Don’t feed the trolls. Over the weekend it became painfully clear that the mass murderer now biding his time in a Christchurch jail awaiting trial may have patterned his plan upon the activities of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian mass-murderer. All doubt was removed when this story made its way onto the WaPo front page. You represent yourself when you want your trial to become a propaganda vehicle for your own worldview. The question we need to ask now is how we can arrest this too-carefully planned repetition of a successful martyrdom? This is not an easy question to answer, […]
It seems a benign observation: that the topic which rouses the greatest passions in the hearts and minds of Australians is our history. Of course, any discussion of history is a dialogue about who we are. History and identity are inseparable: First Fleet, rugged explorers, Federation, Anzac and hard working, larrikin Australians. You might notice that the orthodox telling flatters settler Australia as paragons of loyalty and prodigious industry. We are diggers and battlers who yearn for a fair shake of the sauce bottle, mate. This fair-dinkum telling of our story assures us that we are light-hearted and fair-minded. The […]
The cat purrs as it winds round the woman’s thick ankles, mia vecchia, mia cucina, mia sedia. My old woman, my kitchen, my chair. Usually Valentina purrs in smoky Italian but sometimes the old women doesn’t know the right words to give the cat or is too weary to bother. The woman learned a little Italian late, mostly from a phrase book and CD. Then picked it up again, online, even later. So they won’t get dementia, supposedly. Valentina is a bright cat. She definitely recognises latte, formaggio and gelato. Probably ucelli, birds. Maybe trovi il topo, find the mouse. […]
Despite coming from a horrifically stereotypical blue collar family, whom politics often affected in a real and immediate way, the jargon of parliament and journalism was never mine to interpret and speak. This was, assumedly, a language for those who had been born into money and familial connections, streamlined into political literacy, brought before future bosses and suitors at a young age, for those who had learned to be included into the conversation before they had even entered primary school. As a result, however, their ability to engage with the intricacies of those from outside their bubble is amateurish at […]
In a 2016 Meanjin essay one of this country’s most celebrated writers, Alexis Wright, asked us a fundamental question in relation to storytelling and the role of the writer. ‘What happens when you tell somebody else’s story?’ she asked, in a thoughtful piece of writing that did not demand that white Australia not engage with the story of Aboriginal people (as some have concluded). In addressing the question, Wright asked of each of us, Aboriginal and ‘settler’ both, that we give deeper consideration to the act of telling stories and take greater responsibility for the decisions we make as writers. […]
After your world ended for the third time, you walked. The gold ring on your right hand heavy and the blue band around your left wrist even heavier. ‘Rip-off fitbits’ was how Intisar had described them three years ago, as the two of you sat on the couch in the living room of your then new apartment, staring down at your clasped black hands.
From a young age, names preoccupied me. As a child I didn’t like my name and I would often daydream about changing it. Na’ama (in Hebrew, נעמה) was too heavy for me.
We sat on the porch that winter and
talked of murder, imagined bodies trapped
beneath the breaking crust of the field.
The house whistled with broken windows,
the lead veins running through the glass…