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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Just Mercy

An amazing and harrowing book. Bryan Stevenson as a young black lawyer takes on the American "justice" system which proves to be almost unbelievably unjust for people of colour, the poor, juveniles etc. Through his years of passionate work (which continues today) he saves countless lives. In a literal sense he saves people from the death penalty. And in many more cases he saves people from "life in prison until you die". The story of Walter McMillan - an innocent man on death row - provides the main thread throughout the book but intervening chapters cover many other cases. During his years of work he set up the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) which can be found online here.

A very inspiring but challenging book!

I looked up the EJI webpage and watched the five minute clip:
Bryan Stevenson: Ending the Politics of Fear and Anger | Equal Justice Initiative
Although Stevenson is talking about the USA scene the central principles about a politics of fear and anger apply just as much to our own country.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Anchored serenely

Anchored serenely 
in the evening sunlight's glow
but open and available
for the tide's swell
and the rower's direction 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Have we learnt anything?

We recently spent a few days in Wellington - specifically to explore the Peter Jackson installations regarding NZ at war. The Great War exhibition commemorates the role played by NZ in the First World War. It follows the journey of the war year by year. Never having been very interested in war of any kind, I learned a lot. This exhibition is at the War Memorial Museum (behind the Cenotaph and tomb of the unknown soldier).

The final scene of this exhibition shows the words emblazoned on the wall of the recruitment office to inspire young recruits - underneath are soldiers as they stumble home blinded by mustard gas . Older and younger generations grieve together at the graves of those who died.

The other exhibition Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War is at Te Papa.  This web link gives a very good idea of what is included in this exhibition. But nothing compares with seeing it personally. Some of the people featured are "there" in larger-than-life-sized models. (See the size of the doorway on the right to get an idea of scale.)

I wonder what it would be like to be a descendant of one of them walking around and meeting a grandparent or great-grandparent "face to face". Anthea had two great-uncles at Gallipoli - not featured in models but certainly shown and celebrated.

If you visit Pukeahu War Memorial Park (to see The Great War exhibition) you will also see the Australian Memorial which honours the role Australians played in the war. 

So ....
have we learned anything in the last 100years?