Welcome to Janet's Blog

I first used this blog to publish "Trash" before I knew about ebooks. I wrote "Trash" twenty years ago. The novel explains why, in the original version of "If not for the tomatoes" Annie wrote: "We had aliens come and tell us". It wasn't Al Gore at all.

Annie isn't the hero of "Trash", but she has her own story ( a much more polished novel). Go to smashwords.com and look for "Tipping Point". (Follow the link to the right.)

If you're a first time visitor to my blog, try reading "If not for the tomatoes" first. (It's the short story in Annie's future - look in 6/5/07) This is only half the story, though. The complete story that inspired Tipping Point appears in my other blog as "Our choices".

To begin reading "Trash", start at 17/6/07. (Many apologies for the poor navigation.)


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The tears of a child

The class was extremely small - most of Year 9 were either on camp or staying home for the week. The film I was asked to show - "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas." I was not prepared for the tears at the end of the film. Fortunately we had ten minutes to talk.

Their first concern was whether this was what really happened. I briefly explained the Holocaust and stressed that this was one of the reasons we taught History in school (although this was an English lesson). "We have to know what's happened so we don't repeat our mistakes," one wise girl suggested.

I hope I was able to ease the distress, but in the short time available I could not say all I wanted to. How do you answer, "Did the Jews really cause the war?" in five minutes or less?
They had seen the use of propaganda shown in the film, but how do you explain the modern take on the ancient tradition of anti-Semitism? How to discuss the human predilection for hating and persecuting the "other". Could I link it to the way Australia, a nation founded on fear of Asian invasion, continues to target the most recent boat people?

How can I explain to these sweet thirteen-year-olds the way that politicians are increasingly using fear to manipulate their electorates? Fear of refugees, Muslims, terrorists. In a country where a woman dies every week from domestic violence we spend more money combating terrorism, which has barely touched our island/continent. I did not have time to draw parallels between Hitler's Germany and politicians who win office through deceitful campaigns that exploit people's fears while neglecting their needs. Through fear we retain a government that panders to vested interests to the detriment of the people and the land.

And last week our Senate debated whether or not climate change was real. The greatest threat to human society is still being treated as a hoax by people who have power in running our country. It doesn't suit them to acknowledge the damage being done as our environment is exploited in the name of greed. Next year's election is more important than our children's future.

What hope did I have in explaining anti-Semitism and propaganda? A whole lesson would not have been enough. 

When are our politicians going to grow up enough to face the real challenges our world faces, instead of distracting us with scary shadows on the wall?

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