that was usually years out of date.

Moving on from that shiver of nostalgia. The public transport bombings elicited an almost immediate assumption from both media and politicians that this was an Islamic fundamentalist terror attack. Although this is very likely to be the cause, within minutes of the tragedy many were publicly naming the perpetrators, without any evidence at that time. All except the police, who did a great job at being neutral and Al Jazeera who within a few hours of the attack printed a purely factual account of the event. Perhaps for the Arab world, this is just another bombing in an existence where such things are commonplace. On that note, this weekend saw in Baghdad alone: 21 dead and up to 34 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside an army recruitment centre, the killing of 2 employees of an Iraqi mobile phone company on their way to work, 4 US soldiers injured when their Hummer was attacked in the city and another blast that to date has no reported casualties. The death of those attempting to join the army got media coverage here, largely to point out that this is an all too common event, where Iraqis are so desperate to get work they will put themselves into well documented, vulnerable positions.

I, like many others, talk of our sense of helplessness about how we can improve the quality of life of the average Iraqi who has had one brutal regime replaced with another that equally threatens their ability to live a life free of fear. Or what we can do on the home front, when we are repeatedly told that terrorist attacks will be on our doorstep any day now. The problem is so much bigger than Iraq, which in itself is only a symptom of the latest crusade of Islamism versus Christianity and vice versa. An interesting article in the Daily Telegraph reprinted in The Age, grapples with the issues more eloquently than I am able to. Well worth ploughing through.

But back at home I am thinking very carefully about what agencies or groups I would lend precious time and energy to by supporting. I burnt out many years ago on doing committee work for a variety of non-political organizations and am very hesitant to get caught up in the rounds of perpetual meetings, fundraisers and such all over again. Now there is the added annoyance of who you invite into your life if you get involved in any politicised groups. By this I specifically mean that too much of our intelligence officers’ time is now spent sniffing out any organizations that are remotely badged as left wing. Though I am led to believe that there are many charming individuals who sign up to be spooks in this country (ASIO that is, ASIS employees seem to be an entirely different kettle of fish), they would really be wasting my time and theirs hanging out with the likes of me. So for now, the best I do is rant about it.

For their information:
Yes I do want to see the downfall of our current political regime, however we still haven’t seen the emergence of a viable opposition party who will lead us through sensible and peaceful foreign policy options.

Yes, I do want to see a shake up to our current style of governance. I favour some forms of proportional representation, abolition of State governments and the strengthening of local government.

No, I don’t want to do harm to our current Prime Minister, more than wish him a nasty case of haemorrhoids and early retirement.

No, though I support some aspects of Socialism, I am yet to be convinced that revolution is possible without bloodshed and I support no form of political change that involves violence.

Well I am glad we cleared that up.


Blogger Aleks - Anarcho-Syndicalist said...

I agree with your comments. Well except for the one about there being no viable (progressive?) opposition.

There is one, The Greens. If all the people who said this and voted for the ALP voted for the Greens, two things would happen: in Parliament the Greens numbers would make them a good opposition to the government, and the ALP would have to re-evaluate their policies and as such may actually start adopting progressive policies again instead of mimicking the government's policies.

As for being involved in community organisations, yes it can be tiring and frustrating, and you may be under ASIO surveillance or suffer some police brutality (oh the joys of living in a "free and democratic" country) but I would urge you to start doing it again. Firstly this is the only way any change will happen (the refugee rights movement has been instrumental in changes to Australia's refugee policy, bo mater how small these changes are). Secondly is does help dissipate that sense of helplessness.

Go forth and be active!

11:10 am  

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