Monday, May 19, 2008

Gaza says it all

It's an icon of the failure to achieve peace in the Middle East

The Gaza Strip probably receives more media attention per square metre than any other slice of land in the world. Journalists abound in this overcrowded territory with its underemployed population. Hence our media are full of reports from generally biased reporters who know that if they ever did present a more pro-Israel position their ability to function, if not their lives, would be in acute danger. What is seldom revealed to the general public is the often unethical closeness between Palestinian spokespeople and foreign correspondents. Anyone who has spent any time covering the region knows of the private abuse thrown at Israelis by reporters who are supposed to have open minds.

One prominent BBC reporter openly wept when Yasser Arafat died and a British documentary maker was recorded on camera ordering someone out of her room because he was Israeli and then demanding to know if another man was Jewish.

Attacking Israel is seen as a way to attack the United States indirectly and as so many media types are anti-American it falls nicely into place. Mingle this with a degree of latent anti-Semitism -- some people still prefer Jews as cringing victims rather than as mighty warriors -- and you have the press corps in Israel and Palestine.

And in Gaza. Which is an icon of the failure of peace as Israel celebrates its 60th anniversary. The country is stronger and wealthier than ever before, but peace is just as unlikely. Gaza says it all. Israel occupied it when it dared to win a war with Arab neighbours dedicated to wiping the Jewish state off the map. It wanted to hand it back to Egypt, but Cairo wanted no part of it. They still don't.

Even so, Israel withdrew. It was painful, risky and divisive. Only a fool would believe that they did this because they cared about the Palestinians. They did it because they hoped it might lead to peace. However, instead of viewing this as a gesture of goodwill, Hamas saw it as weakness and stepped up its military campaign. Israel left an entire economic infrastructure, much to the chagrin of more hawkish Israelis. It was smashed apart by the Palestinians within hours. Within days the shower of rockets began to descend on Jewish civilians living close to the border, in towns that had never been Arab and had been built from nothing by Jewish labour.

Since then legions of women, children and families have lived in shelters. This, the Israelis are being told, is what happens if you return land. Gaza itself is hellish. But it has been given billions of dollars in foreign aid and the money is still being pumped in. Tragically, it goes to buy guns, rockets and explosives rather than food, oil and books. As a consequence Israel has tightened the border to protect its citizens. It is then accused by the media and its enemies abroad -- often dictators and torturers -- of being cruel.


Little is said about Egypt being far stricter on its side of Gaza with its Palestinian cousins or how Hamas directly has prevented a million litres of fuel being distributed to its people.

Double standard and unfair criticism. Nothing new. Israel knows it is badly treated and knows that whatever it does, some people and groups will always hate it. Yet it still celebrates its birthday. As it should. Sixty glorious years.


Crash helmets for playgrounds??

This safety madness gets ever worse! Will we all need to wear helmets every time we get out of bed one day?

PROTECTIVE headgear for babies and the elderly could become compulsory in Queensland childcare centres and nursing homes amid brain injury fears. Australia's Brain Injury Centre is leading a push for a State Government trial of the headwear, which has been designed and manufactured by a suburban Brisbane mother. Up to 50,000 people suffer brain injuries each year in Queensland.

Researchers in the US have found infant skulls are just one-eighth the strength of an adult skull. Brain Injury Centre chief executive officer Christian King said toddlers were at the greatest risk because skulls took until at least early adolescence to strengthen.

"We want to see trials done in preschools, playgrounds and junior contact sports," Mr King said. "Queensland could lead the way." He added that 0.5 per cent of brain injury victims would remain in a vegetative state. "We need to do it. It is not going to stop it, but it is going to cushion the impact when they (toddlers) are constantly falling over."

Headgear designer Isla George recently patented her brand, Head Bumpa, and said parents, epilepsy sufferers, car accident victims and elderly dementia sufferers were using the product. "I get a lot of queries from people who want to protect their elderly parents and no one wants to wear a helmet around," she said. "It doesn't look unsociable, it looks like a head band. It's quite trendy. "If you put it on early, the kids get quite used to it and it becomes like putting on a hat." The Albany Creek part-time shop assistant said she was making up to 500 Bumpas a year, but was in talks with a baby-goods manufacturer to mass-produce her invention.

Queensland Health's senior director of population health Linda Selvey has recommended that the manufacturer contact the Creche and Kindergarten Association of Queensland to explore the possibility of introducing the headgear in kindergartens across the state.


Cotton wool kids' losing basic skills

Report from Australia

Panicky parents are breeding a generation of "cotton wool kids" too afraid to climb trees or ride their bikes, NSW's most senior child guardian has warned. Mums and dads are so fixated on keeping their children safe that children are growing into nervous adults without acquiring basic survival skills along the way.

NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People Gillian Calvert has cautioned that alarm over stranger danger and traffic means that today's children are missing out on simple pleasures. "Over the past 10 years we have seen a real reduction in the range at which children can leave their family home and move freely," Ms Calvert told The Saturday Daily Telegraph. "Kids tell us they can't ride their bikes around streets any more." The simple joys of childhood such as bike riding, climbing trees and even just crossing the road are basic skills that are in danger of being entirely lost.

And doctors report that robbing kids of their freedom is pushing up rates of anxiety disorders in even the very young, while reducing play is denying children motor skills. The data were presented at a From Page 1 NSW Commission of Children and Young People and University of NSW conference.

"There are real concerns about reduced play opportunities," the university's Sports Medicine Unit director Dr Carolyn Broderick said. "Fundamental motor skills are developed through play as well as balance co-ordination and strength. And a lot of play equipment has gone from parks because of fear of litigation. "Children now have a fear that wasn't there in the past." Dr Broderick said research shows a significant drop in free play time and a quarter of parents were actually discouraging their children from playing sport because they were worried about injury.

But it is not just backyard cricket that has gone missing - research in state schools found international events such as terrorist attacks were making children feel insecure. "Some children expressed fear of global threats such as war and terrorism and had a general insecurity about their own future and their community's," Ms Calvert said. "These concerns meant they lived life in a restrictive, guarded way, either as a result of restrictions imposed by others or themselves."

Child expert Robyn Monro Miller warned fearful children would grow into fearful adults. "Even the RTA says children shouldn't cross the road by themselves until they are 10. How does the magic age of 10 mean you can cross a road?"

Sydney University's Brain and Mind Research Institute director Ian Hickie confirmed rates of anxiety in children were on the rise because of parents obsessed with keeping their child safe. "Parents think the world is more threatening and the idea is you have to protect them from the world," he said. Recent research found children as young as two were being treated for anxiety.


Political correctness deadly to Australian black kids

MORE damning evidence was presented to the Coroner's inquest into five Aboriginal deaths in Oombulgurri community, held in Kununurra last week. The allegations may well see the community closed down. Child protection agencies were racist because they were too scared to remove Aboriginal children living in squalor with their parents in case they were accused of being politically incorrect, former Federal indigenous affairs minister Mal Brough told the inquest.

Mr Brough said WA's Department of Indigenous Affairs was `deaf, dumb and blind' when it came to addressing the needs of Aboriginal communities. He said that many small remote Aboriginal communities such as Oombulgurri were not viable and should be shut down for the safety of the children living in them. Mr Brough told State Coroner Alastair Hope that circumstances in WA's remote communities were worse than in the NT, where the Howard government last year ordered intervention in a bid to tackle the crisis. "If a dog was found in a community in Perth living like children are living in the Kimberley, in many places the dog would be taken away and cared for and the carers would be charged by the RSPCA or relevant authority," Mr Brough said.

Asked if departments refused to remove Aboriginal children because of their skin colour, Mr Brough responded: "It is absolutely because they have a different skin colour. "There is no doubt that these departments are racist in their attitude, not because they hate blacks, but because they are scared to do anything about these issues because of political correctness."

Mr Brough said those opposed to closing small communities often argued it would be killing a culture but in reality many were not occupied by the traditional owners. He said many small communities of between 50 and 150 people were simply not viable because it was impossible for governments to provide the services needed to deal with the issues of intergenerational sex and alcohol abuse. "The reality is that many of these people are going to be much better served out of that community. we have to be honest if you want to save the next generation and that may well mean closing down Oombulgurri," he said.

Under questioning from State Solicitor's Office lawyer Delaney Quinlan, Mr Brough conceded he had never been to Oombulgurri, though he had told the court earlier he had visited many parts of the Kimberley, including Kalumburu.

A child protection officer, whose name has been suppressed, told the inquest the council made it difficult for staff to do their job and on the rare occasion they were given access to the community they were not allowed to stay overnight. The officer said people in the community were too scared to speak to child protection staff or told not to speak to them by certain members of the community.

Under questioning from John Hammond, the lawyer representing indigenous people, the DCP officer agreed sexual assaults had occurred in the community for more than a decade. When asked if the officer was worried about children in the community at the moment, the officer said: "Yes I'm worried in a way."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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