Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Home and Away: History should not be lost

Dumile Feni (1942-1991), For the Child
An exhibition at Canberra's ANU Drill Hall Gallery reminds us of the horror of Apartheid and how the struggle used art to express and overcome its impact.

I took my nine year old daughter to the opening night, coincidentally National Sorry Day (in Australia)and Africa Day, May 26.

While I told her to prepare for some disturbing images I wanted her to see them for herself. Art, however disturbing, has the power to unlock the human spirit and help people rise above oppression.

My kids are aghast at stories about what life was like during Apartheid. They almost don't believe it could have happened. But it did, and as the former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, said in his formal remarks to open the show, history is very repetitive and so we must not forget.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Meat Is Off The Menu

This week's ABC Four Corners revealed with gut-wrenching images, how cattle in slaughterhouses have suffered mistreatment. It's got my family again thinking about the responsibilities we have towards animals. I wrote this for Web Child last month:

There's a small revolution rippling along in suburbia, at least in my pocket of the suburbs. And my anecdotal evidence suggests that boys are leading the way. It's vegetarianism, and it contests the stereotype that boys are less sensitive than girls.

My seven-year-old son wants to be a vegetarian. His good friend is one. Others in his class have talked about wanting to forgo meat. They are all boys and they each came to this conclusion on their own.

“Mum, every time I eat meat, I feel sorry,” said Oliver, one day at the kitchen sink.

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