Two Steps From Hell, an incredible music production company, recently hit one million subscribers on YouTube – a feat they are immensely proud of, for good reason. For the occasion, its founder and one of the main composers Thomas Bergersen released a track called One Million Voices, from his upcoming solo album Humanity.
I am no expert on music by any means, but the title of the song and album are entirely fitting. Merely through sound and a clash of cultures, art is created and (judging from the comments so far) fans globally have come together. If one piece of music, one man, one voice, can do that, imagine the impact of one million voices in unison. Imagine the power for change that remains untapped, each additional voice adding strength. Across borders, across cultures, across the divides we have made. Just imagine…
- Not sure who was expecting her too, but Hillary Clinton officially announced she was not going to be running for POTUS in 2020. Maybe this will give Sanders a leg to stand on this time around, rather than the establishment strongarming one of the worst candidates they could’ve chosen.
- Another study came out debunking the myth that vaccinations are associated with developing autism, with the scientists behind it hoping that their work will curb the anti-vax movement. Sadly, I would say they’re being a little too optimistic. I think anti-vax is too lenient – pro-disease sets the tone quite well.
- The Vietnam summit was a pointless distraction that didn’t work, but important progress was made this week. The US has always had a provocative presence on the Peninsula, and while they are not withdrawing any troops from the region, the annual drills carried out by the US and South Korea will be ended. Credit where it is due, however surprising, but the Trump administration has actually taken a major step (if belatedly) towards deescalating tensions. One has to wonder how much pressure came from South Korea to achieve this – I doubt the US hawks will be pleased.
- After I posted my article criticising the Guardian of being anti-Labour (UK) through accusations of anti-Semitism, an article in the New York Times appeared in defence of AIPAC, the “Jewish Lobby” that influences US foreign policy in the Middle East in favour of Israel. The author said those who focus on AIPAC may be doing so out of sub-conscious anti-Semitism, and that it is not as founded a mistrust as we would think. Their moral high ground is quite imagined, however, as their article is based on the assumption that people aren’t intelligent enough to call out ALL forms of political influence and simply react to AIPAC emotionally. When a shooting occurs, people call out the influence of the NRA; when healthcare becomes more and more unaffordable, people call out big pharma and the private healthcare insurers; when the US supports a country guilty of war crimes in their vicious blockade against Palestine, AIPAC’s influence needs to be acknowledged. It is those who mention race, and not the critics of Israeli politics, who are at fault.
- A substantial number of journalists here in Australia are likely to face charges of contempt of court for not adhering to the suppression order relating to the recent court case against George Pell. A number of papers had headlines saying there was a huge story they were unable to comment on, including some (like the ABC) who simply mentioned the fact other news organisations were talking about said suppression order. Paul Barry (Media Watch) summed up my thoughts this week. Although justice for the victims and fair trial for George Pell probably did necessitate a distant media presence to avoid a prejudiced jury verdict, it seems absurd that so many have been targeted for what little mention of the story they made. The Victorian DPP, Kerri Judd, is stepping dangerously close, in my view, to being caught up in a debate about freedom of the press.
- For those doubting the legitimacy of the guilty verdict, it would be worthwhile to direct your attention to the comments made by his lawyer, Robert Richter. He said that acts were ‘plain’ and ‘vanilla’, a disgustingly low description of what happened, but was pretty much an admission of guilt. Why try ‘defend’ and downplay such abhorrent acts if they had not occurred?
- Will take a moment to reinforce what I said in a previous piece: both John Howard and Tony Abbott have indicated they are on Pell’s side of the case, despite him now being a convicted paedophile. Two former Prime Ministers of our country are sympathising with one of the highest-ranking members of the Vatican guilty of sexual crimes against children. Remember where the ideals of the Coalition lie this coming election.
- Julie Bishop, who announced that she will not be recontesting her seat this coming election, has struck out at the Coalition’s terrible representation and treatment of women. This included condemning then Prime Minister Tony Abbott for making himself Minister for Women, and that she felt she could have won the election had she become leader of the LNP instead of Scott Morrison last year. Her sudden feminist stance has zero credibility, however, as she quite happily played along with Abbott, Turnbull, and now Morrison without commenting on it. It is only now that she is almost out the door with a huge pension that she has decided to step up. It might improve her image for some, but to most it’s a shallow gesture almost six years too late.
- Speaking of despicable Prime Ministers, our sixth in a decade (Rudd-Gillard-Rudd-Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison) is planning on visiting Christmas Island to oversee the reestablishment of the detention centre there. He bemoans the money wasted, the time spent, but he assures us it’s all necessary. Two months out from an election, surely it can’t just be a photo op? No, I’m sure our poor little PM had no other choice, like, I don’t know, actually doing what the goddamn medivac bill was supposed to do in the first place.
- There has been chatter recently about the removal of chaplains from schools. Just like how I said banks should not be in schools to remove corporate interests in the public education system, similar reasoning fits for chaplains. Separation of Church and State would suggest that no religious interests, of any kind, should belong in the public education system – the private system can do whatever they please. The argument that they do not actively pursue religious objectives in the school, and that they’re simply there as support for children, is fine. The “but”, however, is that if it is their intention to be there for student welfare, then it should be with appropriate qualifications and no title or reference to religion at all. Scripture Union either needs to adjust this or simply leave public schools, and other student welfare programs need to be invested in.
- On the topic of religion and schools, I saw an interesting point today about educating kids on LGBT issues alongside regular sex-ed classes. It was something along the lines of “if a kid is too young and innocent to learn about sexual and LGBT topics, then they are too young to be indoctrinated into religion”. Not quite how I would go about it, but one can understand the sentiment being made regarding the contradiction and hypocrisy.
- It has been mentioned that Labor also has a number of people not recontesting their seats this election. This has led many to accuse the media of bias as reporting on Coalition exits has far outweighed reporting on Labor resignations. A couple of points need to be made, however, because I would be slow to cast the ‘bias’ accusation. All of Labor’s non-contesting members (7 in total) resigned over a long period of time – July 2016 to August 2018. The one in August 2018, Gai Brodtmann, was the most recent case. In the Coalition, 10 have announced their resignations, 6 of them this year as the election comes up. Only 1, John Williams, was not in the past year. I’m not saying it has anything to do with nabbing a hefty pension before they lose government, but Coalition members are jumping ship because they want their pensions before they lose government.
- I am currently reading a book for university titled Information Systems Consulting – an invigorating read, sure… but, while it is centred on IS consulting, it has many general tips about the processes of engaging with people and negotiating. Maybe our politicians should read some books on these topics, maybe we would actually get something done.
Sadly, the reality is that the one million voices are fractured. Many of the topics and stances I list above, I acknowledge fully, are in direct conflict with my beginning sentiments. The key is engagement, understanding, and education, however, not the division so many cling to. But despite the decaying global condition, I remain dubiously optimistic and hopeful.
When I close my eyes, I imagine a single candle in the streets, the holder solemnly walking with purpose. Another candle joins – another – until a million candles are held up in silence. Peace in the silence, peace for a moment in the world, together. Never have the voices of the millions been louder.