Write on: Letters to the editor

Issue 

Bollocks

To speak frankly, I think Linda Waldron's article criticising Billy Bragg's political standing (GLW #467) was an absolute load of bollocks.

Having enjoyed Bragg's performance and commentary at the Livid Festival in Brisbane, I have a number of comments to make in response. Firstly, before stating that he does not think trashing McDonalds will change the world, Bill Bragg said that he sympathised with the anti-globalisation movement, but saw the unionisation of McDonalds workers as a more effective force for change. Since when did Trots start thinking blocking traffic was more important that unionising, hmm?

And Bragg is a very passionate opponent of the supposed "war on terrorism", and it is pretty much impossible to see him as being a supporter of this carnage. And he's also an opponent of the Coalition's refugee policy, and quite outspoken about it too.

It seems only yesterday GLW could write a decent political music review.

Now remember, "There is power in the union" (Bragg).

Daniel Sullivan
North Brisbane

Hollow assurances

Last Thursday Indonesian Lieutenant General Johnny Lumintang was found guilty of crimes against humanity after the September 1999 independence referendum in East Timor. US Federal Court judge Alan Kay penalised him $US66 million.

This is the second time an Indonesian general has been dealt such a verdict. In 1992, an American federal judge pronounced Major General Sintong Panjaitan responsible for one of the deaths in the Santa Cruz massacre in Dili, East Timor a year before. The judge ruled in favor of Helen Todd, the mother of Kamal Bamadhaj, one of the dozens of victims who were slain in this incident, and ordered Sintong to pay compensation of US$14 million.

These incidents reveal how hollow were the assurances repeatedly given by the Howard government that the Indonesian military and police could be trusted to rein in the militias.

Tell us, Mr Howard, what is the explanation for such egregious error: downright lying or plain ignorance?

Gareth Smith
Byron Bay NSW

Wretched bipartisanship

Fascism, according the Hutchinson Encyclopedia (1998), is a political ideology that denies all rights to individuals in their relations with the state. Who cannot say that the asylum-seeker legislation, wrong in itself, is not the thin end of the fascist wedge?

These ideas are probably not new to GLW readers, nor, maybe, is it a surprise that the parliamentary Labor Party is giving the legislation its support, with no members of it with the courage to cross the floor or mount a challenge.

For so long have we seen a wretched bipartisanship, the support of "both sides of politics" (as they say) for the occupation of East Timor. We, and the East Timorese won out, as we will win now. To resist is to win.

Stephen Langford
Paddington NSW