Write On: Letters to the editor

July 19, 2008

Liberation movements?

Marika Dias (GLW #758, "Terrorist turns liberator in the stroke of a pen") needs to be clearer in her suggestions. Is she, or is she not, saying that Hamas is in fact a liberation movement? Some of her readers would appreciate some clarity.

Secular Palestinian elements in Gaza and the West Bank, who are increasingly victims of political violence at the hands of Hamas, and who have denounced the latter group's tactics, would take umbrage with it being excused in this way. I'm not sure what kind of humanist or Left liberating effect will be brought by an organisation whose founding document is based upon racist conspiracy theories and forgeries, which tortures and murders Palestinians who criticise or protest against it, and which views the conflict as a religious struggle to be resolved by the elimination of global Judaism and the establishment of an Islamic Republic.

The African National Congress had a clear agenda of liberation struggle and the elimination of Apartheid, and claimed from the beginning to be motivated by that injustice. The fact that some liberation movements have been labelled as terrorist groups by our government does not mean that all such labelled groups are liberation movements.

Daniel Bryan

via email


A production error last week meant that, in the hard copy of my article, "Urgent action needed, not hand wringing" on Garnaut's draft report (GLW #758), a sentence was inserted in the wrong place. It appeared as though I wrote that the ALP had in mind the urgency of serious measures to bring carbon dioxide levels down to 300-325ppm to avoid climate catastrophe, when commissioning the Garnaut report. I don't think they had this in mind at all.

The levels of greenhouse gases they wanted Garnaut to base his report on were 450 and 550 ppm. I think the public concern about climate change and the need to look like they're doing something, while safeguarding business interests occupied a much higher place in their minds when commissioning the report, than real concern about the gravity of the situation we face.

Kamala Emanuel


Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is out of step with the world and now totally irrational.

The Pope is in town, our very own Cardinal George Pell has a rush of blood to the head. He just stated that we need more babies to "keep the population stable". While the Pope calls on his minions to join the fight to help save our world.

So climate change, dwindling resources, lack of clean water, land clearing, urban sprawl, species extinction, population explosion, these simply don't exist in the Catholic world. Ain't it great to be a Catholic. I'll just have to bury my head in the sand and join the throng too.

R. Middleton

East Fremantle, WA

Artistic freedom

It's pretty clear that Max Blair just doesn't get it when it comes to the furore over artist Bill Henson's latest works.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion about what is good or bad art, or whether the message and content of the art is appropriate, and of course Blair is entitled to think that Henson is eroticising "underage girls in the mass media". I, and many others, don't agree, and I don't think that the portrayal of nudity is automatically wrong or exploitative. The point is that censorship is not the answer. It doesn't work.

Blair is wrong to assume that all feminists are opposed to Henson's work and support censorship. It's very easy to ban controversial images, or images that are violent or exploitative of women. It's true that these kinds of images are symptoms of women's subjugation. But it's much harder to deal with the actual source of violence against women, and that's why censorship is ineffective. Any kind of useful discussion about ways for women to attain dignity, sexual liberation and equality will be squashed and limited by such restrictive and right-wing responses as censorship.

Certainly, if Henson's photos were pornographic in their treatment of children, censorship would be called for. Children are not able to consent, and therefore should be protected from predators. But Henson's work is not child porn, and the charges laid were highly problematic due to their subjectivity. This is something that even the Classification Board agrees with — it deemed the controversial works G rated, "mild and justified". The police have since dropped the case.

Lauren Carroll Harris


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