A concept so old it comes to us in a dead language: divide et impera. The original phrase is attributed to Philip II of Macedon as he played Greek city-states off against one another in the fourth century BC. In ancient Greek, διαίρει καὶ βασίλευε; in English, divide and rule. A favoured tactic of emperors and dictators from Caesar to Bonaparte to Mao, it is also a staple of the modern workplace.
For the first time in more than a decade there’s cause for hope.
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