Category Archives: A social comment

AS I SEE IT: “The killing of Arlince”

“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”
said Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Justice on the Supreme Court in the United States.
arlince-2In Eastern Indonesia, in the western part of the island of New Guinea, the indigenous Papuans are Melanesians and according to Operation World, more than 90% of them are officially reckoned as Christian.  Papua has had a history of violent oppression by the Indonesian military (TNI), with demographic dilution through a government programme of massive transmigration of Javanese Muslims. Papuans, often Christian leaders, are frequently killed by the TNI, who are constantly trying to provoke retaliation that could be claimed to justify a full scale massacre against the ‘separatist threat’. The TNI terrorises Papuans from helicopters, shooting civilians, burning villages and churches, and forcing thousands to flee their homes and hide in the jungle where they die of starvation, illness or injury. The TNI’s allies, the pro-Indonesian militias and the Laskar Jihad (Islamic warriors), are armed ready for a major ethnic cleansing campaign. Papua, as part of Indonesia and the ‘dar al-Islam’ (land of Islam), is being ‘Indonesianised’ and Islamised. The Papuans are facing genocide while those with worldly power turn away. (source EA Foundation)
This brings me to the point I want to make…
Australia & New Zealand and their Pacific neighbours are turning a blind eye to the genocide that is being carried out. Indonesia, in my opinion a corrupt country..

The Australian Government, in my opinion is just playing lip service to the situation in West Papua .
Arlince Tabuni, was a 12 year old Melanesian West Papuan girl, daughter of a pastor enjoying life in her highlands village of Popume. Suddenly, at 5:30pm on a hot balmy afternoon, four fully armed Indonesian soldiers drive into the village with loaded guns. They briefly interrogate a member of her family and then demand the Pastor leaves the scene.
They then proceed towards Arlince’s house. Seeing the soldiers, Arlince tries to run away. The military fire 3 shots, she is hit in the neck and chest and dies…
The locals are outraged.. First off, the military deny this took place. After some time, they admitted they fired out of sheer frustration and panic!!
This satisfied the Indonesian Government, no investigation is held. Bribes had allegedly taken place.
This is just one of hundreds of examples..
The people of West Papua have regularly organise mass protests for self determination and independence and continue to appeal to the international community from speaking out through media to diplomatic pleas by exiled Papuans. This continues to fall on deaf ears..
Not only has the Indonesian government banned all foreign journalists and human rights groups from West Papua but the Indonesian military and police also systematically target any West Papuans campaigning for independence and brands them as “separatists” and “terrorists”.
We run around listening to the spin about ISIS and a lot of us become fearful…How often do we think of our neighbours, right next door ? My guess it we pay very little credence to what is happening and simply turn a ‘blind eye’
It’s time to open your eyes, read and look at what is happening.. Forget about sending troops to fight some bunch of ISIS scum.. Our governments need to focus on our neighbours!!
Even the raising of the West Papuan national flag was made illegal by Indonesia and anyone raising it in West Papua can, if they are lucky expect 15 years in an Indonesian jail cell.
Any unlucky West Papuans found supporting independence are simply killed. Indonesia sees Papuans as nothing more than inconvenient resistance in a land bursting with money to be made.
Here’s the thing, it’s reported that some of her killers might have been from Indonesia’s “anti terror special forces” also known as Kopassus or “Detachment 88?. These troops are funded and supplied by the Australian government… That’s right!! The Australian Government!! despite international calls to cease their support,  they are responsible for some of the worst crimes against humanity in West Papua.
When the soldiers came to interrogate Arlinces’ relative, they asked him “where are the hordes of OPM?”
Arlinces’ relative told them that there are none and that there is an Indonesian flag in the village (which is effectively mandatory in West Papua).
The soldiers paid no attention to the man and marched directly towards Arlinces’ house.
They stood at the bottom of the garden and saw the 12 year old girl who ran. They fired!! Three times… She was shot in the neck and died. They killed her. There was no excuse.. Arlince was 12.
This was no accident. There is no way the Indonesian military mistook a 12 year old girl in point blank range and directly in front of them for an armed and violent adult guerrilla fighter.
Just imagine for a moment if this happened right here..in your street… A member of the Police shot and killed an innocent 12 year old girl because they believed she was part of a potential family, well known for its members supporting a local Indigenous independence movement? It would be world news in a heartbeat..Imagine the international outcry…
So.. you can act…you can stand up and be heard.. Most wont… Sadly you will just sit back and go…”oh yeah, here he goes again”
Yes!! I will make a stand..I will speak out and this is what I’m doing!!.. Now, join with me??
As Thurgood Marshall said.. “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” He was part of significant civil rights decisions..
Will you be?

AS I SEE IT: The price we pay!

imagesBernard M. Baruch once said “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

I was sitting having my morning coffee,
when I got to thinking…Howard Schultz has a hell of a lot to answer for…
Who, you might ask is Howard Schultz?
He is the CEO & founder of Starbucks. Now, I’ve drunk a fair bit of coffee at Starbucks in my time, not because I actually like their
coffee, but because I have not wanted to offend the person that
insists that there is nothing greater than Starbucks… Quite frankly…”Bullshit” yep, there ya go, I said it! “Whew” that took some guts!
But here’s the thing, having the guts to stand up sand say exactly what we feel, is a pretty courageous thing to. If I had a dollar
for every time some one asked me how I was, or was the meal to your
liking etc…I’d be a rich man.. We have, I would care to venture all done the very same… Masked how we really feel! Yep! I’m as guilty as anyone on this score.
I mask my feelings, emotions and thoughts.. It’s the price we pay to keep the’ status quo’
“Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone.”
Stanley Gordon West was not wrong.. Many many times I have read, or watched or have been involved in a situation where I have masked my true feelings… How I have wanted to shout out “BULLSHIT” but, I have contained my self.. This article was going to be about the cost of a cup of
coffee here on the Gold Coast.. How there was no consistency in price or quality… From the Basic to what one wold consider the best… Alas, it did not eventuate..
I sat here contemplating what and how I was going to go about writing this piece when it hit me!! all you are going to do, is implant your negative thoughts into an article that may or may not be read.. Hang on, you have a bee in your bonnet about Starbucks and the friend that cannot see beyond that..
Stop!! if that is all you have to worry about right now, perhaps you need to step back and take a look around you, I thought to myself.. Guess what? I did just that…
I spent some time thinking about being who I was and saying what I actually feel. I actually hate Starbucks! I like a small cafe with ambiance and real people that know their craft and perfect it… I like an Americano…it’s a style of coffee prepared by adding hot water to espresso, giving it a similar strength to, but different flavor from, regular drip coffee. Add a touch of cream and it is a delight.! But, you might ask, is that nothing really but a ‘long black?’ Probably not too far from the truth and probably what Starbucks dish up as their drip coffee. I made a stand and decided I was going to speak out, saying I didn’t want to go to Starbucks, or any of the other franchised coffee shops..
I wanted to be my own master and go where I wanted to go..
I got my way, I decided that in order for this to happen, I had to let go of some of the negativity inside..
I have a friend that I have known for the past 10 years, not at all a bad bloke and one I am happy to call a “Mate” but… I can no longer take the negativity that oozes forth.. Be it a brand of car, movie, political party or the organization I work for… that’s just for starters.
Am I lambasting this person..NO. I’m simply pointing out that unfortunately, there is no other way he will view anything.. As for coffee…It is Starbucks or nothing! sorry, but there is more in this life than going to that franchise once or twice a week… I suggested he come to the little coffee kiosk, just across the way from me… Organic Coffee and great wholesome food around the same price, but not mass produced.. Nope…would not have a bar of it.
I finally told him how I feel.. do I feel better for having done so? I guess part of me says yes and there is apart of me that feels I’ve been a little harsh, but it has been said!
This morning I read about a homeless man struggling to survive. A politician dinning out in a 5 star restaurant and a paper full of socialites… Do they give a monkeys’? I doubt it..
There is a move a foot to remove the Prime Minister of this country, Does the average person really care…
Probably not, you see, everybody is in their little box, going about their daily routine, just trying to get by.. No one really takes much notice until it is thrown in our face by the nightly news, dramatised so you price up and listen.. Then there is the sensationalism of what I call ‘tabloid television’ tonight will be a prime example, once again thrusting the events of Sydney’s Martin Place in front of your eyes. Extended coverage on the news…A Special Report.. Yes, it was sad that people, innocent people lost their lives and others were injured.. I cannot begin to fathom what these poor souls went through. Yes, they have been paid to tell their stories…It will be dramatic, no doubt about that, after all it is prime time TV and the network wants their pound of flesh.. Normally I would probably just sit back and go “oh whatever” but this time I cant..
I don’t wish to harbour negativity any longer, I wish to actually stand up and say what I mean..
What am I going do to about this?
Well here’s the first thing…”write it down,” I was told many years ago my my mentor, now long long departed from this ‘Mortal Coil’.
Today I have done that in some small way…
Yes, there is lots more I want to say and will. I shall speak out, but politely and sincerely, for I don’t wish to offend. Sounds a bit soppy that doesn’t it, but I recall my mother saying “Little boys should be seen and not heard” (Sorry Mother, I dropped the ball on that one a long time ago.) I think I have been seen & heard… I’m on a roll now..
So, here you have it.. Some words I’ve wanted to get off my chest for a while now…. Yes, I still mask a lot of things, but as I get older, these masks seem to break and melt away…

AS I SEE IT: Time to make a stand!

imagesIvan Turgenev once said “If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.”

After witnessing the horrendous events of the past weeks, I have decided to pen some thoughts.. We are lucky, we live in a pretty civilized world, where not much happens to us. We read, watch and speak to others about the atrocities taking place many thousands of miles from “home” and always at the end of the conversation, news clip or article we might have read, we just say to ourselves…”Hmmm sad, how sad, must really do something about that”
We never do!! I’m as guilty as the next person…I read, watch, think about all the injustice that is taking place and have, probably like most, a rather blaze’ attitude.
At times, this is born out of sheer frustration, knowing and thinking there is nothing I can do… Wrong!!! there IS something I can do. I’m going about it as I write..
Talking with some people after the recent events in Africa, the massacre not one person wants to talk about, I have decided to open this blog as a forum for you to post your thoughts. We all have many angry processes going on trying to deal with the injustice taking place. It’s a tragic event when 17 people are murdered at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, and the recent events in Sydney’s Martin Place…but… what about the children massacred in Pakistan and the killings in Africa?…Just a fleeting line or two. So, after a bit of contemplation and some discussion, I have decided to post this to my site and allow open and honest debate…What can I do…how can I make a difference?
I guess something that is a bit of a bother is the attitude that I hear in this country far far too often.. “It’s my country why don’t ya just fuck off!!”
I’m going out on a limb here and in my opinion, “As I See it,” I have never come across so much hatred and racism as I have here in Queensland. It truly astounds me the way people are treated.. New Zealanders rate lower that people from 3rd world countries.. Yes, this weekend is a long weekend as Monday is Australia Day.. What does it actually mean to the average Australian…Just another day off I suspect?.. How many Australians know the true meaning of Australia Day and how many actually care about the Indigenous People of this land?
Sadly, most Australians celebrate Australia Day just as another excuse to drink more booze and have a barbie…but, as I said, how many actually really care about its true meaning… as the day Australia was founded.
In contrast, Aboriginal people mourn their history and call it “Invasion Day”. So, here’s a little history lesson…
January 26, 1788 was the date on which Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and raised the British flag for the first time in Sydney Cove. In the early 1880s the day was known as ‘First Landing’, ‘Anniversary Day’ or ‘Foundation Day’.
In 1946 the Commonwealth and state governments agreed to unify the celebrations on January 26 and call it ‘Australia Day’. The day became a public holiday in 1818 (its 30th anniversary). Aboriginal people refused to participate in the re-enactment because it included chasing away a party of Aboriginal people (which, by the way, had been carted to this event against their will).
Just a small example of the history of Australia Day.. Outside of this nation who gives a monkeys? Who really cares what happened.. Here in lies the problem..I care, I am a lone voice in this vast social wilderness. I now want to stand up and to be heard.. Many many other people are saying the same thing. (I use Australia Day as a prime example) Just watch John Pilgers “Utopia” or read Royce Kurmelovs compelling report “Australia stands with its Muslims after siege” (about the seige in Sydneys Martin Place..)
Sadly, once again it is all too much for the average person to comprehend. Yes for sure it is read, even digested and no doubt talked about, but just as quickly forgotten. then this happened..
Al-Shabab fighters from Somalia hijacked a bus in Kenya’s north and killed 28 non-Muslims on board after they had been singled out from the rest of the passengers, police officials said. It continued to worsen.. Boko Haram fighters killed at least 59 people as they slept in an attack on a boarding school in Nigeria’s troubled northeast, police said.
The attackers reportedly targeted only male students and “spared” girls at the Federal Government College in the town of Buni Yadi in Yobe state, which teaches pupils aged 11 to 18.(source Al Jazeera)
Then we read and watched the story unfold about the one hundred and thirty-two children that were massacred in Peshawar on what’s being termed one of the darkest days in Pakistan’s history. These are gruesome and brazen acts, (wrote Mirza Waheed, another Al Jazeera journalist) of mass murder carried out by men who speak proudly of the death tolls they score. There was a fleeting mention of this and that was it!!
Nothing more shocking has occurred in recent history. We ought to be more shocked, repulsed, than we are, so that those who can do something about it will do so!
This is the reason I am writing this article..
Hopefully it might just prick at your heart and conscience and spearhead a response…Remember, the pen is mightier than the Sword!!
As Ivan Turgenev said over 100 years ago…
“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.”

AS I SEE IT.. FATHERS DAY 2011

Bartrand Hubbard once said– “I’ve had a hard life, but my hardships are nothing against the hardships that my father went through in order to get me to where I started.”

My dad is in his mid 80’s now.  His body is telling him it’s nearly time, but his mind remains as sharp as the day. He grew up in a small rural community, riding a horse 10 miles to school every day.

A couple of years ago, I took my youngest son on a journey, to visit and spend time with his granddad. I wanted him to know about those early days. He remarked that my son was a walking magnet, with all the steel in his body, and that he had more ink on him than in the classroom he learned in. (he has a couple of tattoo’s and at the time, two or three piercings).

So.. I wanted him to open up to my son… I asked him about those informative years.. “Hard years” he said and started to open up. I learned as much as my son that day.. You see, I thought I knew my old man. Turns out I only knew what he decided I should know.

I never knew about the beatings he regularly got from his ‘old man’ my grandfather. I did know about his brother chopping off his toe, but not about being chained to the chopping block because of it.  I had always wondered about the truth of this, but when he started reminiscing with my son, I began to believe in the reality of life during the depression and those years that shaped my dad into the man he became.

He would over the years say to me on more than one occasion. “Your grandfather was a hard bastard…but a fair one!”

Somehow, that cliché ‘Like father. Like son’ rings in my mind. My old man was hard. But fair! I never really saw him show true affection to me or my five brothers all that often.. but then, I was not really around most of their growing years.

He did love us… unconditionally, protected us and kept us safe.. Many times he covered my arse.. I just did not know it! Not then at least.

I do now, but it was to be many years later that I learned the truth. We never came to blows, but there were many harsh words. He was, after all just trying to instill the values he had been taught by his father, into me. I really didn’t want to listen.. At 16 I knew it all and it was the dawning of ‘The Age of Aquarius’ and I had an adventure to begin.

Some years later, when he got the call that no father wants to hear “Your son has had a very serious accident and may not make it through the night…you best get here quick” he just downed tools and come hell or high water was going to be at my bedside. No questions asked.

He was there and remained until I was out of immediate danger. He cared not for his business or any other matter, apart from getting to the hospital to be at the side of his eldest son.

As we drove that August morning some 2 years ago, my own son began to learn more and more about this kind, loving and compassionate man…My father, his Granddad.

We stopped at a little country café for lunch and all my old man wanted was a cold beer and a plate of seafood chowder.

I have never seen that smile since.. He was in old man’s heaven.

We got back into the car and he proceeded to ramble on about his lunch for what seemed hours.. Issuing directions with military precision on how to get to the family homestead.. After an hour, my son and I looked at each other bewildered, as we were so certain we were just plain lost!!

Next thing, we are right outside the gate to the family farm.. He had let us to this gate with pin point accuracy.

It was about this time that he demanded we stop for lunch because he had not eaten since breakfast and he was hungry.

My son told him he had lunch an hour ago and couldn’t understand why he was getting so agitated.

My dad now lives in a very comfortable retirement home.. He has all his wants & needs met and is surrounded by loving family.

I hope the good lord allows me one more visit.

I for one, will be calling my old man this Fathers Day, to tell him how much I love him.

Yes…he did teach me well. I hope through him, I have taught my boys well.

AS I SEE IT ‘ATTITUDE’

Winston Churchill once said, “ATTITUDE is a little thing that makes a big difference”. How right he was.

I was reminded of this at the weekend, when I had coffee with an old work colleague.

He enquired, “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?

He simply said, “Mate, I have always admired you. You don’t let anything get in the way of the road you walk. If it does… you embrace it! What is it that makes you the person you are?”

I just replied, ”ATTITUDE” and he nodded..

So… I started thinking..

Over the years, I’ve had a pretty good career as a broadcaster. The industry has been kind to me and paid me well. Sure there were the 4am starts and late nights, sometimes not getting home till after 10pm. The highs, the lows, but to achieve what I have after loosing my legs was no mean feat. (I know, the pun!!)

I worked hard to prove to the skeptics’ that I could cut it with the rest of them. I also took pride in the fact that I was unique! After all, there was no-one else with no legs and in a wheelchair working in the industry at the time.. I always had a positive ‘ATTITUDE’ no matter how good or bad I was feeling. I never let it drag me into the depths of despair. Sure, there were many times I rode a ‘Rocket to Hell,’ but I always remembered a conversation I had with a very dear friend just after I lost my legs. It helped every time..

I’ve never forgotten it. I try to live by what he said and taught me to this day.

It goes a bit like this…

“Develop a positive ‘ATTITUDE’, a sunny ‘ATTITUDE’ and something wonderful happens. People will like you. People will welcome you. Through them, you will meet other people because you’ll be a pleasure to have around. If you believe it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can do it!!!”

He said, there would be times I would need to be bold in order to achieve. There would be times when I would have to take risks with my life’s direction. He suggested that fortune favours the brave and there would be times when I would need to be brave, even if I felt I couldn’t. He told me that people are everything and never to dismiss them just because they may look different to me. He suggested I find out what makes them tick… Once I’ve done that, I might be amazed at how much I learn and how much I can give back.

He taught me many years ago that understanding other people are one of the keys to success. He suggested that knowing what people want and why they want things and want to do things will help them towards their dreams. Once again, I was told that if I helped other people with their dreams they would help me with mine. How true this is! He taught me to take an interest in other people. He said we all have our own story and our own strengths. He put it to me, that if I took an interest in others, they would take an interest in me.

Here’s another thing he taught me. Be kind to other people and try not to hurt them. Remember to be generous. Being kind and generous is far more powerful than hurting. The more you give, the more you’ll get back. Finally… remember this. If a person makes a mistake against you, forgive them. Don’t keep it in your heart. Your resentment will over time become bitter.. and bitterness is a bad attitude. If a person falls, help them up.

Remember, ‘Love’ always wins. It might take longer than evil and hatred, resentment and envy, but ‘Love’ always wins. Always trust ‘Love’. Always know that no matter what.. Water can cut through iron. His final words were; “Find out who you are. Know who you are. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Be proud of your strengths and laugh at your weaknesses. Be brave even if you are frightened. Value yourself. There is only one of you. Don’t worry if you feel different from everyone else. We’re all different.”

Your new journey is beginning. Just embrace it with a positive ‘ATTITUDE’

I have never forgotten these words..

RIP my friend. You taught me well.

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