6. (In)security

It aims to question the concept and practices of security – what does ‘being secure’ means to you by the way?…

  • How then shall we live in this world of (climate) change?

    (This is my latest article, co-written with Dr Richard Hil from The Activist Think Tank – Ngara Institute, and first published in the Echo Publications) The intersecting crises of anthropogenic climate change and destruction to biodiversity and ecological systems have ushered in an age of acute anxiety in which people are beginning to seriously question whether life on Earth, in its current form, can be sustained. There’s an increasing sense that the planet and everything on it are in serious trouble. So, here we are, having to face up to a significant body of credible scientific knowledge that suggests some kind of end, or at least a radical reconfiguration of life as we…

  • Climate change – what can WE do about it?

    Climate change is real, and is already having devastating impacts on our planet, our wildlife and on humanity. The future looks dire, and it’s an understatement to say that climate change, alongside, and including biodiversity loss, is the challenge of the century. This said, we are not just doomed yet. We do have a short window of opportunity to act, in order to slow down the effects of climate change and, perhaps, in the future, reverse some of them. The task seems overwhelming and cynics, deniers, and doomsayers may be discouraging, but this is what we can do. It all comes down to ‘mitigating’, ‘adapting’, and, yes… ‘surviving’ – but…

  • Has the end of the world started?

    Hammered by daunting climate change related headlines Recent news headlines in Australia and beyond are daunting. While northern Queensland has been battling with a “once-in-a-century flooding”, Tasmania is facing a “historic event”, an “unprecedented” “fire crisis”. Meanwhile the recent Australian droughts may have been the worst in 800 years. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) announced that January 2019 was Australia’s hottest month since records began and that climate change “contributed to soaring temperatures”, which followed an already “record-breaking December”. Heatwaves don’t solely make us feel more sick, agitated or lethargic. They kill en masse. “Over two days in November, record-breaking heat in Australia’s north wiped out almost one-third of…

  • My experience in North Korea – an interview with ABC Radio North Coast

    Hello, I was interviewed two days ago by ABC Radio North Coast’s Bruce Mackenzie. He was very friendly and eager to know about my past experience living and working in North Korea. So I describe my impressions of the secretive state, what I enjoyed about it, and what was difficult to witness. He also asks if I was under constant surveillance, or what North Koreans thought of the West. He then moved on to ask for my analysis on the current geopolitical tensions around North Korea’s ambition to develop a nuclear warhead long-range missile capable of hitting the Unites States – and Australia for that matter. I argue that while these…

  • It’s not IS we should fight against – it’s obscurantism

    After having published a post yesterday (No more bombs) arguing that the West won’t win peace by dropping more bombs and should instead fight against inequality and injustice, Chris, a follower of Making Sense of Things on Facebook asked if we had “any advice for what people should do to counter [the Islamic State]? Or should it just be allowed to continue? They won’t allow a diplomatic solution, as they believe any negotiation is sacrilegious, let alone voting?” This question is very relevant indeed. How can we negotiate with IS if we can’t even talk with them? I understand that throwing 20 bombs at the Islamic State, like the French warplanes…

  • No more bombs

      I now live in Australia but I’m French. I’ve lived several years in Paris where many of my friends and family members still live. Two of the attacks occurred in the same street where by my best friend lives. His partner’s sister was enjoying drinks with her friends in one of the restaurants were so many people got killed on this tragic Friday the 13th. Luckily she survived.  I was touched by the outpour of solidarity I have received, my warmest thanks to you all. I read lots of articles and watched heaps of media about the Paris attacks. Yet, I started quite rapidly to feel uncomfortable at the world’s focus on…

  • I’m sick and tired of International Women’s Day

    Today is International Women’s Day. I know we should celebrate this event but the truth is that I’m not in the mood for it. I’m a man, and I’m sick and tired of hearing horrible stories whichever part of the world I travel to, about how badly and unfairly women are treated in their respective society.   I’m sick and tired to know that 35 per cent (35!) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. I’m sick and tired that there are fewer women at the helm of top Australian and US companies than men named Peter or John sitting as…

  • The politics of olive harvesting in Palestine

    We are currently staying at Bustan Qaraaqa in Palestine and just happen to be here during olive harvest season… we are also here during an interesting time because of the Shalit Deal, where Israel swaps one Israeli soldier for 1027 imprisoned Palestinians… so, how do we link olives with the Shalit Deal?? Well, ironically, the olive leaf is a symbol of abundance, glory, wisdom, fertility, pureness and peace… but here people are oppressed, getting their olive groves and rain water cisterns destroyed by Israel as the natural water resources are monopolised (on average Israelis have access to 4 times as much water as Palestinians). People’s ability to sustain themselves is being taken away from them. In the past…

  • “Faced with inhumanity, we must be more human” – A witness account of the Oslo tragedy

    Erik Abild, a Norwegian friend of mine whom I met while working in Gaza, yesterday shared his thoughts about the horrendous and absurd killings which just occurred in Oslo. We particularly appreciate his call for greater humanity. As he puts it perfectly: “Today, here in Norway, many politicians and people state that “today we are all AUF” (the name of the youth party). And we are. Just as we all were Japanese when the earthquake struck, or as we all are Somalis when we read about famine. This feeling of community is a part of being human. And this communality, the shared experience of humanity, is essential to hold onto.…

  • Insecurity in Central America, a little heard story

    I just come back from Central America where I was doing a consultancy for a humanitarian organisation and, given that we don’t hear much about the region in the news, I thought you might be interested to know a bit about it. The organisation has been operating there for decades but has recently questioned its presence given the drastic deterioration of the security there in the last three years. Indeed, statistically, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador (now known as the “Northern Triangle of Death!”) are amongst the most dangerous countries on earth. While in each of these countries, the levels of insecurity vary from one area to another, this means…

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