Tag Archives: Human Rights

For Good to Exist, There Must be Bad …

This really hits home sometimes.

Like when I meet some people I’m really stumped about – specifically on how they exist. Forget the why bit …

Or I put the news on and I see what we do to our fellow human beings to protect the “invisible” borders people we don’t even know or remember put up …

Or when I look at a cheesecake and think about its calories. But whhhhyyyyy …

But then I think about the Nelson Mandela’s, Mahatma Gandhi’s and the Rosa Park’s of the world and I am reminded that nothing worthy comes easy so let the bad be because so many of us will keep fighting the good fight.

The Casual Racist

Know a Casual Racist?

You know who and what I’m talking about.

I think we’ve all probably had the misfortune of coming across one or two (if you’re lucky).
That person who isn’t racist but thinks that adding a smile at the end of a thinly veiled racially motivated comment makes it alright to just chuck one at you anyway.

I have spent the past five weeks traveling across India through Shimla, Delhi and Mumbai, completing my superb trip at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. In one word – amazing (sing that while you read it for added emphasis).

I must admit to spending some of my time dispelling stereotypes about the land down-under vehemently because you know, ignorance is never an excuse for sweeping generalisations that can come across as rude because they are, people, they are. Simple as that. No, no matter what ever angle or perspective you look at it.

What I didn’t expect was Pauline Hanson’s vigorously and scarily increasing popularity. As a side bar, what exactly is happening to the world and it’s dangerously increasing xenophobia? It takes two to tango in life for everything and the Trumps, Hanson’s and every other right wing party leader in Europe is where they are because of all of us (those of us who vote for them and those of us who can’t be bothered getting off our arses to put a stop to potential future genocide for the gazillion-th time).

I also managed to meet every racist Aussie I strongly believe exists in my vicinity in the week I got back. I know this is highly unlikely but like everything negative, the numbers seem to exponentially build inconceivably, like something out of a J.K. Rowling novel.
Comments like, “ugh Dehli, way too many people in your country” (adding a smile at the end of that sentence still pisses me off by the way), “must have been sweaty and hot in your country” (that’s rich coming from someone who is currently battling 42 degree Celsius weather), “did you take any photos of elephants and tigers while you were there?” (the next time you take a photo of a kangaroo jumping over the Harbour Bridge in Sydney city, please-let-me-know).

I could go on but why?

Why should I waste my time trying to educate casual racists on not so common etiquette and courtesy? If they haven’t learnt yet, they never will.

Just note please …

Sticking a flag in countries that were never yours and never will be was never and will never be right.

Full stop.

Just like adding a smile to the end of a sentence you may think is manipulatively cloaked but glaringly obvious to the people you have been attempting to “civilise” for centuries is not and will never be acceptable.

This may be offensive to some and I get it.

Because this entire piece has been written with a clear and complete absence of a smile.

For the rest of you who have managed to find this writing somewhat palatable, I’ll be posting pics of my amazing journey soon hopefully. I trust your open-mindedness will allow you to see through the stereotypes and generalisations towards the glorious similarities we all share against the backdrop of exciting cultural nuances.

See you soon xoxo

Could we be any more screwed?

A lot has happened in the World this week, as it does every week.

We’ve had a Soccer World Cup finish, Australian Swim Legend Ian Thorpe has come out as being gay, a few choice celebrities (no names being mentioned) have gone around doing what they do best, being social misfits and poor examples of role models for those who tinker on their seats edges wondering what their next moves are going to be, and something else I quite can’t recall. It’s on the tip of my tongue, so I’m guessing it’s semi important?

Oh that’s right, that little pesky thing the World is snappily entitling The Gaza Strip. Maybe not as catchy as Brangelina, but then again, it isn’t quite as important either, is it?

I mean how could an entire nation of people in devastating upheaval and pain, a clear brazen example of genocide occurring under our very noses in the twenty first century, a blatant demolishing of the very concept of human rights, truly compare to whether Germany actually deserved to take home the inanimate Gold Cup, the gender Ian Thorpe chooses to spend his private life and nights with, and whether Justin Bieber’s crotch shot was a misguided PR stunt? The answer is simple, it can’t.

It’s not bedazzling enough for all of us, sitting here comfortably in our arm chairs in our own little private havens with our fingers securely brushing our remote controls ready to tap the buttons lightly to change the channel every time a haunting image of what’s occurring in the Middle East has the audacity to interrupt our lives and assault our screens. I mean, how dare they? It’s happening a world away, why should I care?

I’m not here to make a statement on who’s right or wrong in this war occurring on the same planet we all share, but what I am incensed about is our extreme powers of “de-sensitsation”.

Who’s right or wrong is hardly significant really, what does matter though is the mammoth loss of life that the rest of us couldn’t care less about. I am met with a lot of anger and opposing comments every time I dare to broach this subject, you know the kind – scathing hate like “Why should we interfere?”, “They don’t want us to get involved”, “It’s their problem, not mine”, “If they’re too stupid to understand, that’s their fault”, and the undulating list rolls on.

Hailing from a nation that prides itself on never having invaded another’s home, I couldn’t agree more. The rest of us shouldn’t interfere, because the message that gives is that we don’t think you’re civilised enough to deal with this problem on your own, but how does that justify turning a blind eye to the pain and misery of our fellow brothers and sisters?

How does understanding, making our children aware of what seething animosity results in so that they learn that war and inflicting torture on one another is not the solution, not make this world and our conjoined futures better? How does not teaching one another that no matter what our creed, caste, and colour, that we share our basic human emotions of grief, agony and turmoil at losing a father, a mother, a brother, or sister and our children, not be an absolutely imperative lesson to study for all of us?

Is the media to blame? I think this is far too simplistic and just another brazen example of ‘passing the buck’, shifting responsibility onto someone else humans so easily partake in to feel better. As hungry devourers of news, why do the people so often forget that the real power lies firmly enclosed in our palms? The fact that you chose to click on the photograph brazenly displaying one of the Kardashian sister’s blaring bikini clad behind more than the one that excruciatingly portrays a mother’s incomparable desperate desolation at the loss of a child as she clutches her daughter or son’s lifeless, dismembered body to her bosom, begging for it all to stop while she cradles them both into oblivion, dictates what the media gives you.

It’s time we take a little bit of time out of our busy reality television watching schedules and participate in a little reality check of our own. Try and think about how it would feel to be in the middle of that tumultuous turbulence and what you’d experience if you truly believed you were all alone and that no one else cared enough to think, even in fleeting, about how your life was worthless.

This world is never going to improve if we don’t stop for a moment and think “what am I doing to make this better?” Make your voices heard people, the powerful in our society don’t own half as much as you believe they do and they know it. They’re just waiting for you to fight for your basic human right to tell them that.

You need to shut up sometimes

I am a big supporter of the age old adage of keeping your mouth shut if you have nothing worthwhile to say. Often, just because you can say something doesn’t necessarily mean you should go ahead and let it rip! I was never made more aware of this philosophy than in my first year of Journalism studies.

In the famous words of Stan Lee, “with great power there must also come great responsibility”, it is terrifyingly easy for those of us in journalism and the media to forget that we are in a very fortunate, but dangerous position of influencing a lot of people reading and/or listening to our work.

Our audiences are often poles apart – from the aged to the very informative young, those that blotch an entire spectrum of social status & class, and those who (though it may be a little disrespectful to admit, but how we journalists at times dissect our readership/listener base) vary in intelligence and simple, good old fashioned common sense (an increasing rarity in modern times unfortunately!).

Journalists wield a great amount of power that is directly correlated to the magazines, television stations, newspapers and other forms of media we work for. The freedom of speech act is a card pimped around a lot by journalists who often try to cover up what we write/say and as a human rights activist, I strongly agree with the ability to give a voice to those of us who are more often than not, ignored. But what about when that speech is treacherously bordering on inciting hate, discrimination, negativity and the blatant ability to bully an individual/organisation because they clearly aren’t in a position to provide a comeback?

I have been a part of very large Australian based publishing houses (as well as the number one arguably) and as much as I hate to admit it, I cringe at the “stories” that have been reported by some of the big guns I have written/worked for. It would seem that our media outlets are so brazenly deciding what is Gospel now, we no longer have to cloak our “opinions” as “newsworthy stories” for the greater good, because now what we say is what goes, similar to the common bullying antics repeated in the murky corners of the school playground of “it’s right because I say so”.

But it isn’t, is it? Journalism evolved from a noble concept, a strong belief that the people had the right to know, where events were presented as objectively and unbiasedly as humanely possible, where we trusted the integrity and intellect of our audience to shape their own perspectives and viewpoints. What changed? Why do we in the media feel the need to dictate what others think and who/what they should support in a world we pride ourselves on as democratic?

Are our viewers no longer knowledgeable enough to make up their own minds? I would strongly disagree. What I do believe however is that we in the media have, as all humans regretfully eventually do at the first sniff of it, become power crazy, hungry for more, devouring the possibility of ruling those who we can as much as we can.

History is testament to exploitation failing and that is the real reason I believe news is a dying phenomenon, not the reality television shows wrapping their tentacles over unsuspecting viewers’ minds the way some would have us believe.

The cancer attacking “real news” is the need to control, not the diminishing rationality of our potential audience. I would suggest that if we start presenting “real news” the way our virtuous profession set out to do when it started all those centuries ago, news will become cool again.

And until we can do that, could we please learn to think before we write/speak? There is no shame in shutting up sometimes.