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Peak political hypocrisy.

I’ve had some weird encounters with hostile people over the years.

I’m not just talking about the arrogant online troll, who comments on every social media post correcting gramma, or misconstruing every word to argue a point the post was never actually making.

Sure, they exist.

The online world is packed with people whose mental health issues are enabled by anonymity, non-face-to-face interaction, and the ability harass without any real-world consequences.

Like the person who repeatedly calls me an “anti-vaxxer” for articles written supporting censored medical professionals, savvy politicians, discernment, and informed consent on COVID-19 related medical procedures.

Then there’s the odd fellow who likes to tear down others in order to make a name for himself.

This gentleman persistently harasses me with slurs, and accusations.

Rarely does he argue the point, instead of arguing the man.

Very rarely does he have a kind word to say, or an actual argument that isn’t tainted by ad hominem or confirmation bias.

On the best of days, I have little patience for intellectual pissing contests, or those described by Roger Scruton as ‘intellectual masturbaters.”

Yesterday, he picked the wrong day to peacock his self-righteous hubris on my Facebook page.

Apparently, encouraging people to look after their health because of unhealthy public health orders makes me an extremist.

In this man’s view, I’m no better than the Taliban.

There’s a thin line between just criticism and abusive dishonesty.

The confronting reality for Australians is that he’s probably not alone in this view.

There are plenty of Christians and Christian leaders encouraging unchristian policies that harm people in the name of “helping” them.

They’re so driven to deny Christ over culture that they’re happy to submit Christ to the culture.

COVID culture has given rise to mentally unwell neighbours, who are plugged into the propaganda matrix.

They have become the government’s eyes, ears and subsequent accuser.

It’s so twisted that “loving God and loving their neighbour” has come to mean throwing their neighbour under the bus.

That’s a long-winded way of saying, I get it.

On Friday, I visited my mother to drop off food cooked by two of my daughters.

All the advised precautions were adhered too.

I social distanced, wore a mask the entire time and stayed outside for the duration of my brief visit.

This didn’t stop my mother’s unmasked, late 50s, neighbour from the house next door bursting out of her front door to interrogate my mother and me.

The neighbour was a complete stranger. This didn’t stop her from pouncing on us as I was getting ready to leave.

Defending my mother forced me to stay longer than I’d intended.

From her small veranda this person demanded to know whether or not I had permission to visit, and if I lived in the area.

I asked her why.

She replied, “I’m protecting myself.”

I politely told her to mind her own business.

The interrogation continued, so I pointed out to her how what she was doing was what’s wrong with Australia today.

As politely – and as best I could manage through a cloth mask – I reminded her that the ANZACs didn’t die for what she was doing.

They didn’t die for a culture where people lived in constant fear, and where neighbour saw it as their civic duty to denounce neighbour.

She was smug, smiling and not swayed.

The viciousness obviously brought her some kind of twisted sense of euphoric hold on power.

Fed up, I told her: call the authorities, or go back inside, close the door and hide under the bed.

Guaranteed protection.

She then went inside got her phone and “began recording me” (quote unquote), goading me to keep on talking.

My mother’s neighbour then persisted on lecturing me about how what I was doing was illegal.

I argued that there was nothing illegal or wrong about loving my neighbour.

Not deterred, this woman continued to maintain that I was breaking public health orders.

I said those orders are creating a public health crisis.

Then I asked her, if she agreed that looking after my mother’s emotional and psychological well-being was an important part of healthcare?

To which she said, “still breaking the law.”

Frustrated, I told her to stop being a communist; a covid Nazi and reminded her of the “zero covid” status in our regional area. (a correct statement at the time).

My mother is in her late 60s. She has had major anxiety issues and has wrestled with depression off and on in life.

Lockdowns are not a healthy prescription for her.

Care packages are a small relief. Especially from her grandkids.

Not one bit of my reasoning swayed this next-door neighbour.

I then said to her that she was buying the ABC’s propaganda.

To which she laughed and said “oh, ah, I get it now. You’re one of those religious conspiracy theorists.”

She pointed her finger at me and repeated the words, “Religious conspiracy theorist. Religious conspiracy theorist.”

To her, I was a criminal. Like my internet hater, I am no better than the Taliban.

In other words, loving on my mum – caring about her overall well-being – made me the equivalent of a “domestic terrorist.”

My adherence to COVID-safe protocols didn’t matter, even when I pointed this compliance out.

The whole nasty and unnecessary conflict ended with me pushing back on her straw man accusations, telling her that the name calling proved she knew I was in the right.

With her still recording, I got in my car and left.

Some may rightly say that this neighbour was acting out because she’s been driven to live in fear.

I would agree, if it wasn’t for how premeditated her attack on me seemed to be.

It was clear to me that government sanctioned suspicion and hatred for neighbour empowered her smug false sense of self-importance.

Just as my internet hater peacocked his false sense of superiority later that same day, this neighbour tried to bully and intimidate my mother into submission.

I’m not writing in order to ridicule this poor deluded woman.

I’m writing in order to point out how situations like it are the consequence of reckless policy making by an out of control and dangerous bureaucratic elite.

The “we’re all in this together” crowd appear unconcerned with how their requests for neighbour to police neighbour cause paranoia, division and hatred.

Giving the public a blank cheque to denounce each other was always going to be a problem.

What’s mindboggling about it all, is how few politicians there are willing to acknowledge just how debilitating and problematic; how deleterious this power and permission is.

These kinds of permission are ripe for abuse.

They were always going to end up as a weapon in the hands of abusive people, more than they were a tool for genuinely concerned citizens.

To borrow from former atheist and victim of Communism, Richard Wurmbrand,

‘I will never forget my first encounter with a Russian prisoner, an engineer. I asked him if he believed in God. He lifted his eyes toward me and said, “I have no such military order to believe. If I have an order I will believe.”

Wurmbrand added,

‘He was a brainwashed tool in the hands of the Communists, ready to believe or not on an order. He could not think anymore on his own. This was a typical Russian after all these years of Communist domination!’ (Tortured For Christ, 1967. pp.26-27)

Ronald Reagan once said, ‘let our friends and those who may wish us ill take note, [we have an obligation to each and the world] never to let those who would destroy freedom dictate the future course of life on this planet.”

May it be so.

#JesusisVictor!


First published on Caldron Pool, 22nd August, 2021.

©Rod Lampard, 2021.

When China rolled three warships with sailors decked out in full combat gear into Sydney harbour unannounced, the response was “there’s nothing to see here.”

This, along with the rhetoric blaming the Federal government for China’s first strike against Australia by way of a ridiculous 80% tariff on barley imports, and the verbal attacks against Andrew Hastie, George Christensen, and other outspoken Australian parliamentarians in recent days, conjures up images of Labor politicians with their heads stuck in the sand.

Worse, their first response to China’s first strike, would suggest that China could take half of Australia by military force, and some of our politicians would be out here telling us, “It’s not an invasion. Keep quiet, we don’t want to escalate tensions.”

Right on cue, the mainstream media would be telling us “not to criticize our benevolent Chinese Communist overlords, because they’re here to liberate us, not enslave us. You’re just racists and bigots”.

Not unlike the Nazi extension of Austria. Our elite would follow along with the rhythm of the media’s cadence.

They’d picket China’s critics. Chant virtue signalling slogans, and wave corflute signs from make shift welcome wagons. While their minions denounce, lynch, and prey on dissenters, as their goose-stepping, Christless Communist overlords, stomp in jackboot unison to cheers drowning out the purging.

Embers and ash from burning Australian flags, would be remembered by historians as metaphors for a nation wounded by backstabbing corrupted leaders, cashed up, and sheltered, who, despite red flags flying, preached “there’s nothing to see here”, whilst Australia lay dying.

If this kind of blame shifting isn’t treason, then the appeasement behind it is! It’s is a limp-wristed evasion tactic. It tells the Chinese communist party we’re a country of push-overs willing to let them slap us around whenever they so choose.

Appeasement precipitates an abdication of responsibility. It is one step away from total surrender.

Appeasement adopts the timidity injected into our subjective relativist addicted society by Leftists, who see phobias everywhere, and at work in everyone. Whose schizophrenic obsession with phobias causes us to doubt, question and reject everything about ourselves, while binding us to an inevitable defeat in the face of those who would capitalize on this Leftist induced paralysis, by turning us into an enemy.

Appeasement isn’t the ANZAC way.

Walking on egg shells around abuse enables the abuser.

Recall the words of French ex-Communist, Albert Camus, who, writing in support of the anti-Communist revolt in Hungary, 1957, said:

The Left is schizophrenic and needs doctoring through pitiless self-criticism, exercise of the heart, close reasoning, and a little modesty. Until such an effort at re-examination is well under way, any rallying will be useless even harmful. None of the evils that totalitarianism (defined by the single party and the suppression of all opposition) claims to remedy is worse than totalitarianism itself.

He added,

‘To be sure, the Right is not brilliant. But the Left is in complete decadence, a prisoner of words, caught in its own vocabulary, capable merely of stereo-typed replies, constantly at a loss when faced with the truth, from which it nevertheless claimed to derive its laws.’ [i]

Chinese Communists have soured the relationship with Australia by pouring their abuse all over it. This cannot be wished away, discounted, or swept under the carpet in an act of compliant dismissal. We answer their belligerence with appeasement at our peril.

Healthy boundaries save lives.

Therefore, we add our voices to the growing chorus of those in the wilderness, advocating a correction of this blatant imbalance of power. We call for the redefinition of this relationship, in order to stop Australians from being pushed into the same mass graves, Chinese Communists dug for the Chinese victims of their Marxist infused, Maoist totalitarian regime.

As Camus said,

‘None of the evils that totalitarianism claims to remedy is worse than totalitarianism itself.’ [ii]


References:

[i] Camus, A. 1961 Resistance, Rebellion and Death: Essays; ‘Hungary: Socialism of the Gallows’, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1960 First Vintage International Edition

[ii] Totalitarianism: defined by the single party and the suppression of all opposition.

First published on Caldron Pool, 21st May 2020.

© Rod Lampard, 2020

Firebrand Australian Tasmanian senator, Jacqui Lambie joins the Liberal National Party’s George Christensen, and Andrew Hastie, along with One Nation’s Pauline Hanson, and Mark Latham, in being among the few Australian parliamentarians to publicly challenge Chinese Communist interference in Australian society, education and politics.

Arguing for a “Make Australia Make Again” campaign, the senator channeled her fiery speech from December warning about government inaction with regards to the Chinese regime. Lambie took direct aim, and shot straight in the heart of the path of least resistance chosen by The Greens, Labor, and the LNP.

It was a clean shot across the bow of pro-Chinese Communist politicians like Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Former W.A. Liberal Premier, Colin Barnett, and former Foreign minister, Julie Bishop. The speech was also a repudiation of poorly considered decisions from both sides of politics, such as Northern Territory Labor signing over the Port of Darwin to a Chinese company for 99 years, and corruption brought about by Chinese interference in state and federal politics, evidenced by disgraced NSW Labor senator, Sam Dastyari.

To recap: Andrews bypassed Federal government concerns about national sovereignty and signed up for the CCP’s expansionist “Silk Road” initiative. Barnett said that if he was Scott Morrison, he’d have told Peter Dutton to ‘be quiet’, after the Home Affairs minister, said that ‘Chinese Communist party’s values are inconsistent with Australian values’.

Julie Bishop just this week publicly remarked that what Australia needed in the face of Chinese belligerency was “more quiet diplomacy”. Bishop advocated for an approach that would appeal to the Chinese regime’s propaganda and its blame shifting, stating that the LNP government needs to include an investigation into the U.S and Europe, in order to get the CCP on board with any COVID-19 enquiry.

Without a doubt the official line when dealing with the belligerent Chinese Communist leviathan, from most of our politicians, is “keep quiet”.

This passivity communicates to the electorate that the majority of Australia’s elected representatives are more interested in giving Australians the run around, creating political bull, instead of cutting through it.

Their policy of silence furthers the idea that these politicians are in the back pocket of the Chinese Communist regime. Every time these politicians appear to be protecting Communist Chinese interests in Australia, over against Australia’s national interest, they lose legitimacy as elected representatives.

There is a tendency to play it safe. Up to and including playing the fiddle handed to them by the Chinese regime, where CCP’s belligerence is re-imaged as misunderstood benevolence. Public criticism is deflected – labelled racist and xenophobic. It’s no wonder that the Australian electorate finds themselves frustrated by the silence of politicians who, through a policy of appeasement, appear to put their own political self-interest, first and the interest of the nation last.

“Keeping quiet” isn’t a proactive solution. It’s a policy of surrender. Instead of our elected gate keepers defending the Australian constitution, and protecting Australian sovereignty, we hear crickets emanating from Canberra for fear of upsetting China or failing to be inclusive and “multicultural”.

If Charles Sturt Professor of Public Ethics, Clive Hamilton, is right, and the evidence backs him on this, Australians aren’t just facing a ‘Silent Invasion’[i]; they’re face to face with an elected political class who’ve signed Australia’s death warrant through a policy of quiet surrender.

This is why Christensen’s upcoming enquiry, Hastie’s resolute defiance, Hanson, and Latham’s persistence, and now Lambie’s impassioned speech to the Senate, are on par with the ringing of the Liberty Bell.

In defiance of this silence and its policy of quiet surrender, Australians are being rallied together. Not because of hatred for, or fear of the Chinese, but because of an inherent cultural disdain for totalitarianism; because of a deep respect for the many healthy aspects of our heritage, our laws, our faith, and our people; in defense of our constitution, in order to protect our national sovereignty. To do what our elected representatives have chosen not to do.

As Lambie warned back in December 2019,

“It is clear that China is actively trying to reshape our democracy, and no-one seems to be talking about that seriously enough…It’s about time the people in this place woke up to China’s attempts to infiltrate our economy and our democracy… Both sides of politics need to take a good hard look at themselves and make sure they’re acting in our national interest, which quite obviously, over China, they are not.”


References (not otherwise linked):

[i] Clive Hamilton, 2018. Silent Invasion, Hardie Books

First published on Caldron Pool, 16th May, 2020.

© Rod Lampard, 2020

In a 2016 Global Times hit piece on Australian swimmer Horton Mack, China’s ruling Communist Party echoed anti-Western sentiments straight out of the Tokyo Rose, and Hanoi Hannah, playbook, stating,

1. “We think Australia should feel embarrassed with Horton’s remarks. Otherwise, we would be surprised by some Australians’ sense of collective self-esteem.”
2. “It’s not a big deal to us. In many serious essays written by Westerners, Australia is mentioned as a country at the fringes of civilization. In some cases, they refer to the country’s early history as Britain’s offshore prison. This suggests that no one should be surprised at uncivilized acts emanating from the country. We should think the same way.”

The 2016 verbal attack was triggered by Horton’s criticism of the Chinese swimmer, Sun Yang during the Rio Olympics. Horton accused Yang to his face of being a drug cheat, and the accusation wasn’t without justification. [i]. Yang isn’t a stranger to bans for using questionable substances or hindering drug tests. [ii]

The reactionary outburst from China’s propaganda wing was to be expected. As The Guardian’s Stuart Leavenworth observed, Sun Yang’s wins are propaganda wins for the Communist Chinese Party. It stands to reason that they’d do everything they can to maintain the appearance of superiority over “evil Western capitalists.”

Criticism of Yang was received as criticism of China. It serves the interests of the regime to conflate criticism with racism, and conflate ideology with ethnicity; the Chinese Communist party with being Chinese. There’s political capital in discounting, and filtering all criticism of the Communist Chinese party down to the Chinese people as hate speech, and xenophobia.

This manoeuvring doesn’t just create political capital within China. It’s a magnet for the money, mouths and mandatory hatred afflicting many in the West, who’ve been taught, through the lens of cancel culture -Marxist critical theory – to hate, and doubt themselves, Western civilization, capitalism, Biblical Christianity – their own culture and history.

Take away the ‘Rocky IV’ melodramatic parallels, and what’s left is evidential proof of institutional disdain for Australia from within the Communist Chinese government. Sure it’s just rhetoric, but it’s also an insight into an obvious contempt, and racist-by-contemporary-standards, view of all Australians. Luke 6:45: ‘out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.’ When emotions are high, true intentions and inclinations are often laid bare.

Add this to China’s bullying and intimidation of the Australian government in regards to Australia’s just criticism of the C.C.P about COVID-19. Along with espionage, and its infiltration of Australian universities, the by-passing the Federal government through side deals with territory and state premiers (N.T and Victoria), and we don’t just have reason for concern, we have a problem with China, with an established negative pattern of behavior from the Communist regime as evidence of it.

China’s apparent breach of Australia’s national sovereignty, hostile posturing, and tactical maneuvering, is a clarion call, screaming out for an urgent redefinition of Australia’s relationship with the Communist regime.

LNP Senator Jim Molan stated yesterday, while this won’t involve

‘turning ourselves into “Fortress Australia”, isolating ourselves from the rest of the world and seeking self-sufficiency in every conceivable area: becoming the North Korea of the southern hemisphere.’ It would mean an ‘urgent and overdue correction of the excesses of globalisation from recent decades. COVID-19 has been a big wake-up call. We need to heed its lessons, to ensure that Australia is prepared in the years to come.’

To borrow the words of M.P. Andrew Hastie, we need action on protecting Australia’s sovereignty. We don’t need more politicians, ‘muddled and asleep at the wheel when it comes to Beijing.’

The Chinese communist party’s belligerent behavior speaks against the ‘cosy’ assertions of some in Australia’s Labor party, such as dubious Daniel Andrews, and his insistence that China is benevolent, not belligerent; a friend, not just a customer. Its belligerent behavior mocks the soft politics of Labor’s Madeleine King who acknowledged the need for a debate, but castigated Hastie, and discounted China’s tactics.

The cosy assertions from within Labor don’t gel well with Communist China’s bullying and intimidation of Horton Mack. The hate for Horton intensified last year when he reignited the ‘feud’ with Yang by refusing to share the podium with the Chinese swimmer.

Horton not only won overwhelming support, but a reprimand from authorities. It also earned him a great deal of harassment from who are presumed to be Communist Chinese operatives within Australia.

For brevity, here’s The Wentworth Report’s David Evans list of attacks designed to bully and intimidate Horton:

  • “The family home in suburban Melbourne was broken into amid threats against their youngest son, Chad, who was preparing for his Year 12 exams.
  • At the Rio Games, Brazilian commandos shadowed Mack [and his parents] Andrew­ and Cheryl.
  • The computer system at Horton’s firm was hacked.
  • The family was targeted with death threats and vile abuse online.
  • For nearly four years the family has lived in a virtual state of siege. Supporters of Sun, most believed to be on student visas, regularly bang pots and pans late at night in the alley behind the back fence and abuse the family from the driveway.
  • Plants have been poisoned, dog shit hurled over the fence.
  • A man speaking broken English calls Andrew Horton regularly to threaten his daughter (he has no daughter).
  • Last year, after South Korea, Cheryl was cleaning the family pool when she discovered “a bucket load” of broken glass at the bottom.”

Craig Lord, editor-in-chief of Swimming World Magazine also joined The Australian’s Luke Slattery, in raising awareness about the C.C.P’s alleged attacks on Horton.

According to Slattery,

“While most of Horton’s attackers are believed to be on student visas…The family’s ordeal is believed to be well-organised and part of a systematic pattern of harassment and intimidation directed at perceived critics of China. “This is not an amateur operation,” says a nationa­l security analyst who decline­d to be named. “The Hortons’ story is very disturbing … It says something about the reach of foreign powers within Australia.”

With China’s poor track record on athletes and drug cheats from 1994, 1998 and 2000, Sun’s temporary ban, and suspicion over a Chinese government cover-up, the swimming community is right to be on its guard. With governing bodies in the swimming world seemingly too afraid to stand up and serve the interests of those within the swimming community, Horton’s protest stands as justified.

As far as the bullying and intimidation of Horton and his family goes. This next level breach of Australia’s national sovereignty, by what looks like Chinese apparatchiks, is a clarion call for an urgent redefinition of Australia’s relationship with the Communist regime.

Horton’s experience is red flag for the Australian government. It proves Andrew Hastie right. It shows Australians the reach of the Chinese Communist Party, and the treacherous influence they have on Australian politics. The regime isn’t beyond, or afraid of bullying and intimidating Australian citizens in much the same way that they bully and intimidate their own subjects.

This is a convert, pay a tax or die religion, acting out its ideology of “you will do, say, speak and think what we tell you too, or else!”

As György Lukács, one of the fathers of Western Marxism wrote, “You cannot just sample Marxism […] you must be converted to it.” [iii]

Westerner’s should heed this as a warning.

‘When new gods were chosen, then war was in the gates.’ – (Judges 5:8).


References:

[i] The ABC’s China correspondent, Bill Birtles, wrote “Horton has long been critical of swimming authorities for allowing the Chinese star (Sun Yang) to compete after serving a three-month suspension in 2014 for testing positive to a banned stimulant.’ According to Birtle, Sun claimed that he didn’t know trimetazidine, which makes better use of oxygen and energy in the heart cells, was on WADA’s blacklist (W.A.D.A: World Anti-Doping Association) In an attempt to clarify this, The ABC’s Tracey Holmes, wrote a sympathetic article in favor of Sun Yang. Holmes implied that Horton had an ulterior motive. Holding fire on accusing Horton of racism, Holmes’ infers that Horton is the one up to no good, not Yang, and certainly not the Communist Chinese Party.

Holmes defended Yang’s alleged innocence by stating that trimetazidine ‘has since been downgraded on the WADA banned list because it was found not to be performance-enhancing.’ The ABC contributor than calls out Horton for not being consistent, snidely remarking that although ‘Horton maintains his criticism of Sun is justified. His stance has left questions over why Horton took exception to Sun while overlooking others on the Australian team, who’ve also been caught up in doping controversies.’

In other words, for Holmes, Sun Yang has been unfairly singled out, because ‘Horton hasn’t vocally condemned these [other] swimmers’. Therefore, Horton’s issue is probably xenophobia or racism against Chinese people.

[ii] Sun was handed an ‘eight year ban for his second doping offence – in which he smashed blood vials with a hammer before they could be tested in September, 2018.’ (Holmes claims that only thing smashed was the case that held the vials). (Alisha Rouse, The Daily Mail).

[iii] Record of a Life

First published on Caldron Pool, 3rd May, 2020.

Photo by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

 

Back in early February my family and I came across one of the Australian War Memorial’s W.W.2 travelling art exhibits.  Random find, but we’re always keeping an eye out for opportunities to learn. We’d been out doing our somewhat  PD.H.PE routine (hence the rough around my edges look in the pic). Then wound up viewing some of Australia’s most significant art, created by some of Australia’s biggest painters.

One definite highlight were the Russell Drysdale artworks. I’d come to learn about Drysdale in senior high school. The reason for my initial attraction to his work was how surrealism influenced his style.

Once I realised that what we were looking at were Drysdale originals, I was awestruck. It may sound shrill, but goosebumps and a chill accompanied the importance of what hung on the wall before us. The weight of significance was inescapable. The moment caught me. It wouldn’t be all that wrong to say it was a breathtaking moment. I paused in the presence of history.

‘Soldier’ has many different angles. It communicates a paradox: a cold urgency, and the calm, maddening boredom of war. Drysdale’s use of colour gives off a sense of anticipation, and mystery. Is the soldier returning from the front? Is he about to depart? His choice of background colours wrap around the soldier, as much as they splash light around his relaxed posture. Hands in his pocket, face forward, the impression is that he’s warm, but calm, but contemplative.

Noticeably, there’s an absence of any cigarettes, food or water. This adds to the idea that he is waiting. There’s an innocence, an order in the midst of chaos, almost a sense of relief mixed with anticipation. Like Drysdale is either saying this is the calm before the storm, or the war is over.

Drysdale’s genius (another reason for my appreciation of his work) is how each painting, including the Crucifixion, has a Christian like reverence for life, even in the midst of suffering; a complex, well thought out theological grasp of the world around us. The context for Crucifixion was the Holocaust and Hiroshima. Events relevant to the era he lived in (1912-1981).

There’s a realism to Drysdale’s work – call it gritty humanity, call it an awareness of human frailty  and the infinite qualitative distinction, ‘God is God and we are not’ – a kind of warts and all hope, covered in dry, red dust, with a cautious optimistic attached that looks towards the promise of rain in the storm clouds breaching the horizon.

Drysdale’s art captures Australian identity. Instead of creating a disfigured caricature, his use of surrealism captures Australia’s character, and its free, barren, surreal landscape. Drysdale puts a mirror up to the face of every Australian. Revealing every spot and blemish, and unlocking its beauty. Drysdale tamed surrealism. The pioneer, battler, convict, outcast, wounded, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. He doesn’t create an Australian identity, he awakens Australians to it!

This helps explain his importance as a painter. Drysdale doesn’t just see and communicate what others have missed. He observes and points to who Australians are, based on what Australians do. It’s because of this that his art, his voice, is a national treasure. It’s why, standing before ‘Soldier’, I was awestruck. Brought to a standstill by the realisation that what was before me wasn’t just a painting, it was a poignant reminder that Australian identity isn’t determined by activists who would rather divide us, than unite us.

As a theologian, I see within the fabric of his work a rich prophetic hope. The equivalent of Johnny Cash’s separation of the sacred from the silly, an honest, raw, restorative, non-violent iconoclasm. The real Jesus confronting the faux Jesus we create in our own image. John 14:6 and Romans 6:4 come alive. The unequivocal: Without Christ, nothing. With Christ, everything.

Drysdale captured the emotion of this dry continent, its land and the resilience of its people like no one did before him, or has done since. His work isn’t drenched in politics or activism; it simply communicates the story of Australia and Australians, going to a depth that words seem unable to go. He ‘didn’t incorporate literary subjects and characters from external sources into the Australian scene but sought to represent people in their places.’ (Australian National Dictionary)

To be in the actual presence of his work is like standing on the same ground he stood on, hearing the same things he heard; being invited to grasp the same appreciation and love he had for Australia and its people. Though the message is sometimes confronting, there is nothing joyless about his work. In my opinion, Drysdale was/is Australia’s best painter, Sydney Nolan comes in at a close 2nd.

Below is some of the follow up work I did with my homeschoolers yesterday.

 


©Rod Lampard, 2020.

So I penned some quick thoughts today for an old friend concerned about the state of things in Australia. I’ll post it here as I have on social media, because it might help put some things into perspective for you the same way it has for us.

Remember Italy has the highest older population in Europe. It also didn’t close down it’s borders until late in the game. Whereas Australia, followed the U.S and banned travel pretty much right of the bat – smart decision.

Australia is also an island continent, meaning the cases we have here, shouldn’t increase much more than they have – despite predictions; it can be contained better, and those who are infected can receive better treatment.

I think the bigger concern for us, is trade, the economic impact – purely because we are an island continent and import a lot of goods. This could be a good thing, though for local producers, though, as demand for their product increases, simply because it cannot be sourced anywhere else.

I’m not saying the COVID-19 issue is going away anytime soon, or that it’s not serious, it is. I’m saying our ability, say as compared to Italy and Spain to contain, treat, and slow infection rates, is far greater. Due largely to decisive, unpopular action early on from Morrison, and his continued vigilance, through working with Labor, and state governments in a “war cabinet” in order to better serve the needs of Australians.

He’s clearly putting party divisions and politics behind him in this regard, which is good leadership.

So a) we are already, as a nation, socially distanced because of our geography b) we have a war chest, so we’re better positioned economically, thanks to good management of the economy c) we have a leader who has taken the reigns and pushed beyond petty political manoeuvring (such as the Greens are doing) in order to see us through.

Strategically speaking we’re doing well so far. Let’s hope and pray it stays that way.

I’m not sold on the “things will never be the same again”. Neither should you be. This was said after 9/11, and sure things did change regarding security etc. But we’re smarter and understand a lot more about our world because of the event – call it beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

I believe the same Biblical example applies here.

We can either learn from this and improve ourselves, both as a society and as individuals, or fail to recognise what generations before us have. That even ‘in suffering we should aim to affirm life’ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

We should recall that deliverance is the point of Easter. God cares for humanity, and has made Himself known through his covenant with Israel and in Jesus Christ. God redeems the irredeemable. We are not abandoned, though we may find Him silent from time to time. He isn’t beyond liberating in the present, having already proven Himself to be Our past and future liberator.


Bonhoeffer, D.2012.  God is On The Cross: Reflections on Lent & Easter, Westminster John Knox Press (p.52)

Photo by Ahna Ziegler on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020