Photographic memories

November 30, 2013 at 11:41 pm (Angoram, artifacts, Bob Mackie, Commentary, Deborah Ruiz Wall, Don Bosgard, Dr Jan J Saave, East Sepik District, expatriates, Fr Fons Ruijter, Goya Henry, H.B.G. Larkin, Jim McKinnon, John Bowers, Kami Raymundus, Kevin Trueman, Michael Somare, Papua New Guinea, Paul Dennett, Peter Johnson, Photos, Sepik floods, Somare, Temlett Conibeer, W.M. Hughes)

Don Pybus in Sydney

Don Pybus in Sydney


Dieter with Peter Johnson, Sepik Ironman Competition, 07/06/2009

Dieter with Peter Johnson, Sepik Ironman Competition, 07/06/2009

Greetings from Goya 1968

Greetings from Goya 1968

A.C.T. Marke & John Kelly in the wilds of PNG

A.C.T. Marke & John Kelly in the wilds of PNG

1958 Leeton, contemplates a world trip  1961 Troppo on Kar Kar Island  1963 Driekikir

1958 Leeton, contemplates a world trip 1961 Troppo on Kar Kar Island 1963 Driekikir

Bill Eichhorn, MBE » Bill Eichhorn, successful entrepreneur and politician at home on the Keram River

Bill Eichhorn, successful entrepreneur and politician at home on the Keram River

Dave Wall at Kekten Village

Dave Wall at Kekten Village

William & Rosa Batak, Kekten Village

William & Rosa Batak, Kekten Village


Ralf Stüttgen

Ralf Stüttgen

Sago 3   Sago 2   Sago Memories, thanks to Bob Beeke   Jock   Bob Beeke   Angoram Hotel


kami,Torembi Village

kami,Torembi Village

Dave Wall & Jan Saave, some years after they left PNG

Dave Wall & Jan Saave, some years after they left PNG

Sue Treutlein & Bob Mackie at the Angoram Club

Sue Treutlein & Bob Mackie at the Angoram Club

Sanam Kabasse & Dave Wall

Sanam Kabasse & Dave Wall

Wewak Hospital

Wewak Hospital

Hand-written letter from W.M. Hughes to H.B.G. Larkin 2

Michael Somare, Angoram, 1973

Graeme Jones, Robyn Faulkner, Co-op Manager, Dave Bretherton, Jan Matysek, Clare & Des Hill, Bruce Ross, Pat Bretherton, Ella Lucas, Ronnie Lucas

Graeme Jones, Robyn Faulkner, Co-op Manager, Dave Bretherton, Jan Matysek, Clare & Des Hill, Bruce Ross, Pat Bretherton, Ella Lucas, Ronnie Lucas

outside the church 2

On the left, Eva Waramapi

On the left, Eva Waramapi


  1960sAngoram 1960s

The Rev. John Spender

The Rev. John Spender

David Augustus Wall & John Bowers in Como, early 1980s

David Augustus Wall & John Bowers in Como, early 1980s

Cedric Wyatt, Rick Wyatt, CWyatt - a legend in his own time!

Cedric Wyatt, Rick Wyatt, CWyatt – a legend in his own time!

Bob Becke with May & Harry Marchant, Two called to the bar at the Angoram Club, Jim McKinnon, Esther & Jim Stevens

Bob Becke with May & Harry Marchant, Two called to the bar at the Angoram Club, Jim McKinnon, Esther & Jim Stevens

Jock McIntyre & Bob Becke, Western District, PNG, 1960

Jock McIntyre & Bob Becke, Western District, PNG, 1960

Angoram Hotel Sepik.  Houseboat and powered canoes for guided tours along the mighty Sepik River. Angoram, Sepik District, New Guinea Photo Uwe Steinward (C) GNG 70

Angoram Hotel Sepik. Houseboat and powered canoes for guided tours along the mighty Sepik River. Angoram, Sepik District, New Guinea Photo Uwe Steinward (C) GNG 70

png3bnew-shots-224new-shots-208paul-david-danAngoram 1960s

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Successful Asians in PNG – A subject of hot debate!

May 25, 2013 at 11:26 pm (Commentary, Corruption in PNG, Deborah Ruiz Wall, expatriates, Papua New Guinea)

Post-Courier, 22 May, 2013

Post-Courier, 22 May, 2013


Deborah Ruiz Wall made the following comment:

‘GLOBALIZATION has arrived. ‘Free market’ reigns. A free-fall for local cultural livelihoods is the result. What self-determination is possible for poor countries to have control over their economies?

‘Today, governments are less able to protect their people. A quick solution undertaken by many to address their economic management burden seems to be to privatise essential public utilities to enable them to balance their budgets.  In the face of transnational corporations that have the facility to transfer their assets from one country to another, nation-states have become dinosaurs. Global control by powerful corporations reign. What’s happening in PNG is a microcosm of this growing phenomenon.
‘In Australia, for example, corruption over the behaviour of a former NSW government Minister in relation to mining approvals has been investigated by ICAC. Not a rare untypical situation these days. Cases of conflict of interests in public-private partnerships are on the increase — as disclosed by investigative journalists. The powerlessness of ordinary citizens is crystal clear.
‘In regard to the perception of Asians taking over, I remember a fact finding mission went to Manila in 1995 to investigate the controversy over the sex tourism industry.
‘Some bars and hotels supposedly “owned” by local entrepreneurs were in fact owned by Westerners. The “owners”, as it turned out, were used as a “front” by Australian or New Zealand businessmen who married Filipino women to enable them to run their businesses under their wives’ names. Foreigners were not permitted to own local business ventures unless they took up Filipino citizenship.
So my point is: money corrupts. Corruption does not discriminate between race and culture.’
This is an issue that could really get out of hand. It’s obvious that there are many in PNG who have concerns in this area.
I can only hope the debate does not degenerate into a mindless race issue.
Let’s say you got rid of all the Asians with small businesses in the country, would the locals be able to fill the vacuum with their own small businesses?

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An addition to the family

May 23, 2013 at 3:24 am (Commentary, David Wall, Deborah Ruiz Wall, East Sepik District, expatriates, Papua New Guinea, Sepik River)

Deborah Ruiz Wall  4

The glorious days and nights of early marriage – Andrei conceived while on patrol in the wilds of the Sepik.

Unfortunately as a family we didn’t return to PNG, much to the disappointment of my dear wife!

My experience of PNG is that it giveth and taketh away – perhaps more giveth than taketh!

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The Wisdom of Tei Abal

May 22, 2013 at 5:39 am (Andrew Peacock, Angoram, Australian Politics, Bill Morrison, Commentary, Deborah Ruiz Wall, Gough Whitlam, Indepentence for PNG, Papua New Guinea, Sir Tei Abel, Wally Lussick)

Wisdom of T. A.

This piece in the Post-Courier, December 1, 1973 is based on an interview with Tei Abal, Leader of the Opposition.

The interview was in Melanesian Pidgin.

Tei Abal was a man with very little formal education, but a man who knew his own people well.

Looking back, I imagine the names of Andrew Peacock, Bill Morrison, and last, but certainly not least, Gough Whitlam, these people readily come to mind, as Australian politicans who were more than ready to push PNG to independence. This is without mentioning locals like Michael Somare and John Guise.

Wally Lussick in 1973 was Tei Abal’s private secretary and advisor, and in my book knew far more about PNG and its people than any of the above named Australian politicians.

Deborah Ruiz Wall, a newly arrived Filipino in PNG was Mr Abal’s press secretary and research officer. She was not by anyone at the time considered a conservative, having been active in the student protest movement in Manila and very anti Marcos. But she fully agreed with her boss that PNG was not ready for independence, and should not be pushed into it.

The people of PNG were not asked. Had they been asked in a referendum, I’m sure that the vote would have gone strongly against early independence.

The shame of the whole thing is: the wisdom of Tei Abal was not heeded in the corridors of power!

With the wisdom of hindsight, and given the mess PNG is now in the question could be raised again: was the country ready for independence?

I’d like to conduct a survey in the Town of Angoram and put this to the people there.

It’s probably little comfort to you now Tei, wherever you are in the afterlife, but you were right, and Whitlam was wrong!


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“a government of dreams”

April 11, 2013 at 9:17 am (Angoram, Angoram Club, Commentary, Deborah Ruiz Wall, Don Bosgard, Jim McKinnon, Papua New Guinea, Sepik River, Uncategorized)

Man of nature

              PAPUA  NEW GUINEA, tomorrow a government of dreams! The man of nature sits in his hut undisturbed while the urban elitist quarrel over how to set him free from his rustic, tranquil life.                                                          Deborah Ruiz Wall                            


Angoram serenity 2 - Copy

The serenity of Angoram (?)

Deborah Ruiz Wall, 1973

Deborah Ruiz Wall, 1973

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Speech given by David Wall at the celebration of Deborah Wall’s 60th birthday

December 6, 2010 at 11:28 pm (David Wall, Deborah Ruiz Wall) (, , , , , , )

Chedi Restaurant, Newtown, 22/11/2009

First a little house keeping: recently my brother, Frank passed over (Excuse my rather quaint Victorian expression) and he always had a good name for the selection of a fine wine, so I got in touch with him in heaven and he told me that his small stint in purgatory had refined his taste for a fine vintage. For what it’s worth the wine you have is his selection with a lot of help from Greg our host and restaurateur.

Deb, what can I say about her?  Hard-line and humane, our Prime Minister’s attitude to refugees – hardly – humane, yes!

Deb and I have been married for nearly 37 years and over these years she has had the rather endearing habit of leaving possessions in taxis, buses, trains and other places. She has been robbed from Sydney to Madrid. I often wondered why. What it is, she is so much into the good of people- conversation, communication, reconciliation and the concerns of others that she forgets what she has in terms of bags cameras etc. Deb sees spirituality in the Block and even in me at times! 

I often say that the best decision Deb ever made was to marry me!! Of course, what I really mean is that marriage to Deb was the best thing that ever happened to me. But for this I would have long since gone and be fertilizing a matmat or grave on the banks of the Sepik River. Not a bad fate for some, no doubt. 

I suppose Deb has saved me from myself and for myself. She has been a dedicated wife, mother and in Arthur’s words from “The Minder”, a good little earner over all these years. 

To paraphrase Virgil, and in her work it showed, she is in truth a goddess. 

She always sees the best in others but this is not to say that Deb is some kind of a milksop – dare I quote from Titus Andronicus and in Aaron’s words: Excuse me for comparing Deb with such a violent play but I do like a ‘violent’: The Bill and Taggart, Deb is certainly not Tamora!! The Queen of the Goths But: Upon her wit doth earthy honour wait, And virtue stoops and trembles at her frown. 

I myself have a fear of Deb’s disapproval. When I get the fierce look from her she conjures up in my mind those ancient Filipina warrior heroines and easily leaves me begging forgiveness and mercy!!  The wrath of the Filipina!!

Deborah, your adopted country has given you recognition with an OAM, your friends and family here hail you as a great, loving and self-sacrificing woman. 

The good book tells us that it is not good that a man should live alone and he should cleave unto his wife, well Deb, I’m now doing a bit of cleaving! 

Filipina, Australian, wife, mother, teacher, writer, social worker, journalist, reconciler, scholar, student and virtuous, beautiful woman, all of these things and more, we greet you and thank you. 

In accord with the family’s Filipino and Polish connections I’ll say to you Deb: Sige Deborka !!  And welcome to your Seniors Card.

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The call of the river

September 21, 2010 at 7:11 am (Angoram, artifacts, David Wall, Deborah Ruiz Wall, Papua New Guinea) (, , , , , , , , , )

This photo has a bit of history about it. In 1969 a group of Japanese academics from Kyoto City University visited the Sepik, and stayed for a number of weeks in Angoram, collecting artefacts and even some human skulls – a Sepik art form. They did linguistic and anthropological studies in the area.

The leader of the group was a professor of English and a veteran of the Japanese campaign in China during WW II – a charming and distinguished gentleman. There were two other young men who were associate professors and a beautiful young woman – an anthropologist.

They all had an extraordinary capacity for Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky, which we all consumed in a convivial atmosphere of discussions with no language problems. I have the names of each member of the visiting party in a trunk somewhere or other in my attic.

Back to the subject of the photo. This was taken by one of the Japanese from a river boat that they were travelling on – on their way to Pagwai and hence to Maprik. I was also on my way upriver on a patrol in a canoe – from memory, to the Middle Sepik. The photographer called out to me after taking the picture –  “Come to Kyoto, David,  it’s your city!”

So much for the international flavour of the old Angoram.

Oh, yes, this is the first photo my wife, Deborah, saw of me, so it must have something about it!!

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The Kimberleys unlocked

June 14, 2010 at 5:09 am (Deborah Ruiz Wall) (, , , , , )

Deborah Ruiz Wall's photographic brilliance revealed!

The sea, a source of food

Anthropologists, Yuriko Yamanouchi & Deborah Ruiz Wall, discover the complexities of the Kimberleys.

We all expect great things from these two intrepid social scientists!

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Deborah’s poem creates a lively discussion!

February 20, 2009 at 5:06 am (Deborah Ruiz Wall, Gaza) (, , , , , , )

Lament over Gaza
Deborah Ruiz Wall

It crushes my heart to watch
injured and lifeless children
in Gaza — collateral damage
or sheer madness?
‘Land is life’, my Indigenous mentors
proclaimed, but I see its antithesis
now when tortured eyes conjure
bipolar images of stories retold
over and over by diasporic tribes
where past, present and future
coalesce in a war of retribution
so that in Palestine: land equals death.

Talk is not cheap, the war machine
that silences the whispering from beyond
our earthly dreams, will keep us all in chains
— away from reaching the fullness
of our humanity, away from
our oneness with the sanctity of all life.


(published in Eureka Street 03/02/09)


Sent: Sunday, 15 February, 2009 9:35:56 AM
Subject: Re: [tranbye2000] Gaza poem, Eureka Street- response to
Deborah’s poem on Gaza

Dear All

Deborah’s poem on Gaza is beautifully written and compassionate, however
I feel I need to respond and challenge  the anti-Israel attitude that
for many is a given. Please take the time to read what I have written,
even though it is a little long.

During our Tranby course some of you spoke briefly to me about the
Israeli/Palestinian conflict, usually with condemnation for Israel and
with an attitude that  because I was Jewish my opinion  would be biased
and therefore not to be considered seriously. In our course we were
never taught that the opinions of Aboriginal people on Aboriginal issues
should not be considered because they would be biased! If you are going
to form an opinion on this subject I ask you to dig deeper than the
media reports, selective photos, and the myriad of anti-Israel articles
that are circulating.

Please ask yourself the question- what would you expect the Australian
government to do if a neighbouring country had a constitution that
called for the destruction of Australia and was building up military
infrastructure and international alliances to do just that and was
sending a daily barrage of rockets into your suburb?

The pictures and stories of Palestinian civilians suffering are
heartwrenching, but if you judge Israel’s actions purely on an emotional
response to these pictures it would be like judging England’s actions in
WWII purely on photos and stories of suffering  German civilians,
without understanding the ideaology, history and  politics of the German
government and without a picture of what was happening on the other

I have family and friends in Israel, I have visited Israel several times
and barely a week goes by without me hearing from or speaking to people
who are personally affected by the conflict. I know without a doubt that
the majority of Israelis – civilians, politicians and soldiers-
desperately want a true and lasting PEACE. Israel is portrayed as
aggressive and war mongering, it is simply not true. Israelis fight now
as they always have, to defend themselves and they operate  under a
humane code of conduct. The sort of horrific actions of Israeli soldiers
reported in the media are investigated and if true, the soldiers are
held accountable. It is a Palestinian tactic to spread these sort of
stories whether they are true or not, so be wary of believing what is
reported. There is little journalistic freedom in the Palestinian

Most Jews feel a deep connection with the Land of Israel. There has been
a continual Jewish presence in Israel for the last 4 to 5000 yrs and the
Hebrew language and Jewish spiritual teachings come from this Land.
Zionism, although now a very misunderstood and maligned term, is the
movement the world community. Most Jews would regard themselves as Zionists- ie
wanting their connection with Israel to have political and legal
recognition and most Jews also recognize the connections and rights of
the Palestinians and others in  Israel.  The views of extreme Zionists,
often quoted in the media, are unrepresentative.

I, along with  the Jewish community, am confronting, what  has been
called a ‘tsunami’ of rising anti-semitism world wide. This worrying
trend is called the ‘new anti-semitism’. It is spear-headed by radical
Islamic ideaology which is fanning the embers of deeply entrenched
European anti-semitism and has found a strange bedfellow with extreme
left-wing activists who slot the Israeli/Palestinian conflict into a
simplistic and false ideaological model ie ‘powerful colonial aggressor
(Israel) vs innocent victims (Palestinians) and some of whom harbour
racist stereotypes of Jews as rich and powerful social pariahs. 

The anti-semitic and anti-Israel propoganda which regularly appears in
mainstream Arab media in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia,
Palestine, Iran and others is criminal, dangerous and on a level similar
to what was being broadcast in Nazi Gemany. It includes stories of Jews
killing Arab children to use their blood in their Matzah’s, the subhuman
nature of Jews, Jews ruling the world etc etc. There is an anti-semitic
fabricated publication, ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, which implies
Jews are planning to take over the world and which was used by Russia to
persecute Jews in the late 1800s. It is sold throughout the Arab world,
is taught in high schools in countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia,
was run as a television series in Syria and even worse was available for
sale at the United Nations ‘Conference Against Racism’ in Durban, South
Africa in 2001. If it wasn’t so personally distressing one would have to
laugh at the irony and absurdity of this- an infamously racist texts being promoted
at a UN ‘Conference Against Racism’. On the topic of the UN- the record
of the UN in relation to Israel has been extremely unbalanced due to the
fact that many of the UN members belong to the Islamic block  of
countries or are countries which vote in support of the Islamic block
for political or ideaoligical reasons. This is what lies behind the
anti-Israel bullying that is common in the UN and which  surfaced at
Durban. My Jewish colleagues who unsuspectingly attended the Durban
conference came back disturbed and traumatised by the experience.

The demonisation of Israel, the judgement of Israel by standards not
applied to other countries and the singling out of Israel  for human
rights condemnation while  ignoring the human rights abuses of Hamas
and out of proportion compared to countries such as Darfur, Iran,
Zimbabwe, North Korea and many others whose human rights records are
abominable- all these responses are part of the ‘new-antisemitism’. It
is dangerous and it needs to be challenged.

A recent example, very close to home, was a conference called ‘Justice
for Palestine’ that was scheduled to be held at the NSW State Parliament
two weeks ago on 29th January. It was organised by Maqsood Alshams, a
supposed human rights activist, and supported by the Edmund Rice Centre,
UTS, Maquarie University and University of Sydney. The aim of the
conference was to put together a case to try Israel for war crimes. The
panel of speakers, as is usual in these sort of conferences, had token
Jewish representation by people known to have extremist anti-Israel
views and to be unbalanced and  unrepresentative.  A few days before the
conference Maqsood got drunk and sent off the following emails to some
of my colleagues;.
“The fact is that you the Jews are real motherf…… bastards”
“you guys are simply a..holes……. But simply, Jews like you are the dirty
scums…..I wonder why G-d himself hates the Jews” and there was more.
It also was discovered that the human rights organization Maqsooclaimed to represent didn’t even exist.  A rabid anti-Israel position
usually masks the sort of deep seated anti-Semitism  expressed by
Maqsood and is a misinformed position taken up by many.

The conference was cancelled when the truth came out, but the point is
that well respected organizations, universities and even state
parliament, were going to give their support to what would have been an
unbalanced anti-Israel hate fest.  Unfortunately this is not a one off
incident but indicative of what is happening in many academic and
political, activist circles.  The sad thing is that these conferences,
the people behind them and the  support they receive actually feeds the
hate that drives the conflict rather than supporting the possibility of

I am writing to alert you to what is going on and to ask that before you
form an opinion on Israel or the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that you
do the research. Below are some well known books from various
perspectives. The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has put out a booklet on
the subject, with a reading list, which I can send to anyone who is
interested, or you can visit the website


Neill Lochery
The View from the Fence: The Arab-Israel Conflict from the Present to
its Roots (2005)

Walter LACQUEUR and Barry RUBIN (editors)
The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of The Middle East
Conflict 6th edition (2001)

Martin Gilbert:    Israel- A History (1998)
                          The Routledge Atlas of the Arab-Israel
Conflict (2003)

Joan Peters:  From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish
Conflict Over Palestine (1993)

Edward Said: The Question of Palestine (1992)

Alan Dershowitz: The Case for Israel (2003)
The Case For Peace: How the Arab-Israel Conflict can be

resolved (2005)    



Dear Jenny
 while I agree with you in regards anti semitism and
  racism it is sometimes our own who need to address our
 wrong doing.
 Just as Australia became complicit in the the war in Iraq,
 where 100,000 people plus died because we were aligned with
 the politics of might is right.  We went to war on a
 premise that that was totally wrong.  (then again I
 believe that any war where you are the aggressor is wrong,
 defence of the immediate is understandable)  I was and
 still am ashamed of my peoples stance of agression.  I
 am ashamed that my people are complicinat in the murder of
 so many innocent people.  I am ashamed that my peopels
 power, gained by the wealth and exploitation of the World is
 so unbalanced  that I and my people, are not incapable
 of understanding the inisght of collusion in allowing people
 to be obliterated from their one life chance.  I am
ashamed that my own behave like this, and I continue in the
 hope that “the good guys”, I wanna be one of the
 good guys, take all means necessary to stop the waves of
 innocent people from being deprived of oxygen.
 Israel, like Australia can try to justify their actions,
 (mind you Israel has a hell of a story to attempt to justify
 their action) but I am afraid we fail.  To see so many
 people being killed in conparisoon with the “other
 side” begs the question why the ‘other side’
 still get up willing and wanting to destory us.Off course
the extremist and fundamentalist from all sides have an
 agenda to enforce their values on ohthers, however, most
 human beings are moderate and all they want is to live
fairly and in peace.  Off course the media manipulates
 and poisons balanced approaches of the reality.  I
 am afraid we cannot get oursleves away from the fact that
 the incredible and outrageous loss of deaths on both sides ,
 is even more pathetic when it is known that one side loses
 95% of that loss.  Something is terribly wriong, which
 is not about the racist propoganda of both sides its about
 the lack of respect for humanity full stop and the good guys
 abilty through wealth accumulation to control the world by
fear.  The peace makers dont aim missiles for peace,
 they aim them to kill.  Sticks and stones will break my
 bones but weaponary of the modern kind destoy the names of
 so many more.
 There is no logic in the expectation of fixoing the problem
 through the unjustifiable use of weapnory that destroys
 1,000s , while the “good guys loose a couple in
 comparison.  One life is too much but us good guys need
 to look at ourselves clearly in the mirror and come to
 an understanding of how we got to become the goliaths
 and they the davids, my God they are still throwing stones ,
 amid the low tech rocket launches, that aim to kill whoever
is unfortunate to be at the end of a wayward stone or
trigger.  The Israel and Australian governements can
 calculate where our rockets go metres. We know how the
 story goes, but I am afraid the story never ends, it just
 changes throughout history when we can identify oursleves as
 the goliaths and the davids. 
  We know Hamas, Sudaam, Hitler,  to be evil, but if we
 really look at ourselves closely I would hate to see us all
 reflected in the mirror the same way.  I am Catholic,
 heard of the crusades!!
 Hope your well fine woman Jenny. at least you got me
 I wish you no more pain, your people have suffered beyond


Dear Jenny

Thank you for your letter in response to my poem, drawing a more nuanced perspective of the Gaza tragedy. Indeed one way of understanding Israel ’s conduct is to make it personal: what would you do if your family’s survival is constantly under threat? Surely this question holds for both sides of the divide.

 Of course if we take a deeper view that contextualizes the history, the ideology and geopolitics that underpin the conflict, clearly there is nothing simple about the Palestinian question. On a philosophical note, is there space for all of humanity to reach our common desire for world peace? Or shall we be content to ride the cycle of violence until we finally succeed to obliterate one another?

 Michael’s point is one of proportionality: a David vs.Goliath analogy. What with one side apparently experimenting with technologically advanced weapons on innocent civilians, weapons provided by another superpower; and the other, using rockets like David’s slingshot, that target innocent families at random. But I am personally more concerned about the sanctity of all life on earth, and I grieve over the mayhem and destruction we inflict on ourselves.

Yesterday, I went to an anti-war photo exhibition (anti Iraq war) held in Pine Street , Redfern. A former BBC journalist, now Associate Professor of Journalism spoke of the horribly debilitating weapons used in Gaza . He also said that we all should see this conflict as one in favour of sustaining militarism and power or, of valuing our common humanity. This afternoon, I attended an interfaith service in the city, and the readings from various spiritual traditions included a poem written by Arthur Waskow just after the Second World War.  This poem spoke to me:


We are the generation that stands between the fires:

behind us the flame and the smoke

that arose from Auschwitz and from Hiroshima

before us the nightmare of a Flood of Fire,

the flame and smoke that consumes all Earth.

It is our task to make from fire not an all-consuming blaze

but the light in which we see each other fully.


All of us different, all of us bearing One Spark.

We light these fires to see more clearly

that the Earth and all who live as part of it

are not for burning.

We light these fires to see more clearly

the rainbow in our many-coloured faces.

Blessed is the One within the many.

Blessed are the Many who make one.


Thank you, Michael, Patti and Jenny for this most valuable dialogue.





 I recall a few years ago at St Vincent’s Church in Redfern, we were inspired to support a Jewish Palestinian dialogue to enable us  to understand the issues more clearly and also as part of a movement towards an interfaith dialogue.

I still have some of the literature they gave us and a silver bracelet with symbols of different faiths, we bought from a Jewish woman at the church just after an interfaith service.  The idea of dialogue and mutual respect just appeals to me.

Seems like a long time ago.  Made me google this morning.

1. ‘ Israel has refused to accept Hamas’ consistent offer of negotiations since its election win in 2006. There can be no solution to the conflict without Israel being a willing partner to dialogue.’

Here in Australia we are not reading the protets happening in Israel On Saturday 10,000 people marched against war in Tel Aviv.

 2. Jewish Palestinian dialogue in California

 3. ‘It all feeds into the generalised sense of insecurity that many Israelis say they feel. It is a product of their history, and the uncertain future.

It exists despite the fact that Israel has the most powerful army in the Middle East , nuclear weapons, a high-tech economy and the closest possible strategic relationship with the United States , the most powerful country in the world.

But did the war make Israelis any safer? Levana and her husband don’t think so. They believe that will only happen when there is peace with the Palestinians.’

4. ‘Whatever our view on the rights and wrongs of the PLO’s stand over the Gulf War, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is still an occupation”, she said.

Kessler argues that the Jewish community will atrophy unless it concedes Palestinian statehood. “To continue to deny the Palestinians’ statehood while asserting one’s own is moral autism.” he said. The only way to make peace, he argues, is to make peace with the

5.  Trevor Bormann meets the Palestinian doctor whose plight symbolises the tragedy of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Dr Abuelaish is well known as a friend to both Gaza and Israel – a Harvard-educated specialist who pioneered Israel ’s IVF program, and who works to bring the communities together. But on January 16th his world was shattered when Israeli tanks fired into his house.

6. The Gaza Strip is dangerously short of basic foodstuffs and is facing a looming humanitarian crisis as a result of the continued closure of the main trade crossing with Israel , the United Nations has warned.


Dear Jenny,
Thank you for your letter to all of us. It is always important to read and
think about such a complex and devastating situation from all sides, and you
have helped me to remember this side, this perspective.

I have tried to imagine what it would be like to have the constant threat of
rocket attack on my home, and to be afraid all the time of my kids being
caught by gun fire. On either side. Suffering and heartache doesn’t take
sides. But there is no way I can imagine what it would be like.

From this long distance away, I think that the main and imperative issue is
to work towards how it can end. I know easier said than done, but surely
that is what most people, including many media reports are asking.

Also, by its very nature is any criticism of Israel anti-semitic? I think
not, but maybe you don’t agree (and I’m not trying to argue about this just
to raise that question).

I hope you can see that I really appreciate your letter and it has made me
think again, think more carefully and be more open.

My love and best wishes to you,

Dear Jenny, Deborah, Patti, Michael et al,
I have followed your discussion with interest.
 The Israeli Palestian conflict, as we know, is very
 complex. Any journalism is going to be big picture and have a bias.
 We know that Hamas is not Palestine, just as the PLO and
 the Palestinian Authority did not represent all Palestianians. Not all
 Palestinians are fundamentalist Muslim. Richard and I, during our time in
 Israel and the West Bank, met many Chrisitian and Muslim Palestinians,
 including Elias Chacour, who desperately want peace and are working hard at it, both
 within Israel and Palestine. And they speak of the oppression they are
 experiencing by Israel. Little picture stories.
 Not all Israelis are Jewish or Zionist. Many Israelis are
 working hard for peace (like Rabbis for Human Rights and Gush Shalom) and to
 stop the oppression that Israel is inflicting on their Palestinian
 neighbours. Rabbis for Human Rights are documenting the many injustices
 perpetrated by Israel in the building of the wall. More little picture stories.
 Our Israeli friends are fearful and have become more so
 over the years. Their support of Palestinians has moved through tolerance
 to fear and hatred. It’s very sad. Another little picture.
 Although the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) has a high code of
 behaviour, many of the young soldiers do not abide by it. Ordinary
 Palestianians, in just trying to cross into Israel, where they work or have
 family, are humiliated abused and denigrated. And, as in Gaza, when the shelling
 begins, many innocent civilians are killed.
 On the plane returning from Ireland I watched the movie
 Lemon Tree. A middle aged Palestinian widow trying to protect her lemon grove
 from being uprooted by the Israeli military. It is perceived to pose a security
 threat. By an Israeli film maker. October 2008. Worth seeing. The human
 face of the conflict – moderates and extremists – on both sides. Just
 one more little  picture.
 There is right and wrong on both sides, but Israel has the
 power. And if we’re talking about research and history, then the
 study of the founding of the State of Israel, is a grizzly story. Extreme terrorism
 and the invasion of Palestinian villages and the driving out of the people.
 As the Palestinians call it, ‘The Catastrophe’. The Arabs
 who threaten Israel have their reason.
 So all those little stories make up the big horrible
 I love Israel. I also love Palestine.
 But the people have demonised each other. There is, what
 Christine Asmar called it, a “pardigm dissonance”. Is there hope?
 May be. I don’t know.
 Enough of the rave. Lemon Tree is a great film.


Dear Leigh

I sent my last email to you late last night and am concerned to clarify that it’s not that I question what you say or the truth of your ‘little stories’ but if the Israeli ‘little stories’ are not told then Israel is falsely portrayed as a monster- this is what I mean when i say Israel is demonised and deligitemised in this process. It is happening in the media and in the many anti-Israel articles, conferences and movements that are curremtly mushrooming.

In Israel where there is freedom of expression for Jews, Arabs, Christians, Druze, Bedouins, men and women- all the stories are told, discussed and people are free to choose what stories to believe in.  Some extremist Jews openly call for the dismantling of Israel, and even though they are a fringe minority they are often quoted by Palestinian supporters as evidence of the truth of their claims.

In the Palestinian territories, where there is very limited freedom of expression and limited access for international journalists the stories that do come out are  carefully crafted for political impact and the stories of Israeli atrocities are often fabricated and exaggerated, such as in 2001 when the Palestinians claimed that 3000 were massacred at Jenin. The world media, the UN and many NGOs such as Amnesty International condemned Israel in horror, i clearly remeber the headlines in every single Australian paper- an independant investigation later revealed that 52 Palestinians, primarily militants, were killed along with 13 Israeli soldiers, who were ordered to go into Jenin on foot rather than attack by air so as to avoid Palestinian casualties. I spoke to one of the Israeli soldiers who went into Jenin, a beautiful 19 yr old boy, and I asked him whether he thought Israel was right to have sent his unit in on foot and his answer, even though he had just been to the 13 funerals of his young friends was ‘Yes, I think so, otherwise there would have been too many Palestinian casualties’. How much airplay does this sort of ‘little story’ get?

This experience, this ‘little story’ has never left me, the contrast to what really happened and what was reported and what was believed and the repercussions of that for Israel and for me as a Jew.  That is why I am not prepared to stay silent about this.

It is probably not appropriate to be using this list for such a long discussion between just a few of us on a topic that although of high importance to me is not directly related to the purpose of this list so in future I will respond directly and cc to the others who are part of the discussion.




Hi Patti and Michael

Thanks for your thoughtful replies to my email.

I am going away for a couple of weeks so can only reply now briefly,

Patti, definately I do not think criticising Israel is anti-semitism, in fact open discussion and criticism of specific Israeli policies are routinely expressed both in Israel and in the Australian Jewish community  (In comparison, criticism of Hamas in Gaza often leads to summary execution).  I do believe, however, that the demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel, the judgment of Israel by standards not applied to other countries and the singling out of Israel for differential and discriminatory treatment in the international arena is often based on anti-semitism. 

Michael, you raised a lot of points most of which I have to say I disagree with, but your compassion and care are unquestionable and it is these  qualities that I hope will triumph in people and show us a way forward.

Again, I say it is important to do the research because there is so much misinformation in the media and on the internet.


Deb, although the argument that the Israeli Defence Forces adhere to a code of ethical conduct boils my blood. Anyone who thinks ” no of course the Israeli army couldn’t have deliberately killed civilians…. look it says so here in the manual”, would also  also believe there are fairies at the bottom of the garden.






Reflections off the top of my head!

David Wall to Deborah Wall

basic background

 FAQ (frequently asked questions)

One- state solution


On Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 5:10 PM, David Wall <> wrote:

I think that the only real answer to the Israel Palestine conflict is the one state solution. Since the expulsion of the Jews by the Romans in AD 70, AD 132 & AD 135 from Judea/Palaestina the claim of the existence of any defined state in the area would be very dubious. Occupation was the rule of the day and Palestine was continually ruled by others than Jews and Arabs. So there was no real state until Israel was created in 1948 but we have to remember that this was not recognized by the Arabs.

Let the new one state of Israel/Palestine grant the right of return to all Palestinians and Jews and make them citizens. Harmony and the good of all in a land that both Palestinians and Jews have a right to be in would at last rekindle the historic cooperation that did exist between the races in bygone ages.



Deb, I think she speaks for many of us.

I am equally saddened by the abuse of the Human Rights of any person or
group. Obviously, the scale of death and injury has been much worse for
the Palestinian’s, but this is a result of the disproportinate power and
wealth which Israel has in this situation. Without this, Hamas would
have no fuel and no case upon which to mobilise disafected Palestinians.

What does concern me is that anti semitism as a very old and easily dug
up form of racism and I see glimpses of it in my friends and colleagues
when they spruik the Palestinian cause. I then become separated from
them and allienated from their good intentions in highlighting the
attrocities experienced by our Palestinian sisters and brothers.






Terrorists or freedom fighters?  It’s all in a name.





A change in the geopolitical situation since the 1930s!

Low again A Pageant of Politics  The Cresset Press, 1938 

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