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5 April 2002. Thought for the Week:
"My song is love unknown, My Saviour's love to me.
"Then 'crucify' is all their breath and for his death they
thirst and cry.
We trust our readers had time for reflection and meditation and a regeneration of their spiritual energies during Holy Week.
INSURANCE OUT OF REACH OF INCREASING NUMBERS?
by Jeremy Lee
The Australian Financial Review (15/3/02) reported: " .... Sources suggest that Suncorp Metway's withdrawal will cause premiums to skyrocket, possibly even trebling in price....."
Another report in the same issue said: "Small businesses and community organizations are unable to afford public liability cover, the country's largest medical indemnity company appears on the brink of collapse and nobody seems to want to write builders' warranty ...."
The problems afflicting the insurance
sector relate to its efforts to stop bleeding red ink, the
growing culture of litigation, increasing court awards for
personal injury and the September 11 terrorist attacks - not
to mention HIH's demise ...." Andrew White, in The Australian
(15/3/02), gave a few examples:
Hundreds of communities Australia-wide have similar stories. What we want is a company to insure us against high premiums, depressions, headache and "things that go 'bump' in the night!"
CAMP OF THE SAINTS?The boat-people have hit a raw nerve with Australians. But imagine the crisis facing Sicily, where a giant tanker with over 1,000 people on its decks, has arrived and dumped its cargo. Flanked by naval vessels, the ship's crew destroyed the engines and tried to hide themselves. And there are reports of several similar-sized ships to follow. Sicily has declared a state of emergency. Those who have read Jean Raspail's "Camp of the Saints" will have the picture.
SHIFT ON MIDDLE EAST REALITIES
The nightly scenes on television in which Palestinian suicide bombers destroy themselves against the colossally-armed Israelis, while their homes and means of living are destroyed all around them cannot fail to impress themselves on millions of watchers round the world. The attempts by the Sharon Government to portray itself as the 'goody' against the Palestinian terrorists are proving no more effective than those of President Bush.
There is a shift from the fervent emotion that followed September 11th right round the world. The shift exists in Israel itself, and the first articles in the mainstream media are offering a more balanced picture. An article syndicated from France's Le Monde, carried in The Weekend Australian (16-17/3/02) was eloquent testimony to this shift. It dealt with the growing revulsion in Israel at the cruelty of Sharon's war against the Palestinians.
For example, it gave details of the declaration by 194 army reservists, giving notice that they were not prepared to serve in the Occupied Territories. They made their public declaration despite threats of disciplinary action. It carried news of the declaration by 15 Israeli lawyers demanding action against those who killed Palestinians without justification, or brutalised Palestinian civilians at check-points. One protester said that he had been called an "anti-semitic Jew" for speaking out; but was now finding even government ministers expressing their unease.
At a meeting in Tel Aviv to denounce Israeli war-crimes, Reserve General Dov Tamari was on the platform. On January 28th the Speaker of the Knesset, Avraham Borg, declared "The occupation corrupts: more precisely, it has corrupted us. Discrimination has become our standard and insensitivity a way of being."
Significantly, many Israelis now believe, rightly or wrongly, that the current war is a defence of the hundreds of Jewish settlements built in the Occupied Territories. Judge Michael Ben-Yair, former legal adviser to the Rabin government, has said: "Israel will be judged by history and perhaps before then by the Hague". He was referring to the International Court of Justice. Such a statement must send a chill down the spine of Ariel Sharon, who has already been indicted by a Belgian Court for the war crimes committed at Sabra and Shatila during the war against Lebanon.
BRUTAL, DESTRUCTIVE MODERNISM"In education the same doctrinal brutality reigns supreme resulting in a wasteland of moral relativism and the deliberate destruction of an approach that has always ensured the transmission from one generation to another a shared body of knowledge of a cultural, historical and moral heritage.
What has been the result of all this brutal vandalism? A profound malaise, a deep disease, a disintegration and disfunctioning of the natural harmony in the human existence. Modern ideology demands that history and tradition be pulled up by the roots... We must work in harmony with nature once again and reconnect man with the organic roots of his being, with the healing timelessness of living tradition... To treat the whole individual, not one part, to integrate the best of modern medicine with the best of ancient therapeutic wisdoms, to reconnect young people with literary and historical roots. We have disintegrated to many of the possibilities of life - a deadly demolition job which was carried out by modernism. It has pulled up the roots of our tradition ..." - Prince Charles, 2001
WHAT WE SOW IS WHAT WE WILL REAP
by Betty Luks
What is the difference between what is happening in the world of today and what happened in the world of the Roman Empire? (Which, we should remember, collapsed from within.) William Barclay, Professor of Divinity at the University of Glasgow, wrote of those times.
"There is a sin which the Greeks called hubris. Hubris is that arrogance born of wealth and prosperity and success, which comes to feel that it has no need of God." He tells us descriptions of the wantonness, gluttony and wastefulness of the privileged few in the crumbling Roman society can be found in the work of Seutonius and Tacitus. Both were Romans citizens who were appalled by the things they were writing about. In the first century AD, the world was pouring its riches and treasures into the lap of Rome. The long peace, the safety of the seas, the freedom of trade (and the policies of the moneylenders), had made Rome the entrepot for the peculiar products and delicacies of every land from the British Channel to the Ganges. It would seem to those who did not know any difference, the whole world's reason for existence was to supply the real wealth and work for the sake of, for the indulgence and the comfort of, the ruling elite in Rome. They ruled and controlled through the social instruments, such as the financial, commercial and military institutions, etc. - just as happens today.
"With what measure you measure, it will
be measured to you."
G.K.Chesterton put it another way to
help us understand
The push by the centralist Howard government
to restrict our freedoms by the proposed anti-terrorism legislation
can be better understood in the light of their earlier acts
of hubris. They think they can avoid 'the same measure being
meted out to them' by legislating for further oppressive powers
to protect themselves. What makes these people think governments
are not subject to the same moral laws as the rest of us -
we mere mortals? The history of the British peoples can only
be understood in terms of their constant striving to limit,
divide and balance power and make accountable all those who
OIL 'WEALTH' AND LIVING STANDARDS
The Arab oil wealth of late has meant
practically nothing in terms of achieving a better standard
of living for the 'man in the street', according to the Asia
Times (c)2002 Online. The Arab countries' combined gross
domestic product (GDP) was US$440 billion in 1980. It was
about $730 billion in 2001. The annual growth rate was about
2 percent - with an average inflation of about 3 percent.
So real GDP growth was actually negative. The average real
GDP growth globally was 3 percent in these two decades.
The Arab Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) has existed since 1998, with 14 member countries. Total exports of the Arab world in 2000 - including oil - were $243 billion: this is less than the combined exports of Hong Kong and Singapore ($250 billion in 2000). Inter-Arab trade was only $33.5 billion in 2000, only 8.6 percent of the total. Excluding oil and minerals, inter-Arab trade is only 16 percent of the total.
NINE MEASURES OF WEALTH FOR ROME - ONE FOR THE REST
Writing of that period, William Barclay
(Daily Study Bible: Revelation 18) had this to say:
It has been estimated that in this present day seven percent of the world's population possesses and enjoys 94 percent of the world's wealth. Do we really think the third world cannot see the wealth of the world flowing to the western world? The industrial/military/financial elite and their hangers-on, Australia's included, scour the earth for the untapped wealth and natural resources of other nations and use the slave labour of the third world nations to produce the goods. What they cannot control by questionable commercial means, they will attempt to control by military means, solemnly declaring their actions are directed towards 'a war on terrorism'.
THE REALITY BEHIND THE 'NEWS'
As you read the following media report from Argentina, ask yourself some searching questions. What is the true situation in Argentina? Are the people going through such a desperate situation because there is no food in the country? Is there a genuine shortage of the necessities of life - or is the real problem something else - such as a lack of purchasing power? A man-made symbol - MONEY?
Argentina - images of a shipwrecked nation
by Marcela Valente (taken from internet)
An owner of a wig factory in Rosario, in the northeastern province of Santa Fe, commented in a radio interview that the devaluation of the Argentine peso had made imports too expensive and his company could no longer purchase the materials needed to create artificial hairpieces. His solution was to announce the purchase of human hair. The public's reaction went far beyond what Beauty Centre's proprietors ever imagined. Entire families arrived, some had traveled 30 kilometers on bicycle with their children. Each person left with P10-15 (US$3-$5). Some 400 people showed up in two days. One man said he was selling his hair "in order to make the payment" on the car he bought recently. (A car? No shortage of production?)
The selling of hair and blood
Argentina's economic recession began nearly four years ago and continues to deepen. Poverty has increased dramatically, and now affects 44 percent of the population of 37 million, according to official figures. Unemployment stands at 24 percent of the workforce, according to private studies. The currency devaluation that began in January led to a price rise for the basic monthly family food basket, while salaries dropped for those who still have jobs. Purchasing power has been reduced for everyone, but the hardest hit are those who receive the meagre government subsidy for unemployed heads of household.
Many of the unemployed are offering to hold a place in the long lines for customers who are waiting to purchase dollars, sold at regulated rates and in limited amounts by banks and exchange houses. The price for this service ranges from P15-100, depending on the place in the queue and the fluctuations in the currency market. Thirteen percent of the people standing in the long lines - some extending 600 metres - admitted to the IBOPE polling firm that they were holding a place for someone else. One man who was among the first in the queue outside the state-owned Banco Nacion said he had been there all night and had already received partial payment from the client for whom he was saving a place in line. ..."Once I get paid, I am going to donate blood. They offered P15," he said. The woman paying him to hold a place in the line for her until the bank opened had told him she had to accompany a hospitalised family member.
The communications media highlight such episodes as a new manifestation of the social crisis that three months ago meant supermarket looting and violent street demonstrations, with a death toll of 30. That wave of social unrest precipitated the resignation of president Fernando de la Rua on December 20th. A Buenos Aires radio station on Tuesday telephoned economist Marcelo Lascano, adviser to multilateral financial organizations, to ask him about the lack of confidence in the peso. Lascano responded with another question: "And what do you think about people brutally killing animals to eat them?" (One wonders what this well-fed sanctimonious Pharisee would have done if he was one of the starving?)
While the ambulance personnel and the police worked to clear the accident, the people gathered asked permission to put the animals out of their misery and to butcher them for their meat. The cattle, which had been on their way to a meat-packing plant, were handed over after some arguments and shoving. Some 400 men and women went to work, with three to five people cutting up each animal. "There are 30 in my family and none of the men work," said a desperate-sounding woman, whose clothes were bloodied by the butchery.
One young man aimed his criticism at Argentina's political leaders, who he said have failed to provide the solutions demanded by the crisis. "They live well and eat well, they don't have any problems. Meanwhile, we are dying of hunger, but we help each other and are going to share all of this," he said, pointing to the butchered cattle. (The hunger has not been brought about because of natural drought-causing famine. The situation is man-made. There is no mention the country cannot produce enough food!)
Residents of Dean Funes, a town in the central province of Cordoba, gathered on Wednesday outside a supermarket and retail center to ask for food, while several guards stood outside the building. The shops closed their doors and handed out bags of food to appease the crowd. (Are we to understand the store would have, could have, provided the food if the people had the purchasing power?)
Marta Martinez, a middle-class retiree, 75, said she has never experienced a crisis like the one afflicting Argentina today. She said she was not talking about her personal situation, but about the distressing cases she sees around her and the numerous families who do not have the basic necessities to survive.
The preference for money in terms of
ADELAIDE CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUBThe next meeting of the Adelaide Conservative Speakers' Club will be held on Monday, April 8th. Guest speaker will be Mr. John Bligh and his subject will be "Investing in the Present Climate". The venue will be the Public Schools' Club, 207 East Terrace, Adelaide. The dinner will be served from 6.30pm. The cost of the dinner will be $16.50 per person for a two-course meal. Please make your bookings early by phoning 8395 9826. Bookings must be in by Thursday, April 4h. Mr. Bligh's presentation will commence at 7.30pm. Please note the May meeting has been cancelled due to the organizers being away.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARIESWest Australia State Weekend - August 10th-11th, 2002. South Australia State Weekend - August 17th-18th, 2002. National Dinner and Seminar - October 11th-13th, 2002. To be held once again in that lovely town of Albury, NSW, and at the same venue - "The Hume Inn Motel".
THE LAUNCHING OF AUSTRALIAN-WOMEN-ON-LINE
by Betty Luks
WE ASK JUST ONE THING
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