Category Archives: As I See It

AS I SEE IT…Being Catholic. Part 3

–  “Growth is painful.  Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck  somewhere you don’t belong!!” – imagesAnon 

Having served my apprenticeship, so to speak, growing up Catholic, during the 50’s surviving the convent, the priests and the nuns, then a strict Catholic  boarding school, I felt pretty comfortable that I had come through this ordeal mostly intact. Oh there were scars and wounds that needed to heal, but as they say… “Time is a great healer”… or is it?

As I said previously, I was about to step into the unknown, the long lonely walk across the threshold into another world was about to begin.. I was one of the youngest seminarians to begin seven years of indoctrination in this foreboding place. I was greeted by one of the priests, a kindly old soul.. He was to take me under his wing and flood my mind with the dogma as he was instructed. It was to begin immediately and the intensity and pace at which he delivered his dissertation, made me begin to question my reasons for being in this place right from that first day… Never-the-less, I quickly settled into a routine…I was then to be taken under the wing of one the seniors, an  older seminarian, who was to become  my confidante as well as my mentor. (He is now a respected Cardinal) One of the others that I got to know very well, became one of the youngest Bishops to  be appointed  in Australasia. There were others too and I formed some great lasting  friendships. Sadly, I could count on one hand, those that still remain as priests to this day.  The days were long and hard and for a young teen, they were tough… Yes, I attended many many lectures..Ethics, Theology, Sociology,  incorporating Latin, along with the ancient teachings of the catholic church…and on it went.  All this time I was being seduced into the rigidity and uniformity of the church. I was made to give up most things I loved in the outside world. Music, certain books, theatre, arts etc. The guilt continued and  I recall one afternoon, I went to the nearby mall, decided to treat myself to a scone and cup of coffee. The young waitress that served me was a pure delight. I had already been told of the evils of making eye contact with members of the opposite sex! as the Rector had put it! So, being young and open to persuasion, I tried to avoid this at all costs. It didn’t work, she had served many seminarians and could read the pattern well. Needless to say, we struck  up a great conversation and I continued to find an excuse to visit on a regular basis.

After months of rosaries around the vast fields with a regular group of young men, I was called into the Rectors office…He was a stern autocratic Belgium Priest, a Psychologist and Jesuit to boot.. Had this huge read chair that he demanded I sit in…I refused and sat on the arm. This went down like a cup of cold sick!! He shouted at me, demanding I sit in his chair. I would not give him this power and he told me that I needed to face up to my reality.. He knew that I had been visiting the cafe in the mall and having long discussions with the young waitress.. He knew that I had been playing my music, (Leonard Cohen, Magna Carta, Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and a whole bunch of rock, including Ozzy, Black Sabbath etc..) missing Matins and questioning the teachings in the classroom. One of the unique advantages of this seminary, was that it aligned to the fine arts University in the city. This was a new direction for the seminary and it was to be expected that we would challenge many things in our day to day interaction with other young students.It was something that displeased the rector.. I became involved in the theatre scene and started to enjoy many of the modern playwrights.. This was, as the Rector said…the devils work!  He said that  I would be severely punished by God..  (Here comes that guilt!!) You see, it had never gone away!! Right from that very early age, this guilt had been permanently ensconced into my brain..planted so deep, riddled with  fear so that I would never forget! It was about this time  that the Rector decided I needed extra ‘spiritual guidance’ and I was to be placed under the wing of the Bishops secretary….Saturday was to  be the day this instruction would commence.

The day duly arrived and I sat in a little room the size of a cell. Cold, sterile and reeking of the stale putrid smell of camphor…   I waited, listening for the heavy precise footsteps of leather slapping wood. Waiting for this priest to breath forth more hell-fire and brimstone!! He waltzed in, more to the point, to coin a phrase, minced in and in the gayest of voices said “Hi I’m Kevin and we are going to have some wonderful spiritual advising! It’s a gorgeous day, let’s not waste a moment!” I didn’t believe what I was hearing, let alone what I was staring at!! Here was this wonderful man, dressed in denim with white sneakers and a pink Cashmere Sweater, sleeves up, hands on hips and a swag that would make any woman proud!!   What an absolute delight.. The rector looked on in disbelief as my best new friend just said..”we’ll be back when we are back” with the emphasis on the are!. Oh the delight!! Into the Canary Yellow BMW with its black leather upholstery and off we sped! I was in heaven and couldn’t believe my luck when we pulled into the pub down the road… “Right my dear boy” he said.. “It’s now time for your Spiritual Advising to begin… What’ll it be.. Whiskey, Bourbon or Brandy?”  I was gob-smacked! but, after all this was the Bishop’s secretary and who was I to argue?   We had a couple or drinks, then he said, “we have a rugby game to go to..I’ve got the bosses tickets, he doesn’t want to go..”  We rocked up.. A group of priests were waiting for him.. Introductions all round and a few questions as to how I was handling life in the seminary,  then to the bar and a few more to top up the craving. I couldn’t help but notice just how quickly a couple of this group became rather boisterous and fairly intoxicated.. It was as if they had been unshackled!!   This was going to be one hell of a day!!!

To be continued….

AS I SEE IT… Being Catholic. Part 2

–  “Growth is painful.  Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck  somewhere you don’t belong!!” – imagesAnon 

Having served my apprenticeship, so to speak, growing up Catholic, during the 50’s surviving the convent, the priests and the nuns, then a strict Catholic  boarding school, I felt pretty comfortable that I had come through this ordeal mostly intact. Oh there were scars and wounds that needed to heal, but as they say… “Time is a great healer”… or is it?

You see,  as I’ve said, I grew up in the early 50’s, in a loving caring family, the eldest of six boys. Hardworking father and a mother that saw her duty to God, the Catholic faith and her husband in that order.  At a very young age I was introduced to our local Priest. An Irishman who was overpowering, yet as I remember, gentle enough, but firm and dogged.  What was now beginning to take hold, was the guilt that was installed into me by that Whiskey drinking, cigarette smoking priest! The nuns followed his orders faithfully! What had been very powerfully and cleverly instilled into me, was a strong sense of ‘guilt’.. It was a ‘mortal sin’ to miss Mass on a Sunday, to eat meat on a Friday, not to fast during Lent. Girls were evil and one must never touch a girl as it was a sin.. God forbid if you actually held a girls hand. It was too late…I was going to hell in a hand basket, I had broken the cardinal rules! I became riddled with guilt!  I went to confession every day to confess my ‘mortal’ sins. As  I stepped into the confessional, I was consumed with the pungent smell of the priest’s stale whiskey laden breath, The darkness, and smell of an oiled floor mixed with the sweet smelling incense was all becoming a bit too overwhelming. I endured this ritual for sometime as my mother fueled this guilt… “God will punish you” she would repeatedly say, “you must go and confess your sins”

I couldn’t take too much more of this , so decided the best thing to do, was to move to the nearby city. I went and lived with my Mother’s father.. I thought I’d be safe, but unfortunately, he was an alcoholic and would come home tanked to the eyeballs, then start in on me all over again.. I believed God had it in for me! First, the parish  priest, then the nuns, my own mother now my Pop!.. Just was not going my way this whole Catholic thing!.. Then something rather miraculous happened.. There were now priests in my hometown.. Dutch priests from the Mill Hill order. They were fun loving practical jokers and one of them would spend time with my dad at the petrol station reading the weekly scandal tabloid, complete with its page 3 girl…. The standing joke was “it’s Fr Jacks Bible ” Along with a couple of the other members of the church’s select little group, they’d gather and knock off a couple of flagons of beer and a bottle or three of cheap wine! ” If I asked any questions, I was simply fobbed of with “Important parish business son”..  After a while, I became pretty friendly with the other priest, he and my mother shared a love of art and spent long hours painting and sketching.
One day, she invited me in to the sun room to join them.. What i didn’t know was this was all part of their plan. You see, my mother wanted her priest. she believed it was time to instill a bit more of the catholic guilt into me… To be honest, I was not the perfect teenager..I’d dabbled in a few things, less than desirable I guess… There was no way in hell I was going near a priest to confess that little lot!! or so I thought..  Then they started…It was like a well orchestrated and precise manoeuvre… didn’t see that one coming!! Had no answer… I was too scared to rebut anything they said and before I knew it, I was in front of the Father Superior of this order, bags packed, train and ferry tickets at the ready and on my way to the seminary!

I have questioned myself many many times over the years as to this bizarre behavior resulting in my entering the seminary. In my opinion, it all leads back to the manipulative and controlled agenda that the Catholic Church through its priests had. The guilt was very much planted, almost to the point of being brainwashed. I do  remember at one point as I’ve stated already, my mother saying I would be punished if I did not become a priest.. So, when after some intense questioning by the Fr Superior and then the announcement “Brian is going to be our priest… you must make your mother and God very proud”…  As crazy as this may sound today, back then it was very real!… I had stepped into the unknown!!

To be continued!

AS I SEE IT… Being Catholic, Part 1…

 After  just having watched the movie, “SPOTLIGHT”  I was reminded of this quote –  “Growth is painful.  Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck  somewhere you don’t belong!!” – imagesAnon 

This is probably one of the most poignant movies I’ve watched in sometime. The film follows The Boston Globes “Spotlight” team, (the oldest newspaper investigative unit in the United States) and its investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous  Catholic priests. It’s based on a series of stories by the real Spotlight Team that earned The Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. I didn’t really want to watch this movie as being Catholic, I was wrestling with the accusations that had been made years ago and the cover ups that took place on the global stage. But….something changed in me.. It started me thinking…

You see, I grew up in the early 50’s, in a loving caring family, the eldest of six boys. Hardworking father and a mother that saw her duty to God, the Catholic faith and her husband in that order.  At a very young age I was introduced to our local Priest. An Irishman who was overpowering, yet as I remember, gentle enough, but firm and dogged.  Gosh, I was only four, not even at school yet.. The grooming started from a very early age. Now, I must make it very very clear… I was NOT abused by any priest sexually..  Mentally  and physically, well that’s a different story.. I believe it was bad, but I cannot begin to comprehend the pain and suffering those who were sexually abused have had to endure.. Guilt was instilled into me through the church and her teachings… the priest, the nuns and my mother. There was no let up.. I had to learn my Catechism off by heart, knowing the first chapter before I got to the convent.. I was continually told that if I didn’t know it, I was not going to heaven. I would not be able to be a good catholic boy, The pressure that was placed on this 5 year old was humongous! Still, I did it..passed my first test and read to the priest and the nuns.. answered their questions as I stood in the middle of the room…cold and bleak! When I can out of this interrogation, I saw others lined up in the corridor.  One boy had wet himself and others were laughing at him. I went and put my arm around him to reassure him it would be all right. We became best friends. He has since passed away, but that introduction to my schooling has never left me..

As the years progressed, I moved into the ‘inner circle’ so to speak..Became an Altar Boy…wore my Soutane  and Surplice (the garments every Altar Boy must wear when assisting the priest at Mass).. Gosh!! that was a proud day! I had learned the Latin Mass and responses that an altar boy must give.. Knew them by heart.. (Even got a biscuit from Sister Stanislaus !) All this time, the brainwashing was subtle, but never the less taking place! I began to win prizes for my religious knowledge, topped the class at one point, became a favourite, to the determent of some of the other kids.. Still it got me privileges..I reached form ll and then the big day out..We were off to the lake for the day… “The Altar Boys Picnic” More brain washing and more guilt unknowingly heaped upon us in a very subtle way.

It was time to leave the convent and move to secondary school. By this time the priest had changed.. There were two now rather than one. Vatican ll had taken place under Pope John XXlll. This was a revolution within the church.. All the while, the abuse continued, boys and girls being sexually,  physically and mentally abused. No one spoke out, no one dared speak..The pedophiles were cunning and clever…They instilled the guilt into each and everyone of their victims.. and so on it went.. Mass was said on a daily basis, comments were made about the alleged abuse that was taking place. No one dared speak out! I of course at the time, knew none of this…Did not even recognise what was happening within my self… It was not until years later that I came to understand how powerful this was. I have written about it on numerous occasions, the cultist sects within mainstream religion and how it absorbs us.. Never ever would I write or utter a bad word about the Catholic Church! I was sent to boarding school run by the De La Salle Brothers with a couple of Jesuit priest thrown in for good measure.. Once again, I was subjected to more physical abuse… Don’t get me wrong…there were and still are many good, kind and caring brothers within this order, but.. they too were influenced by their superiors and by taking an oath of obedience, here was another power hold over these young men.

So…I left school to embark on my life’s journey.. Some journey this was to be..

To be continued!

AS I SEE IT… “The Forgotten”

Ernist Hemingway wrote..
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.”11109504_10202784240646800_1687920510832940099_n

It has bee said that at Anzac Cove “The nation of Australia was born” that it ‘came of age’ or that Australian forces at Gallipoli were ‘fighting for our freedom’. Alongside this, is received wisdom such as how an Englishman and a donkey somehow embodied the Australian spirit and that the Aussies could have succeeded if it wasn’t for British amateurism and tea-making.The merits or accuracy of these legends can be debated endlessly. According to Mat Hardy Lecturer in Middle East studies at Deakin University.
However one of the clichés that always irks me is the assertion that at Gallipoli our forces were fighting against Turkey or ‘the Turks’ is completely incorrect.
It is said so often that it is rarely questioned and as I said, it is completely incorrect.. Just to further provide some factual evidence, you should know this…
The Republic of Turkey was not declared until 1922 and was only formally recognised in 1923. Prior to that, the place we now call Turkey was the heart of the Ottoman Empire. In 1915 it was Ottoman, not Turkish soldiers that were shooting at the diggers as they hit the beaches in the darkness.
Some will try and get around this hair splitting premise, by saying that the Ottoman Empire is synonymous with Turkish ethnicity. This is also false. Even rolled back from its medieval hey-day, the Ottoman Empire of 1915 still covered a wide patch of turf and this included huge numbers of Arabs, Armenians, Greeks and various Caucasians.
In fact without the assistance of nearly 300,000 Arabs in the ranks, the Ottoman forces would have never been able to bat on for as long as they did in the First World War. A general policy of making troops serve away from their native lands meant that plenty of the Ottoman troops in the Gallipoli campaign were not ‘Johnny Turk’ at all, but men from the Levant, Iraq and all the far-flung corners of the dying empire.
On the first day of the landings, roughly two thirds of the troops doggedly defending the heights were Arabs, mainly from Syria. They and their like served throughout the war, usually unwillingly. For the Arabs, there was no great love of their Ottoman masters. Many of these conscripts were little more than slave coffles of untrained cannon fodder. Just as Australia has a great deal of national identity invested in Gallipoli, so do the Arabs place a lot of stock in their role fighting against the Ottomans. The Arab Revolt and their use as a guerrilla force against the over-extended supply lines of the Ottomans makes for a good film. This was the point where the noble desert warriors rose up to be a nation again and were to be rewarded with self-determination at the conclusion of the war.
Naturally it didn’t quite pan out that way. The numbers actively involved in the revolt were a fraction of those serving on the other side and the rebels were often from regions where the Ottomans had very little control anyway. Not that it did most of them much good. After the war, the British and French did as they pleased. The Cairo Conference of 1921 saw Churchill and his ‘Forty Thieves’ parcel out the rewards to some favourites and make up some borders, stamping a political geography on the whole Middle East that still persists today. Only two Arabs were invited. Favourites like Faisal and Abdullah were given puppet kingdoms, setting the scene for decades of squabbling and the eventual rise of nationalists like Saddam Hussein and Hafez al-Assad a generation later.
So whatever you think about the idea that Australia was ‘forged’ at Gallipoli, the fact remains that many other nations were, much more literally, born from the ashes of the campaign to solve the Eastern Question.
Including Turkey.
Many thanks to my researcher..Hanay Qulacq..
Now, here are some facts and figures you may like to ponder…The Battle of Gallipoli took place on a small peninsula on two, later three, different battlefields, not far from each other. On one of these fields merely Anzac soldiers (from Australia and New Zealand) fought – and died. In the other two places British and French troops took the Turkish blow. The casualty figures give a good understanding of who suffered:
Australia: 18.500 wounded and missing – 7,594 killed.
New Zealand : 5,150 wounded and missing – 2,431 killed.
British Empire (excl. Anzac) : 198,000 wounded and missing – 22,000 killed.
France : 23,000 wounded and missing – 27,000 killed.
Ottoman Empire (Turkey) : 109,042 wounded and missing – 57,084 killed.
Furthermore 1.700 Indians died in Gallipoli, plus an unknown number of Germans, Newfoundlanders and Senegalese.
( These figures are educated guesses, but still approximate and controversial. They are taken from various sources, i.c. official Turkish, Dr Geoffrey Partington, Bernd Langensiepen, Robert Rhodes James, Spencer Tucker and Geoffrey Moorhouse. )
The British,French, Ottoman Empire and the Indians, along with Somalis are “THE FORGOTTEN” Yes we remember our ANZAC’S and rightly so. Sons, Fathers & Grandfathers pledged their allegiance before their King, just as every nation did with their own Sovereign.Pointless senseless loss of beautiful lives…For what? In my opinion one of the biggest British balls-ups in history. Our Grandfathers, Fathers, & sons served their country without question…Today we honour these men, but….while we do on this 100th anniversary..Let us also honour “The Forgotten” They too, were Sons, Fathers and Grandfathers.
The aftermath of this tragic event had its consequences… In Great-Britain Winston Churchill was forced to resign from the Cabinet. In Turkey the victor of the battle, Mustafa Kemal, was promoted Pasja (General).
In 1923 he was elected the first modern president of the Republic of Turkey. Later he became known as Atatürk: Father of all Turks.
Seventy five years after Gallipoli some Australian historians began to question the importance of the Australian contribution to the battle.
Had the Anzac legend been exaggerated all these years? Their research led to furious reactions; some called it a stab in the back.To this day, 100 years on this debate still rages.
We all know of someone who was in Gallipoli.. We are after all both small Nations in this ugly thing called War.. Today it continues as our troops are now deployed to the Middle East. Let us remember them all and take a moment or two to reflect..

As Hemingway said..

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.”

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?

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