SPC News August 2016. Confronting images from juvenile detention go round the world.

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mural indigenous boy
EOS 650D5795. OZinOH. flickr cc.

Confronting images from juvenile detention go
round the world

Bruce Duncan

We need answers about why earlier reports about human rights abuses of children in NT juvenile detention were not acted upon by the Northern Territory government. Why were prison staff using practices akin to torture, such as children placed in solitary confinement for long periods (without even water, at times, despite the heat), and being strapped to restraint chairs?

The NT children’s commission earlier found that children as young as 14 had been tear-gassed, had hoods placed over their heads, or were kept in solitary confinement without water for up to 72 hours.

homeless man 2
Street Candid. Terence Lim. flickr cc.

Heartlessness versus homelessness

Tony French

Over the last few months, I have been walking regularly at night down Swanston Street in the City. What is noticeable is the great number of people, invariably male, with blankets and bags sleeping rough in doorways and on the pavement.

My initial reaction was, what a miserable place to doss for the night. Swanston Street is cold, the winter winds fierce and freezing, it’s over-lit, too bright, noisy, and the concrete unforgivingly uncomfortable. Additionally, it’s probably unsafe; rough sleepers are viewed as an ugly nuisance to shopkeeper and pedestrian alike. Predictably, the Herald Sun has publicly convicted them as being aggressive druggo hoboes, panhandlers, and a pedestrian peril.

This raises the question, why so many now?

Should places like the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre even exist? AAP/Neda Vanovac.

Should we be locking people up in prisons at all?

Rob Hulls & Elena Campbell

In The Conversation

Footage aired last week of children being abused in a Northern Territory prison sent shockwaves around the nation. These images forced us to grapple with the problem as if it were breaking news, despite the fact that so many people knew so much about it for so long.

But there is a much broader question than this to be asked about the use of incarceration in circumstances such as these. When we know that prison entrenches harm as well as crime, it is hard to imagine how the deprivation of liberty in its current form — let alone the unmitigated deprivation within the walls of Don Dale — could really correct or rehabilitate anyone.

pope in poland
GM3_4091.JPG. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. flickr cc.

Pope Francis in Poland: on immigrants & Islam

Bruce Duncan

Given the widespread feeling in Poland against Muslim immigrants and recent Islamist terrorist attacks, Pope Francis undertook a tricky trip in July for World Youth Day. As Bruce Duncan writes, Pope Francis did not resile from his insistence that Europe must open its borders to people fleeing persecution, war, and acute hardship.

muslim child praying
Innocent: A Muslim child looks on as Muslims bow in prayer. Bismika Allahuma. flickr cc.

Why the debates about Islam have gone off the rails

Allan Patience

Modernity’s blindsiding of in-depth analyses of humanity’s great religious traditions has plunged the world into a crisis of devastating dimensions. Globally, coalitions of the willing and the cajoled are being pushed into endless wars against terrorists, which in turn provoke organised and ‘lone wolf’ terrorist reactions, often on an apocalyptic scale. Noone seems to realise that this is rapidly becoming a case of the crazily blind leading the crazily blind.

vinnies van 1
Photo supplied by St Vincent de Paul.

Food insecurity: a view
from the soup van

Livia Carusi & Danusia Kaska

Among the various church and community groups helping support disadvantaged groups in Melbourne, the soup vans of the St Vincent de Paul Society have for over 40 years been feeding people who are down on their luck. Livia Carusi and Danusia Kaska explain why.

Houellebecq in Polish. Jeroen Mirck. flickr cc.

Submission by Michele Houllebecq

Reviewed by Jamie Pearce

If, like Jamie Pearce, you are interested in what is happening to religious affiliation in the twenty-first century, then consider reading this novel.

The author, Michele Houllebecq, has renounced his former atheism, and now describes himself as agnostic. He says that he is showing the disasters produced by the liberalisation of values, and chronicling the return of religion to contemporary European politics. This novel is clearly a story of that return.


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Jeffrey Sachs on Laudato Si’

To see this excellent talk by Jeffrey Sachs,
follow this link, and scroll to the third video down.
Sachs is the first speaker after the introductory remarks,
starting 5 minutes into the video, and continuing for 9 minutes.
Other speakers follow him if you wish to listen to them.

This Youtube from the Global Catholic Climate Movement is
part of a series of talks on the implications of Laudato Si’,
the call by Pope Francis to address poverty, inequality, and climate change.

youtube screen shot


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