The Fundamentalists Want your Life

women with burka

FUNDAMENTALISTS There are different types of fundamentalists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Communists, and a whole lot more. This is not a complete list by any means, but sufficient to tell the story. Fundamentalism often has a religious connotation, since the term was originally used by Christians who wanted beliefs to be taken back to their fundamentals. So if the Bible said the world was created in six days, that’s exactly what it meant, no argument. There was no room for evolution, since it was not mentioned in the Bible. This literal belief system resulted in an emphasis on the origin of the beliefs and a rejection of any other opinion or explanation. Fundamentalists, no matter what their beliefs, all have the same characteristics: intolerance for anyone else’s viewpoint; a belief that they are following the only true way; that things must be done exactly as they say; and all people who are not in their sect are grossly mistaken, stupid, or just plain evil. Each sect believe that God has given them specific instructions in their particular “Bible”. The word of God cannot be challenged. And how do we know that it is the word of God? Because their book/ document/… Continue reading

Women who fly, men who anchor

torah-bright

Watching the women athletes at Sochi, I was amazed at the physical and mental courage of the competitors, male and female. And then it occurred to me: what must the Taliban be thinking in Afghanistan, what must they think in Saudi Arabia, seeing women do death defying ski jumps? When I see the aerial skiing jumps, the bobsleigh rides, the ice hockey, the figure skating, I understand women can do almost anything physically that a man can do, and sometimes better. The thought that women should be locked away because of some ancient tribal law, or interpretation of a religious edict, is offensive. And yet, in Saudi women are not allowed to drive cars — for their own protection, of course! They are faced with all kinds of restrictions, such as not being allowed out of the house without a male relative to supervise them. Traveling on public transport is banned, but not enforced. In Afghanistan, the Taliban say girls must not go to school. Reading is okay for boys, but evil for girls. I don’t understand where these beliefs came from, but they sound suspiciously familiar: the same laws that were applied to slaves in America, Jews under the… Continue reading

Exit Visa: how they got out alive

EXIT VISA is a factual novel about the aftermath of the Vietnam war, a vivid and gripping narrative, it chronicles the horrors experienced by those who fled after the fall of Saigon.  We have all seen movies about Vietnam, but have you ever noticed, none of them tell you what happened after the war ended? What happened to the population when the communists took over? Why did hundreds of thousands of people flee? What happened in Kampuchea that led to two million people dying?   EXIT VISA gives vivid descriptions of the last days of the Vietnam war; the murder of the Kampucheans during Year Zero; working on the Ho Chi Minh Trail; living in Saigon after the communists took over; the fleeing of ‘boat people’ from Vietnam; the boat journey to Malaysia; resettlement in Australia. This is one of the few books published (in English) that describes these events through Vietnamese eyes.    In this novel a young schoolteacher and her family flee the approaching communist army. A brutal and corrupt police sergeant bribes his way out of Saigon and onto a jet. An elderly jeweller watches in despair as the city and people he loves are destroyed. A Khmer… Continue reading