First published in ‘A Secret Australia,’ December 2020 Every act of repression offers a choice between retreat or defiance, fear or anger. In the comfortable West for as long as I’ve been alive, that word – repression – was crafted as something distant. Repression was something unleashed in Eastern Europe, or Tiananmen Square, or the back blocks of Nairobi. It was something that advanced and civilised democratic nations stood against, buttressed by the human rights instruments they had drafted after the defeat of fascism in the 1940s. Like most fairytales, this origin story has taken grains of truth and warped them into unrecognisable form. For decoding these myths of the powerful and distilling the grains of truth into something legible, our collective wellbeing depends on publishers, and journalists, and truthtellers.
Instead of looking for hope, look for action.Then, and only then, hope will come. —Greta Thunberg We’ll be less activist if you’ll be less shit. —School Strike 4 Climate placard Bourke Street Mall in central Melbourne is strewn with hundreds of bodies. Shoppers edge past the spectacle trying to work out what’s happening. Police stand at a watchful distance. Commerce in and out of department stores is postponed behind this cheerful shambles of banners and placards, megaphone speeches and sea of sprawled corpses of the theatrically dead. Many of the flags and cardboard signs bear a stylised hourglass in a circle. Weeks after thousands of people brought central London to a standstill under this banner, the Extinction Rebellion has come to Australia. First published at the Monthly It
And here we all are, pencils poised — at least those of us who didn’t already get it over with at prepoll — to pronounce judgement on six years of Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison.