With apologies to new Australian of the Year, Lt. General David Morrison for borrowing his quote, this edition is one of standards and challenging beliefs.
Blogging. It’s like walking into a party naked, with a sign on your chest asking for feedback in 140 characters or less.
You liked Rory, and his pull no punches money insights, bless you. He’s on my staff now and will be back next week with his no bullshit left hook and his views on oil. “Oil, WTF?” is a trip through the Saudi Oil Ministry back to the Caltex bowser up your street.
Meantime, here’s more richness you don’t know, something you need to know, and something fun lest you leave feeling dizzy.
Something you don’t know
The graphic and deeply human stories of Haifa and Bashar two humans just like you and I, whose lives have changed forever, have left me profoundly moved. Around eight minutes each, I urge you to watch just one, some, or all of this beautifully filmed series.
“The only ones paying for this [conflict] are the simple people who have dreams.” Bashar is a Syrian doctor. Except he can’t work as a doctor because his life is on hold. He is ‘a suspended doctor.’ Watch his story here.
“Let us try and coexist, learn to love each other again. So we can go back. Let’s go back to Syria.” When violence ripped apart the old city of Damascus, Haifa and her husband watched their hotel business crumble. The stress was enough to kill him. But Haifa survived, her pride intact and her emotions shattered. Her bold and graphic story is here.
Something you need to know
In the run up to Lt. General Morrison filming his now famous Get Out speech, and being awarded Australian of the Year 2016, the Australian Defence Force undertook a full review of sexism within its ranks.
I have been told the story many times of how in a remarkable exercise of collaboration and determination, Elizabeth Broderick, the former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, convened a series of round table sessions, bringing together a small group of rape victims willing to speak their truths, with senior defence force officers.
During the closed door sessions, the ground rules were laid and the women were told there were no limits to their freedom of speech. They were encouraged to speak up and the officers were to listen. Once the women had spoken, it was their mothers’ turn.
The masterstroke and the single catalyst for action beyond tea and sympathy, was the presence of the girls’ mothers. In the simple words, “I entrusted my daughter to your care and you have breached your duty,” lies a world of pain, responsibility and accountability, which I’m told, created the impetus for change.
It was these meetings that changed the course of the ADF attitude towards misogyny, rape and abuse in its ranks.
I’m a great fan of Lt. General Morrison’s appointment as Australian of the Year 2016, and I hope he continues to wield influence and inspire powerful white men like many of you Lovely Readers, to stand up for those who cannot, to drive change for those who cannot, to speak out for those who have no voice, and to refuse to walk past the standards you do not accept.
And let’s not forget Elizabeth Broderick, NSW Australian of the Year 2016, for using your talent and brilliant mind to make change in the most compelling of ways. Long may you shine.
It is not without irony that I find I’ve mixed Lt. General David Morrison and the human stories of war in the same edition. It is not a deliberate conflation, yet perhaps there is a link. I’ll leave you with that thought before…..
the cherry on top…oh the irony