Human rights

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Palestinian prisoners starved, abused and mistreated

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/06/2024 - 4:57am in

Since October 7th last year more than 9,500 Palestinians including 635 minors from the West Bank and Occupied Jerusalem have been held in Israeli jails. More than 3,400 Palestinian detainees, including women and children, have also been placed in administrative detention under the pretext of secret evidence. All prisoners and detainees have been subjected to Continue reading »

Meet a Palestinian family denied safety by Australia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/06/2024 - 4:53am in

Meet a young family of gentle Palestinians living in Gaza. The family has subsisted on tinned food from aid organisations. They cook with wood and iron posts over a besser block fireplace. Prior to October 2023, the family worked in information technology and accounting for an animal welfare charity. They are all degree holders (architects Continue reading »

Time to change the law

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 10/06/2024 - 4:55am in

One of my closest friends was recently diagnosed with early stages of dementia. She is 80 years old and believed that the problems she experienced with her memory, were due to normal age-related forgetfulness. She has a science background, and after receiving her diagnosis she started to research the topic in great detail. She read Continue reading »

What Western mainstream media won’t tell us about China

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 09/06/2024 - 4:56am in

We might not like to read this, but here are a few things Western media completely forgot to tell you about Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang… In Hong Kong, the 1987 Joint Declaration states clearly that matters of national defence will be in the hands of the Mainland, while local police and administrative matters will Continue reading »

Israel’s forced starvation in Gaza has killed dozens of children

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/06/2024 - 4:56am in

Israel’s forced starvation has caused the deaths of  more children in central Gaza where conditions have been made worse by Israel’s closure of the Rafah crossing, further limiting aid and trapping sick and injured Palestinians.   Republished from Al Jazeera 3rd June, 2024 Continue reading »

Please don’t pray for us

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/06/2024 - 4:53am in

Next time you hear a news story on violence against women, please do not say we pray for victims of domestic violence. If you want change, here’s what to pray for instead. Planning to get some useful advice, and assuming it existed, I went to the office for the Marriage Tribunal, as I think it Continue reading »

Why we must never stop exposing cant and hypocrisy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 03/06/2024 - 4:57am in

To witness repeated atrocities around the world is hard enough. To observe wilful slaughter, when it’s openly supported by nations claiming adherence to human rights and international law, is nauseating. The killing of dozens of Palestinians in a supposed safe zone in Rafah is just the latest bloody outrage on global view. Despite almost universal Continue reading »

How (not) to advance our conversation about racism in Australia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 01/06/2024 - 4:56am in

The question has been asked many times, but it has rarely led to constructive public debates: is Australia a racist country? Depending on how we interpret the recent comments by ABC veteran journalist Laura Tingle, she seems to have expressed a view that is hardly controversial but widely shared in Australia. Not only have various Continue reading »

The unheard voices: how society silences women

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/05/2024 - 4:53am in

In our country and across the world, the voices of women often go unheard. Whether it is a gasping plea of ‘I can’t breathe’ or a harrowing confession of ‘He raped me,’ the voices of women are frequently dismissed, disbelieved, or outright ignored. This tragic reality stems from a deeply ingrained societal bias that views Continue reading »

Ban on children’s book ‘Same-sex Parents’ backfires down under

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 23/05/2024 - 2:23pm in

City council joins long list of book censorship in Australia

Originally published on Global Voices

Same-sex Parents bookcover

Screenshot: Sky News Australia YouTube video – Same-sex parenting book ban defended by Cumberland City Councillor

When Sydney’s Cumberland City Council placed a ban on the book Same-sex Parents in its eight public libraries, it was bound to cause controversy. In addition, the issue highlighted Australia’s record of historical and current censorship.

There was immediate online outrage. David Tyler, aka Urban Wronski, summed up the negative reactions:

Shannon Molloy is a self-described “God-loving homosexual and senior reporter” at news.com.au. He argued, tongue-in-cheek, that other books in the library such as the Bible and Quran should be banned because of their “extreme themes” and “explicit and graphic” content. He wasn’t just “being facetious”:

It also demonstrates that censorship — which flies in the face of an open and free society and the democratic values we hold dear — is a very slippery slope.

This is an innocent book about same-sex parents, made with love and understanding in mind.

There was also a political backlash to the council vote, including the New South Wales State government. The NSW arts minister, John Graham, even suggested that the libraries could face funding cuts.

City councillor Steve Christou was criticized for not having read the book, even as he led the push for a ban:

Like many attempts at banning material, this has become another instance of the Streisand Effect, where an attempt to suppress something only gets it more attention. A similar situation unfolded in 2023 with the sex education book “Welcome to Sex” in Australia.

In fact, the publishers immediately made ‘Same-sex Parents’ available online for free:

One online petition to reverse the ban had over 40,000, with another exceeding 10,000 signatures before the Cumberland Council overturned its ban in a decisive vote of 12 to 2. Many people on social media, such as Tim Richards on Mastodon, were relieved:

Penni Russon, Senior Lecturer at Monash University, examined some of the history of book banning, highlighting the recent example of “Gender Queer,” a 2019 graphic memoir by US author Maia Kobabe that details the author's experience of coming out as gender fluid (Kobabe uses Spivak pronouns: e, em, eir)

The book has been the source of ongoing controversy and the subject of much conservative ire both in Australia and internationally. “Gender Queer” was referred to the Australian Classification Board (ACB), a statutory body “responsible for the classification and censorship of films, video games and publications for exhibition, sale or hire in Australia”. It received an Unrestricted (M – Not recommended for readers under 15 years) classification.

It is now subject to court action with conservative activist Bernard Gaynor taking the Federal Minister for Communication and the ACB to the Federal Court over a Review Board decision to uphold the classification.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has a five-part podcast series Banned Books. The fourth episode Gender Queer in Australia concerns Maia Kobabe's memoir.

According to the producer/presenter Sarah L'Estrange, it is “the most banned book in the USA and now it's being challenged in the courts in Australia”. She explores the question, “Has the battlefront of the US book-banning movement arrived in Australia”.

Australia has a long history of banning books, especially before the 1970s. High-profile examples included: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, James Baldwin's Another Country and D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover. Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita was banned until 1965 but was smuggled by returning overseas travellers in brown paper covers.

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