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Byron Shire
September 17, 2021

This war going on

Latest News

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With many many local councils are juggling the elections timetable owing to COVID-19 restrictions, and last night the Tweed Shire elected their Deputy Mayor.

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Cartoon of the week – 15 September, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Benjamin Gilmour, Federal

I’ve travelled to several active conflict zones in my time, and what I see right now in Australia are some of the characteristics of wars I’ve witnessed. I see anger, confrontation, division, othering and vilification. I see a black-and-white and us-and-them mentality. I see a society of distrust, of friendships torn apart.

It is clear to me that before this war escalates further, we need to shut it down. And it starts with each of us. Each of us can break the cycle of tit-for-tat, of the urge to fire back, of revenge, of the need to have the last word or the need to be right.

Because when both sides of an argument believe the other is brainwashed, there’s no winning. I’m okay with that. I’m comfortable not having to agree with you, or you with me. Everyone is a complex individual, mostly a product of environment, conditioning and education. And I know how difficult it is to make sense of things in a world where the waters of information are utterly muddied, where it’s easy to be hoodwinked, to fall down the rabbit hole into wild ideas. Or to blindly accept the official narrative without investigation.

Most of us live full, busy, stressful lives with barely any time for deep research. We are just trying to survive, to understand, in a world where it is getting more and more difficult to distinguish truth from fiction. Let’s give each other a break. Let’s have some empathy, no matter how brainwashed you think the other is.

As a medic what I’ve learnt about human survival in times of crisis is that in these moments we desperately need each other. Yet right now I observe us becoming socially weaker because of a tragic empathy deficit. If you feel it’s important to convince the other, be respectful in your quest. Let’s tone down the arrogance, get off our high horses and find common ground, even if that is discussing a separate topic to the crisis we are in. Let’s talk about art, music, poetry. Let’s dance. Let’s appreciate nature together. These are not distractions. These are essential to the health of the organism that is society. It is essential to our wellbeing and very survival. Find something we mutually appreciate and can talk about that feeds our love for each other. Because there’s a war going on, not in some distant land, but right here, right now. Let’s all do our part for peace.

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  1. There are two opposing views competing for attention as an explanation of what is happening and why. One view holds that covid is a massively dangerous illness that threatens our public health and that’s why we need to practice social distancing, wear masks, remain at home in isolation and provide our personal details when we go shopping. The other view considers the threat of covid to be massively overstated deliberately in order to implement an undemocratic, antisocial and dehumanising totalitarian regime that threatens our fundamental freedoms and basic human rights.

    It seems to me that both camps ostensibly fear for the safety and well-being of their fellow citizens, but only one side is given a platform to promulgate its concern through mainstream media, including the Echo. The exclusion of one view point in favour of the other, I believe, undermines the credibility and legitimacy of the public discourse. Furthermore, it seems to me the people insisting we submit and comply with the unprecedented and draconian restrictions, do so based on fear, panic, ignorance of the issues involved and a reckless disregard for the consequences.

    • No doubt both “camps” are well intentioned, John. Two things though I’d disagree with in your comments. From the comments allowed on these pages, plus letters to the editor, I’d suggest that the Echo is giving plenty of room in the platform to both sides.

      I also find it interesting how often those of us who do see Covid 19 as a dangerous illness that threatens public health are told that our beliefs and actions are based on “fear, panic, ignorance of the issues involved”. Personally I reckon you have to be pretty fearful to believe that there is a concerted effort to deceive us. An effort that every government (regardless of political persuasion) is in on along with every media organisation from News Limited to the ABC, BBC, Guardian etc. Then they seem also in league with the world’s universities, major research institutions and the WHO. That seems to be bordering on paranoia. But true, as we’ve heard time and again, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

      I applaud the constant vigilance of human rights issues but I also think I have a right to expect governments at all three tiers to take responsibility in a health emergency to safeguard the community’s well being. When I think their measures including check-in, masks, social distancing are unjustified or stepping over the line I’ll get militant.

      Can I congratulate you also though on how clearly you have outlined the issues. I know there is somewhat of a rejection of the conventional in this area but the disregard being shown for conventional sentence structure, punctuation and paragraphing becoming increasingly apparent in the writing from some in the “camp” is doing my head in. I don’t know if it’s defiance of convention or a secret method of encryption, but in some rambling diatribes I have had to give up trying.

      • What an excellent response Liz. I was going to reply something similar, but you got there first.

        Thank you for pointing out that although it could be argued that both camps weaponise Fear as a strategy to make their argument, it would be a false equivalence to say they are the same.

        One side evokes fear using images of patients on ventilators and quotes mortality statistics such as over 4.5M deaths worldwide.

        One side evokes fear by referring to The Cabal, Agenda 21, New World Order, Freemasons and Government sanctioned depopulation.

        Yes, it would be positive for there to be less enmity in the community. But do we have to abandon intelligence and rationality in order to achieve that?

  2. Old song… ‘people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.’
    Quit the brawling put-downs & remember how life wasn’t easy before the
    virus came so it’s obvious we learn to manage the situation now with all
    the stuff-ups placed by our current ‘leaders,’

  3. Really well said & written … thank you 💕
    It’s easy to people to see the wrong in others, finding what connects us & focusing on that.


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