Floating Life 4/06 ~ 11/07

an archive

Archive for November 2006

Compass on ABC tonight: Gay Muslims

This very interesting Channel Four program was shown on Compass tonight. Go there for details and some interesting links. Much was familiar because all the Abrahamic faiths share much on this issue. In all the Abrahamic faiths there is a range of views and practices, and Islam is no exception.

Muslim ex-gay conservative arguments (very familiar in other circles too) are presented here and here. You can at least glean from these much about the documentary if you missed it. On the other side of the issue, there is a Muslim gay support site Al-Fatiha and also Queer Jihad, a collocation that may surprise some: “Queer Jihad strongly condemns all forms of terrorism, including prejudice and discrimination.”

Have I met gay Muslims? A few, in person, and some online.

One some of you will have heard of, but I have never met, is David Graham’s partner:
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Neil

November 26, 2006 at 11:33 pm

Back at church today

I missed a few Sundays lately for one reason or another. Today I went along again.

Today’s “reflection” (“sermon”) by Vlad Korotkov at South Sydney Uniting Church introduced me to a thinker I had never heard of before, not all that surprising as the number of thinkers in that category is probably legion: Slavoj Zizek. Being Russian and pomo, Vlad frequently expands our horizons, while managing to deliver a message the humblest can find something in as well.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Neil

November 26, 2006 at 12:50 pm

Aussie art movie Erskineville Kings (1999)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I caught up with Erskineville Kings last night on DVD, thanks to Surry Hills Library. Great music soundtrack, and relentless background noise so well rendered by my new TV that for a while I thought my neighbours were up to something! Hugh Jackman really is good as Wace, one of two brothers caught up in the detritus of their sometimes violent father’s death by euthanasia (see a key bit of dialogue here) and their mother’s earlier desertion. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Neil

November 26, 2006 at 9:36 am

SAS man shoots down presidents and prime ministers…

Not literally, of course; but with the Iraq War now having gone past World War II (US version, that is) in length, and with yesterday in Iraq being even more tragic than the previous day, it was quite amazing to see on the front page of Rupert Murdoch’s Australian Wrong war, wrong time and Iraq a moral blunder, says war hero.

THE former SAS officer who devised and executed the Iraq war plan for Australia’s special forces says that the nation’s involvement has been a strategic and moral blunder. Peter Tinley, who was decorated for his military service in Afghanistan and Iraq, has broken ranks to condemn the Howard Government over its handling of the war and has called for an immediate withdrawal of Australian troops.

“It was a cynical use of the Australian Defence Force by the Government,” the ex-SAS operations officer told The Weekend Australian yesterday. “This war duped the Australian Defence Force and the Australian people in terms of thinking it was in some way legitimate.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Neil

November 25, 2006 at 8:55 am

Blogs, blogging, Aussie stories

Now and again a comment comes along which really enriches a post, and that has been the case just now with my nephew Warren’s guest entry A Guringai Family’s Story. The commenter is an expatriate Australian living in Canada; his family stories appear on his site. I have given you a taste in my reply to his comment. Thanks, Cedric.

Of course there are some wonderful blogs out there, and I include in that some very unpretentious ones which are merely personal reflections, but written with a grace and honesty that make one want to know the writer. Comments too can, like Cedric’s, enrich a blog. On the other hand, they can descend even lower than talk-back radio; I am sure you know what I mean. Another thing, among many, that strikes me is that the level of discussion of things like moral or ethical issues can likewise be most uninformative — too often an often endless parade of fetishes and fixed opinions. Truly, one would be far better off reading even an introductory text such as Judith A Boss, Analyzing Moral Issues, than tracking through the half-baked nonsense that one too often finds. Indeed I wish many bloggers would read such a book; you can pick up the previous (2nd) edition cheap these days at remainder shops.
Read the rest of this entry »

October in Iraq

On Wednesday, a UN report said Iraq’s sectarian conflict killed at least 3,709 people in October, the highest monthly death toll since the 2003 US-led invasion.

The figures, from data provided by the health ministry and morgues, compared with a previous high of 3,590 in July, which the United Nations at the time called “unprecedented.”

The report came as US President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki prepared to meet in Jordan next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the US military said three more soldiers were killed in Iraq, bringing its losses since the invasion to 2,866, according to Pentagon figures.

So ends the latest story on the subject in The Sydney Morning Herald. “Shock, Awe and Rumsfeld” are distant memories.

A savage but very funny take on the determinedly upbeat spin of our right-wing commentariat and our government may be found on Nick Possum’s page. See All hat, no cattle. Prepare yourself for some black humour.

See also: Ali Eteraz on this story.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Neil

November 24, 2006 at 9:42 am

Cultural diversity? You’re standing in it!

At 30 June 2004, 23.6 per cent of the estimated resident population of Australia were born overseas. Of those born Since 1945, more around 6.5 million people have come to Australia as new settlers. They have had a marked influence on all aspects of our society. In the 51 years of planned post-war migration, Australia has seen:

  • around 6.5 million migrants arrive comprising about 3.35 million males and 3.15 million females
  • more than 660 000 people arrive under humanitarian programmes, initially as displaced persons and more recently as refugees, and
  • a population rise from about 7 million to over 20 million.

The trigger for a large-scale migration programme was the end of World War II. Agreements were reached with Britain, some European countries and with the International Refugee Organisation to encourage migration, including displaced people from war-torn Europe .

About one million migrants arrived in each of the five decades following 1950:

  • 1.6 million between October 1945 and 30 June 1960
  • about 1.3 million in the 1960s
  • about 960 000 in the 1970s
  • about 1.1 million in the 1980s, and
  • over 900 000 in the 1990s.

The highest number of settlers to arrive in any one year since World War II was 185 099 in 1969-70. The lowest number in any one year was 52 752 in 1975-76…

Today, nearly one in four of Australia ‘s 20 million people was born overseas. 31.3 per cent were born in North-West Europe, 17.7 per cent in Southern and Eastern Europe and 12.6 per cent in South-East Asia. The top five countries of birth made up 45.5 per cent of the overseas-born population.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Neil

November 24, 2006 at 9:33 am