From the City of Flowers to the City of Light: You can’t break our spirits

“You can break our hearts, but you can’t break our spirits, I think that’s what Sydney showed on that day.” That was the New South Wales Premier, Mike Baird, speaking today on the first anniversary of the Lindt Café Siege when the Iranian refugee and gunman, Man Horan Monis, held 18 people hostage for 17 … Continue reading From the City of Flowers to the City of Light: You can’t break our spirits

Food for a Journey: Poems and prayers and memories of a renaissance man

I have written many book reviews over the decades, but this one means a lot to me. It’s about a book of poetry by my cousin – a friend, a former priest, an editor of an acclaimed Jesuit magazine, America, an appellate attorney in the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice fighting for … Continue reading Food for a Journey: Poems and prayers and memories of a renaissance man

Hell has touched Sydney, yet blessed are the flower people

Terrorism came to Sydney this week in the guise of a deranged gunman -- a self-styled Sheik, who took 17 hostages in a Lindt chocolate café in the CBD of one of the world’s greatest and safest cities. It wasn’t Taliban terrorism where 141 people, most of them children, were killed in a school in … Continue reading Hell has touched Sydney, yet blessed are the flower people

Eyeless in Gaza, the world needs to say: ‘End the carnage’

Too long a sacrifice Can make a stone of the heart. O when it may suffice? That was William Butler Yeats, the great Irish poet, in Easter 1916 talking about the heroic sacrifice made by the 16 Republicans executed in the Easter Rising. The centuries-long hatred and stone-heartedness built up between Catholics and Protestants seemed … Continue reading Eyeless in Gaza, the world needs to say: ‘End the carnage’

Pain is not a story unless it leads to peace

Who’ll stop Ukraine? Will it be the pro-Russian separatists who almost certainly shot down the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 last week, will it be the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who has supplied the separatists with weapons, technology and advisers, or will it be the media, who are likely to forget the crisis once all the … Continue reading Pain is not a story unless it leads to peace

Bob Carr: US cyberspying aimed at nuclear terrorism

As promised, here's a transcript of part two and three of The Observer Effect broadcast on SBS1 last night. For me, there were three highlights in these segments: Bob Carr suggesting the reason for the US spying on foreigners was to prevent nuclear terrorism (just imagine the Boston Marathon bombers with nuclear backpacks); the foreign … Continue reading Bob Carr: US cyberspying aimed at nuclear terrorism