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forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

We suffer the terrorism that we help create

Powerful column by Yasmin Alibhai Brown in The Independent:

Western power merchants – particularly British and Americans – in contrast, use each such tragedy to engender discord. They strut the world stage, issue threats and remind us who is boss. When will they see themselves as others see them, or try to empathise with the citizens of three quarters of the world? It was embarrassing to witness David Cameron’s colonial irritation with the Algerian upstarts who went ahead with the rescue without seeking permission from the UK or US.

Economic might is draining away fast from these old centres of power, and they have lost two key wars in the past decade. But does that make them a little more humble, less solipsistic, any the wiser? Not at all. They didn’t get to where they were with self-doubt and by playing fairly. This latest farrago has brought out the worst in these cowboys and we should be afraid, very afraid.

It just hasn’t been the same since they assassinated Bin Laden. We need a proper scoundrel to hate. So out of the desert storm he comes, a one-eyed super-villain, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, aka “Mr Malboro” because he gets rich selling smuggled cigarettes. Wow! Kathryn Bigelow can make another blokey film about Mr Malboro next. Imagine the awards. His band of maniac men call themselves Those Who Sign Their names in Blood. (How do we know any of this is true?) Soon Belmokhtar’s name will be as familiar to our children as Voldemort. We will be persuaded that another Western jihad is needed against this evil monster, to make the world safe again, a day that never comes.

Cameron said yesterday that Britain would show “iron resolve”. Leon Panetta, the US Defence Secretary stood with our man Phil Hammond and warned that the attackers would be “hunted down”, that they would find “no sanctuary, no refuge, not in Algeria, not in North Africa, not anywhere”.

The truth is that most malevolent and ruthless terrorists will find sanctuary and refuge even among people who loathe them, whose lives are blighted by extreme Islamicism. And that is because the West is loathed and feared even more. Not the great civilisations and systems of the West – those are admired and coveted. But the Occident’s hypocrisies, ethical indifference to the sufferings of its victims, paranoia, lies and catastrophic wars are detested.

It is worse still, that since 9/11, white lives appear to matter more than others and that all actions, legal or illegal, are acceptable because the end matters more than the means. And the end is to maintain Western privileges. Nations like Algeria and Mali, destabilised by Muslim militants, know Western interventions are always based on self-interest. Their own people merely become part of the necessary debris. It is a dirty deal and one that will be increasingly resisted and that means only continuing chaos for some of the poorest people on Earth.

one comment ↪
  • examinator

    The irony of the West's arrogance in that it prevents them (us) from learning.
    How many PhDs in Zen and hobby horse maintenance, do we have to endure before the Reality of power sinks in?
    The notion that power can be indefinitely maintained by BFI (Brute force and Ignorance). Surely the leaders gained more from the 'Charge of the Light Brigade' other than Tennyson's poem? Military power has changed. Power from the barrel of a gun or Drone is at best very temporary i.e. he who has the biggest army wins much less forever. Name one real war that the the West has won since WW2? Korea?,Vietnam?, Iraq 1&2? Afghanistan ? Israel V Palestine?
    Surely the Christians can learn from their own experience …how many crusades were there? How many armies tried to stomp out Christianity or Judaism? What possesses our leaders (corporate included) that the Muslims, Chinese Communists (sic) are any less emotional to their ways? Simply put you can't fight an emotion (laughable called an idea) with Armies (BFI) .
    All the 'currently' dominant forces are doing is saving up the retribution (emotional hostility) for someone else to pay the price with interest later. The politically right and the quasi/ faux left (whatever left means) are self delusional, blind to that reality. Metaphorically speaking they are 'pissing into the wind' and waiting for the inevitable blow back.
    Name one former non white ex-colony that at the street level is welcoming of the previous colonial over lords. Be not confused they welcome out (exploitive) ill gotten money. Been to the back streets of Port Moresby (PNG) lately? that's where expats live in razor wire compounds.
    For the love of humanity survival of the biggest meanest , toughest ( as opposed to the most adaptive) isn't an absolute See The mega fauna of Australia and New Zealand.
    Genetics, Epigenetics, behavioural research and biology clearly indicate WE (HUMANS) can influence our own evolution if we adapt to the realities rather remain its captive.
    Starting with acceptance of other's reality and working with them rather than against them is perhaps the most significant advance homo sapiens.
    If we don't we will pass and be at best a curiosity to what ever intelligence evolves (if any), like the mega fauna