Sunday, June 7, 2009

cut out pieces of paper and special blogs

i have sung the praises of print journalism in a previous post i know, and i find myself doing it once more. of course, i recognise powerful journalistic writing flourishes in places on the spiderweb of the www and endless other forums, and i should probably widen my weekend newspaper reading, but the age newspaper 'insight' section on a saturday morning is one of my constants. sorry, i hope you excuse my possibly slightly preachy post today that is certainly word heavy, but here goes:

i have a little file in the top drawer of my light green filing cabinet into which i place cut out newspaper articles and other bits and pieces that make my heart sing, or make it stop for a second, that make me catch my breath, and make me swallow back tears. in short that make me believe in the human capacity for compassion and insight. these cutout pieces of print sometimes question the status quo, and almost always articulate a profound belief in justice and dignity. to me, they always demonstrate the power of words. 

this weekend my scissors snipped around two pieces quoting excerpts from Obama's speech on US-Middle East relations at the University of Cairo.  both pieces talked about the power of his speech, the measured decisions made in choice of words and references. and my heart lightened at this. i believe Obama is truly something very special, and his breathtaking capacity to express and inspire the essential, to reflect justice and humanity in the words he chooses, it is magnificent, and allows a little window to hope for a new world. if only there were more world leaders who speak like this, then maybe our actions could be given the freedom to become more worthy: White House press release link to Obama's speech.

the obvious contrast is with Bush and his general inability to address these issues without bellicose or condescending phrases and inept tones, and the administration's rhetoric surrounding the 'war on terror'. but anyone interested in australian politics could also contrast Obama's articulation of such enduringly complex issues with Howard's words during the peak of the asylum seeker issue: 'we shall decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they come'. i personally draw a direct line between Howard's horrifyingly reductionist phrase and the culture of fear and complete disconnection with basic human rights and dignity that was prevalent across australia at the time of tampa. i can possibly be accused of placing too great a value on the power of words, but that is my way!

and the special blogs:

a blog by scott rothstein, it features artists from all over the world who make beautiful, thoughtful pieces of their time and place. the top image and below two images here are from one japanese artist featured on this blog, hisayoshi watanabe. the words scott rothstein writes about him are full of dignity and insight. the final two images are 'excessive calligraphy' works by yuichi saito.

i also really admire yoli's blog and the way she highlights issues of human rights. this blog is a constant reminder of the need for ongoing commitment to compassion and action to make the world a more just place.


  1. Put so well Bree! I couldn't agree more. Let's hope Obama and Rudd continue to inspire and don't get sucked into the 'game'.

  2. thanks kylie, i get a bit carried away with these inspiring articles and what not, but am glad i do...i agree - 'the game' ever lurks and is maybe an inevitable aspect of modern political landscape, but lets keep the dreamers!

  3. Anonymous21:32

    Thanks for pointing out the speech.
    And thanks for the calligraphy.

  4. hi jo - no problem - he is a master of the words...and the excessive calligraphy is amazing!