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Gender: Female
Hometown: Canberra
Home country: Australia
Current location: 149°7'51"E, 35°16'42"S
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 35,688

Journal Archives

Gender, Race and the Burqa Ban

On Dec. 12, Canada's Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney issued a ban that prohibits Muslim women from wearing the burqa and niqab while taking the oath of citizenship. He provided two reasons for this. The first rests on a technicality that citizenship judges must be able to see one take the oath. Rightly fearing that this could be easily accommodated without the need to remove the garments in question, he added a second reason: an appeal to "deep principle" that requires an open public display of "loyalty to Canada."

Kenney's ban is not without precedent. It is part of a larger pattern of Islamophobia. From France, where President Nicolas Sarkozy has disapproved of the burqa as "a sign of subservience" and where women are legally prohibited from wearing the full veil in schools and hospitals, to Barcelona, Spain, which outright bans it in public places, Muslims are brought into the spotlight only to be erased. In this struggle over identity and the right to cultural expression, women's bodies have become a battlefield for right-wing political parties, feminists and antiracists alike. It therefore makes sense to consider Kenney's latest move by taking account of its gender and racial implications.

Preventing Muslim women from covering their faces is a necessary move, maintains Kenney, in order to welcome them into the Canadian way of life. It is allegedly about preserving what Canada is really about—tolerance and openness—while extending freedoms to women who have yet to enjoy them, and perhaps who do not fully understand them.

But the desire to unveil Muslim women is not about a technicality, or even about Canadian values—whatever these might be—it is, rather, a racist desire born of the urge to reject the traditions and cultural symbols of a certain group. We should even go so far as to admit that it is about rejecting that group from public life. The ban is, in other words, the very opposite of what Kenney alleges it is about. It is about telling Muslim women who cover their faces that they have no place here, and that if they want to interact with the state, they must do so by discarding their former selves.

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sat Jan 14, 2012, 07:12 AM (0 replies)

Australia rebukes Japan over breach

THE Gillard government has complained to Japan after a whaling vessel went deep into Australian territorial waters in pursuit of a protest vessel.

Hours after Japan said yesterday it would release three Australian protesters who illegally boarded a whaling security ship, it emerged that another vessel of the Japanese fleet went as close as four nautical miles to Tasmania's Macquarie Island in pursuit of the activists' long-range ship Bob Barker.

This brought the Japanese ship, the whale catcher Yushin Maru No. 3, inside Australia's 12 nautical mile territorial limit, where domestic laws ban whaling.

A spokesman for Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the government had complained to Japan about the incursion.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/australia-rebukes-japan-over-breach-20120110-1ptlv.html#ixzz1j9E7NU93
Posted by Violet_Crumble | Wed Jan 11, 2012, 06:22 AM (0 replies)

ADL report on anti-Muslim bigotry...

I posted this in a massive thread in a forum, but it's worth posting here, as it shows a disturbing trend when it comes to attitudes towards Muslims...

Anti-Muslim Bigotry Intensifies in U.S.

Over the past few months, an intensified level of anti-Muslim bigotry has surfaced in a variety of public forums. While some of the anti-Muslim sentiment has fed on growing community concerns about Islamic extremism, much of it has focused on various plans to relocate or expand mosques around the country.

Several groups with extreme anti-Muslim agendas have launched public campaigns that have both sheltered and fueled this bigotry. Some of the more troubling public campaigns have been initiated by Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), the The Dove World Outreach Center, Operation Save America (OSA) and Act for America! (ACT).

SIOA, which has organized inflammatory demonstrations against the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero, has run bus ads juxtaposing an image of an airplane headed toward the burning World Trade Center with another building labeled "WTC Mega Mosque" and the words "Why There?"; The Dove World Outreach Center called for an "International Burn a Koran Day" on the anniversary of September 11 attacks; OSA has demonstrated in front of mosques and issued flyers that read: "Islam is another murderous cover-up for the devil;" and ACT is calling for an end to "Muslim immigration."

The intolerance advocated by these and other groups has been exacerbated by occasional calls for violence. In May, for example, Michael Berry, a Houston talk show host, said "I hope the mosque [near Ground Zero] isn't built, and if it is, I hope it's blown up, and I mean that."

Incidents of violence have also marked the current atmosphere. For example, on February 4, 2011, a Muslim man was stabbed in the neck with a pocket knife at a bar in St. Petersburg, Florida. During a verbal altercation preceding the incident, the attacker allegedly told the victim, "Muslims are the root of the problems," according to the arrest report. In August 2010, a man stabbed a New York City taxi driver in an apparent hate crime. The attacker allegedly asked the driver if he was Muslim, referenced military checkpoints and uttered an Arabic phrase before attacking the taxi driver with a knife.

Some opponents seem to be taking their cues from public figures. In June, Pat Robertson made the following statement on the 700 Club: "We have to recognize that Islam is not a religion. It is a worldwide political movement meant on domination of the world..." Robertson's statement later appeared in an event announcement for a demonstration against the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley in California that was posted to a local Tea Party Web site. Then, at the July 30 demonstration in front of Temecula mosque - to which some protestors had brought their dogs to offend worshippers - some participants held signs that read, "Muslims Danced for Joy on 9/11" and "Mosques are Monuments to Terrorism."

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Wed Jan 11, 2012, 04:54 AM (0 replies)

Israel should remember: Obama is down, not out

Israel is dependent on the U.S. in every sphere. There is reason to fear that the present government will think that in a year when Obama is a lame duck, it can do as it pleases.

By Yoel Marcus

While we are toying with the notion that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will bring forward the elections here in order to gain a decisive majority, we are simultaneously entering the real thing: the U.S. elections. This is not only the matter of President Barack Obama's potential second term, it's also election year for the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. Although we don't vote in America, we are keeping very close tabs on the elections' progress.

Officially and unofficially, we don't usually stick our noses in, one way or the other. But Bibi's associates have been heard voicing opposition to Barack Obama, claiming he is naive, doesn't understand, makes mistakes and, chiefly, is not really on our side. It seems that Bibi, who knows how to bring the members of Congress to their feet with hysterical applause in a single speech, aspires to be the mentor of the U.S. president. It's a shame his friend, billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, hasn't taught him that gambling is a dangerous business. And gambling on the possibility of a Republican president is a serious mistake.

Primarily, it contradicts Israel's policy of nonintervention in U.S. elections. In her time, Prime Minister Golda Meir scolded Yitzhak Rabin (Israel's ambassador to the U.S. at the time ) for his support of Richard Nixon. Ezer Weizman, meanwhile, flew in President Jimmy Carter's election plane in order to help him (unsuccessfully ) claim a second term in the White House, and had problems with the Democratic party.

Despite what the Arabs think, the United States is not in our pocket, and we don't intervene over the issue of who will or won't be elected in America. What is important is that Israel informs the presidential candidates of its policy. Our major failure was that we ignored Obama and didn't inform him of our problems. Instead, the first to influence his behavior toward Israel was his Jewish assistant, Rahm Emanuel. Because of him the president skipped Israel and began his peace campaign in, of all places, Cairo. And in doing so, he also gave Bibi an excuse to find an enemy in the White House.

The relationship with Obama is conducted on two parallel tracks that don't intersect. On one track, the security issue, an exceptional relationship has been formed with a commitment to Israel, including maintaining its qualitative military advantage. That's why we didn't hear any Israeli protest this time against equipping Saudi Arabia with advanced fighter planes.

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sat Jan 7, 2012, 01:17 AM (0 replies)

Bigotry against minority groups at DU3...

I'm starting a new thread on this because it's an issue being discussed in another thread that was started on another topic, and this discussion deserves a thread of its own...

A lot of us have seen the way many juries are voting to leave blatantly bigoted posts alone, and I'm putting some of that down to jurors doing the free speech trumps all thing, some of it down to jurors misunderstanding the alerted post or the community standards or that something they think looks innocuous is anything but if it's posted in some groups (I was on a jury in the first day or so here where I voted to leave a post alone, went back afterwards, reread the entire thread and went 'Oh crap!').

The thing is that the safeguard against blatantly bigoted posts getting past a jury is supposed to be the TOS system. And in some cases that works, but in others it's not working. It's definitely not working when it comes to bigotry against Muslims at DU, and I don't understand why. That Muslim women can be called 'some bobble head Islamic woman', the person who alerted on it was not only greeted with a 6-0 vote not to hide it, but the TOS alert that was sent straight to the admin after the vote appears to have met the same fate that a TOS alert I sent on the same thread did. If that post had said 'some bobble head Jewish woman' or 'some bobble head lesbian' in a thread where that same person was making nasty generalisations about either of those groups, they would have been shown the door pretty quickly...

I'm going to give two contrasting examples of how the TOS system works. In the first case it worked as it should have and a DUer with a history of making bigoted comments was banned. In the second case it didn't work that way. My intention isn't to call out any other DUers banned or still here, but to bring attention to what looks to be a big inconsistency in the system....

Example 1 -

Someone I know alerted on an antisemitic post in Good Reads.The jury result was 5-1 to leave it alone, but the person who alerted had to cop abuse from one of the jurors for alerting on it.


Twofer. Either the president is compliant in the Elders of Zion conspiracy, or pure anti-semitism on parade.


A randomly-selected Jury of DU members completed their review of this alert at Wed Dec 28, 2011, 01:40 AM, and voted 1-5 to LEAVE IT ALONE.

Juror #1 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: I'm slightly confused about this alert -I presume it is on Hardrada's post and not on the actual article. If so, then I find Hardrada's post to be quite an unusual one in this context and slightly suspicious but nevertheless sufficiently vague for me not to be able to determine whether it is anti-Semitic or conspiracy theorist or whether it is trying to make a point about the debate that I'm not getting. I'm slightly uncomfortable with it but I don't think there's evidence once way or the other to make a conclusion about it. I vote to leave it.

Juror #2 voted to HIDE IT and said: Anti-semitic

Juror #3 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given

Juror #4 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: I don't see anything problematic with this post.

Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: I took the time to look over this thread just in case I was missing something. I'm unclear specifically what they're calling a pity. Whether responding to the title of the article, the rhetorical question posed in the beginning of the article or something else, is unclear. To the person who alerted: "Twofer. Either the president is compliant in the Elders of Zion conspiracy, or pure anti-semitism on parade.", YOU SOUND UNHINGED. If this person really is posting stuff about President Obama and the Elders of Zion conspiracy, alert on THAT (check the TOS box).

Juror #6 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given


This came up in the Hosts forum and within minutes Skinner announced he'd banned the DUer responsible for the alerted post for having a history of anti-Jewish posts at DU.


So in this case the TOS system worked as it should as a way of being a protection against blatantly bigoted posts getting past the jury system. Not so with the next example...

Example 2:

I alerted on a post in this thread where there were nasty generalisations about Muslims happening...


Again, the jury voted to leave it standing, though I didn't cop the abuse the alerter in the previous example did:

AUTOMATED MESSAGE: Results of your Jury Service

At Fri Dec 30, 2011, 01:06 AM an alert was sent on the following post:


This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate. (See <a href="http://www.democraticunderground.com/? com=aboutus#communitystandards" target="_blank">Community Standards</a>.)


I've hit TOS on this one because that poster is making ugly and untrue negative generalisations about Muslims, and in the past at DU2 has come straight out and said she doesn't like Muslims.

You served on a randomly-selected Jury of DU members which reviewed this post. The review was completed at Fri Dec 30, 2011, 01:24 AM, and the Jury voted 2-4 to LEAVE IT.

Juror #1 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given Juror #2 voted to HIDE IT and said: You can't paint all Muslims with the worst that Islam has to offer. That's what they do at Free Republic. Juror #3 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: It IS inaccurate and ill-informed, but she is being called on it. Let it stand, and allow DU-ers to comment pro or con. I see well-informed replies in opposition. That is what debate is about. Juror #4 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: The post didn't break any rules, imo. Juror #6 voted to HIDE IT and said: The poster is sincere, and well-intentioned, but her information is simply incorrect.

Thank you very much for participating in our Jury system, and we hope you will be able to participate again in the future.


I'd selected the TOS option when I alerted and knew the alert would go straight to the admin. This was a few days ago, and despite the fact that it's another case of someone having a long history of very questionable posts about a minority group, this time there wasn't any action taken. And not only that, but since then there were other TOS alerts on the same person in the same thread for other bigoted comments. Rather than repeat it all or give examples of the past history of bigoted comments, it's all in this subthread from this post onwards...


Bigotry should be treated consistently, regardless of what minority group it's aimed at, imo. Not taking the same firm action against anti-Muslim bigotry as is rightly taken against other forms of bigotry sends two messages: that Muslims aren't welcome at DU, and that it's Happy Hour for anti-Muslim bigotry....

btw, sorry for how long the post became with the copies of the two juries, but I hope it doesn't stop people from reading the post...
Posted by Violet_Crumble | Mon Jan 2, 2012, 01:12 AM (187 replies)

Israeli police must obey law, not rabbinical edicts

The goal is to change the police force from within and to produce commanders - including, in a decade or two, the head of the Judea and Samaria District - who represent the religious Zionist public.

Haaretz Editorial

Nahi Eyal, the director of an organization that advocates on behalf of Jewish settlements in the territories, is trying to recruit yeshiva graduates - especially those who live in the settlements - to the Israel Police ("New religious recruits to try to change Israel Police 'from within,'" December 25 ). His goal is to change the police force from within and to produce commanders - including, in a decade or two, the head of the Judea and Samaria District - who represent the religious Zionist public.

Eyal does not conceal his plans. He even works in coordination with Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and the police's head of human resources, Maj. Gen. Yaron Be'eri, who was brought into the force from the Israel Defense Forces. Joining the police force as a career path is not a favor that Eyal, or the candidates, are doing to Israeli society; but for some reason, it is being presented as an effort to bridge the gap between two different communities. If the slogan of the Israel Air Force is "The best become pilots," then Eyal and Danino's is "The settlers become police officers."

The Basic Law on the Freedom of Occupation prohibits barring candidates for any job, including in security and law enforcement, solely on the basis of where they live. At the same time, it also prohibits favoring candidates because of where they live and thereby discriminating against their competitors for the same positions. Settlers who wish to be police officers must meet the same standards, enjoy the same benefits and fulfill the same duties as all other citizens.

One of these duties is being available to work every day of the week and anywhere in the country, as needed. Senior officers can be kept from being promoted to important positions in remote areas if they refuse to move for the duration. It is odd, then, that the police would agree in advance not to assign settler-officers to the Judea and Samaria District, for fear of creating friction with their neighbors or even be forced to evacuate settlers from unauthorized outposts.

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Tue Dec 27, 2011, 12:28 AM (1 replies)

What ‘pro-Israel’ should mean (Jeremy Ben-Ami)

Jeremy Ben-Ami is president of J Street, a Washington-based nonprofit that advocates a diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the author of “A New Voice for Israel.”

Advocates of strong U.S.-Israel relations have aimed for decades to keep Israel from being a divisive issue in American politics. Yet Israel is one of very few foreign policy issues already rating attention in the 2012 presidential election.

Republican candidates recently staked their claim to the “pro-Israel” mantle in front of the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum. President Obama made his case on Friday to 6,000 Reform Jews gathered in Washington.


To be pro-Israel in the 21st century is to recognize that both Jews and Palestinians have a right to a national homeland and that the route to peace and security is through an agreement to live in two states of their own.


Obama and those who anxiously urge — as friends and allies — that Israel choose the two-state path need to make the case, with vigor, that theirs is the better definition of “pro-Israel.”

Those who oppose this path are the ones breaking the long-term bipartisan consensus in this country. Among Jewish Americans, their views are in the minority. It should be on them to make a reasoned argument why theirs is a better way to be pro-Israel rather than resorting to labeling those who disagree with them as “anti-Israel.”

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sat Dec 24, 2011, 05:41 AM (1 replies)

Treasury out of touch and arrogant, says official review

ONE of Australia's most powerful institutions, the Commonwealth Treasury, has admitted it is seen as arrogant and needs to acquire a better understanding of groups outside government, especially business.

A wide-ranging review by senior Treasury officials recommends Treasury improves its ''engagement and consultation'' so it can give better policy advice. Greater use of social media and other new communication technologies were flagged.

A ''perception of arrogance in our behaviours can limit our external effectiveness'', it noted.

While the department's legendary hard-headed approach was affirmed as a key strength, the review said ''a better recognition of the limits of our knowledge/frameworks will improve engagement with stakeholders and assist us to obtain relevant skills, knowledge and data from others''.

Better collaboration with other organisations would improve Treasury's ''effectiveness and influence'', it says.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/treasury-out-of-touch-and-arrogant-says-official-review-20111223-1p8kh.html#ixzz1hRir42Cz

I don't know why they needed a report to tell them what's so blatantly obvious. To be fair, though, people say a lot worse about my department, so much so that after experiencing a taxi-driver who got a bit angry when I told him where I worked, that I took to telling people I work at Treasury if they ask...
Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sat Dec 24, 2011, 05:21 AM (0 replies)

Mass boycott leads to awkward silence at UN Kim tribute

December 24, 2011
The Age

NEW YORK: The United States, Japan, South Korea and most leading European countries have boycotted a minute's silence at the United Nations General Assembly for North Korea's late leader, Kim Jong-il.

Australia's representative was in the General Assembly during the tribute.

The tribute, demanded by North Korea, was the highest-profile international move yet sought by the government in Pyongyang in its quest for global recognition for the hardline leader, who died last Saturday at the age of 69.

The awkward silence was a ''protocol'' move following a North Korean request, according to the UN General Assembly president, Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/mass-boycott-leads-to-awkward-silence-at-un-kim-tribute-20111223-1p8la.html#ixzz1hRhziGFc
Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sat Dec 24, 2011, 05:17 AM (13 replies)

Behind North Korea's iron curtain

When the distraught newsreader in black made her appearance on the screen at lunchtime on Monday, some will have had a flashback to a day in July 17 years ago.

A weeping announcer then revealed the death of the previous leader - North Korea's founder and all powerful dictator, Kim Il-sung.

Then as now, questions were asked about the failure of South Korean and American intelligence to detect the death, some days previously, of the leader of a highly militarised - and now nuclear armed-state.

And then as now, analysts protest they have little more than educated guesswork to find out what is happening in the black box that is the North Korean leadership.

North Korea is still - by some margin - the world's most closed, isolated and repressive state.

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Fri Dec 23, 2011, 06:31 AM (0 replies)
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