An Atrocity Impossible to Comprehend

Whilst at the time of writing, there is still no attribution to any organization responsible for the horror of Manchester, it now appears certain it was a bomb, placed in the foyer of the Manchester Arena designed to kill people, specifically young fans of Ariana Grande as they left the concert.

The gross heartlessness and callousness of this action is simply impossible to imagine, these were kids probably, at least some of them, attending their first ever concert.

Stories of nuts and bolts strewn across the ground after the explosion, seem to undermine the absolute evil intent of the bombers.

Somebody had to pack this bomb, most likely in the full knowledge as to who was the intended target.

What sort of an animal sets out deliberately to kill Kids?

The horror of parents of young children, having allowed their kids out for a big night and then, having to face this dreadful aftermath, is almost inconceivable to comprehend.

I have a young, almost ten-year-old granddaughter who spends hours trying out outfits, before deciding what to wear when she is heading out to a friend’s birthday party.

We can imagine the joy and excitement these kids must have invested in their preparation for this night with their pop idol.

Surely our children still have the right to their innocent enjoyment?

We can only begin to touch the surface of the grief; some parents must now be feeling and indeed some of the surviving kids if their parents were killed or hurt in this inexplicable act of horror.

I don’t think I would be the only person who feels this attack has crossed the Rubicon of horror, but before we start to lay the blame on the entire Muslim population, we must consider that at least some of the victims were actually young Muslims themselves.

If ever there has been a time when the moderates of all faiths and beliefs must come together, to try even harder to delve into the depths of depravity displayed in this atrocity, that time has certainly arrived.

Adults can take their own risks in this volatile world but it would be an absolute horror if as a result of Manchester, parents now try to protect their children by not allowing them to have their special nights.

My heart goes out to all the people who have been hurt or killed by this latest act of evil


Thoughts of Leaving

It has been a day of fun, reflection and some tears. I had breakfast with my old mate Mark H where as usual, at these semi regular get togethers we solve all the problems in the world. If only it was that simple.

Billy joined us after he had been to Hot Yoga and he proceeded to demolish all our carefully crafted arguments with a solid dose of Chinese pragmatism.

I came home and caught up with Insiders on IView, there seems to be no escaping the shadow of Donald Trump, the news that he is doing a $150 Billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia did nothing to allay my unease with this man.

The leaders of Saudi Arabia appear to have the world on a string as they pay public homage to the ideals of peace and yet, have been shown to covertly foster terrorism. Any country where women are not allowed to drive, where gays are publicly stoned and adultery by a woman is treated as a capital offence, surely, is not a country the West should be calling an ally.

My enemy’s enemy is my friend as a reason for aiding and abetting a brutal regime, is only as good as the current threat lasts and until a new enemy who may or may not be a mutual enemy, emerges.

It will not be the first-time American military might is used against a new friend of the West, and in the muddy, fluid alliances of the Middle East, this is likely to be sooner rather than later.

A world, where the struggle for peace is reliant on propping up despotic regimes, is a world which will be constantly be at war with itself.

The apparent flight by several Saudi Families from the USA in the wake of 9/11 still haunts me and the questions raised by these departures have never been properly answered.

The reliance on Saudi money makes for very strange bedfellows, the thought of Donald Trump dealing with these people raises even more troubling questions given the Trump business presence in this region.

Billy is out for the day with friends and I am having a very quiet day at home, I chanced on old episodes of “I am the Ambassador” on Netflix. I have never seen this show before and in many ways, it encapsulates the recent time when America really started to look itself in the eye and there was at least some commitment to human rights and personal freedom.

Surely, I am not the only person who yearns for the quiet decency of Obama, he may not have been perfect and there are things he could have and should have done better, but at least you felt the world was in steady hands.

The bitter partisanship of American Politics, the legacy of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, the fallout from the GFC haunted Obama’s terms in office. One can only guess at how much more he may have achieved had he not had to contend with the toxic legacy George W. Bush left behind.

I know, I for one did not go to bed every night wondering what new shit storm I was going to wake up to in the morning, as I do every night now.

My tears today came in the silence of self, as I sat on the balcony in glorious autumn sunshine watching the sail boats on the Harbor and wondering for how much longer I would be able to enjoy this simplest and greatest of pleasures.

Maybe, it is not such a great idea for me to have a day to myself.


Trumping the Fool

Two articles in Saturday’s SMH played perfectly into my post-apocalyptic fantasy world.

Firstly, there was Richard Glover’s fanciful take on life without the internet and the important role the older brigade will play in teaching our younger friends how to survive without Google, GPS, Snapchat etc.

We will dig into the recesses of our memory and remember what it was like to put a key in the door of our car or house, we will dredge the darkness and try to recall how we used to send a letter and we will trawl the archives as we search for that old solar powered calculator that was “oh so modern” in the 1980’s.

We will be the living history, the human encyclopedia our children and grandchildren will turn to in their hour of need.

The article was a timely reminder of just how fragile our world has become, as our reliance on the internet becomes more and more consuming.

The thought of something as basic as the running of our trains and traffic lights haunts me, as I approach the time when it will be no longer of any concern to me.

Does this mean I will I have to actually carry the hard copy scans of my withering brain, instead of walking out of St Vincents straight after the MRI, content in the knowledge they will be on the Professors desktop in time for my next appointment.

Oops, I forgot; the damn MRI Machine probably will not work anyway and I will miss the dubious pleasure of being able to compare the growth of the white spots at the base of my brain against how big and how many there were six months ago.

Drugs and pigheadedness have slowed the deterioration to a fraction of the speed it was just few short years ago, my Plateau has bought untold benefits in terms of the love and time I can lavish on those precious grandchildren.

This brings me to the second piece in Saturday’s Herald; the interview with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd; now that’s a name that will challenge anyone under thirty.

I used to hope that by the time of my demise, Science may have trumped ignorance and there was a future for the world I would be leaving behind, now I am not so sure my pigheadedness has been worth the effort.

Waters uses that wonderfully old fashioned word, “Nincompoop” to describe the current occupant of the White House, what a delightfully humbling description of the narcissistic fool who now leads the free world.

Waters goes on to say, he now fears World War Three, Roger that makes at least two of us!

The thought of the future of the world being controlled by a man who believes in himself so fervently, a man to whom science and politeness are just mere words to be brushed aside in his rapacious race to power, and a man who has made “Fake News” and a disregard for the constraints of a legal system the hallmarks of his dirty administration.

I was never a fan of the Kardashians or the Apprentice, but I also never dreamed they would be anything other than a ridiculous sideshow to a world which was starting to take science seriously and was looking at ways we could contain the damage we had done to the planet.

They are no longer a sideshow, ignorance has trumped science and they are now the main event.

There is hope though. That hope has kept me going, way past the time when dribbling and death should have overtaken me.

That hope is family and the simple goodness and intelligence, I still believe resides deep in the souls of most people.

Richard, before the internet breaks, can we at least try to use it for the promotion of family, intelligence and goodness.

If we all work at that, Roger, we may be able to avoid the horrors of the apocalypse we fear.


So far yet so far to go

To the Editor SMH

Brilliant, but so very sad piece by Tim Dick (He was just a little boy taunted to death by words SMH 28/11/2016)

As a product of rural “middle Australia” in the fifties and sixties I was brought up to believe “Coons” were lazy drunks, “Poofters” were all pedophiles, “Wogs” were smelly, salami eaters, Women were meant to make the sandwiches, Catholics probably voted Labor and were not to be trusted, Jews killed Jesus, Bob Katter Snr was the son of an Afghan camel driver (technically that may have been correct) and therefore did not belong in the “real” Country Party etc etc.

I cried with shame and guilt when the reality of my own sexuality emerged, causing tremendous harm to those I loved.

I have spent the last thirty years, hoping hatred and bigotry had been defeated.

But, in 2016!

A 13-year-old boy kills himself because of virulent homophobia and all the pain comes back to haunt us, Pauline Hanson reminisces fondly about the times when “wogs were wogs” and they did not complain, we are still arguing about a National identity for indigenous people, Donald Trump rides to victory on a “hate wave”

Scars become callouses, but scratch them hard enough and they still bleed.

We are, or could have been, a beacon of hope in the war against “Scratching”.

The death of Tyrone reminds us all, how shallow our civility still is.

Bruce Ingrey

The Rise of the False Prophet

To the Opinions Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

An interview with a Trump supporter, after the election result became clear; sent shivers down my spine.

“We will get rid of the degenerates” he said;

I wonder which “degenerates” he was referring to?

Would it be women, desperately seeking an abortion for whatever overpowering reason?

Would it be the many decent Muslims, as aghast as any, at the atrocities committed in the name of their religion?

Would it be the Hispanics, derided as rapists and criminals?

Would it be the black Americans, many of whom have their roots in America more deeply embedded than the interviewee?

Would it be the Jewish population who are blamed for the financial inequality?

Would it be the gay Americans who have fought so hard for acceptance and the right to marry?

Would it be the large Asian population who have fled tyranny, to make their home in the Land of the Free?

The answer I fear is all the above.

I have spent more than enough time, in the south and south western states of the USA, to know and fear the rise of this intolerant mass, fueled by religious fervor.

I have been a gay man, warned by his partner not to make any sign of public affection in large parts of cities like Charlotte, Houston, Atlanta, New Orleans, Kansas City and Miami just to name a few.

I have sat in a restaurant in Augusta, Georgia and witnessed a disgraceful display of bigotry and bile spewed towards a mixed couple, visiting from the North.

I have been lectured by an “esteemed” visiting evangelist, in a Gym in a small city in South Carolina, on the evils of sodomy, abortion and the inequality of black people who “were put on this earth to serve as slaves to their white masters”.

This all, as he quoted selectively from the Bible, while lifting weights or running on a treadmill.

“Do your schools in Australia have to recite the Lords Prayer every morning, before class?” he asked, looking aghast as I replied “No”.

I have been in a Duty-Free store in Honolulu when two tall Southerners said to each other at the top of their voices ‘Look at all the Chinks here”

These are just some examples of the people who elected Trump and his neo con, evangelical Christian, running mate; Pence.

The power of these people to select at least two High Court Justices during the next four years, is frightening.

A new challenge to Roe V Wade to outlaw abortion with a conservatively stacked Court will be on the horizon very quickly.

Remember, it was the High Court which ruled that bans on Gay Marriage are illegal. How quickly will this be overturned with a new legal challenge to a Conservative Court?

The irony of all this, is that many of the people who voted for Trump, turned their back on their religious beliefs to elect a twice divorced, self-confessed Groper.

The poor people of the South and South West felt disenfranchised, so they embraced a rich man from the North!

The search for simple answers is an impossible journey in a Country with great division and a huge underclass of poorly educated, bitter people.

This Journey will end in tears; not only for America but for the world.

A friend of mine, predicts a war against North Korea within three years, just to show the Chinese who is the boss.

I can only hope he is wrong.


AAGH – the politicians we deserve


To the Editor SMH 31 October 2016

I thought I was reading about some Kafkaesque piece of ideology (Govt. wants life ban on asylum seekers entering Australia SMH 31 October)

If I read the proposed legislation correctly, it will mean any current or future refugee banned from Australia, will never be allowed into this country as potential residents, temporary visitors or; for a holiday.

What will happen if a refugee on Mannus is resettled to a third country, makes a success of his/her life and is invited to Australia for either short term work in their area of expertise, to attend a conference or simply for a holiday?

We will need an Act of Parliament to allow them in!!

The idea that you can ban someone forever, without any regard to how their life may evolve over the next fifty years, is not only excessively punitive, it is also excessively stupid.

We know many refugees have proved to be resilient and resourceful, a quick scan of any list of achievers in Australia will show a far greater percentage with refugee heritage than for the general population.

If Luke Nguyen or Anh Do were to arrive in Australia today, as they did thirty odd years ago, they would be excluded from ever living in this country. There would be some benefits; the standard of food on Nauru would dramatically improve, the internees could have their portraits done and they may have something to laugh about.

I heard Pauline Hanson on radio today, supporting the legislation by stating “we do not welcome refugees” at least in her ignorance, she did not use the weasel words, “illegal immigrants”.

When did we turn so blindingly inward?

When did we lose our compassion?