Goodbye to “The Age” newspaper in Melbourne

Yesterday, we cancelled our subscription to “The Age” newspaper. We have written to Don Churchill (CEO and publisher of that newspaper) to explain why we can no longer tolerate the philosophy which guides “The Age”. He should be receiving our letter sometime this week. From next week we will be getting delivery of “The Australian.”

As background information, we relocated to Melbourne at the end of July last year. Avid readers that we are, we believed we should be learning about local Victorian issues and becoming familiar with the situation here. Our friends advised us against getting “The Age” if we wanted a balanced reporting about Israel. Despite their advice we went ahead and subscribed to the publication.

We are not sorry that we did this because now we know how biased this newspaper’s reporting is. Whenever something about Israel came up in the news, “The Age” was eager to blame Israel while defending the Palestinian or Muslim or Arab point of view.

Even when they published letters from the Jewish community which objected to this unbalanced reporting, there would be one letter that was pro-Israel, and three letters that were condemning Israel. Glaring factual errors were not corrected, or most likely, not allowed to be corrected

This was unfair and made us question “The Age’s” motivation.

The cartoons from Leunig and others were so prejudiced that had this approach been taken towards the Arabs, there would have been riots in the streets. As indeed there were over the Danish cartoon hysteria.

I stopped paying attention to what “The Age” was writing but my husband believes that it is good to know what the “enemy” thinks and does. His use of that terminology is revealing, isn’t it?

As for getting news about Melbourne, we learned a lot about some “reformed” druggie called Ben Cousins and other pathetic examples for our youth to emulate. As far as we could see, the local news was not informative. We could learn immediate news items from the internet and TV.

Let’s face it, newspapers are not current. By the time they are published, the news has been broadcast on other media. So the biggest attraction of newspapers is their longer articles, the columns from contributors, and even the Letters to the Editor which should be a selection of opinions from both sides, for and against and not just from one side. I would not want “The Age” to be totally biased against the Arab view either. There is no benefit in that because it just becomes propaganda.

The tipping point, to use the latest jargon, was “The Age’s” reporting on the constant shelling of Israeli towns by Hamas militants and the subsequent retaliation by Israel which is still going on as I write.

I don’t intend to go into the details of what is happening in the Middle East right now, but in my opinion, if you keep shelling me I will not keep taking it forever. Everyone has a right to self-defence. Israel should not be expected to sit back and do nothing about missiles being directed towards its civilian population. I am always amazed by Israel’s patience in the midst of such provocation.

None of this patience is ever mentioned in “The Age”. The fact that Israel wants to live in peace alongside its Arab neighbours is conveniently played down by this paper.

And if that is the way that “The Age” reports on affairs in the Middle East, then how can I believe what it writes about the rest of the world?

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Roman de Gare- French sophistication at its best

If we didn’t use up the two free tickets to the Palace Cinema by next week, they would have been out of date. So that’s how come we went to see “Roman de Gare.” I don’t like movies nowadays for many reasons that I have given in past blogs.

But “Roman de Gare ” is one that I should have seen earlier even if we didn’t have to use up the free tickets. It is very, very, very, good.

I did some post grad research on Alfred Hitchcock’s films a few years ago and this film reminded me of them. Hitchcock was a master of suspense, and Claude Lelouch’s French production comes very close to the master’s high standard.

Just when you think you have worked things out, along comes a twist. Like an itch you have to scratch.

In this film, the audience is led along a tantalising excursion to discover who is the mystery man who turns up at a highway rest stop in France. Is he good? Is he bad? What does he want? Is he dangerous?

He offers a lift to Huguette who has been dumped by her boyfriend, and we wonder if the driver is going to hurt her. Pierre, the mystery man, is played by Dominique Pinon who is excellent in the role. As a leading man, Pinon is the antithesis of pretty boy, Brad Pitt. I’m always impressed by the French who often choose plain men for leading roles. It’s something that the Americans just can’t bring themselves to do except in silly monster movies.

Think of Gerard Depardieu who has been a leading man in countless films. He is overweight and quite unattractive, but somehow the French can make him a star, even a sex symbol, and isn’t that terrific!

Is Pierre the serial rapist who has just escaped from prison? Is he a missing person, a writer? Lelouch leads us along a path and then teases us back to another path. But he does this with such affability that we enjoy being teased. We go along with Pierre for the ride and the trip is well worth it.

I am purposely not telling you all what it’s about because that would spoil it. Take my advice and go see “Roman de Gare” before it disappears because it’s satisfying on many levels. It’s a thriller, a romance, a philosophical discussion about hypocrisy and ambition, and more importantly, it’s very entertaining.

Give us your babies! A call from Hamas

In their attempt to avoid genuine civilian injuries, the Israeli Defence Forces have been warning Gazans to leave Hamas strongholds which are about to be shelled. Of course, Hamas does the opposite in Israel where it intentionally targets civilians without warning.

As an example of Hamas immorality, take the incident which was recounted today in “The Weekend Australian” newspaper. Israel sent the usual warning message to a family home in Gaza which was being used to manufacture rockets so that any women and children would be removed from it for safety. So what did Hamas do? It brought in women and babies to protect its cache. Israel found out and did not attack the site.

So what can we learn from this incident? First, that Hamas relies on the fact that Israel will not knowingly attack civilians. Second, that should these civilians who were brought in intentionally by Hamas, be injured or killed, Hamas can get tons of publicity for its cause. This is the kind of obscenity that Israel has to face. Monsters who use women and babies as human shields, or worse still, as fodder.

Just thinking about these Hamas militants makes me nauseous. They are the same as the religious fanatics who attacked the Twin Towers in 2001. I can never forget the horrifying image of the planes destroying the Towers on September the 11th.

These extremists swear they want to destroy our world and we should believe them for there is no depth to which these creatures will not sink.