Last Saturday morning I was in Madrid, standing in sombre reflection in front of Guernica.
Picasso painted this massive work in Paris in May 1937 in a frenzied response to the bombing on April 26, 1937, by German planes of the Basque town of Guernica in his homeland of Spain. This was state-sanctioned terrorism, one of the first times civilians had been subjected to indiscriminate and relentless bombing, hours and hours of it, leaving the town destroyed and hundreds dead.
The savagery of the attack in Paris has demonstrated that we are still capable of shock and outrage, and thus retain the will to fight back.
The bombing was conducted by the German Luftwaffe to support the Nationalist forces of the Fascist General Franco in the Spanish Civil War but it also, as the raid’s commander later admitted, enabled the Germans to test the munitions that they were to use to even more devastating effect in World War II. Guernica was in effect a rehearsal for bombing the British city of Coventry, which Germany blitzed in November 1940.
Continue reading Better angels of our nature must take wing
LT GEN. MORRISON sent shock waves through the Australian Army last year when he identified ‘a systemic problem’ of sexism, unacceptable standards of behaviour and other issues in the Army’s culture.
He has now taken on the herculean job of changing that culture, telling those who can’t respect each other to ‘get out’, and setting targets to increase the numbers of women.
Continue reading Anne Summers in Conversation: Lt Gen David Morrison AO, Chief of Army
“I regret that in some quarters we’re still at risk of telling girls not to ‘show off’, to work hard but not rock the boat thereby engendering a lack of confidence while we praise boys for displaying knowledge.”
These are the words of Peta Credlin, chief of staff to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, “vividly” recalling when she was four years old and her teacher praised a boy who knew a handful of his letters.
“Excited, I rattled off the entire alphabet and then ran over to her desk, picked up the newspaper and started reading the headlines on the front page as well,” Credlin said in a speech to Melbourne’s Methodist Ladies’ College Foundation dinner just a few months ago.
“I was terribly upset when instead of praising me she told me off in front of the whole class and said ‘no one likes a show off’.”
Continue reading For Peta Credlin, the gender card has been dealt again