Fair trade

I caught the tail end of Triple J’s Hack, a current affair program and was disappointed to hear Australia’s latest refugee stunt. Apparently, we are considering exchanging refugees with America. Refugees will be ‘processed’ in each country’s off-shore facility, and then potentially traded. I can imagine it now. The phone rings.


“Good morning George! What will it be today? ”

“I’ve got thirty Cubans on offer. What can you give me?”

“How about a handful of Sri Lankans, and er, lets see – I’ve got a dozen Chinese.”


Since when do we play “swaps” with people? Ok, I understand the student exchange idea – one of mutual benefit. House exchanges – I visit your country and you visit mine and we stay in each other’s houses. One vital difference here. Choice. Refugees suffer enough, fleeing living situations that are incomprehensible to us here in Australia. They finally make it to safer waters, end up in our cozy detention centres, and then get traded like some kind of commodity. I like fair trade. As in coffee. Not people. Not happy John.


There are moments where time seems to lag, as if the normal sixty seconds per minute rule no longer applies. Sometimes this is a blissful thing – there are those moments which you wish never cease. That sense where all is as close as we will ever find to perfection. At other times, one feels helpless in the midst of the tyranny of the drawn out moment. Waiting for a dreaded event. Or watching an unattended car slowly roll through a car park. Last Friday I, along with a couple of other curious shoppers, watched a dark grey commodore decide that the other side of the car park was more interesting, while its hapless owner presumably shopped nearby. Slowly the car ambled. Straight for a line of cars on the furthest side of the car park. I could not tear my eyes away, powerless, fascinated. Wondering how big a bang. Surprisingly for the bulk of the vehicle, the sickening crunch was far less dominating on the soundscape than anticipated. The handbrakes of the victims held. I decided that I may need to wander over to be sure that there wasn’t someone slumped in the seat of the car, but firstly took a cursory glance at the recently vacated parking space. Sure enough, there was a middle-aged man wearing a perplexed expression, staring at the empty space and its neighbours, clutching an Age newspaper. I called over to him, inviting him to identify the grey cruiser. The look of horror on his face was priceless.

In the Garden


These hands lovingly fashioned the universe, and knit together first man and first woman. Hands that rejoiced in the light of first day now trace the edges of an impenetrable darkness.

God incarnate, Son of Man, on his knees. Terrified. Alone. Through tears the ground is a blur. All is silent, closing in as if the universe were about to fold in on itself, implode. Creation holds it’s breath, for the redemption of all that has been made resides in the hands of the one who kneels in the garden. Heart beats resound like the slapping of a drum. Trembling hands outstretched to the beloved Father. Despairing of the tortuous path that lay ahead that long black night. Somewhere in an unknown place a Father weeps for his Son.

Your will be done.

Hands that lovingly created life now wait for death. It is the only way. For in the shadow of the cross divine hands take hold of yours and mine.


I have been tagged by Anna with the obsession meme.  I wouldn’t have described myself as especially obsessive, but there are some things that frustrate me if they do not occur in a certain way !

1.  I absolutely cannot stand the doona being on the bed askew.  As far as I am concerned, it is rectangular in shape for good reason.  To hopefully coincide with the proportions of the bed.  It is not designed to be at right angles, or with the shorter side across the width of the bed.  If you don’t know what I mean, you obviously do not a) – care, or b) – share a bed with someone who does not care. In a similar vein, I firmly believe the buttons ought to go at the foot of the bed.  Preferrably right side up.  Now I am questioning my self assessment concerning obsession!

2.  I can’t stand cups of tea where the milk has been added before the bag has been removed and the tea has achieved its desired strength.  It seems to me that premature milking of tea arrests the development of its flavour.

3.  I cannot stand bad punctuation, which unfortunately screams at me everywhere I look.  Errors such as:  “cheap tomatoe’s!”  I have never met a tomato interested in owning property.  Potato’s – a similar offender.  Book’s are us.  There is a seriously significant number of people out there who have totally misunderstood the humble apostrophe.

4.  Pens.  While I am not as bad as I used to be, I am partial to a fine writing instrument.  The feel in my hand, the colour and flow of the ink, the smoothness and colour of the barrel – all issues of importance.  To retract or not to retract.  In high school (back in the antiquated days before computers everywhere) a fine pen was essential for my work.  I could not begin to write an essay unless the pen was satisfactory.

5.  Art supplies.  I am not as committed as I would like to be to actually using art materials, but I love the smell of papers, paints, the softness of pencils and pastels, the vibrant colours, the feel of art putty in my fingers. I feel similarly towards fine musical instruments, and could easily have a collection, whether I had the skill to play them or not.

My turn to tag:






On the weekend I attended a wedding.  Everything was beautiful, from the bride to the distant Melbourne cityscape bathed in gentle light behind her, the bridesmaids, the three year old page boy who curiously wandered about in a kilt.   The retiring sun reflected off cheery lanterns and cheerier people.  The clink of glasses, glistening wine, laughter, and the golden tones of a dancing double bass.  Delectable food.  Yet these beautiful things are not what remain with me now, a couple of days later.  It is the face of a man who died a little over a year ago.   His identical twin brother was at the wedding, and I sat at the same table.  Every smile, laugh, twinkle in the eye brought back the memory his brother.   A life that is no more.  Yet somehow he was resurrected in every word and motion of his brother.   I continually wanted to address him by the name of the dead man, to shake his hand, kiss his cheek and wonder what he had been up to for the last year.   I was held back by the sadness and questioning deep in the brother’s eyes.  He was in a merry mood for the beautiful wedding, but I imagine the pain of a dead twin is something that would be as near and natural as the intimacy of one who is living.