Tag: World War

Lament for Humanity: A 50 Year Reflection

Robert J. Burrowes Deeply affected by the death of my two uncles in World War II, on 1 July 1966, the 24th anniversary of the ‘USS Sturgeon’ sinking of the Japanese prisoner-of-war ship ‘Montevideo Maru’ which killed the man after whom I am named, I decided that I would devote my life to working out why human beings are violent and then developing a strategy to end it. The good news about this commitment was that it was made when I was nearly 14 so, it seemed, anything was possible. Now I am not so sure. Here is my report on 50 years of concerted effort to understand and end human violence. In 1966 one of my immediate preoccupations was war. The US genocidal war on Vietnam was raging and, as a sycophantic ally of the United States, Australia had been drawn into it some years previously. Trying to understand what this war was really about was challenging, particularly given the limited (mainstream) sources of information available to me at the time. But I was deeply troubled by another problem too. I had seen a photo of a starving African child in the newspaper when I was ten and I found this most disturbing. Why did adults let children starve? I wondered. And trying to make sense of this by reading newspaper reports or asking those around me was...

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Gordon Campbell on our refugee response, and a TPP rewrite

Column – Gordon Campbell T he miserly nature of New Zealands response to the global refugee crisis continues apace. Yesterdays announcement of an increase in our intake of UNHCR refugees from 750 to 1,000 refugees will only kick in from 2018, after the recent special … Gordon Campbell on our paltry refugee response and a brazen US rewrite of the TPP First published at werewolf.co.nz The miserly nature of New Zealand’s response to the global refugee crisis continues apace. Yesterday’s announcement of an increase in our intake of UNHCR refugees from 750 to 1,000 refugees will only kick in from 2018, after the recent special intake of 650 Syrian refugees over two years have been cleared. So, do the math. The “ increase” really means that the intake of 1,000 after 2018 will be pretty much the same number of refugees as we admitted this year, once you’ve added 2016’s share of the Syrian special intake to the current 750 UNHCR numbers. In other words, this is a triumph of spin: an ‘increase’ in the refugee intake that is virtually the same as the status quo, but counted differently. Moreover, since New Zealand requires that 50% of our UNHCR intake is from the Asia/Pacific region, we will actually be taking in fewer refugees from the Syrian/Iraq war zone than we have done of late. For many advocates of a...

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The Nation: Simon Shepherd interviews Simon Winchester

Press Release – The Nation In a run of remarkable journalistic good fortune, hes covered Irelands troubles, Watergate, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and was even captured by the Argentine army at the start of the Falklands War.On The Nation: Simon Shepherd interviews Simon Winchester Youtube clips from the show are available here. In a run of remarkable journalistic good fortune, he’s covered Ireland’s troubles, Watergate, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and was even captured by the Argentine army at the start of the Falklands War. He’s gone on to author books such as ‘The Surgeon of Crowthorne’, ‘Krakatoa’ and now this book ‘Pacific’. It covers the dangerous madness of North Korea, the rise of China, and much more. So when he was in New Zealand recently Simon Shepherd spoke to him and asked if the Pacific is a single entity of just a jumble of cultures and countries. Simon Winchester: It’s much more than that. I mean it’s where, if you like, the world comes full circle, where literally East meets West. And so in a very different sense from the great seas of the world, the Mediterranean, which used to be the inland sea of the classical world; and the Atlantic, which is the inland sea of today’s world, this is where the world finally closes the gap between East and West. And that gives it, I...

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Gordon Campbell on the Defence Force’s spending bonanza

Column – Gordon Campbell It has been a fairly typical week for this government mental health services in Christchurch slashed , further massive cuts to DHB funding , and the abdication of its responsibility for social housing . Gordon Campbell on the Defence Force’s spending bonanza It has been a fairly typical week for this government… mental health services in Christchurch slashed, further massive cuts to DHB funding, and the abdication of its responsibility for social housing. Incredibly, the editorial writers at the New Zealand Herald have suggested that the latest health system cutbacks are ‘brave’ politics. Hmmm… ‘brave’ isn’t the first adjective that comes to mind. Callous, heartless, stupid, and shortsighted all seem more appropriate, given an ageing population and the levels of unmet need in the health system. Just a small definitional point: ‘brave’ used to be a term for those risking harm to themselves to prevent harm to vulnerable people. Now it’s a term for ‘daring’ to inflict harm on vulnerable people. Simultaneously, a government that’s willing to slash the health system is planning to spend $11 billion dollars in the next ten years on new gear for our Defence Forces. That’s not a misprint. The scale of the Defence spend-up over the next decade is truly stupendous. As yet, it simply has not sunk in with the general public just how much they stand to...

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Post Cabinet Press Conference: Australia and Auckland

Article – Robert Kelly The Prime Minister began todays press conference by saying that Christchurch and its people were in his thoughts. He said that while the quakes on the 14th on February were clearly unsettling, residents can take comfort in how well Christchurch … Post Cabinet Press Conference: Australia and Auckland Robert Kelly The Prime Minister began today’s press conference by saying that Christchurch and its people were in his thoughts. He said that while the quakes on the 14th on February were clearly unsettling, “residents can take comfort” in how well Christchurch is being rebuilt. Key answered many questions about his upcoming talks with Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull. He stated that while the New Zealand offer to take 150 refugees from Australian camps within the 750 quota still stood, Australia had not yet said yes to that. Key said that he considered it the “sensible and compassionate thing to do” but that the ball was in Australia’s court. He said it was likely discussions would take place with Turnbull about the progress in Camp Taji in Iraq. Key said it is not his intention to send the New Zealand SAS into Iraq. On Auckland Housing the Prime Minister was reluctant to discuss specifics of the debate around intensification. He stressed that the Unitary Plan was the Auckland Council’s rather than the National Party’s. Key dodged a...

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