The former Commissioner of Australia Border Force, Roman Quaedvlieg, took time out of pouring petrol on the au pair scandal last week to pen his reflections on a far bigger scandal that is somehow not really a scandal at all. Initially self-published, then re-posted on Meanjin, Quaedvlieg wrote about a trip he took to Nauru in the second half of 2015.
Takster tells a story of modern China: lingering poverty, resurgent Han nationalism, and persecuted minorities.
On several dates, usually between the fourth and fifth beer, my companion and I have found common ground over our mutual disdain for the whole hellish ritual of online dating, only for one of us to ask resignedly, ‘But how else do you meet someone these days?’ It feels impossible to stave off the inexorable force of the ever-encroaching market.
When the ‘state of exception’ comes to shape normal political discourse.
In the last few weeks, a mass exodus of more than a quarter of a million Rohingya, terrorised and starving, have fled towards the Bangladeshi border – a frontier that the Burmese military, known as the Tatmadaw, have booby trapped with land mines. This unfolding tragedy is a reminder that some people are considered superfluous. It’s a reminder that some lives matter less than others and that some people are sacrificed to serve the political and economic ends of others.
The danger lies in seeing Trump or Brexit as an aberration, rather than a reaction to and by-product of liberalism. The received wisdom is that liberalism is somehow virtuous and inherently good. But this formulation makes it impossible to understand why politicians saying openly fascistic things are garnering wide support in supposedly principled liberal democracies.