Helen Briton Wheeler

An Overview from Down Under - Helen is a retired journalist living in Sydney, Australia. She will be bringing the NFP readers regular comments on current social, environmental and political topics from an Aussie's perspective.

Sunday, 15 February 2009 19:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

Firefighters use a hose to quench embers at a fire at Chum Creek, near Healseville, north east of Melbourne, Australia Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009. Officials believe arson may be behind at least some of the more than 400 fires that tore a destructive path across a vast swath of southern Victoria state over the weekend (11/02/09).Loved ones, family, friends: in Australia this past week or so we have been reminded that these relationships are what really matter. People who lost all their possessions told us that the survival of loved ones was what they cared about. Many then mentioned their concern over family photographs, pets and farm animals.

These past 10 days, as terrible bush fires raged in the state of Victoria, we in Australia have been reminded of the strengths of humanity in times when “the chips are down”. Via the TV, radio and print media, we have witnessed kindness and love between shocked victims in the disaster area, great courage from the fire fighters who risked their lives for their communities and an outpouring of generosity and concern from people around Australia – and around the world.

We have been reminded that we are one human family.

Sunday, 01 February 2009 19:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

ImageShort-term financial thinking must be tossed out the window. The present global crisis challenges the very structure of our financial goals. We need to look at a big picture. What have we a right to expect from our economy?

I believe an economy, national or global, should be the tool to provide a good, basic living to all citizens. By a good living I mean at least a home, food and clothing, work and universal education. Then it should supply the essential needs for health care, transport and communications infrastructure and financial support for science and art, for all the intellectual, artistic and philosophical goals that lift our human society above the animal. This is what I ask of a well-balanced economy.

Monday, 12 January 2009 19:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

ImageMilitants, both Israeli and Palestinian, can be blamed for the current horrific deaths and casualties in the Gaza Strip and Israel. Yet violence will not bring peace. Six decades of fighting since the Declaration of the State of Israel in May 1948 (and even before then) have not brought peace. And currently, both sides have lost something.

The Hamas militants have lost some of their attack capacity – how much it is likely neither they nor the Israeli military will say. The Israeli authorities have lost a deal of public esteem – as demonstrations around the world show.

However, the big losers in the current fighting are ordinary, innocent people. There have been casualties on both sides, but in Gaza people are suffering in numbers that President-elect Obama has called “heartbreaking”. Queen Rania of Jordan has made a public appeal for the children suffering death, injury and trauma. “This is the message I am sending world leaders: Our humanity is incomplete when children, irrespective of nationality, are victims of military operations,” she said.

Saturday, 27 December 2008 19:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

ImageI have a dream to see the city of Jerusalem declared an International Zone of Peace. The city is sacred in three religions: it should not be the hub of a conflict, but a place where believers can worship in peace. And peace can only be achieved when we relinquish violence.

This is not pie in the sky. It is the only solution – because the Iron Fists of war have failed. Even as the New Year dawns amid major violence with Israel attacking the Gaza Strip, this is the true conclusion.

Massacres and massive force have not brought peace; Intifadas and terrorism have not either. There are many examples, but here are a couple.

Sunday, 14 December 2008 19:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

ImageHappy New Year Middle America!

May 2009 be much better than 2008, which has certainly been a lousy year. To cap it off this December, two more blows have arrived that tarnish the good image of the US abroad. Middle America deserves much better.

Image One: In Baghdad, TV journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi throws his shoes at President George W. Bush, shouting, “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog.”

Whatever Americans may have thought, in Iraq and throughout the Arab world this appeared as a gesture of outright contempt.

Not a good return on the billions of dollars and thousands of lives ordinary Americans have invested in the Iraq war.

Monday, 01 December 2008 19:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

ImageIt’s time for a new jihad – against hate.

The enemy is within. In our own hearts. If we allow ourselves to be ruled by prejudice, hate and fear, we will reap terrible rewards. Death, bereavement, displacement and economic want are the consequences of hate in action.

We have enough troubles already and more than enough hate. Let us weed out the hate from our hearts. Let us see jihad as internal and work to serve God by tearing out prejudice from our hearts and making peace.

We urgently need this.


Page 5 of 6

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next > End >>
You are here:   The FrontPageColumnistsHelen B. Wheeler