WT&TT: Birth vs. Battle (reblogged)

Contrary to popular belief, writing – like life, imo – is not all about conflict.

Birth vs. Battle

Let me kick things off with blasphemy: Conflict is not the engine of story.

Allow me to explain.

The longer I teach, the more writing texts I seem to read, if only to find out if someone else has a clearer, simpler, or more insightful way of presenting the material. (To my chagrin, that’s often case. Fortunately, I’m not too so old a dog that I’ve forsaken new tricks.)

In some of my recent reading, though, I’ve detected a bit of an uproar over the supposed centrality of conflict in our stories.

Read more by clicking on the linked title.

Carla’s Facts To Consider Number Four: Yes, Race Is A Social Construct … But That Doesn’t Mean It Doesn’t Exist

I was taught in Yr 12 Sociology that “race didn’t exist”, so since then I’ve tried to use ethnicity instead. It’s only come to my attention recently that it’s more complicated then that. This explains it perfectly.


Race is a social construct. Seriously. While people may look physically different depending on where they were born or their parents’ birth of origin, biologically we are all the same. That’s a fac…

Source: Carla’s Facts To Consider Number Four: Yes, Race Is A Social Construct … But That Doesn’t Mean It Doesn’t Exist

Characters Done Right: Expertise Vs. Arrogance

Another WT&T reblog…. Check it out.

Circle of the WordWitch

People relate to a certain level of expertise. That’s no secret; it’s part of how we choose doctors, elect presidents, root for sports teams. It’s also a good part of what readers like in their protagonists and support characters. It gives them something to admire while also–especially in the case of the protagonist–being a bit of wish fulfillment.

There’s no shortage of examples of this done well: Harry Potter’s excellence at Quidditch; Katniss Everdeen’s marksmanship with a bow and arrow; Sherlock Holmes’s genius. It would be easy for them to become obnoxious if their skills were allowed to dominate the story, but the writers manage to avoid those pitfalls.

What makes them work is that they each have narrative tricks that keep them human. Harry is prone to making rash decisions, often with disastrous consequences. Katniss’s devotion to her little sister strikes a chord with the reader and establishes sympathy. Sherlock’s…

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WT&TT: Simplicity and Elegance in Storytelling

Chuck’s advice makes sense. It makes more sense when taken as a whole than when read in small chunks, so head over to his website.

Remember to ask: what’s the motivation?

After finishing the F Words and Character Personality Types, I asked that question of each character I had a heading for. Try it!

Simplicity And Elegance In Storytelling

by terribleminds

I went off a bit the other day on Twitter regarding overcomplexity in fiction — I’ve seen it too many times now, especially across SFF and across thrillers or even horror novels, where convoluted characters motivations and plots get in the way of a damn good story.

A chief example of this in film right now is the James Bond franchise. The re-do of Casino Royale is a nearly perfect package — its packaging of the character and the plot are compressed so tightly, it turns an otherwise coal-black franchise into a shining fucking diamond. It’s a lesson they forget in the follow-ups, where the work just gets more bloated and convoluted and everyone seems to act in thrall to a blither-blather knot-tangle plot rather than acting in service to the elegance of the first Daniel Craig installment. Actually, Tarantino’s films have gone this way, too — Reservoir Dogs is about as tightly woven as they come. Then, with each successive release, his films get bigger and more tangled and seem more in service to his style and his lack of narrative control rather than to telling the aforementioned damn good story.

Read more by clicking on the title. 

The Stranger on the Cross

On Good Friday, the spirit of inclusion offered by the message inherent in the Last Supper and Washing of the Feet is slapped in our faces with its truth. (Again, small disclaimer: I’ve researched this stuff or been told it by priests and other religious, forming my views.)

Regardless of what you believe about the truth of events over Easter, there are some things that can’t be denied. Like how Jesus was put to death because (as I mentioned previously) He dared to challenge the status quo by reaching out to all, even and especially those who were considered “untouchable”. That wasn’t all: his message was bread for a hungry crowd, sight for a previously blind one. People listened to him, which meant they, too, challenged the status quo as He did.

So the persecutors tempted one of Jesus’ friends, then manipulated the judge (Pilate) who officiated at Jesus’ show trial. Pilate literally “washed his hands” of the matter due to pressure from the religious leaders…one of the first examples of peer pressure from crowd mentality causing a person to cave in and support the dominant opinion, you could say.

It was hoped that by killing Jesus, they would kill His message. That plan failed, obviously.

Jesus taught that the things that mattered were compassion for each other’s weaknesses, strength to build each other up, a sense of community that was forging and non-judgemental. In a word, love.

Sometimes that vision (or the realisation of it) can be difficult to believe. Especially when our own egos and fears get in the way. I’ve come to realise that Simon Peter represents us in that regard. Jesus trusted in and loved him, though, even through his mistakes. As He trusts in and loves us. The message still resonates, despite how difficult it can be, because of its truth.

Today, Jesus is still present in the outcast people of society. We would do well to remember that in how we treat them. This is true for all of us, especially Christians, in our treatment of those who “don’t fit” our mould or idea of morality (like LGBTI people, or [in the Catholic Church] divorced and unwed parents [especially mothers], for example). Welcoming sounds nicer than holier-than-thou anyway.

One group of outcasts in whom Jesus can be seen are refugees. Below is a video explaining some things about the Syrian situation and refugee crisis. five years is too long. Something to think about during this time….they are the ones on the Cross right now, as borders shut and they are trapped in substandard conditions.The question is – what can we do to help them and other Cross-bearers in today’s society?

That’s what I hear in the story of Cross this year.

I #StandforSanctuary

Across Australia this evening in over forty towns and cities there are gatherings in support of asylum seekers threatened with deportation. Below is some text I’ve copied from GetUp’s page about the event, since I couldn’t screenshot it. This includes a list of the towns and cities participating. There are more cities involved in the actions than listed, too, so have a squiz around your town tonight!

Also, check out the list, right at the bottom, of organisations supporting these actions. We will not stand down!

The 267 banner

Stand for Sanctuary

This is an emergency.

A High Court ruling on Wednesday means 267 people – 37 of whom are babies, including those in the photo above – could be sent to the abusive detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru within days.1

Together, we must stand in the government’s way.

We can’t waste any time. The government is ready to put these vulnerable men, women and kids on planes to hell – and only a huge public mobilisation is going to stop that happening.

In an incredible show of compassion and solidarity, churches around the country have opened their doors to offer sanctuary to the 267 people Malcolm Turnbull wants to deport. We stand with them.

On the evening of Monday 8 February, thousands of people will rally in capital cities and towns around the country to stand for sanctuary, and demonstrate that together, we will do everything we can to keep these babies, children, men and women safe. We will demand that the government let them stay.


On this page, you’ll find all the events we know are being organised. Some are being organised by GetUp! and our partners, others are grassroots mobilisations. If you can’t find your local town or community on this page, and would like to hold Stand for Sanctuary event, just shoot us an email at standforsanctuary@getup.org.au and we’ll put it up on the page!


Community organised events

Where: John Flynn Uniting Church Lawns, Todd Mall, Northern Territory
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

Where: Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
Organised by: Apollo Bay Rural Australians for Refugees

Where: Ararat Performing Arts Centre, Cnr Barkly and Vincent Street, Ararat, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Rurual Australians for Refugees, Grampians/Gariwerd

Where: Central Park, Armidale, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
Organised by: Armidale Rural Australians for Refugees
RSVP here

Where: St Mark’s Church, Balnarring, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm
RSVP here

Where: Beechworth Post Office, Corner Camp St and Ford St Beechworth, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm

Where: Littleton Gardens, Bega, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 5pm
Organised by: Bega Rural Australians for Refugees
RSVP here

Where: Rosalind Park, Bendigo, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm
Organised by: Rural Australians for Refugees, Bendigo
RSVP here

Where: Birregurra Drapery Courtyard, 69A Main St, Birregurra Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Birregurra Traders Association
RSVP here

Where: Leura Uniting Church, Leura, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
Organised by: Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group

Where: Meet in front of the boat sheds, Boat Harbour Beach, Tasmania
When: Monday 8 February, 6:15pm

Where: Anzac Park, between Library and Senior Citizens building, Bunbury, Western Australia
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm

Where: Victory Park, Castlemaine, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Rural Australians for Refugees, Castlemaine

Where: Gosford Waterfront (near Gosford Swimming pool)
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Central Coast for Social Justice

Where: Dunkeld Town Park, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Dunkeld Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Group
RSVP here

Where: Emerald Community House Hall, 356-358 Belgrave- Gembrook Road, Emerald, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm
Organised by: Emerald Community House
RSVP here

Where: Crn La Trobe Tce and Ryrie St
When: Monday 8 February, 4pm
Organised by: Combined Refugee Action Group

Where: The Law Courts
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm

Where: Dunkeld Town Park, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Refugees Welcome Glen Innes Support Group

Where: Horsham Botanical Gardens, Horsham, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

Where: Cook Street plaza, Main street, Lithgow, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 5pm
Organised by: Lithgow Asylum seeker and refugee support group

Where: Alma Bay, Magnetic Island, Queensland
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

Where: Meet at the horse trough in the Medium strip near the roundabout outside Mansfield Hotel
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Mansfield Rural Australians for Refugees
Wear White

Where: Cave Gardens
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
RSVP here
Where: Myrtleford Piazza, Clyde St, Myrtleford, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 7:30pm
Organised by: Myrtleford Refugee Support Group

Where: Wesley Uniting Church, 150 Beaumont Street, Hamilton, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Hunter Asylum Seeker Advocacy
RSVP here

Where: Lions Park, cnr Noosa Parade and Noosa Drive, Queensland
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
RSVP here

Where: Northam Uniting Church, Duke St, Northam, Western Australia
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm
Organised by: Northam Welcomes Asylum Seekers

Where: Queenscliff Uniting Church, Corner of Hesse and Stokes Street, Queenscliff, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm
Organised by: Queenscliff Uniting Church
RSVP here

Where: Rye Community Playground, Point Nepean Rd, Rye Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

Where: St Philip’s Anglican church, Thompson Ave, Cowes, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Rural Australians for Refugees – Phillip Island

Where: Town Square, Argyle St, Picton, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Picton Uniting Church

Where: Semaphore foreshore, by the angel war memorial, Semaphore, South Australia
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

Where: 59 Junction Street, Nowra (outside Federal MP Anne Sudmalis’ office), NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

Where: Wonthaggi under the mine whistle in Murray St, South Gippsland Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: South Gippsland Rural Australians for Refugees

Where: Big Hill, Stawell, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm

Where: Picnic at CWA Park, cnr Railway Pde and Main Road, Tallarook, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

Where: Fotheringham Park, near the clock, Victoria St, Taree, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Rural Australians for Refugees, Manning

Where: Bruxner Park, Rouse Street, Tenterfield, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm

Where: Otto’s Grotto, Fairway Park, Ulverstone, Tasmania
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
Bring stuff for a BBQ

Where: North beach, Wollongong, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here
Where: Serbian Orthodox, 82 Kenny st, Wollongong Where: Monday 8th February 6pm
Organised by: Serbian Ladies Auxiliary

Keep checking back – we’ll be listing all the community organised events we hear about here.

Organising your own event (or thinking about it)? Awesome! Click here to let us know!

[1] ‘Asylum seeker families face deportation to Nauru after High Court ruling’, SBS news, 3 February 2016

Stand for Sanctuary banner


REBLOGGED: No to Occupation

Sighhhh. I think that the situation is really sad. I know people who went to Palestine/ Israel some twenty-plus years ago. The situation wasn’t like this then, though it festered still I suppose.

The Palestinians are being treated as second-class citizens – it’s no wonder they lash out. That doesn’t excuse the deaths caused….but in battles between knives and stones versus guns, tear gas and bombs, it’s obvious who will win more often.
(Deep breath) The horrors inflicted on Jews in the past does not exclude the actions of some Jews & the Israeli government now. (There, said it.)

Further links on this subject are at the bottom of the other articles.

It’s The Occupation, Stupid: Why Palestinians Are Stabbing Innocent Civilians – WRITTEN BY MICHAEL BRULL ( NEW MATILDA)

by winstonclose

(IMAGE: Gigi Ibrahim, Flickr).

(IMAGE: Gigi Ibrahim, Flickr).
By on October 22, 2015 

The Israeli occupation is the reason why so many Jews – and Palestinians – are dying, writes Michael Brull.

Why are Palestinians stabbing innocent people in Israel? Such attacks are horrendous, and deserve no moral defence. But understanding why they occur requires no great genius. Just a modicum of honesty.

Let us begin by looking at some relatively uncontroversial context. Teddy Kollek was the mayor of Jerusalem from 1965-93. In an interview he gave with an Israeli newspaper whilst still mayor, he candidly explained the institutionalised racism entrenched under the occupation:

We said things without meaning them, and we didn’t carry them out. We said over and over that we would equalize the rights of the Arabs to the rights of the Jews. [This was] empty talk . . . Never have we given them a feeling of being equal before the law. They were and remain second and third class citizens . . .

For Jewish Jerusalem I did something in the past 25 years. For East Jerusalem? Nothing! What did I do? Nothing. Sidewalks? Nothing! Cultural institutions? Not one. Yes, we installed a sewerage system for them and improved their water supply. But do you know why? Do you think it was for their good, for their welfare? Forget it! There were some cases of cholera there, and the Jewish residents were afraid that they would catch it, so we installed a sewerage and water system for cholera prevention.

The stabbings can be understood as a response to recent provocations and suspicion about Israeli intentions in relation to the Haram al-Sharif. But these should be viewed as a trigger, rather than a cause. Left-wing Ha’aretz columnist Gideon Levy put the point quite strongly:

“You thought 300,000 people would acquiesce? That they’d watch settlers invade their homes as city hall denied them minimal services amid maximal property taxes? That they’d look on while the occupier arbitrarily denied them residence status, as if they were migrants in their own city? That they would put up with Jewish gangs beating them up in full view of policemen and forgive…

Did you really think right-wing provocations on the Temple Mount would pass quietly? That the burning of the Dawabsheh family would pass with no response — and even more so the defense minister’s arrogant claims that Israel knew who the perpetrators were but wouldn’t arrest them?”

It may be thought that Levy is a somewhat radical voice, though he writes for the respected liberal paper,Ha’aretz. So consider the perspective of veteran Israeli journalist, Akiva Eldar, formerly at Ha’aretz, now atAl Monitor:

“It is time to dust off the Or Commission Report, which dealt with the events of October 2000, when 13 Arab demonstrators were killed, and immediately implement its recommendations for closing the wide gaps between Jewish and neighbouring Arab municipalities in the fields of education, health, infrastructure and policing. First and foremost, the police’s fatally trigger-happy tendencies toward Arab citizens must be addressed (since the second intifada, when 13 Arab citizens were killed,police have killed 51 Arab citizens, compared with two Jewish citizens).

A Jew who dares visit Akeb, the northernmost of Jerusalem’s neighbourhoods, bordering Ramallah, or the Shuafat refugee camp, would not find it hard to understand why youths from these neighbourhoods stab Jews and throw stones at them.”

However, Eldar is also a progressive. One of Israel’s leading journalists, Nahum Barnea, coined the term the “lynch test”, to describe Israelis who wouldn’t even criticise the Arabs when they lynched Israelis. He named among their ranks Levy and Eldar.

Yet the point they made was voiced in similar form by Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem:

“The events of recent weeks cannot be viewed in a vacuum, isolated from the reality of the ongoing, daily oppression of 4 million people, with no hope of change in sight. At present, Israelis are exposed to untenable violence, but the status quo almost all Israelis have come to see as acceptable in fact exposes millions of Palestinians to violence that is a consequence of the very regime of occupation, with its inherent features of oppression, dispossession and the trampling of rights.”

Closer to the political centre, Ha’aretz correspondent Chemi Shalev notes that it is impossible to make sense of the stabbings without having the occupation as the context:

“Ordinary Israelis and their supporters abroad have also learned to expunge the occupation, not only from their words but from their thoughts as well. Once you do that, Palestinian teens wantonly hurling themselves at unsuspecting civilians, knowing that they will face certain injury or death, turn into manifestations of unadulterated psychotic evil.”

Shalev observes that Israeli authorities “continue to manage even the minutest details of daily life for the Palestinians”, and don’t acknowledge “the social, economic and human toll of the occupation and the blind hatred that it foments.” Shalev concludes that “the refusal to countenance a link between the occupation and the violence that it breeds, despite overwhelming empirical and historical evidence to the contrary, in Israel and around the world, is a form of what is sometimes termed ‘denialism.’”

Or take the position of the entirely non-liberal Avi Issacharoff, reporting at the conservative Times of Israel. He reported that:

“To fully understand the context in which this new intifada has flared, we need to go back many more years — to the ongoing neglect of Palestinian neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem by Israeli governments over the past 48 years, despite the dire economic situation of the residents of these areas; the state of lawlessness; and the fact that a twilight zone has evolved in some of the villages on the periphery of Jerusalem since the construction of the security barrier.

Entire neighbourhoods and villages whose residents have blue ID cards, who are citizens of Israel, are not given any attention by either Israel or the Palestinian Authority.”

As a last example, consider the writing of Nahum Barnea, roughly a political centrist, who founded the “lynch test”. Barnea is one of Israel’s most influential journalists, and writes for Yediot Ahronot, one of Israel’s most read dailies. Barnea wrote:

“Israel is a bad occupier, and always has been. Instead of giving the occupied population hope, it settled among it. Instead of taking care of the people’s welfare, success, safety – it treated them with a lack of generosity and respect, refusing to either live with them or disengage. That doesn’t mean that terrorism is morally justified. Terrorism is the rotten fruit of despair, the monster it births. But it doesn’t come from nowhere: It has a mother and father, grandparents, and siblings.”

He also commented on Israel’s response to the wave of stabbings: “Escalate personal and collective punishment, oppress the Palestinian population till they hit the ground. They believe that despair can be beaten with more despair”.

Okay, Barnea and YNet might be disloyal terrorist sympathisers too. So consider Barnea’s interview with a military source. He explained: “Avoiding collective punishments contributes to quiet. Treating the populace with an iron fist increases terrorism.”

Perhaps the Israeli military source was justifying terrorism with that treacherous comment. Or, perhaps, there are sane people in the Israeli military. There is a connection between the “iron fist” and “terrorism”.

After almost 50 years of occupation, this should be pretty obvious. If that can be conceded in one of Israel’s most widely read daily tabloids, we should be able to admit that in Australia too.

Michael Brull is a regular columnist for New Matilda. He has written for a range of other publications, including Overland, Crikey, ABC’s Drum, the Guardian and elsewhere.

TO READ more articles from NEW MATILDA click on this link = https://newmatilda.com/


New Jewish Network Launches Worldwide “Justice in Palestine” Initiative against Israeli Occupation – WRITTEN BY MAIRAV ZONSZEIN { GLOBAL RESEARCH }

by winstonclose

By Mairav Zonszein

Global Research, October 21, 2015
+972 18 October 2015


 13  0



Group seeks to ‘reclaim Jewish identity,’ raise a global Jewish voice to ‘challenge Israel’s destructive policies.’

A new international network of Jewish groups and individuals committed to justice in Palestine released a statement over the weekend calling for an end to the killing and an end the occupation. The network, which first met over the summer and has yet to come up with a name, currently spans 16 countries — from Brazil, to Australia, to Switzerland and South Africa — and represents 15 organizations.

An action by If Not Now, When, for Tisha B’Av in New York City, where participants read the names of Israelis and Palestinians who died in this summer’s Gaza war. (Photo by Gili Getz)An action by the American anti-occupation group If Not Now for Tisha B’Av in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, where participants read the names of Israelis and Palestinians who died in last summer’s Gaza war. (Photo by Gili Getz)

According to the preface to their statement, the group seeks to “reclaim Jewish identity not as a nationalist identity but as one that celebrates our diverse roots, traditions & communities wherever we are around the world. We believe that it is essential for there to be a global Jewish voice to challenge Israel’s destructive policies, in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. This international Jewish network aims to become that voice.”

Forty Palestinians and eight Israelis have been killed since the beginning of the month. There have been over two dozen stabbing attacks against Israelis across Israel and the West Bank, with around 100 Israelis and well over 1,000 Palestinians wounded, many of them by live fire.

In times of heightened violence, specifically against Israelis, Jewish organizations and individuals around the world tend to either show support for Israel or stay silent. It is taboo to criticize Israel when there are terror attacks against Israeli citizens, as was clear during the Second Intifada. But that is precisely when it is most necessary. To both identify as Jewish and show a deep concern for what is going on in Israel while criticizing its policies is rare, making this letter is so important. 

[Read more by clicking on the title above.]

http://winstonclose.me/2015/10/30/who-does-jerusalem-belong-to-written-by-juan-cole/ – a good history on the conflict of the region.
http://winstonclose.me/2015/11/01/an-open-letter-to-jk-rowling-from-michael-brull-on-palestine-written-by-michael-brull-new-matilda/ – Oh, dear. This is why I hesitate to speak sometimes on issues that I’m somewhat removed from (notice I’m reblogging mostly rather than doing too much explaining?). But really, J.K. :/