On plans to strip citizenship from terrorists

John Dallimore writes: Re. “Abbott’s citizenship stripping proposal is soft on terrorism” (yesterday). My grandchildren are eighth generation Australian and hold dual citizenship. Does that mean they could  be deported under Abbott’s plans? I have sat with drug addicted kids who grew up in Australia and who were to all intents and purposes Aussie kids. Unfortunately for them they didn’t realise they weren’t.  Having gone off the  rails they were facing deportation to the UK — the place they were born, a place they didn’t know.

My grandfather was almost interned during the war because he was of Italian descent. Someone reported him using binoculars at the beach, fortunately when the authorities came to check they saw how useless they were. He had come as a child in the 1890s — it was  nearly 50 years on he and was married to an Anglo Celtic Australian. Others were not so lucky. I think about growing up with stories of Irish rebels and a family that hid priests and helped an escape on the Catalpa of Irish Fenians. I could easily have been radicalised.

What scares me is that some minister could decide on some suspicion that someone was undesirable and they are stripped of their citizenship. I just wonder how many first and second generation Australians have considered what plans like this could mean at some time in the future. I am just appalled that some kid who, like my grandparent’s generation went off on an adventure to the Somme or Gallipoli and had second thoughts on going to someone else’s war, can’t make a mistake and come home. It’s too easy to demonize.

On Rundle’s lost London

Wes Pryor writes: Re. “Rundle: the tragedy of gentrification, and London’s ‘ghost bohemia’” (yesterday). Guy Rundle laments that his London is lost. It’s now a tourist trail — what you buy on a commemorative plate, a t-shirt, or a tea-towel. We get another aching thousand words of what it means to be Guy, in London, thinking about what it means to be Guy, in London. This reminds me of watching The Waifs, a nice enough band, circa 2000. They moaned that we were all down in Australia having a nice time, but they were ‘”in London, still”. Several beers in during one Melbourne gig I could take no more, and heckled mid chorus “then go home and stop whinging about it”. It was declared by them and the crowd that I had a pretty good point. The point remains.

But rather than finding somewhere else to live, Rundle offers the defense that someone else has had the same idea, so he mustn’t be crazy or just a cynical Aussie. London must be broken if precisely two people have formed roughly the same view. Unless we see a complex, nuanced city, through the eyes of a clever writer, we’re just tourists in LondonLand, taking selfies at platform 9 3/4. I’m sorry Guy, but this is unmitigated elitist shite. I’m sure London will issue you with a limited edition apology teatowel soon enough. Cities are ethereal places. They are layered and complex and nuanced and gritty. One one end of the spectrum, the disenfranchised just hoping to get by. On the other, the commodification of anything to which a price can be attached. If the rut you’ve found yourself in involves selfies, then change your commute. Cities do not belong to the literary class who would seek to romanticise them.

The real risk of terror

Richard Middleton writes: Re. “Peanuts and other weapons of mass destruction” (yesterday). My comments re various risks of death were intended as whimsical, wry, satirical observation on the very real distortion of risk that is presented to the public, in order to justify the increasing militarisation of our country, with concomitant increased negative and hostile attitudes towards our Muslim brethren.

The actual figures were taken from a US article, in the Washington Blog. Whilst the Australian figures may not be exactly the same, what ever statistic is used, the point is that the risk of death from a genuine terrorist incident (NOT including criminal acts by known nutjobs who have amazingly almost always “just slipped from the security radar”) is infinitesimally tiny, compared to the risk of death from everyday activities, or from mistakenly being a hapless funny speaking foreigner on the receiving end of Western regime change. Does HS McKenzie truly believe that the War of Terror is really justified, considering he is less likely to be killed by a real terrorist, recklessly angry and radicalised by Western crimes, than falling over drunk or from a bed/chair/ladder, etc?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey