Letters to the editor

July 26, 2008

Muslim Aid raids

Three weeks after the Australian's Richard Kerbaj whipped up a storm over humanitarian aid by a Sydney-based charity to the suffering people of Gaza, we find our own federal police jumping at this organisation in what seems to be a co-ordinated crackdown started by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank and continuing in Australia.

One who may not have heard about the raids in the West Bank, may think that the media is directing federal police raids. Unfortunately, the reality is more disconcerting, raising questions as to whether such raids are co-ordinated with the Israeli authorities in an effort to further starve the besieged Palestinian people through creating fears in would-be donors and casting aspersions against charities that seek to ease the suffering of orphans and widows.

Muslim Aid Australia's contribution to Gaza through Interpal has always been open. A quick visit to their homepage up to yesterday would have shown that the organisation was not hiding any link with Interpal. British-based Interpal has been cleared of any connection to violence after two investigations by British authorities. Despite being so cleared, both the American and the Australian governments have maintained its proscribed status.

In the year that our Prime Minister took the unprecedented step of celebrating Israel's 60th anniversary in federal parliament, the least our government could do is show some concern for the plight of the Palestinian people whose suffering is directly inflicted by state powers.

Keysar TradSydney


Congratulations to Kamala Emanuel on her article "Garnaut, G8, climate change <193> urgent action needed, not
hand wringing" (GLW #758). We are up against global climate disruption, not "in the future", but right now, with the melting Arctic ice cap which will cause the "Albedo flip", meaning the absorption of sunlight by the sea where it once was reflected back out into space. Then the Greenland ice sheet will finally melt, raising sea levels.

A remarkable new book, Climate Code Red, by David Spratt and Phillip Sutton (published by Scribe)_advocates, really, a state of emergency so substantial state resources can be used to reduce carbon emissions to zero, then start clawing back the CO2 from the atmosphere, from nearly 400 parts per million to close to 300 ppm, where we probably were before the melting started. This is a tall order, and they do not rule out some artificial cooling, such as sulphur in the upper atmosphere, to stave off disaster, as a short-term measure.

What is unthinkable is what Rudd and Co. are doing, or not doing now: a "business as usual" strategy. In this island continent, already facing dying rivers and failing ecosystems, this makes no sense. Perhaps we should have expected a silly "cap and trade" system when Rudd received his benediction from Rupert Murdoch. He was not going to buck the big business system, but go along with its demands.

You hardly see a solar panel. Bicycles are few, and not really "cool". Compared to Europe we are still in the dark ages. There is so much to do. We have hardly started, and, like Howard, the Rudd government is sitting on its hands. You would not think it, looking at the Labor policy, but this is a real emergency.

Stephen LangfordPaddington, NSW (Abridged)

Pope lacks compassion

In regard to the papal visit, I was appalled by his "holiness's" lack of compassion in not meeting personally with the victims of sexual abuse by the clergy. Such a meeting would have endeared him to us all, you missed an opportunity there, Bennie!

I am a devoted Catholic, a member of St Vincent de Paul, I attend weekly devotions, do parish work and see a little nun every month to help me with my spiritual life.

I am also a member of the Socialist Alliance and financially support it and GLW. I have no love for Pope Benedict XVI and pray that God grants him wisdom.

Margaret McLellanCardiff, NSW

Censorship and feminism

In response to Lauren Carroll Harris (GLW #759), not once did my letter assert that nudity was automatically exploitative and neither do countless feminists quite add up to "all feminists".

Carroll Harris still holds fast to the delusion that censorship is inherently right-wing. She is, of course, entitled to her opinion as much as anyone, but that opinion is at odds with left thought and resembles the sort of liberal bourgeois sentiments we have come to expect from people who defend the right, or privilege, of others to produce or view or buy what-so-ever they want regardless of the ethics behind the production of the products in question.

I do not believe the artwork by Henson constitutes child pornography, but this is beside the point. Thirty-odd researchers at the Child Abuse Research Centre at Monash University described the image as exploitative in both its acquisition and its display. Somehow I doubt those researchers belong to the right-wing censorship brigade Carroll Harris is so afraid of.

Most striking in the response to my letter is that Carroll Harris indicates that she is incapable of comprehending the objectives of socialist theorists and feminists that concern sexual labour, specifically pornography, beyond the simplistic mantra of "censorship is bad". If it isn't enough that she is defending the apparent right, or privilege, of men to access contemptible and misogynist commodities, she is effectively defending a multi-billion dollar industry that plays its part in the trafficking of girls and women and which compounds the abuse of its female workforce.

Although I appreciate her response to my letter, it only serves to reinforce my point that she is, indeed, a liberal, but she is not a socialist in the slightest.

Max BlairKelvin Grove, Qld (Abridged)

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