Interesting articles on issues ranging from a small town fighting for asylum seekers to stay, to Cambridge Analytica.
It is said that dividing and conquering is an effective way to deal with an opponent.
With that in mind, the very last thing we should be doing as a community in the face of fear is become divided.
As a community, we are so much stronger than that.
They call themselves IS, and are known by a variety of names including ISIS, ISIL, or as Muslim leaders in the US have begun to refer to them, the Anti-Islamic State (AIS).
Irrespective of what its members preach, this group's actions are not Islamic, nor is it by any means an official state. Every time we refer to it as Islamic, we are actually legitimising a group which is essentially criminal in its behaviour. It is strategic and calculated in its actions, but this makes it similar to militant groups worldwide, rather than especially Islamic.
AIS was formally known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but it was seen as too violent even for them. The two groups are now competitors for a type of cruel dominance in the region. At its roots, support for the group is politically motivated. The area's history with Sunni and Shiites is complex to say the least, and AIS has capitalised on that tension and historic power imbalance for their own gains.
All of this has occurred half way around the world though. The question many Australians are asking is what has brought this to our doorstep, and how do we deal with it as a community?
The events of the last few days have been played over and over ad nauseam on our screens. They have shocked many. The allegations have been damning and the responses swift. In the face of all that has occurred however, it is imperative that we take a step back, reassess and regroup.
What is important to us as a nation? The concept of a fair go gets bandied about regularly as an Aussie value. So although there have been raids based on information that security forces have intercepted, if we really are about giving each other a fair go then we will treat those arrested as innocent until proven guilty. Although we may be frightened, there has to be a level of trust and support in the justice system and its capacity to deal with threats to our safety. This does not, however, provide permission for authorities to operate without limits. Due process must. be followed. If we are to allows breaches of justice in the name of fighting against what we fear, we are no better than the terrorists.
Our strength and resilience as a society is not measured by how we act in the good times but how we deal with the bad times and come together in the face of adversity. During the 2011 Queensland floods people around the world were shocked to see traffic jams because of people heading into the state, rather than out of it, so they could offer a helping hand. Today should be no different. Faced with a threat - perceived or evidenced - it is imperative that we as a community support each other and stand united against fear.
The tricky line is not letting a stance against fear become a stance against a people because of their race, religion or dress code. The threat of terrorism must not become a chance for racial and religious hatred and ignorance to flourish. What it must not become is a conversation about us and them, because that leads us down a path we thrashed 13 years ago. Violence begets violence. For the cycle to be broken, the conversation must be reframed. Rather than basing it on race, religion or ethnicity, let's base it on intention, values and principles. We have come so far since September 11 and we must heed the lessons of history.
Us and them marginalises communities and makes people feel like they don't belong when Australia is all they have ever known. It pushes people away from the mainstream, particularly young people, when often they are looking to be valued and fit in. Marginalisation, as well as entrenched socio-economic disadvantage and language in the public arena that is isolating, fear mongering and cruel, are some of the many reasons people look for other answers. Groups like AIS are happy to be that answer. We cannot let that happen.
If you are in favour of a society where people live harmony, within a system that is fair and just, then you are for peace and we stand united on that platform.
So what can we all do as individuals? Have open conversations with one another. Learn about each other without prejudice. Smile and say hi to someone who looks different on the street. Stand up to behaviour that is prejudiced. Make a friend who follows a different belief system and ask them about their way of life. make a Muslim friend. Gosh, if all else fails, email me and I'll regale you with terrible puns and stories all about my car woes (never buy an Alfa Romeo if you're not ready for the towing costs and emotional heartache).
There may be disagreement about beliefs, mindsets and ways of living, but this does not preclude us from living harmoniously together. After all, I continue to disagree with anyone who claims the Blues are a better team than the Maroons (however misplaced you may think that faith is…) yet, I do still accept those from down south. We do say that sport is pretty much a religion in this country, don't we?
That is what makes us who we are. The ability to rise above and beyond prejudice, ignorance and hatred and truly be mates, especially when the going gets tough.
As Muslims we are told "since good and evil cannot be equal, repel evil with something that is better" (41:34). Let's all make sure we are better than the evil that we so abhor. Let's make sure it doesn't turn us against our neighbours, but rather brings us together to realise that strength lies not in our differences, but in our unity.
When I'm at work on the rigs, it turns out I'm an undercover hijabi.
The experience I have reflects what blogger Leena talks about in her piece 'I took my hijab off for a day'. She describes a complete shift in the way she was perceived by society after she accidentally covered her hijab up with a knit hat and scarf.
This piece appeared in the Weekend version of the Sydney Morning Herald this weekend...what do you think?
A recent YouTube sensation has reignited an age-old conversation about the dearth of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
GoldieBlox, the crowd-funded toy company claims to be on a "mission to inspire the next generation of female engineers". It is doing so by selling toys themed around invention and construction, and pitching them to girls. The concept of encouraging girls into these disciplines at an early age has merit. Yet if society is serious about encouraging more women into technical areas, a variety of factors must be addressed. It must start early, but effort needs to be spread across the board to entrench change.
An Early Start
An introduction to the technical world at an early age would be a great start. Unfortunately, these disciplines continue to be seen by society as largely unfeminine, leading to an unconscious bias in the way we talk about them with young girls. This bias is then internalised, affecting their interests, subject and career choices down the line.
However, an early introduction does not necessarily have to be swathed in pink and lace to appeal. It can simply be in the types of activities young girls are exposed to. My father, an engineer, took my brother and I to science and rail museums, bought us a microscope and Meccano sets from a very early age. Our gender was no point of difference and the family environment was such that science and engineering were seen as interesting and exciting for all.
To say that female minds are less attuned to technical fields is fallacious and dangerously misleading. Correlation does not equal causation; and anecdotally, girls tend to do quite well in technical subjects. Perhaps that can be related to the fact girls are unlikely to choose a "male-dominated" subject unless they excel at it, because of societal expectations. We have not yet earned the right to be mediocre.
By actively engaging girls, the exciting realities of what science, technology, engineering and mathematics actually involve can be better illustrated and communicated. A clear understanding of what engineers do is often lacking, and the stereotype prevails. The image of a mechanical engineer as a man working on cars and covered in grease is all too common, notwithstanding the fact that it is often far from the truth.
Another critical component of attracting girls and retaining women in these fields is the use of role models. This is imperative, and they should not only be celebrated simply as anomalies due to their gender but as inspiration by virtue of their achievements. The talent pool of role models to choose from at the moment is solid and inspiring, but hardly expansive. Engineers Australia's Statistical Overview of the profession describes the situation diplomatically. "Australia has some extraordinary women engineers but this should not be confused with improvement in the status of women in engineering." For more role models to exist, we need more women achieving at higher levels in industries. To do so, labour market imbalances and obstacles to women's true engagement in these sectors must be addressed.
In 2011, the proportion of women in the engineering force was 10.9 per cent. Unemployment numbers between men and women in engineering were also starkly different, with 2.5 per cent for the former and 9 per cent for the latter.
Ultimately, the numbers will remain low if society continues to perceive technical disciplines as a fundamentally male-dominated space. Until this deeply entrenched gender expectation shifts, girls and women who choose these fields will continue to exist in minorities. We must focus on the way we talk about and present these disciplines to our young girls to ensure they grow up with choices free of gender bias.
So it would seem the F1 online world is abuzz with the news that Sebastian Vettel – a four-time World Champion, no less – fears that Formula 1 will lose its ‘excitement’ in 2014.
Firstly, it has to be said that the epitome of ironic is that Vettel – the man who has spent most of the last four years at the front of the pack, relegating most fights to ‘who will get second place’ – is complaining about F1 becoming boring.
Vettel’s comments were made at the AUTOSPORT Awards ceremony on Suday night:
Here are a few great pieces I came across on the internet this week:
Why do poor people make stupid, illogical decisions to buy status symbols? For the same reason all but only the most wealthy buy status symbols, I suppose. We want to belong. And, not just for the psychic rewards, but belonging to one group at the right time can mean the difference between unemployment and employment, a good job as opposed to a bad job, housing or a shelter, and so on. Someone mentioned on twitter that poor people can be presentable with affordable options from Kmart. But the issue is not about being presentable. Presentable is the bare minimum of social civility. It means being clean, not smelling, wearing shirts and shoes for service and the like. Presentable as a sufficient condition for gainful, dignified work or successful social interactions is a privilege. It’s the aging white hippie who can cut the ponytail of his youthful rebellion and walk into senior management while aging black panthers can never completely outrun the effects of stigmatization against which they were courting a revolution. Presentable is relative and, like life, it ain’t fair.
We imagine ultra-successful individuals being endowed with almost superhuman talents. In so doing, we surround greatness with a certain kind of mystique and deem it somewhat inaccessible to the average person. However, success is not contingent on having extraordinary, innate ability. Nor does greatness depend upon some mysterious approach to life. There are no secrets to success—only simple truths, principles, and disciplines that have been around for thousands of years. Sadly, we obscure the reality of success by making a number of misjudgments about it.
Dr Akram Nadwi is soon to publish his 40-volume collection on Muslim women scholars. In 2007, Mehrunisha Suleman and Afaaf Rajbee analysed the lost legacy of women scholars and its impact on today's world in emel's feature on The Lost Female Scholars of Islam.
Since women today participate so little in the teaching of Hadith and the issuing of fatwas, there is a wide misconception that historically they have never played this role. As Shaykh Akram describes, “when I started, I thought there may be thirty to forty women,” but as the study progressed, the accounts of female scholars kept growing and growing, until eventually there were no less than 8,000 biographical accounts to be found. Such vast numbers truly testify to the huge role that women have played in the preservation and development of Islamic learning since the time of the blessed Prophet Muhammad. The women encountered by Shaykh Akram were far from mediocre when compared to men, indeed, some excelled far beyond their male contemporaries. There were exceptional women who not only actively participated in society but also actively reformed it. Most striking was the high calibre of their intellectual achievements and the respect that they received for this.
It is what it is. The past is the past and no matter how hard we try we cannot change that history.
But let’s start to undo the wrongs with what is right and just. I urge all my Parliamentary colleagues to become champions for the recognition of Australia’s first nations people in our constitution.
To Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples this has always been part of our story of struggle, injustice and heartache. But we are here today – I am here today – because of this history. Aboriginal Australians are symbolic of triumph over adversity. We represent knowledge and wisdom held in land and country.
Because in our hearts we know that we do not own Mother Earth, the Earth owns us.
As a child growing up, I dreamt big.
Most people would have looked at an Aboriginal girl from the Territory, where the statistics of alcohol abuse, youth suicide, domestic violence, imprisonment rates and sub-standard education point to every reason why you should not succeed.
But I was determined to be successful.
And yes I am a product of that history, and I continue to live in a society whereby the odds are stacked against Aboriginal people.
As a senior executive with one of the charities says: ''I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, worried that one day we may have to face a royal commission and have to answer for the conditions under which these people were treated and which we didn't have the guts to challenge the government on.''
The economic crash brought back a host of long-forgotten truths, or rather lack of truths, as academic economics closed itself away from the beauty of competing, different ideas. Classroom economics failed to adapt itself to the essence of the world and fails to search for its own failures, to seek and wrestle with new truths.
We now have an opportunity to extend economics beyond the orthodoxies, to reach out to branches of economics that do not allocate resources through simple supply and demand, but theories that directly address the issue of sustainability and aim to ensure people's decisions are born out of social responsibility.
It is essential that future financial and commercial leaders realise the direct consequence of their actions on the wider society, and the best way to do this is by expanding the range of economic thought they are able to engage with.
THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME.
Of course, there was also the pieces on this blog in case you missed them, published in the Financial Review and lamenting on what to do with our lives (fulfillment?)
What have you read that you really enjoyed or found thought provoking?
Can't wait to share!
Good morning all! Things are a little bit quiet on my front today so I thought I would share some of the interesting bits of news / things on the internet this morning.
Secondly, an interesting piece on The Conversation on the fact that Peter Voser (outgoing Chair of Shell) says getting into shale gas in the US is his biggest regret. Say what?!
There is no doubt gas is a much cleaner fuel than coal in all sorts of ways, and a preferable one if it can be delivered to market at scale in a cost effective way. It could conceivably help attain climate objectives if used as a bridging fuel, providing fugitive emissions are held in check. But to do so, requires a sustained coal-to-gas replacement path in the short-medium term.
With the latest reports out of EIA, and Voser’s mea culpa, unconventional gas is not looking quite the sure bridge it was just a few months ago.
For the outgoing Chair of Shell to say that the shale gas revolution in the States isn't necessarily the revolution we were expecting, one has to wonder...
What have you read this morning that has caught your eye??
Happy Mother's Day all! Check out the links for the week...
Do you pay for newspapers or any news? Do you want to? News Limited has a paywall dilemma trying to deal with it...
[box] This announcement is their epitaph. It suggests that News Limited really sees little future in hard copy newspapers. They will continue until their revenue falls to a point where they are unprofitable. Then they will die. But don’t worry: you can always switch to news+.[/box]
Society seems obsessed with the concept of "happiness". It would seem the "happiest people pursue the most difficult problems". I think it comes to finding meaning in life... "For many social entrepreneurs, happiness comes from the feeling they are making a difference."
Has the Carbon Tax actually worked? I missed this earlier, but it seems Australia's emissions are at 10 year low...What does this mean for the industry? Stretching this out a little further, what does it mean for the thousands of engineering students training in Australia every year in response to the "engineering - skill - shortage"?
[box] Australia's greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation have fallen to a 10-year low as coal-fired power slumped to its lowest level in a decade, a new report says. At the same time, the share of renewable energy in the National Electricity Market (NEM) has soared beyond 12 per cent and looks set to continue rising.[/box]
An amazingly honest piece about what Depression is like. Many of us have family and friends who go through this, and it is a difficult thing as a bystander to understand. It is really interesting to read a piece that provides an insight into a struggle that afflicts so many.
Anil Dash talks about privacy through identity control and asks the question, who owns your identity right now? His blog is an interesting mix of technology and pop culture and worth a read.
[box] To understand why the west is so keen on secularism, one should go to places like Cordoba in Spain and see torture apparatus used during Spanish Inquisition. Also the persecution of scientists as heretics by the clergy and convinced the Europeans that all religions are regressive. However, the biggest factor that drove people like me away from religion was the selective Islam practised by most of its preachers. In other words, there was a huge difference between what they practised and what they preached. Also, rather than explaining the philosophy behind the religion, there was an over emphasis on rituals. ... I feel there are certain western countries with far more Islamic traits than us, especially in the way they protect the rights of their citizens, or for that matter their justice system. In fact some of the finest individuals I know live there.[/box]
Tune of the day: Janelle Monae is a funky lady indeed.
A stunning way to tell a story. Check out this audition on the X Factor.
What have you been up to this week? It's been a crazy one on this end...I had this interview come out on Radio National about the piece in the Griffith Review, learnt a fair bit about training someone and read many analyses about the reaction to the Boston Bombings (a few of which I have included below). Enough about me though...here are some of the bits and bobs which caught my eye this week.
Paul Grahams words on finding your purpose and doing what you love (via Brain Pickings).
What you should not do, I think, is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world.
Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.
[box] Contrary to what is alleged by bigots like Bill Maher, Muslims are not more violent than people of other religions. Murder rates in most of the Muslim world are very low compared to the United States.[/box]
[box] The Quran and the Hadith very clearly and explicitly warn against extremism in matters of religion...In the Quran God says, ‘Do not commit excess in your religion.’ According to a report in the Sahih Ibn Majah, the Prophet Muhammad is said to have remarked ‘O People! Save yourselves from excess in religion, because earlier communities were destroyed […] due to excess in religion’[/box]
It is this that I wish people remembered.
[box]The government is cutting music programmes in schools and slashing Arts grants as gleefully as a morbidly American kid in Baskin Robbins. So if only to stick it to the man, isn't it worth fighting back in some small way? So write your damn book. Learn a Chopin prelude, get all Jackson Pollock with the kids, spend a few hours writing a Haiku. Do it because it counts even without the fanfare, the money, the fame and Heat photo-shoots that all our children now think they're now entitled to because Harry Styles has done it.[/box]
[box] ...aside from the racial overtones when mostly white Western women are trying to “save” mostly non-white non-Western women, Femen activists have insulted the group they claim to care about. A campaign against the hijab is an attack on Islam instead of on patriarchy itself, effectively marginalizing all those women who choose to seek their rights in an Islamic context.[/box]
An MUST read by Mohamed Ghilan on "The Irony of Muslim Terrorism". I've just discovered his blog and I am sold.
[box] The matter is not about Islam. A closer investigation of Islam through proper methods of study and proper contextualisation will reveal that it is impossible for anyone to conclude any room for justifying, let alone do it in the name of Islam, the indiscriminate killing of innocent people on the streets. What we are dealing with are the repercussions of political decisions and historical forces that gave rise to insane acts by misguided Muslims who think they are serving Islam and Muslims.[/box]
A really well presented piece by Stella Young on the Politics of Exclusion, something I know about perhaps from one angle but not from this particular angle - that of disability and the invisibility it renders...
I posted this during the week but it is worth a conversation - diversity in motorsport. Will Buxton writes an awesome piece on this...
I have to include this amazing spoken word video. It's rather viral at the moment (includes swear words). Seriously though, watch it. A letter to JK Rowling from Cho Chang.
Here are some equally interesting critiques, all which bring up interesting points (this is just one example) and it is good to see the poet has engaged with them via her tumblr. I think pieces like this are extremely important and a healthy part of the public sphere of debate. Clearly, there are many critiques, but what this has achieved is highlighted a problematic discourse and created a catalyst - a conversation through which we as a society can dismantle and tackle the issue. How can issues ever be resolved if they are not talked about?
For a bit of fun, check out these awesome LEGO CREATIONS!
Enjoy your Sunday!
How many times do we have to say this? The use of the word "illegal" is ignorant and mischievous!
[box] While the Coalition may have hoped to score political points with the reappearance of its "illegal boats" billboard this week, it has shone a spotlight on its feeble grasp of international law. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is wrong to say that the Refugee Convention says asylum seekers are "illegal". [/box]
On the topic of the Boston Marathon Bombings: why is it considered terrorism and Aurora and Sandy Hook not?
[box] Some would argue that it is necessary to remove all religion from the political process and that until Bahrainis stop thinking about being Shias or Sunnis there cannot be a truly democratic country. If you go back in history you see many nations going through similar religious troubles, notably in Europe in the 16th and 17th Centuries when Catholics and Protestants murdered one another in large numbers. We do not live in a perfect world, but sport is one of the few ways in which nations can unite, transcending internal divisions and thinking as a group. Thus looking at a much bigger picture one has to say that the Grand Prix is a good idea for Bahrain. No doubt some will disagree…[/box]
Finding a way of being a girl that doesn't hurt... again going to a question of where the feminist movement is?
Again on the issue of feminism...Five Myths about Feminism. How do you feel about the label?
A massive discussion about social media's do's and don'ts. Really interesting - how do you use social media, as an individual and as a company?
Seth Godin asks the question: What is your critical mass?
[box] If your idea isn't spreading, one reason might be that it's for too many people. Or it might be because the cohort that appreciates it isn't tightly connected. When you focus on a smaller, more connected group, it's far easier to make an impact.[/box]
This is old news but I think I forgot to link it in my hubris - the first female, Muslim MP in Australia!
I am a sucker for beautiful photography (who isn't), and beautiful photography of beautiful machines? How could I resist...
Oh and don't forget to check out my posts this week; one on Global Migration and Identity and the other on Stirling Moss's comment's on women in F1. If you want to keep in touch more regularly, you can always check out my Facebook page!
How are we all this morning? How has the week been? I've been super busy with a crazy week at work (I've a new trainee), getting excited about being published and wrote one of my most-read articles on an encounter at the airport. Enough about what I did though...here is what I came across on the net!
I love this piece by the Informed Comment: Top Ten Reasons why Terrorism is Forbidden in Islamic Law...
From the simple dollar: 5 pieces of advice that changed my life.
Young people need to be more involved in all levels of decision making in society; even though public and corporate decisions usually affect us we are rarely party to the decision making process. That should change, and one way is by getting young people on Boards.
I completely relate to this writer - the love of technology mixed with nostalgia for print (I was an insane bookworm growing up and still feel guilty that I own a Kindle...I feel like I am betraying print) and it's interesting to read this piece from a lady who says her life is better without Facebook. I don't know if I could leave Facebook (isn't that a sad state of affairs!) - working out in the sticks doesn't help I guess...
Feel like you have media overload? A piece from Wired on balancing your media diet...
Why aren't there more women in technology? Forbes thinks it's a numbers and expectations game...
On one hand, the Boston bombing reaction reporting seemed relatively free of bias...but that was definitely not the case.
Regardless of your views of justification and intent: whatever rage you're feeling toward the perpetrator of this Boston attack, that's the rage in sustained form that people across the world feel toward the US for killing innocent people in their countries. Whatever sadness you feel for yesterday's victims, the same level of sadness is warranted for the innocent people whose lives are ended by American bombs. However profound a loss you recognize the parents and family members of these victims to have suffered, that's the same loss experienced by victims of US violence. It's natural that it won't be felt as intensely when the victims are far away and mostly invisible, but applying these reactions to those acts of US aggression would go a long way toward better understanding what they are and the outcomes they generate.
I don't agree with everything the United Nations does, but I do believe there is a place for it. Why we get value for money at the United Nations.
I love examples of Muslim women challenging the expectations, and this Bosnian Mayor is a inspirational case!
The difference in treatment and expectations of male and female CEOs - Queen Bees getting the flak.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday (and the Formula 1 and MotoGP!)
Well it's that time of week again! Let me share with you some of the interesting pieces of the internet that have recently caught my eye...
Trip down memory lane: The Iraq War told in headlines over the last 10 years.
Are you moving from Google Reader? Want to know how to make the switch seamlessly to Feedly? Worry no longer.
52 reasons why you should date an aid worker (tongue in cheek and all...)
A great collection of FREE apps from LinkedIn on making your work life more productive.
A heart breaking but very human look at the effects of the Syrian conflict: Refugees talk about the "most important thing" they took with them when they fled their homes.
Tamara, 20, in Adiyaman camp in Turkey. The most important thing she was able to bring with her is her diploma, which she holds. With it she will be able to continue her education in Turkey.
Ah, it pin points an issue that has been niggling in the back of my mind: The problem with 'First World Problems'
To blithely relegate trivial matters as ‘first world problems’ not only dismisses the very real issues that some first world residents face on a daily basis, it also prevents a mutual understanding between the West and the developing world because sometimes both 'worlds' experience the same problems; First world problems can also be third world problems.
Considering my current employment, this was a really interesting report to come across on FIFO and DIDO workers.
What a way to wrap it up. This kid, well I can't imagine how motivational he will be when he's grown up? Gee, mashallah. Hope he channels it into something useful, I can only imagine how far he will go then! Kudos to supportive parents I imagine as well.