Back to the land of the 24/7 connected and constantly informed. Strange as it may seem, I missed it not.
Eleven days in the bush can really broaden your mind. From the perspective that the world doesn’t revolve around self and an internet connection and there really is a world out there that changes, yet doesn’t. We’ve spent the last three years at Girraween National Park over the Xmas/New Year break and as much as I adore the park, it’s facilities and the proximity to nature, I don’t think we’ll go again at the same time of year. Reason being that far too much of humanity goes along as well. Especially in those few days just prior to New Years eve. I’m fucked if I understand why male & female average suburbanite is willing to travel three hours minimum to gather in hordes, get drunk and generally make arseholes of themselves, when they could easily do the very same things at home at a much reduced cost. And we’re told we’ve evolved…..
Anyway, those few days between boxing day and 31 December not withstanding, we had a very relaxing time of it. I still read the daily rags though. Just to stay in touch, you understand. Newspaper makes good fire-starter fodder as well. I was quite put out by the radio and print media continually addressing the David Hicks issue by describing Hicks as a ‘convicted terrorist supporter’. Convicted? Since when? Certainly not by any properly convened court of law either in this country or any other. Yes, he pled guilty to providing material support to terrorism, whatever ‘terrorism’ is defined as. I’ll leave that definition to your own imagination, reader. Suffice to say he did so in order to get out of a hellish situation which his own government had no intention of assisting with, nor the guts to act on a citizen’s behalf. Let’s be quite clear about Hicks’ guilt or otherwise. He is guilty of being a gullible dickhead. End of story. He is not a traitor, nor guilty of treason as ‘Dolly’ Downer continued to claim from his electoral obscurity. Australia was not at war with the Taliban when Hicks opted to join their side in 2001. Mercenary, maybe but treasonous traitor? I think not.
Days after Hicks walked out of Yatala Prison, I read that George ‘Slapping-Post’ Newhouse had made spurious claims in the press that Hicks was an anti-Semite. Why did Newhouse claim Hicks’ anti-Semitism? Because seven years ago, David Hicks had apparently claimed in a letter or letters to family that Jews controlled western society, that Jews conspired to keep Islam repressed, and that there existed a Jewish propaganda ‘war machine’. Sweet stuff, but not anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is described by Websters unabridged dictionary as “hostility towards or hatred of Jews or Judaism”. Based on what Newhouse declared that Hicks had declared I’d suggest that what was expressed were opinions, nothing more. Had Hicks claimed that Judaism and it’s followers require expungement from the face of the Earth, I’d agree with Newhouse, but Hicks didn’t. Hicks passed an opinion. At least in as much as George Newhouse says he did. Of course, Newhouse just happens to be a Jew of some stature in the Australian Jewish community, and as such people do, takes any and every opportunity to defend their faith and culture against any opinion which doesn’t conform to their own. It’s a tiresome expectation that anyone who dares say anything either religiously, culturally or politically about Jews, Judaism or Israel which doesn’t conform to the standard ‘right to exist/God’s children/poor hard done-by Israeli state’ doctrine which the PC world seems to have accepted as non-anti-Semitic behaviour, some Jewish organisation or spokesperson will stand up, point an accusing finger & scream ‘anti-Semite’. Seriously, George…..Did Caroline Overington slap you just a tad too hard on 24 November?
And it continues. As I stated above, ‘Dolly’ Downer had to have a swipe at the man he totally denied citizenship rights to, on the pretext of ‘national security’ or some such crap. The only reasonable writings I spotted re: Mr Hicks were Natasha Stott-Despoya’s words one day after his release. Sound statements of fact, nothing more and certainly nothing less. The media as a collective have much to answer for in the case of David Hicks. Not actively aiding his release until there was news in it, now hounding the man whilst he attempts to come to terms with re-entering a society which he probably fears nearly as much as being returned to the Cuban hell-hole he’s now safe from. Again, let’s be brutally and crystally clear on this issue. David Hicks is not guilty of anything other than blatant stupidity and following his own mind. Would but a few more of us do likewise on the latter score, at least. He is undoubtedly damaged mentally from his treatment at the hands of the Bush administration and IF there were any penalty to have been paid for being an undoubted dill, he’s already paid it many times over. Leave the man alone, for crying out loud! Again, IF there is any news in his story, he’ll decide when he tells us all and not before. Rightly so.
There was one other issue which struck a jarring chord with me over the festive season. That being Stephen Conroy’s announcement that Federal Labor would legislate to choke our internet connectivity because far too many parents of impressionable children have neglected their parental responsibilities regarding what their loin-fruit can and can’t access via the interwebs. Do I hear the claim of ‘Nanny State’? You bet your DNS I do! What is it with do-gooders and politicians that no-one considers for a moment that the ultimate responsibility, indeed the ONLY responsibility for children’s material access to the WWW rest with those children’s parents. Why should I need to be concerned about purposely contacting my internet provider in order to opt out of something I don’t agree with, didn’t subscribe to, and find totally and completely un-necessary anyway? As for this filtering regime not slowing down our connectivity, I scoff!. Just because the connectivity of subscribers in the UK, Norway and Sweden hasn’t been degraded is absolutely no justification for claiming that ours won’t be. Is our internet connectivity on a par with those comparison countries? I think not, Mr Conroy! Not impressed, dear reader. Most definitely NOT impressed with this anti-libertarian stance by a government which claims itself to be liberal in nature, if not by name.
There we go. My first spits for 2008, and we’re only at the end of day two. Not a bad effort, if I do say so. Seriously, let’s hope that 2008 improves, although if the first couple of days is any guide, I suspect 2008 will be brimming over with angsty issues on the societal, political and cultural fronts, just as 2007 was. My only hope is that we don’t have to suffer the near terminal boredom which 2007 provided throughout the year, before delivering the meaty morsels at the eleventh month. Happy 2008, Blogosphere. Here’s lookin’ up yer kilt!