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Posts tagged ‘news’

#istandformercy

Something about the world seems rotten to me today. In a country where child prostitution is common place, where murderers and drug kingpins can bribe their way out of prison, where rape and crimes against women get less punishment than petty crime, 2 reformed, repentant young men were murdered last night.

990082-6d5ec12a-9d4c-11e4-8f33-8e666e0016f7Australian opinions are fiercely divided about Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the infamous Bali Nine ring leaders. I understand the arguments for the death penalty and in this case, I understand that people are annoyed that these young men broke a law in a country where they knew the consequences and flaunted the rules.

What I don’t understand is the lack of compassion and the complete failure to see that these men had been completely rehabilitated and weren’t asking for a pardon for their crimes, they were simply asking for their lives. Lives which they would have spent behind the bars of one of the world’s worst prisons.

Waking up this morning to the confirmed reports that Myuran and Andrew had been executed I sat in silence and wondered, where do we draw the line on appropriate punishment for crime? When do we cross the line between keeping the streets safe and playing God? As jails get so crowded that the death penalty has become a way to make room, have we given up on the very reason the system was created in the first place?

Prisons came about because there is a need to remove dangerous people from the general population. They are there to keep the “good” people safe from the “bad” ones. The ultimate goal of a jail term is to rehabilitate and reform law breakers. The current system rarely works.

Somehow though, in the case of the Bali Nine ring leaders it worked! The corrupt and inhumane Indonesian prison system actually worked. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said this morning, “Indonesia has not just robbed two young men of their lives but robbed itself of two examples of the strengths of its justice system”.

To the families of Myuran and Andrew I put my voice with countless others in Australia and around the world and say that I did and always will stand for mercy.

While the world burns in Baltimore and shakes to its core in Nepal I hope the human race can rise above and thrive while its people and planet seem intent on destroying themselves. But who really stands a chance in a world where being sorry still has you facing the firing squad?

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little white lie

Belle Gibson has got to be one of the most hated women in Australia right now. Not only did she lie about  having cancer, she defrauded thousands of people and splashed herself all over social media spending the money she claimed to be raising for charity on lavish holidays for her “healing”. It’s not just that she has insulted every person struggling through an illness battle or that she took us all for fools for so long. The most incredulous, infuriating thing Belle Gibson is doing is still lying.

Belle-Gibson-860x450Gibson launched a global business, including a top-rating app and cookbook, off the claims that she was a young mother healing herself naturally from terminal brain cancer.

The thing that annoys me most about this story, other than the fact that it’s become such a big story, giving this disturbed young woman more publicity than she ever deserved, is that she blames it all on a troubled childhood. “As a child, she says her mother changed her name five times for reasons she doesn’t comprehend.” Reports Clair Weaver of The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Gibson isn’t the first person to use their upbringing or mental illness as an excuse for bad behavior. How many sports people have we heard use the terms bi-polar and attention deficit disorder as an excuse to drink and take drunks in the last few years? It’s like a broken record playing over and over.

Stories like Belle Gibson make me angry, not because she lied and continues to lie, it makes me angry because I and many other people survived equally or worse troubled childhoods and didn’t turn out to be lying, manipulative sociopaths.

It’s widely accepted in society that children from broken and abusive homes will have a tougher time maintaining healthy relationships and holding steady employment as they grow up. Let me tell you something. I have had both for the majority of my adult life. I have friends from “healthy” and “normal” families however who are a complete mess! No childhood is an excuse to be a grownup douche bag.

Reading this story over and over today left me wondering, is this a woman a victim of society, or is society a victim of her? Obviously there are no winners in this story. Although she may have been riding the wave of fame and fortune, she has certainly neither in her corner now, and she’s dragging her young son down on the sinking ship with her.

Maybe Gibson isn’t so much a product of a tough upbringing, but a product of her own feelings of desperation and insignificance. A woman who felt so invisible she built herself up by tempting fate and lying about having a terminal illness.

I wouldn’t ever make an excuse for her actions and I think she should be prosecuted for fraud and made to pay back every penny but the woman is obviously unstable and needs help.

Maybe what started as a little white lie should have been seen as a big red flag!

pay it forward

I asked my Facebook followers this week to let me know what they wanted to read about, what was catching their attention in the media or what was bothering them at the moment that they’d like to talk about. Unfortunately I didn’t get a very good response but one that did resonate with me was from a girl named Kristy who said she had been affected by what she saw on the news about troubles in the Ukraine.

We all see stories on the evening news or in the media that disturb us sometimes. I often sit in front of the TV wondering what I can do to help communities in need or countries in crisis. For us as individuals of course the problems are too big, what can we do as ordinary everyday people to change things?

Kristy wanted to write a letter to the government about how Australia could help with what is going on in the Ukraine but she felt that it would be pointless, because what difference would a letter from one person make? My advice was to go ahead and write the letter. Yes, maybe Kristy’s lone voice won’t make a difference but imagine if everyone who had the same idea followed through with it.

Ghandi said, “be the change you want to see in the world”. If everyone who was affected by the trouble in the Ukraine, the war in the Middle East or the crimes against human rights in the Congo put pen to paper, government houses would be flooded with mail and would surely have to take notice.

Kristy’s simple message made me wonder, what sort of world do I want my son to grow up in? What can I do to make a positive change in our community?

giveMy husband and I were having lunch last week at a local café and when he went to pay the bill the cashier told him it had already been taken care of. To this day we don’t know who paid for our meal, although we have our suspicions. Without knowing for sure, we can’t repay that person or thank them properly. All I could do was write a heartfelt thank you on social media hoping they would see it and now we’ve commit to paying it forward.

I know the world’s problems and my free lunch may not seem connected at all but imagine this, if every time someone did something good for you, you paid it forward to someone else. All that means is that you do something good for someone with no expectation of being repaid or even thanked. If everyone carried on paying it forward, we could change the world.

So next time you think you are powerless to make the world a better place, think a little closer to home. Do something nice for a stranger and when they ask how they can repay you simply tell them to pay it forward. Or if someone does something nice for you, make a point of doing something nice for someone else.

We might not be able to change the world on our own but one kind act at a time, we can make it a better place.

selling the drama

alabama-boy-bunker-hostage-bkng-news-leadLast week in a sleepy rural Alabama town, a young boy was freed from 7 days captivity in an underground bunker. The week earlier 65 year old, Jim Dykes, had boarded a school bus, shot the driver and taken 6 year old Ethan hostage. Dykes then locked Ethan in an underground shelter he had constructed on his property. After 7 days US army troopers stormed the property, shot Dykes and rescued Ethan. Ethan witnessed 2 fatal shootings in one week. Next week on US television Ethan’s mother, Jennifer Kirkland, will appear on the “Dr Phil Show” to recount in detail her son’s harrowing 7 day kidnapping. Not only is Jennifer appearing, but Ethan will also be spoken to by Dr Phil on the program. This little boy who has just been through unimaginable terror will now be put on show for the whole world to scrutinise.

Things are different in Australia but in the US and Europe people go on talk shows to air their dirty laundry every day. We have shows like Dr Phil, Judge Judy, Geordie Shore, The Real Housewives, Keeping up the Kardashians, Jermey Kyle, Shahs of Sunset… and the list goes on. The majority of high rating shows on television today are reality based programs shipped in from overseas. You can’t flick the channel without being invited in to someone else’s personal life.

For some of us it’s a guilty pleasure and I don’t mind admitting that I am obsessed with these kinds of shows (much to my husband’s dismay) and they are pretty much the only thing I watch on TV. But shouldn’t we be drawing the line somewhere? When does telling your story cross the line in to exploiting it?

Image courtesy of NBC

Image courtesy of NBC

I have nothing against Jennifer Kirkland appearing on Dr Phil. I have nothing against her telling her story and explaining what she went through over those 7 days, I’m sure it will make for compelling and terrifying  viewing for any parent. My issue is that she is allowing her son to be part of it. How could you not want to do everything in your power to shelter and protect this child from any more harm? How could a parent think for one moment that allowing their 6 year old child to appear on national television to a global audience is a good idea when they haven’t even had time process what they’ve been through?

I’ve wondered what I would do if it was my child, and I’ve imagined what my mother would do if it was me. There would  be no TV cameras, no media interviews, no Dr Phil McGraw. A simple statement to let the wondering world know that Ethan is safe and doing well is all that should have been considered. What this family needs now is privacy and healing.

I’m sure for now the Kirkland family are being taken care of by their community and receiving worldwide support and messages of love, but how long will that last? The camera crews have already packed up and moved on and next week there will be another headline on the 6 o’clock news and another family ordeal playing out on the Dr Phil Show.

As for the tragic reality TV I love so much, I know that one day the world will tire of watching the Real Housewives get drunk at parties and yell at each other and will change the channel, the Kardashians will eventually reach the end of their very long 15 minutes of fame and be cancelled and the Shahs will ride off in to that sunset in their luxury cars. Eventually they will all end up as tacky TV shows we all used to watch and B grade celebrities no one wants to know.

For these families who sell themselves for television ratings, what will be left when the film cameras stop rolling?

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