26 August 2012


From Mondoweiss 250812

Discussing life ‘after zionism’ in Israel/Palestine
Aug 24, 2012 10:13 am | Antony Loewenstein

The drive from East Jerusalem to Tel Aviv takes around one hour. It’s a stinking hot day and I’ve come from Ramallah in mid-August 2012. Despite flying into Ben Gurion airport in the morning I am stopped and initially refused entry by the Israeli border guard police when trying to come back into Israel. I’m on a private Palestinian bus, taken at the Qalandiya checkpoint, and asked to get off to explain who I am.
I don’t have any Israeli stamp in my passport because I requested at the airport for the officials to stamp a separate piece of paper to avoid troubles when travelling around the Muslim world. A customs official took that paper as I exited and I’m told by activists that this is an increasingly utilised tactic that only affects people who want to travel back and forth between Israel and the occupied territories.
Even when I arrive at the airport I am held and questioned for more than one and a half hours and asked why I have recently visited places such as Pakistan and Afghanistan and “how many Muslims did you speak to there?”
Of course, none of this harassment comes close to what Palestinians and minorities face on a daily basis in Israel proper and Palestine.
I am in Israel and Palestine for an independently organised tour of my new book, After Zionism (co-edited with Ahmed Moor). It’s a collection of new essays on today’s reality and examines the ways in which a one-state solution could be implemented. It features chapters by John Mearsheimer, Sara Roy, Jeff Halper, Omar Barghouti, Diana Buttu, Joseph Dana, Jonathan Cook, Phil Weiss and many others.
The owner of East Jerusalem’s Educational Bookshop, Mahmoud, drives me to Tel Aviv. He tells me that the Israeli establishment is increasingly keen to censor views they don’t like. He recalls stories of having books briefly impounded at Ben Gurion airport, and some stolen, that feature examination of Hamas, Hizbollah and the armed Palestinian struggle. He laughs that sometimes the books are taken simply because there’s photo on the cover that features a gun. Mahmoud fears that outright censorship of books in English, currently an unknown factor, is likely in the coming years considering the amount of anti-democratic legislation in the Knesset.
The event in Tel Aviv has been complex to plan. The message of the book should clearly be heard by Israeli Jews - the destruction wrought by Zionism, the failures of the Israeli Left to bring justice for occupied Palestinians and the growing and blatant racism within Israeli society - but Ahmed and I wanted to make sure any event complied with BDS conditions.
Associating with any Israeli government organisation or one supported in any way by the Zionist state is frowned upon and I didn’t have any desire in discussing our book that backs BDS with an event that ignores its key points. This would be hypocrisy on a grand scale.
I emailed Palestinian Omar Barghouti to ask his thoughts. He said he wouldn’t personally appear in Tel Aviv and didn’t see the point anymore in engaging liberal Zionists but he suggested one venue, run by the feminist group and BDS national committee partner Coalition of Women for Peace, in the heart of Tel Aviv. It’s an organisation that has fought a long-running battle against Israel’s more draconian policies and paid a price for doing so.
The event attracts a full house and features +972’s Noam Sheizaf and political activists Hadel Badarni and Yael Ben Yefet. It’s a humid evening with an engaged crowd.
I begin by explaining the rationale behind the project, a desire to move away from the tired and redundant arguments about one-state or two and instead provide concrete examples of why true justice for Palestinians and Israelis can only come through one state. More essentially, I argue that Zionism itself is the issue. It can’t be reformed, re-defined or re-imagined. From its beginning, it was about subjugation of the Arab, a desire to colonise as much land as possible in the name of Jewish liberation.
From that perspective, the ideology has been remarkably successful at achieving complete domination of the land and today’s reality, something I see during my visit with hours waiting at checkpoints and clogged roads waiting for teenage IDF soldiers to let us pass, is now irreversible. The occupation is integral to Israeli society and resisted by very few. I tell the audience in Tel Aviv that it’s now our responsibility to both acknowledge the crimes in 1948, 1967 and beyond and imagine an inclusive future for both Israelis and Palestinians. What that state or entity will look like is the challenge. In my own personal view, it must equally include Palestinian and Israeli (not Zionist or exclusionist) culture and history.
Sheizaf says that his political journey has brought him to confusion today. A supporter of Oslo, then the two-state solution and finally the one-state and now uncertainty. He recalls a recent survey of Israeli public opinion that finds a majority of Jews happy with the status-quo. That’s my sense of the vast bulk of the Jewish Diaspora. Some are undoubtedly pained by the ongoing occupation but do little apart from mouthing platitudes against it. No sanctions. No boycotts. No divestment. A plea for both sides to return to the negotiating table. Just empty words.
Sheizaf talks about the website 972’s attempt to broaden the conversation about questions ignored in the Israeli mainstream but there are lines (and laws) that will not be crossed. It is often a liberal Zionist site, not that this stops Sheizaf calling Israeli behaviour “apartheid” - and they clearly struggle ideologically and even legally to openly discuss some of the more controversial issues of the day, including boycotts, a one-state equation and de-Zionising Israel.
The conversation with all the speakers - the Israeli women articulate well the challenges in getting past the ingrained Israeli fears towards Arabs, Palestinians, Iranians and non-Jews and Badarni especially acknowledges the struggles within Israel to imagine a country that treats all citizens equally - is indicative of that rare thing in Israel today; deconstructing Zionism from the Left and wondering what could replace it.
The Q & A session is spirited. Many of the questions express despair at mainstream Israeli opinions and the disconnect between what’s happening down the road in Palestine and the desire for many Israeli Jews to simply not care. It’s less known that most Israelis continue serving in the IDF reserves until 45 years of age, often in the occupied territories, so a continual connection to the conflict is there every year.
One older woman says she’s been arguing for years that the Israeli Left has fundamentally refused to tackle the underlying issues here, namely that believing in a two-state solution paradigm has perpetuated the strife. Nobody with any power has ever had any serious desire to implement it. Up to 700,000 illegal Jewish colonists in the West Bank make that clear.
A number of audience members question the viability of the one-state solution, wondering how Israeli Jews will be convinced to give up their privilege. I respond that they won’t - white South Africans didn’t voluntarily end apartheid because they suddenly loved blacks - but increasing isolation and condemnation may well reveal to more of the world that a fundamentalist Jewish state is what the country’s leaders and many in the public have always wanted. Deciding between Jewish and democratic is easy; the former was the goal from day one.
It’s a fascinating evening, not least because I’m told such discussions are so rarely held here. The Palestinian issue has largely been pushed out of public discussion, a deliberate ploy by the government and Right, with the supposed threat of Iran dominating the media (a point I explained on BBC Persian TV recently). It could be argued that many in the settler movement are far more engaged in a future reality for themselves than the Israeli mainstream and Left. “Feckless” is the way a good friend describes the Israeli Left’s unwillingness or inability to challenge the pro-colonist reality in the last decades since the Oslo peace accord. Some anti-occupation protest here. Involvement in the Palestinian non-violence movement there. But virtually no differences on the ground itself.
The following evening After Zionism is discussed in East Jerusalem with independent journalist Joseph Dana and Palestinian Diana Buttu at the New Educational Bookshop. Before the event begins, famed nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu arrives, we make eye contact and he sits on his own in the back of a packed room. The audience is mostly Palestinians and foreigners. A few Israelis, too.
Dana argues that discussing one or two states ignores the broader questions, namely recognising the core of the problem, Zionism. “Israel long ago decided whether it wanted to be Jewish or democratic, it can’t be both.” It chose the former. Dana explains that spending any time in the occupied territories makes it very clear what Israel has had in mind since the beginning; colonisation, occupation and repression. Every Israeli leader has wanted the same thing and achieved its goal with perfection. The international community is neutered or complicit, including the EU.
Some of their diplomats are in the audience, including a senior one from Holland, who tells me afterward that the issue of Zionism never enters discussions with Israeli officials though the EU is trying its best to provide assistance to the Palestinians. I say that the EU is far too often happy to economically boost the Jewish state, including the recent news to upgrade Israel’s special trading status.
Buttu explains how the Oslo period has entrenched the rot inside the Palestinian Authority and allowed a Western and Israeli backed entity to manage the occupation for the Zionist nation. She offers no particular solution to this issue but states that the challenge for Palestinians especially is to create and imagine a different political reality where dignity and self-determination are central. She implies that neither Hamas or the PA will ever be able to prove this. The need for an independent Palestinian political movement, with mass appeal, is surely desperately needed. Buttu continued her arguments on a recent Al Jazeera English program filmed in Ramallah.
During the Q & A, a number of people questioned the viability of a one-state solution and Israel and the West ever allowing it to happen. The obstacles, detailed in After Zionism, are undeniably great, but the first step is once and for all excising the two-state equation as either feasible or just. It’s then the responsibility of all major players, both inside and outside of the region, to forge a future that brings peace with justice through a political framework.
Vanunu asks one of the last questions. “Tell me”, he says, “where is this conflict going?” Tough question. We all argue that that until there’s acknowledgement that the status-quo isn’t working, we’ll be stuck in the same tired formulations. A solution won’t come through a sound-bite or a return to “negotiations” with two unequal sides. Dana is perhaps the most pessimistic about the future, believing that any serious talk about one-state today is pointless when this falls into the trap of a paradigm that is tired and favours the more powerful entity, Israel. Besides, he continues, we haven’t even admitted what’s been happening since 1948, ethnic cleansing by force and stealth. With Israel’s huge natural gas reserves, its economic stability will need to be challenged in a variety of creative ways.
I disagree with some of Dana’s points, as surely it’s important to imagine a different, more just outcome. After Zionism offers some practical examples.
Speaking personally, I believe that until there is less ignorance in the West about Israeli behaviour - how often do we continue to hear talk about “democratic” Israel and its striving for peace in the region? - the responsibility of writers and other engaged parties is to remind the world that the Oslo rules were broken from day one and benefitted the occupier. If the idea of being an “intellectual” means anything substantial, it’s about not accepting the frame given by a state and its proud adherents and offering an alternative vision.
Speaking to The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) founder, Jeff Halper, during my stay confirms this paralysis. He, like so many other people I see, realise that there are increasingly limited spaces for any interaction between Israelis and Palestinians, as the anti-normalisation movement deepens.
A few days after the East Jerusalem event, I watch with Dana the wonderful new documentary, Under African Skies, about Paul Simon and his controversial visit to apartheid South Africa in the 1980s to record Graceland. It’s mainly about the glorious music but the issue of Simon breaking the cultural boycott of the country is canvassed. It’s relevant today, in the context of Israel, where Simon played last year, because the film reveals Simon to naively believe that music and art can overcome oppression and boycotting South Africa was not something Simon, without consulting the ANC, who strongly backed BDS, had any intention of following.
I find the film moving on a number of levels; being in Palestine and Israel and talking about the ways in which today’s deadlock can be shifted. BDS is one way of pressuring Israel and it’s already having a major psychological effect (with minimal economic pain, thus far). The black South African musicians were desperate to be heard internationally, despite the cultural boycott technically blocking locals playing outside the country. Their position was understandable, if still contentious. But Simon, who speaks the language of reconciliation, admits to arriving in South African with no real understanding of apartheid. He soon becomes an unlikely critic of the regime but willfully ignores the demands of the cultural boycott movement because he believes he’s more important than the wishes of an oppressed people’s leadership who were calling to completely isolate a repressive state.
Similar arguments are made today by musicians and artists who want to come to Israel. Talking will help. Understanding can only come when both sides get together. But this fundamentally ignores the inherent power disparity in the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. Intellectual independence is vital in any political struggle but individuals don’t have the right to oppose a liberation movement with clear political goals if they believe that collective action is the only way to bring down oppression.
Simon’s recent visit to Israel shows he understands nothing more today than in years past, completely oblivious to the solidarity required. Any cultural association with the Israeli government (Artists Against Apartheid explain) must not happen because Palestinian civil society has demanded it. Groups under occupation are in a far better position to dictate these rules than (sometimes) well-meaning people in the Diaspora. However, it would be wrong to say that there aren’t Palestinians who challenge BDS dictates, including at the movie theatre in the West Bank town of Jenin.
The final event for After Zionism is in Ramallah at the Quaker’s Friends Meeting House with Omar Barghouti and Joseph Dana. Being the last night of Ramadan, the space was still quickly filled with a smattering of Palestinians, Western aid workers and writers. Barghouti explains how the challenge for a democratic future is to decolonise Israel both ideologically and practically. There needs to be a just way to compensate all citizens, Jews, Palestinians or others, who have been expelled since 1948. He says that a distinction between public and private land and property would be taken into account in one, democratic state. Barghouti’s chapter in After Zionism outlines how this could happen.
His key point is that colonial privileges currently enjoyed by Jewish colonists in the West Bank must stop immediately, like at the end of apartheid South Africa. I like his line that Jews living in Brooklyn can’t behave in a brutal way towards Arabs as they do if they move to the occupied territories. Barghouti sounds an optimistic tone by arguing a combination of the Arab Spring, BDS and a multi-polar world is making it easier to imagine the end of Zionist exclusion. It will be increasingly hard to maintain a ghettoised Jewish state in the heart of a democratic region.
I’m encouraged to hear Barghouti say that in the last 12-18 months, BDS is suddenly taking off across the world. He says he can’t keep up with the number of university campuses wanting to initiate programs against Israel firms and campaigns to convince Western musicians and artists not to play Israel. I’m told that Israeli music promoters are paying 2-3 times the normal rate to convince foreigners to come because the political price for doing so is growing.
Cultural isolation for Israelis is far from complete but it’s undeniably on the rise. For example, the fact that Madonna recently felt the need to try and bring peace activists from both sides during her show - Israeli liberal Zionists came while anti-occupation activists refused - shows the campaign is starting to bite.
During the Q and A - many in the audience were Westerners working for Western NGOs in Palestine - there was a palpable frustration with the role of these organisations in perpetuating the conflict rather than solving it. “Are we helping manage the occupation for Israel?”, one Australian asks. Some Palestinians, while liking the idea of a one-state solution, wonder how it will be achieved with such a powerful Zionist state next door. Dana says that now is not the time to be talking about the composition of a future state but rather we should better understand today’s reality and act accordingly. I say that Western audiences are yet to be seriously exposed to the idea of a anything other than the two-state equation and a “peace process” so if not now, when? Similar discussions occur during book events in London, including at the Frontline Club and SOAS.
Palestine is a contradiction. Dana and I hang out at a public pool in Ramallah. It’s full of parents with their children swimming in the cool water. There’s a pool bar serving beer on tap. Palestinian women are sitting in skimpy bikinis. This is not the image of Palestine that we’re used to seeing. Ramallah is a relatively liberal and Christian-dominated city and it’s unlikely many other places in the West Bank, and certainly not Gaza, would allow such behaviour, but despite growing conservatism, liberal life goes on. It’s yet another example of the Ramallah bubble.

25 August 2012


This article was printed in Amandla, and Red Pepper in the UK reprinted it

Marikana massacre: A brutal tragedy

21 August 2012: Red Pepper’s South African sister paper reports on the slaughter of 34 Marikana mineworkers

No event since the end of Apartheid sums up the shallowness of the transformation in this country like the Marikana massacre. What occurred will be debated for years. It is already clear that the mineworkers will be blamed for being violent. The mineworkers will be painted as savages. Yet, the fact is that heavily armed police with live ammunition brutally shot and killed over 34 mineworkers. Many more were injured. Some will die of their wounds. Another 10 workers had been killed just prior to this massacre.

This was not the action of rogue cops, this massacre was a result of decisions taken at the top of the police structures. The police had promised to respond with force and came armed with live ammunition, and they behaved no better than the Apartheid police when facing the 1960 Sharpeville and 1976 Soweto uprisings and 1980s protests, where many of our people were killed. The aggressive and violent response to community service delivery protests by the police, have their echo and reverberation in this massacre.

This incident represents a blood-stain on the new South Africa. This represents a failure of leadership. It is a failure of leadership from government: its ministers of labour and mineral resources who have been absent during this entire episode; its minister of police who maintains this is not political but a mere labour dispute and defends the actions of the police; a failure of the president, who can only issue platitudes in the face of this crisis and not mobilise the government and its tremendous resources to immediately address the concerns of the mineworkers and now their bereaved family members.

It has been a failure and betrayal of the Lonmin mine management that refused to follow through on undertakings to union leaders to meet the workers and address their grievances. The management somersaults between agreeing to negotiate with workers and then reneges saying they have an existing two-year agreement with National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

It is unfortunately also a failure of the union leadership: In the first instance the NUM, which regards any opposition to their leadership as criminal and asserts that such opposition must necessarily be a creation of the Chamber of Mines. This is obviously not true. It is also a failure of the leadership of Association of Mining and Construction Union (AMCU), which acts opportunistically in an effort to recruit disgruntled NUM members, mobilises workers on unrealistic demands and fails to condemn the violence of its members.

The level of violence on our mines demonstrates the deep divisions within and polarisation of South African society. Mineworkers are employed in extreme conditions of poverty, often living in squalor in squatter camps without basic services. The mineworkers are often employed through labour brokers and informalised without decent work conditions.

The wildcat strike (like other similar strikes on the mines) that set off the events leading to the slaughter is a response to the structural violence of South Africa’s system of mining. However, it is also a response to something else, which we dare not ignore.

Enriched mine-owners with the experience of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) co-option see an opportunity of driving a wedge between ‘reasonable’ union leaders and the workers. They entice the unions into sweetheart relations, dividing them from the rank-and-file workers. The anger on the mines is a deep-seated anger at mine management that is progressively being directed at the compliance and failure of their union leadership to defend and represent worker interests.

The alienation between union members and the unions’ leadership is a factor behind what has happened at Lonmin and what is happening on other platinum mines.

Nevertheless, the slaughter of more than 34 mineworkers is as a result of the violence of the state, specifically the police. At the very least minister Mthethwa must take responsibility and resign.

This article was originally published in Red Pepper’s sister magazine, Amandla! South Africa’s new progressive magazine standing for social justice

24 August 2012


If the situation for the Palestinians wasn't a major tragedy, this story would actually be very funny!

Under the circumstances it is no joke!

• From mail and guardian 24 August 2012

Israel angered by SA move on settlement goods

24 Aug 2012 - Allyn Fisher-Ilan

Israel has lambasted SA for requiring Israeli goods made by West Bank settlers to be labelled as originating from occupied Palestinian territory.

Israel accused South Africa on Thursday of behaving like an apartheid state by requiring Israeli goods made by West Bank settlers to be labelled as originating from occupied Palestinian territory.

The rhetoric is likely to strain Israel's relations with South Africa, whose ANC fought to end the apartheid regime.

The ANC had strongly backed the Palestinian cause while Israel was one of the few countries to have strong ties with South Africa's white-minority government, which relinquished power in 1994.

Israeli trade with South Africa is modest but the impact of Pretoria's decision on goods-labelling has raised Israeli concern that other states could follow suit and bolster calls by Palestinians to boycott Israeli products made in the West Bank.
The European Union grants a tariff exemption to imports from Israel but not to those coming from the West Bank and other territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War.

'Apartheid state'

The Israeli foreign ministry said it would summon South Africa's ambassador to lodge a protest over the decision on labelling goods from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

"Unfortunately it turns out the change that has begun in South Africa over the years has not brought about any basic change in the country, and it remains an apartheid state," Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in response to Pretoria's move.

"At the moment South Africa's apartheid is aimed at Israel," added Ayalon, a nationalist hardliner in right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's governing coalition.

Ayalon did not elaborate on what he meant by associating the labelling decision with apartheid.

There was no immediate response from South Africa.

The government said on Wednesday that Cabinet had approved a measure "requiring the labelling of goods or products emanating from IOT [Israeli-occupied territory] to prevent consumers being led to believe that such goods come from Israel".

Viable state

When Pretoria first proposed the measure in May, Israeli Industry and Trade Minister Shalom Simhon said it would be a problem if other countries did the same thing.

Israel criticised Britain in 2009 for advising supermarkets to label produce from Jewish settlements clearly, to distinguish them from goods produced by Palestinians.
The World Court has ruled that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law and Palestinians say they will deny them the viable state they seek in the territory and in the Gaza Strip.

Israel says the future of settlements should be decided through peace talks, which have been frozen since 2010, largely over the settlement issue.

Israel withdrew settlers from Gaza in 2005. About 2.5-million Palestinians and 500 000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel also took in the 1967 war. – Reuters

22 August 2012


The ongoing UK-Julian Assange row taking place at the Ecuador Embassy in London is bringing media attention back to the plight of Pfc. Bradley Manning. Assange's call for Manning's release made international news broadcasts, putting a spotlight on this important case, just ahead of Manning's next hearing.1

With Manning on the public's mind, Kevin Gosztola's coverage from Ft. Meade on August 27th is even more important - and as always, we depend on your support to bring critical details from the court proceedings to readers the world-over.

If you haven't already, consider chipping in $25+ today to support Kevin's coverage and help him make the trip to Ft. Meade for Bradley Manning's next hearing.

For more information, check out my email from last week below.

In solidarity,

Brian Sonenstein
Campaign Director,


1. Julian Assange Delivers Speech Thanking Supporters, Calling for End to US War on Whistleblowers, Kevin Gosztola, FDL Dissenter, 8/19/2012.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brian Sonenstein, Firedoglake.com
Subject: Manning Back in Court

Help Kevin Gosztola Cover Bradley Manning's Next Hearing: Aug 27-31

Kevin Gosztola will be heading to Bradley Manning's next pretrial motion hearing on August 27 at Ft. Meade.

Following their most recent court appearance, defense attorney David Coombs publicly released a motion detailing the horrific abuses Bradley Manning endured during his isolation at Quantico, demanding the dismissal of all charges.1 Bradley's mistreatment is largely what brought attention to his case in the first place, as he was made to strip naked each night and had essentially zero privacy, access to exercise or outside stimulation.

Firedoglake's dedicated coverage and activism surrounding his abuse forced the government to remove him from punitive isolation, and revisiting the facts of his detention could yield another positive outcome for the defense. With your help, we can send Kevin Gosztola back to Ft. Meade to keep us apprised of the latest court proceedings.

Can you please donate $25 or more to support Kevin Gosztola's coverage of Bradley Manning's pretrial motion hearing, August 27-31?

Click here to donate: https://secure.firedoglake.com/page/contribute/manning-general

Firedoglake activists were instrumental in ending Bradley Manning's pretrial isolation at Quantico. Tens of thousands of activists spoke out against his mistreatment, inspiring some to even confront the President at a fundraiser-- and Firedoglake founder and publisher Jane Hamsher was even detained at Quantico bringing approved guest David House to visit Bradley.2

Together, our activism and Kevin's reporting brought Bradley's abuse to the public, spurring a series of events that fundamentally changed the conditions of his pretrial confinement: State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley was forced to resign after calling Manning's treatment "ridiculous," "counterproductive" and "stupid" at a press event. 3 Quantico brig commander James Averhart was replaced and Manning was subsequently moved to Ft. Leavenworth, KS where his conditions improved.4

Sending Kevin each month to cover the pretrial hearings is an important public service that we are honored to provide, and with your help we'll continue to do so. Help us keep this story alive by making a contribution to Kevin Gosztola's coverage of Bradley Manning's pretrial motion hearings.

Please donate $25 or more to support Kevin Gosztola's coverage of Bradley Manning's pretrial motion hearing, August 27-31.

Thank you for your continued support. Your donations allow Kevin to continue reporting on this story and make sure the government cannot convict Bradley in secrecy.

In Solidarity,

Brian Sonenstein
Campaign Director,


1. Defense Motion Details Horrific Conditions Bradley Manning Was Subjected to at Quantico, Kevin Gosztola, The Dissenter, 8/10/2012.
2. BREAKING: Military Harassing David House, Jane Hamsher for Visiting Bradley Manning, Michael Whitney, FDL Action, 1/23/2011.
3. State Department’s Crowley Condemns Treatment of Bradley Manning: “Counterproductive and Stupid”, Marcy Wheeler, EmptyWheel, 3/11/11.
4. Marines Boot Commander Ordering Abuse of Bradley Manning, Michael Whitney, FDL Action, 1/26/2011.

See also:


19 August 2012


Yet again we have the spectacle of a government and its "justice" system too scared to hand down a judgement far a few desperate people - what a disastrous outcome!

The following article was in The Age newspaper on Saturday 18 August 2012:

Court ruling shatters death wish of two paralysed men

August 18, 2012
Alexandra Topping

Tony Nicklinson is comforted by his wife Jane. Photo: Getty Images

TWO severely disabled victims of locked-in syndrome have protested angrily that British judges are leaving them to undignified and increasingly distressing lives after they lost a landmark High Court battle to be allowed to die with medical help.
Tony Nicklinson, 58, who had sought to end his ''dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable'' life after he was left paralysed below the neck by a stroke seven years ago, wept uncontrollably after the judgment and said it meant his anguish would continue.

As he and his wife announced they would appeal, Mr Nicklinson, via a computer, said: ''I believe the legal team are prepared to go all the way, but it means yet another period of physical discomfort and mental anguish for me.''

In upsetting scenes following the judgment Mr Nicklinson's wife, Jane, stood by her husband at their home in Melksham as he shook with sobs. She described the judgment as one-sided and disappointing.

''All the points that we put forward have just really been ignored, it seems. You can see from Tony's reaction he's absolutely heartbroken. We always knew it was a big ask but we hoped the judges would see sense, but clearly they haven't.''

Another locked-in syndrome sufferer, who can only be named as Martin, had sought permission for volunteers to help him get to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. ''I wish to be able to exercise the freedom which everyone else would have - to decide how to end this constant tortuous situation,'' Martin said in a statement issued by his lawyers.

In a serious blow to pro-euthanasia campaigners in Britain, judges said that while the cases were deeply moving and deserved the most careful and sympathetic consideration, the questions they raised were too significant to be decided in a court, and could only be answered by Parliament.

Lord Justice Toulson said that allowing the two men to be helped to end their lives would have implications far beyond their cases, and a ruling, in Mr Nicklinson's case in particular, would have amounted to a major change in murder laws, which exceeded the powers of the courts.

''It is not for the court to decide whether the law about assisted dying should be changed and, if so, what safeguards should be put in place,'' he said.
Mr Nicklinson had sought assurance that it would not be unlawful for a doctor to assist him to die.

The Guardian


For many years, while being involved with ageing in the gay, lesbian, transgender, HIV (GLTH) communities, I have stressed that people with HIV are ignored in the general analyses of ageing, because in the 1980s and 1990s - until 1997 - there WERE no HIV ageing people - generally speaking!

Now, it seems, people around the world are realising that the treatments which became available after about 1997 have allowed people with HIV to survive in the same way as others in our communties have survived, and they are now living to the same old ages as the rest of us who are HIV negative.

The article below, from the Guardian Weekly of 3-9 August 2012, gives an analysis of the situation now confronting so many ageing members of the GLTH communities. It is a wake-up call for those in government to do something about the situation, because it will only get worse as time passes.

HIV survivors: alive, but facing poverty, loneliness and prejudice

Thousands heading into an old age they did not think they would see, having given up jobs expecting to die young

o Sarah Boseley in Washington
o guardian.co.uk, Friday 27 July 2012

Stephen Karpiak, of the Aids Community Research Initiative of America, and Carolyn Massey, who has HIV, at the international Aids conference in Washington DC. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

In the 1980s and 1990s they were told they were going to die young, so they gave up their jobs and cashed in the pensions they wouldn't need, buried their friends and tried to make the most of their last months on Earth.

Decades later, thousands of men and women with HIV in the UK, US and across the world are heading into an old age they never expected to see. In the US in 2001, 17% of people with HIV were over 50. Now that figure stands at 39% and by 2017 it will be half. In the UK, the Health Protection Agency says one in six people (16.8%) being seen for HIV care in 2008 were over 50 – and that will double in the next five years.

Many of those who were saved by the discovery of antiretroviral drugs in the early 1990s felt it was a miracle to be alive. But life for the survivors of HIV, as they age, is bittersweet. Many are poor and have long since been edged out of the workforce. Half a lifetime spent on powerful drugs has taken its toll. Aside from the physical health issues as a result of the virus, there are high rates of mental health problems too.

John Rock, from Sydney, Australia, was diagnosed with HIV 30 years ago. "My partner started getting sick in 1983 and died early in 1996," he said at an international AIDS conference in Washington DC. "Many of my colleagues and friends were pushed out of the workforce around the mid-90s because they were not well enough to work. Subsequently triple combinations [of antiretroviral drugs] came along and they are still alive, but at the peak of their earning capacity they were out of the workforce for 10 years. Now they are destined for a retirement they thought they never would have, but it's going to be in poverty."

Lisa Power from the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), who spoke at the conference about the ageing HIV-positive community in the UK, acknowledged the unfortunate consequences of advice from support groups to those who were thought to be dying. "In the 1980s and 90s we encouraged people to give up work and go on state benefits and not be economically productive," she said. "Now we have condemned people to live on an old-age state pension."

Money is not the only need. Many feel lonely and isolated. In a video made for a project called The Graying of HIV in the US, Bill Rydwels, 77, from Chicago, recalled a time of terror and sadness when AIDS was scything down his friends. It was nonetheless a time of warmth and support that he no longer has. "It's just so much better today and yet it is a lonelier time. Years ago it was a time that we all spent together. It was a terrible time and a wonderful time because you got to know everybody very, very well. They cried on your shoulder and laughed with you. You don't get that any more."

Recent research from THT in the UK reveals similar sadness. James, 61, a gay man living in the UK who did not want to give his full name, is suffering from serious health problems, including blindness resulting from the use of an experimental drug to treat another condition (not HIV). "My life is empty," he told researchers. "I have tried so hard over the last 10 years to fill the emptiness. Worked really hard at it. I am in a cul-de-sac. It would be nice just to have somebody to telephone.
"I am fed up with people at the top of HIV organisations saying because there is combination therapy everyone is fine. People with neuropathy, and in wheelchairs, we are the forgotten people."

Half the world away, in Africa, which now bears the brunt of the epidemic, the numbers of older people with HIV are also rising fast. Epidemiologists at the University of Sydney estimate that there are more than 3 million people over 50 with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, and that the figure is rising rapidly.
Ruth Waryero, from Kenya, now 65, had an HIV test when she was 48. She went home and told her husband. "He listened to me and then he got up and said, it's up to you.

"Take care of yourself – I'm off. Since that time I have not seen him again and yet he was the breadwinner in the family. He left me with the four children and two years later I had two grandchildren.

"In Kenya we have different problems [from those in Europe]. Older men try to get younger women for sex. They ignore you because as far as you are concerned, you are finished. You don't need sex and they can apply to the young girls.

"But when you are old you are likely to be raped by those who are positive because they believe if they rape you, as old as you are, they will turn negative."

Older women also face embarrassment at clinics when they go for tests or drugs, she said. They are asked who they are collecting the drugs for.

"You are not supposed to have sex at your age," she said. "As a woman they ask if you are a sugar mummy. I say this HIV came from an old man and the old man has run away from me."

The older HIV generation – in Africa and elsewhere – is not only made up of those diagnosed years ago. Some are people who have been diagnosed late, having lived for years without knowing they were infected. And many people are now becoming infected later in life.

Laura, who took part in the THT research, is a white, heterosexual, divorced mother of two. At the age of 52 she started a new relationship and then suddenly became ill. Because her symptoms were similar to those of a friend who had been diagnosed with HIV, she took a test. When she was told it was positive, she felt numbness and shock, she said. She cannot believe, as a well-educated person, that she stopped using condoms with her partner and allowed it to happen.

Mark Brennan-Ing, from the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America, told the conference of the "fragile social networks among people living with HIV in the US and Europe". Families have abandoned them or do not give them enough help, meaning they end up relying on friends, who often have HIV themselves.

Men who have sex with men, he said, are much less likely to have partners, spouses or children to care for them in their old age. Many of those interviewed live in fear of encountering hostility and rejection in care homes. A 52-year-old gay man from London told the THT: "I am somewhat fearful of a lonely old age. In practical terms, if I become mentally or physically frail, the prospect of being the only gay man in an old people's home is very frightening indeed."

17 August 2012


Somehow my maths may be at fault, because according to my calculations, with 18 AFL teams now registered, it seems to me that there are probably about 700 to 800 players around Australia plus probably at least another 200 administrators, coaches and ancilliary staff.

So, according to this figure, there is not one homosexual involved with AFL in Australia?

This is impossible, because statistically, there must be at least one gay man in the whole organisation. And what about players? Out of approximately 800, not one is gay?

The following photo appeared in The Sunday Age on 12 August 2012:

In the 15 August 2012 edition of MCV, Melbourne Community Voice, Issue #606, an article by Michael Magnusson was published.

The article was headed "

Milne fined for homophobia"

. Here is the article as it appeared online with a different heading from the print edition:

AFL star fined for gay slur

By Michael Magnusson

St. Kilda forward Stephen Milne has been fined $3000 by his club following
an AFL investigation which concluded he made homophobic comments on-field
earlier this month.

The Age newspaper reported that during the match on August 4 Milne was
heard by umpire Dean Margetts to call Collingwood player Harry O’Brien a
“f------ homo c---”.

Milne’s on field comment was not audible on television coverage but
microphones picked up Margetts saying: “OK, OK, enough of the language.”

Margetts awarded a 50m penalty to Collingwood, saying, “That language is

Margetts filed a complaint following the match and AFL integrity officer
Brett Clothier investigated the incident and found the Milne had breached
the players’ code of conduct and the AFL discrimination and vilification

St Kilda Football Club issued a statement saying Milne would be fined and
be “required to undertake an AFL education program to address the
inappropriate nature of his comments”.

The statement also said Milne apologised for his comments and any offence

AFL Operations Manager, Adrian Anderson, supported St. Kilda’s response to
the incident.

“It is simply not acceptable, even in the heat of battle, for AFL players
to use homophobic insults on the football field,” Anderson said.

“The St Kilda Football Club is to be commended for taking this action and
sending a strong message that homophobic comments are unacceptable.”

It is not the first time Milne has used homophobic language during a match.
In 2010 he was also fined $3000 for an anti-gay comment made to a
Collingwood assistant coach.

Now here is something else for you to look at and try:

Into a search engine put the words "Milne fined for homophobia" and dozens of entries are given, not one being a link to the gay paper from which the article above is copied.

If that doesn't tell you something about search engines and homophobic reporting, nothing else will!!

15 August 2012


I was so infuriated by the decision of the new management of SBS in 2006 to introduce advert breaks into major programmes such as news and current affairs, that the following email exchanges took place between me and SBS. If it wasn't such a serious matter, what occurred is actually hilariously funny!


December 2006

josken_at_zipworld_com_au 12/20/06
Mannie De Saxe
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072

Well, SBS finally lost me tonight (Tuesday 19 December 2006).
Adverts during the news and Cutting Edge!
No thanks!

Mannie De Saxe


On 20 Dec 2006 at 15:51, Sally Begbie wrote:
Send the speil.
------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: Self :josken_at_zipworld_com_au
To: Sally Begbie sally.begbie@sbs.com.au
Subject: Re: adverts in news and cutting edge
Date sent: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 01:06:29 +1100

I await the spiel with great interest!


21 DECEMBER 2006
Dear Mannie De Saxe

Clearly the festive season is upon us and our best wishes to you. But to more serious matters...

Thank you for your email concerning the introduction of advertising within SBS Television programs. The Managing Director has asked that I respond to your complaint.

SBS has taken this course of action following a great deal of consideration and investigation. It was not an easy decision to make, but the alternative was far less palatable. SBS could continue with its current format, but its ability to commission quality Australian productions and to purchase the world's best films, television programs and sporting fixtures would become more and more restricted due to limited Government funding and the prospect of diminished advertising revenue as a result of competition from Pay TV, the Internet and other media.

SBS obtains about 80% of its funds from Government. But in the May budget SBS suffered a $3m shortfall in its appropriation for this current year (excluding digital transmission and distribution costs) and received no extra funds at all for program making.

The remainder of SBS funding comes from advertising revenue. Even though that amount is relatively small it is vitally important revenue that goes exclusively to the purchase, commissioning and production of programs.

Under its Act, SBS is obligated to operate in an efficient and cost-effective manner and, importantly, it is required to actively pursue funding opportunities independent of Government funding.

Since 1991, SBS Television has broadcast a maximum of five minutes of ads per hour between programs and in natural breaks. This is far less than the average 13-15 minutes of advertising permitted on the commercial television networks.

Until now, SBS has broadcast up to five minutes of ads as well as several minutes of program promotions in a single block between programs, meaning 6-10 minutes would elapse before the next program began. During this time, we consistently lost more than 50% of our viewers. They would simply change channels or switch off.

With smaller audiences, SBS's advertising rates (already well below the commercial networks) had to be reduced still further. The result has been a curtailment of our program-making capabilities because less money from ads means less money for the commissioning and the production of original programs.

Under the new format the maximum of five minutes of ads per hour still applies, but the ads will be spread across the hour in three separate breaks, each containing 90 seconds of commercials. In half-hour programs, there will be two 60-second commercial breaks.

This will restore true commercial value to SBS's ad breaks. By placing short ads within programs, when SBS reaches its peak audiences, our advertising rates can be increased. We estimate that this will raise at least $10m in the first 12 months of operation. All of this additional revenue will go into program making and the commissioning of programs from independent Australian producers.

With this extra revenue we will launch a one hour news program in January that will expand our coverage of international and national news. The bulk of the additional funds will go to the commissioning of quality Australian drama, documentaries and other programs.

By dramatically reducing the time between programs, we believe SBS audiences will be encouraged to stay, especially because the in-program breaks will include program promotions about forthcoming programs. It is important that information about other programs on SBS reaches the largest possible audience. Currently these messages, in the form of promos, are lost in the middle of lengthy and cluttered breaks between programs. Too often our audience tells us they would have watched a particular program "if only I had known it was on". The placement of promos in a more accessible place helps overcome that communication failure.

I understand your concerns regarding in-program breaks, but these changes will enable us to continue to provide our viewers with the highest quality and most diverse programming available on free-to-air television in Australia.

Yours sincerely
Georgie McClean
Policy and Research Manager

The following article in The Age newspaper's Green Guide, together with a later article about the same topic, has prompted me to initiate a petition to inform SBS that viewers continue to be unhappy about the adverts during programmes and we request SBS' new management to consider their options and remove the mid-programme advertisements.

The petition web address is below the article.

SBS article in the Green Guide 8 March 2012 by Debi Enker

One of the dumbest decisions made by SBS in recent years was the introduction in late 2006 of advertising within its programs.

The desperate, short-sighted move by the cash-strapped network infuriated viewers, who were unanimous in their disapproval, and severely damaged the broadcaster’s standing, undermining its unique place in the media landscape.

Before 2006, ads on SBS appeared between programs, or during natural breaks in sporting events. The change in policy eroded precious goodwill and alienated viewers at a time when the free-to-air TV market was becoming increasingly competitive due to the proliferation of digital channels.

The intrusion of ads within programs made the multicultural broadcaster look like a cut-price commercial network.

Unsurprisingly, the initiative failed to provide the projected boost in revenue while also allowing governments that were not keenly committed to funding the broadcaster with a handy excuse to reduce their support.

Last week, a bill to phase out the disruptive breaks was introduced in the Senate by the Greens communications spokesman, Scott Ludlum.

This would be a good time to contact your local member of parliament, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy or shadow minister Malcolm Turnbull, urging them to fund the multicultural broadcaster properly, support moves to end a spectacularly unsuccessful initiative and bring to a close a bleak period that has succeeded only in driving SBS viewers to change channels.



14 August 2012


Some years ago, in 2008 and 2009, when we were working on a political campaign in Australia,and we placed much of what we were doing on our web pages, we were contacted by someone from an organisation in Los Angeles doing similar work in the US of A. This person suggested that if we join Facebook, then the social media network would be able to see more about our campaign and rally round to help.

This didn't happen and we received no assistance from anybody in the United States, so the Facebook exercise was a waste of time and effort.

What did happen was that my profile and details were then recorded on Facebook and many people made contact, some of whom I knew, some of whom I didn't and some appeared there with whom I didn't wish to have contact.

Now when one subscribes to Facebook, one is given to understand that one can unsubscribe whenever one wants to. Oh yeah?? Just try and unsubscribe and see what happens - or doesn't happen!

After several attempts to unsubscribe and after attempts to contact Facebook and get some feedback and response, without success, I decided to write to Mark Zuckerberg himself - after all Facebook was his brainchild and he should therefore have some solution to the unsubscribe problem.

So I write in December 2011, and now, on 14 August 2012 I am still waiting for feedback. Will I get any? Don't hold your breath!

IN the mean time, below my letter which is here, I have posted articles about Facebook and some of its problems. I hope they get worse and worse until Facebook fails altogether as it deserves to do. The arrogance of Mark Zuckerberg and organisations like his know no limits and they deserve to be brought to their knees!

To: Mark Zuckerberg
1601 S. California Avenue
Palo Alto
CA 94304

Mannie De Saxe
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Australia 3072
2 December 2011

It is impossible to contact facebook by normal means and I am frustrated by my inability to make a complaint in some normal manner by email.
I believed that by unsubscribing from facebook I would be removed altogether without my name appearing anywhere on any page.
However, under the name De Saxe as a facebook page, my name appears twice, together with other people who have the same surname.
The following item appears on one of your sites but does nothing to help make a formal complaint:

Reporting Abuse
If you see something on Facebook that you believe violates our terms, you can report it to us. Please keep in mind that reporting a person, organization, or piece of content doesn't guarantee its removal from the site.
Because of the diversity of our community, it's possible that something could be disagreeable or disturbing to you without meeting the criteria for being removed or blocked. For this reason, we also offer personal controls over what you see, such as the ability to hide or quietly cut ties with people, Pages, or applications that offend you.
Content that does violate our terms may be removed from our site and (in some cases) subject to legal or other action.

I have had enough of trying to get my name removed from facebook altogether, and unless your organization makes some concerted effort to ensure that my name never again appears on facebook, I will have to consider my further options.

It is strange how facebook keeps its own privacy sacrosanct but destroys everybody else’s privacy once they connect to facebook.

Try finding contact details for Mark Zuckerberg and see how far you get!

Mannie De Saxe

Facebook is left wondering - what's not to like?

August 4, 2012

Julian Lee, Media writer

Since its headline-grabbing stockmarket float, the social media behemoth has tested the patience of investors, writes Julian Lee.
Find out the 10 main uses for social media monitoring in Oz.

Clock is ticking ... Facebook's share price is heading south. Photo: AP
At Facebook's California headquarters they must be wondering what went wrong. In a little more than two months the social networking site has gone from the darling of the media and Silicon Valley to the whipping boy of Wall Street.

The hype that surrounded its stock market debut in May when its valuation hit $US104 billion ($99.3 billion) has given way to disbelief and derision. Has the bubble burst or is it simply a coming of age for the business which, until recently, was the plaything of founder Mark Zuckerberg and a coterie of savvy investors.

''The early investors could see the long-term plan for something like Facebook,'' says analyst David Cowling of Social Media News. ''Now it's the public and they want to see their shares grow, they want to make a quick buck. And they aren't getting it and now they are asking why not.''

Shares are almost half the $US38 they were on the first day of trading and while Facebook brings in new ways of advertising and explores how to get people to stay on the site longer, the clock is ticking as the patience of investors wears thin.

Yet as the share price heads south, it's business as usual for the rest of us. Every day Facebook's global user base inches closer to the 1 billion mark. An extra 50 million people joined in the past three months, pushing the worldwide user base to 955 million.

Australians continue to be the biggest users of Facebook - a mantle we have kept since 2009 - with 11 million users spending on average 21 minutes and 40 seconds a visit.

''Users couldn't give a stuff," says social media expert Tiphereth Gloria of the advertising agency VML. "Everyone [in finance] is getting their knickers in a knot but people are using it just as much as they were before.''

Growth comes at a cost, however. Investor demand for more ad revenue presents Zuckerberg with a dilemma. His mission, to preserve Facebook's ''user experience'', is an uncompromising one. ''We don't build services to make money; we make money to build better services,'' he is quoted as saying.

The constant criticism is taking the shine off the Facebook brand. "There's clearly some brand damage and if there's not much sign of a change in the longer term then it could get worse," says California-based Brian Blau, research director at analysts Gartner. "But I don't think we're there yet."

To get more revenue Facebook is pushing sponsored stories or posts - ads that appear in a user's new feed whenever a friend indicates they like an advertiser - as a solution to advertisers. It is also slowly overcoming the problem of how to make money from ads served up on mobile phones, constrained as it is by the limited real estate of the device screen.

But, says Blau, advertising is not the only solution. "The real question is how they are going to keep people interested in their site. How are they going to keep people engaged," he says. And that is unlikely to be by ads.

As Facebook has changed the way we communicate, Blau believes it will also transform other aspects of our lives such as how we shop, work and play. He points to Google and Amazon, both of which have branched out beyond their core offering of search and books into other services. Gaming apps, for example, where people can buy credits for games such as FarmVille, have proved profitable for Facebook, although it is an area that is flatlining.

"What we are seeing is an experiment in real time and they [Facebook] are experimenting with their [investors'] money," Blau says.

Watchdog clamps down on Facebook

By Julian Lee
Aug. 6, 2012, 7:40

Promotional ... the Advertising Standards Board has ruled that company Facebook pages are advertising and must comply with codes and laws.

A LANDMARK ruling that Facebook is an advertising medium - and not just a way to communicate - will force companies to vet comments posted by the public to ensure they are not sexist, racist or factually inaccurate.

In a move that could change the nature of the social networking site forever, companies could be fined or publicly shamed for the comments that appear on their Facebook ''brand'' pages.

Last month the advertising industry watchdog issued a judgment in which it said comments made by ''fans'' of a vodka brand's Facebook page were ads and must therefore comply with industry self-regulatory codes and therefore consumer protection laws.

A media lawyer is warning that the Advertising Standards Board's ruling on Smirnoff's Facebook page will put the onus back on companies to be more vigilant about the nature of the comments people are posting to their company pages.

Large advertisers such as Qantas, Telstra and Coles are increasingly reliant on their Facebook pages to get consumers to ''like'' them and get free referrals to their network of friends.

John Swinson, a partner at law firm King & Wood Mallesons, said the board's ruling "turned people's opinions into statements of facts".

Mr Swinson said that if, for example, a member of the public posted a comment on Smirnoff's site that claimed it was the purest Russian vodka and would lead to success with the opposite sex and Smirnoff failed to remove it, the company could be liable on a number of counts.

"Smirnoff is Australian not Russian. So that is false. It may not be the purest so that could also be misleading.

''And to imply that you would have greater success with girls would contravene the advertising codes," said Mr Swinson.

In a note to clients, Mr Swinson warned that the standards that govern regular TV, radio or billboard advertising might now apply to third-party posts on Facebook pages.

And because the competition watchdog is cracking down on claims made by companies in social media - principally by people who are paid to do so - Mr Swinson warns that advertisers could end up in court.

Misleading and deceptive advertising is covered by Australian consumer law and each month the ad regulator publicly censures errant advertisers.

Although the Advertising Standards Board dismissed the original complaint about Smirnoff, which centred on sexism, under-age drinking and obscene language, it ruled industry codes applied not only to what a company was posting on its Facebook page but to the user-generated comments that followed.

The board's determination also cited a recent case of a health company, Allergy Pathway, which was fined for allowing misleading and deceptive "testimonials" to remain on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

The board's comments threatened to have "far-reaching ramifications" for social media, which thrived on people's ability to share information quickly, said a consultant, Thomas Tudehope.


Doing business Facebook to Facebook
August 13, 2012

Max Mason

Social media is proving a communication boon for small businesses. Photo: Reuters
Small businesses are increasingly using social media to interact and create a rapport with their customers, according to a new survey.
The Sensis e-Business report showed that 27 per cent of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that used the internet also used social media, an increase of 17 per cent since 2010.
Of the 1808 businesses surveyed, 92 per cent of SMEs were connected to the internet.
''We've been seeing consistent growth in the use of social media used in business,'' said report author Christena Singh.
The predominant form of social media used by SMEs was Facebook.
Businesses using Facebook reported more interaction with customers, good customer feedback, increased networking opportunities and increased sales.
''Any business where they are trying to build a strong customer rapport, create brand loyalty and customer dialogue, tend to be the businesses that find social media particular useful,'' said Ms Singh.
Sam Korotkov, event director at The Wall, a weekly event at The World Bar in Sydney's Kings Cross, said Facebook was a vital part of their marketing strategy.
''With Facebook is there a way to involve people without spamming them?'' he asked.
''The content that we provide is all about keeping them interested. We talk about current affairs, we use new music, we keep them involved and turn our page into a small service, almost like a source of news and entertainment, rather than blatantly pushing products.''
Mr Korotkov said using social media required minimal effort, with the rewards far outweighing the small amount of time taken to use it.
''Facebook is like an espresso shot of marketing. It's the information there as you want it, it's obviously not in depth but you're able to draw out a lot of things. There isn't a lot of preparation involved, preparing posts and sourcing content; once you have it, you can link it.''
For Sam Gabrielian, owner of Dose Espresso, social media were not part of his strategy when he opened his cafe in November last year. ''We decided to start a Facebook page because our customers requested a page with some photos and some of our products,'' he said.
Taking things a step further, Gabrielian decided to offer customers a 10 per cent discount if they liked Dose's Facebook page.
''We did that for two weeks. We found the likes built up very quickly; it was a kind gesture to the customers,'' he said.
Facebook has become a key component for letting customers know what's happening at the cafe, which constantly changes its menu.
''Our customers actually wanted to be notified when we had certain coffees,'' said Gabrielian.
''For instance, we were running a kopi luwak for a short time, and people would come in and ask for it and they would just miss out.''
Ms Singh said she expected to see continued growth in the use of social media by small businesses.
''We're seeing 62 per cent of the Australia population [on Facebook], so there certainly is an opportunity,'' she said.
''Social media peak at the 18-19 age bracket, 95 per cent; as that population becomes older we will see it become a much more important part of the marketplace.''


Storm over Target's 'trampy' fashion sense
August 14, 2012
'Target, we want our children portrayed as children'
Mum of a six-year-old, Gretta Hawkhead, has inadvertantly become part of a social media campaign against Target's "grungy" girls 7+ clothing.
AN OUTRAGED Port Macquarie mother has created a social media nightmare for discount department store Target after she used its Facebook page to call on the retail giant to sell girls' clothing that doesn't make them look like ''tramps''.
In an open post on the retailer's Facebook page over the weekend, primary school teacher Ana Amini wrote: ''Dear Target, Could you possibly make a range of clothing for girls 7-14 years that doesn't make them look like tramps … You have lost me as a customer when buying apparel for my daughter as I don't want her thinking shorts up her backside are the norm or fashionable.''

Gretta Hawkhead, mother to Mia, 6, has joined the outrage on Facebook that Target's clothes for young people are 'not appropriate'. Photo: Angela Wylie
When The Age went to print last night the post had attracted more than 44,000 ''likes'' and 2300 comments - most of them from parents criticising the retailer for selling ''hooker-style'' clothes to young girls.
Mrs Amini, who has an eight-year-old daughter, told The Age yesterday she was ''overwhelmed'' by the response but hoped Target would listen to its customers and stock more ''age-appropriate'' clothing.
''I wasn't expecting this kind of response, but I do hope they listen to the feedback and do something about it. I'm obviously not the only one who thinks their clothing is inappropriate for little girls.''

Short shrift ... An example of girls' wear listed on Target's online store. Photo: Target Online Shop
Patterson Lakes mother Gretta Hawkhead took to Facebook to support Mrs Amini's call for clothing that did not sexualise young girls.
Mrs Hawkhead complained that much of Target's 7-year-plus range was made up of short shorts and dresses, low-cut necklines, sheer lace, or ''grungy'' clothing.
''It's very provocative and not appropriate for young girls at all,'' said the mother of six-year-old Mia. ''They're still children and you want to keep that innocence for as long as you can. But Target seems to think that once they turn seven, they're young adults.''
Last night, Target posted a response on Facebook, inviting customers to email them with their concerns about ''specific products''.
Target Australia's general manager corporate affairs, Lynn Semjaniv, told The Age it had recently introduced a process for customers to assess products before they go into stores.
''We know there is a huge diversity of opinion when it comes to children's clothing and that everyone has a different perception, which is why we believe in taking great care to ensure that our range is both age-appropriate and something that our customers' children will love … We are taking the feedback we have received from our customers on Facebook very seriously … for current and future product decisions.''

12 August 2012


Robert Magid - who is he? - (the owner of the Australian Jewish News) - is reported in The Age newspaper on 8 August 2012 by Barney Zwartz 0n holocaust and compassion.

This is what Zwartz wrote:

Jewish call to curb compassion

August 8, 2012
Barney Zwartz

THE Jewish community should not be misled by compassion from the Holocaust into supporting Muslim boat people, the owner of The Australian Jewish News has argued in an article condemned by some as hate speech.

In the latest edition, under the headline ''Curb the compassion'', Robert Magid said Jews tended to want to appear more compassionate than others because of their history of suffering oppression and persecution, but ''the Jews who fled the Holocaust fled certain death. I doubt there is a single boat person in that situation.''

Mr Magid said ''unscrupulous'' illegal immigrants pushed genuine asylum seekers down the queue and that immigration in other countries had led to ghettos and calls for sharia. He suggested hiding among Muslim boat people who had destroyed their documents would be an ideal way for al-Qaeda to smuggle a terrorist network into Australia.

The backlash has hit. An open letter on Facebook from the Australian Jewish Democratic Society had attracted nearly 400 signatures last night, as liberal and conservative religious leaders united against Mr Magid.

A leading Orthodox rabbi, Ralph Genende, wrote that although he was scared of Islamic extremism, there were no limits to compassion, and most fears about Muslim immigration were unfounded.

A Jewish author and commentator, Arnold Zable, said: ''Refugees and asylum seekers are only doing what we would do in their shoes, what Jews did in the immediate post-war era as they sought a way to a better life, and what Jews have done for centuries - including the massive emigration in the wake of the 1880s pogroms in Russia.''

The Union for Progressive Judaism released a statement saying it was ''sad and inaccurate'' to lump together refugees and terrorists and label them all as deceitful and criminal.

Last night, Mr Magid said he stood by every word of his article. ''I think the majority of people agree with me but they are not willing to come out and say what I am prepared to say. It is a very cogent statement.''

This letter was in The Age on 9 August 2012:

Insensitive at best
THE article "Curb the compassion" published in The Australian Jewish News by owner Robert Magid (''Jewish 'hate speech' article sparks outrage'', The Age, 8/8 ) is surprising for its lack of sensitivity and bigoted racism. Did Magid have a ''Larry David'' moment or was his ill-considered outburst a political strategy, aimed at garnering support from right-wing elements in Israel?
Jeffrey Kelson, Prahran

These letters were in the Sydney Morning Herald on 9 August 2012:

Even if everyone agreed with Magid, he'd still be wrong

Maybe Robert Magid needs re-educating (''Jewish call to curb compassion'', August 8).

I recommend that he watch the upcoming episodes on SBS of Go Back to Where You Come From because, really, no one in Australia should be pedalling ''the swirling myths that people who arrive by boat are handed a goodie bag of entitlements as they step ashore'', so eloquently pointed out by Laura Tingle's article in Quarterly Essay issue 46, 2012.

Indeed, he has only to check the website Bridge For Asylum Seekers to realise what is really going on here and overseas.

The organisation's honorary chairperson, Virginia Walker, has said refugees who queue up can expect to wait many years before being formally processed.
And just because he says a majority of people agree with him (even if that were true, which I doubt) this does not mean he is right.

Rebecca Nash Balmain

The vast majority of Jews disagree with Robert Magid but, even if every single Jew in Australia, 120,000 of them, agreed with his sentiments they would account for less than one per cent of all Australians, whatever their religion, who hold similar views.

George Fishman Vaucluse

Robert Magid must have had a terrible childhood to have grown up with such hatred in his soul - if indeed he has a soul.

Compassion is obviously something about which he knows very little, and indeed, he seems not to have any understanding of such emotions.

Jews have been persecuted around the world at least since the advent of christianity some 2000 odd years ago. They have fled from one country to another, to another, to another, in the hope of finding sanctuary and security in another country where they will not be subject to the savageries we have seen in this period of time against a particular sect or group of people.

Of course we know that people like Magid have no understanding of the notions of persecution, hatred, oppression and apartheid, because he is part of that group of 20th century dinosaurs called zionists whose sole aim is to steal land belonging to another persecuted people and make it their own, when they have no rights to it.

Magid has no regrets about what he has said and he stands by every word he has uttered. Is it his millionaire status that bestows such arrogance upon him, or is it some other inborn mental state which allows no argument and brooks no responses
from people who are unable to understand how one human being can respond to other human beings who have undergone such tragic circumstances that they have to find somewhere liveable and which literally saves their lives?

In any case, he is totally wrong in what he says about asylum seekers and the "Tony Abbott" line about queue jumpers. I really don't think Al Qieda would use asylum seeker methods to gain entry into Australia. They would probably come by plane and not be spotted by customs and ASIO as they would enter by some quasi-legitimate means.

Maybe Magid needs to go back to school and learn a few basics about the facts of life as they are lived in Australia in 2012!!

11 August 2012





Thanks to Organic Consumers Organisation (August 2012) for this fantastic picture of what is in store for us all - Thanks to Monsanto and others.


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About Me

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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm