People who post

I have just read that Joel Fitzgibbon supports sending troops into Pakistan:

What I found even more interesting and worth a ponder were all the comments posted. 100 at last look.

But why all the shouting and crowing – Labor versus Liberal is all a bit old school isn’t it when both parties are significantly similar in their approaches to issues both domestically and internationally. Well, OK Labor has amended the mandatory detention legislation (but hasn’t got rid of it – although it was a Labor government that started the policy wasn’t it?).

Whichever party is in don’t we simply expect them to help us make things better and if not that – make things better for us. And that ‘us’ can be your family or as far reaching as people on the other side of the world if it is possible. Who would say no to that.

I was in Kabul in May this year and wound up in a conversation at a party with a Pakistani consular official who had quite a few thoughts on this very matter. He quoted a Pashtun proverb:

‘If you are worried for your country, look to your state.
If you are worried for your state, look to your village.
If you are worried for your village, look to your family.
If you are worried for your family, look to yourself.’

He then went on to say that he was now worried for his village. His grandmother still lived in the village one hundred or so kilometres north of Peshawar and that an Afghan mullah has begun to preach violence and mayhem and moral fundamentalism including the seclusion of women from work. This man grew more distraught and animated as he described how his village had been peaceful for centuries and centuries. He then said:

‘There is a jungle fire coming my way and it will engulf you too.’ He was pointing at me and meant Australia.

Now whether you believe this or not is not my point. Neither is whether you support troops going into Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iraq or not. My point is that this situation (and all others in this contemporary world) needs to be engaged with, thought about and not used simply to criticise one political party or the other. That is what has gone before. Now we need a different way forward. If we have learnt anything surely we must have learnt that. It doesn’t serve anyone to repeat mistakes or history.

And here’s another story off the ABC news site about the fishing rights win in NT

When I posted my comment on that story there were no other comments posted (there are now 12). Why not 100? Why is there not as much interest in this story? It is a first for Indigenous people in Australia and has taken 30 years of fighting to win. It is important to Australia and Australian law for a vast number of reasons. Is it because people don’t know any indigenous people? Because it happened in the NT so what do Syd-Melb care? Because it is boring Australian law and no one really understands what effects it has on our lives?

Perhaps all the people who commented on Joel Fitzgibbon’s statement know Afghans, Pakistanis or Australian defence force personnel and they have an emotional and personal response to the thought that Australian troops may end up in Pakistan? Perhaps it is easier to grandstand about things external than think thoroughly about an issue. Or perhaps posts just aren’t the place for comment of this nature and is only good for posturing. I don’t know but it is worth a thought.

Or perhaps they all need to be paying more attention to their villages?

Just a thought.

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