Christmas in Afghanistan

A few days before Christmas, the US announced it was easing aid sanctions against the Taliban, rag-tag rulers of Afghanistan. The hard-line Muslims insurgents over-ran the capital, Kabul, in August. Thousands of citizens were evacuated from Kabul Airport, with tens of thousands left behind. Since then, Afghans have been forced into starvation by a combination of famine and US aid sanctions. The US has been trying to use aid sanctions as a lever to force…

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Down the rabbit hole, looking for trouble

The phrase ‘going down the rabbit hole’ could well apply to my activities earlier this week, as I set out to research ‘alternative’ social media networks including those adopted by the right wing. Before I disappeared down the burrow, I had some idea what I would encounter, having last year researched 4Chan and 8Chan. My research was thwarted right at the start by Amazon’s reported move to ban Parler from its web-hosting network. Apple and…

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Asylum seekers and the seven-year itch

If Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton ever had a lapse in judgement, it would be thinking that asylum seekers and their supporters have given up. Over a seven-year span, Mr Dutton and his predecessors have exposed asylum seekers to a punitive system (which is outside the UN Convention on Refugees). As you may hear this weekend, Sunday marks seven years of detention for those who were sent to centres on Manus Island and Nauru. At…

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Refugee documentaries – preaching to the converted

As it is Refugee Week, I’ve been reflecting on how my support for refugees and asylum seekers is shamefully passive. I was reminded of this after attending a viewing last Saturday of Julian Burnside’s refugee documentary, Border Politics. Then on Monday I was one of 67 people who devoted the evening to a public viewing in Buderim of the refugee film, Constance on the Edge. ‘Constance on the Edge’ charts the struggles of a mother…

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