Shocked and saddened. Michelle saw disability for what it is. …

Comment on Michele Castagna, 1944 – 2016 by John Bell.

Shocked and saddened. Michelle saw disability for what it is. The luck of Life’s draw.
For some, the short straw, the glass half empty.
For others, a test of character, the glass half full. Michelle filled the glass to overflowing with love and good works.
Rest in peace, you beautiful lady. A treasured Alician who will be sorely missed.

Recent Comments by John Bell

When NT was officially ‘a country for the White Man’
Without reading Ted’s book and seeing the depth of his reasoning, it is hard to critique his passionate assertion that the “smug, safe, luxurious lifestyle that we all enjoy” derives from the pre-WW2 White Australia policy in “sordid little Darwin”, a pre-dominantly non-European town in the early 1900s.
It could well be that “that’s where it all started” for Australia in early colonisation days, but I have serious doubts about Ted’s claim that “that’s why we’re conservative, particularly around things like immigration, to this day”.
Presumably, Ted is referring to blokes and sheilas of his Anglo-Celtic origins, like many of ASNO’s online readers. However, the conservative view of things nationalistic such as sovereign borders and immigration was not patented, nor is it owned by, the White Man (White Woman). It is a trait of all ethnic tribal countries around the world. We have to look no further than Japan and China at the time of the Broome pearl divers and the Peking Boxer rebellion.
Doubtless, many of the multi-ethnic inhabitants of “sordid little Darwin” in those early days were just as conservative as we were, perhaps even more so, and would have applied the same views if they had been in power in the Wide Brown Land. Japan of the Divine Wind millennia is the perfect example. And for the record, modern day Australia down here in Mexico (the Big Smoke south of the border) is fast replicating early Darwin’s non-European population domination in numerous dedicated suburbs eg Box Hill, Caulfield, Glen Waverley, Dandenong et al.
Conservatism in those suburbs is entrenched in the ethnic community and is growing mighty strong and rapidly. When the Education Department puts Ted’s book into NT schools, it might be a good idea to toss in an accompanying module on the relative values and political views that are held by today’s comfortable-lifestyle ethnic citizens in the NT community whose forebears came to sordid little Darwin in those days.
Regardless,the school authorities must make it mandatory that any teaching of Ted’s book to our school kids MUST be accompanied by a You Tube video of Ted singing “Nakamura, the boy from Okinawa”. The video with the camels walking across the beach. One of the greatest Aussie bush ballad hands-across-the-water tributes to multicultural friendship ever sung in all of Aussie Song Land!


Pine Gap and the Nobel prize the Oz government ignores
@ Alex Nelson. Jewish refugees pre-WW2. I have never forgotten the story of the SS St Louis, told to me in 1955 by my grade 5 teacher at St Pius X primary school, Sister Mary Gangolfa, a Missionary Sister of the Sacred Heart, recently arrived in Oz from the Black Forest to teach the sons and daughters of young WW2 veterans.
Nearly 1000 desperate Jewish women and children sailed from Hamburg in 1939 to escape the Nazis. They headed for Cuba, where the ship was refused landing. No one wanted them. Because they were Jews. Shunned, they returned to Belgium, where many eventually died in WW2. I can understand why Russell has become a peacenik, with no disrespect using that word. It’s an admirable cause.


Pine Gap and the Nobel prize the Oz government ignores
@Nadine Williams. “We are the future, we are the link”. Such wonderful inspiring marching music lyrics!. Reminds me of the Good old days of peace activism and the stirring calls to arms (so to speak)…”Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” circa 1968. I can see Kim Jong un joining in….singing at the top of his voice…as today’s born again ICAN Nobel Prize peace activists march on the UN – that paragon of global justice – to demand that all countries get rid of their nuclear warheads. I always loved Puff the Magic Dragon. Ah,nostalgia. Here am I at three score years and eleven, trying to persuade that other paragon of justice -the AFL – to get rid of Collingwood Football Club. In the interests of world sanity.


Pine Gap and the Nobel prize the Oz government ignores
Russell writes a nice heartfelt article. Emotional and committed to the notion that he and his fellow self-named “peaceniks” are enlightened and inhabit a black-and-white “Us against Them” world where they have always been pitted against those hateful “conservatives” who are warmongers who refused to see the light in all the peace causes down the years.
But my experience has been that life is shades of grey. Vietnam halted the Communist drive down through SE Asia long enough to let Malaysia and Indonesia overcome the insurgency.
My South Vietnamese friends Tom and Than Dong will tell you of genocide cleansing throughout their old Montagnard village countryside when Hanoi took over and the oppressed people have since learned to keep their mouths shut on fear of death.
My left wing American friends who did contract work at Pine Gap will tell you that the facility does good work to ensure world peace stability.
And the Amerixan community in Alice has been a socially binding force for good in the Centre.
My German friends from the Black Forest will tell you that the Wall came down because the West fought the good fight but they warn the reality of world Communism in Russia remains an ever present and constant evil.
The best way to describe our world where the vast majority of us “progresives” and “conservatives” know the reality and we all work towards peace in our own ways – is that our daily lives and values are a good mix of “fifty shades of grey”. Not peaceniks v warmongers.


Gap Centre is the centre of The Gap
I would like to commend both Centres for their incomparable work with the young people of Alice down the years.
They have all been magnificent in their selfless work and countless Alicians must have great stories to tell about them.
I would like to pay special tribute to the late Mrs Joan Higgins and Alan, her trusty sidekick of many years at Wills Terrace, and Graham and Ronda Ross down at the Gap.
I have had the great privilege of seeing them in action, giving amazing help to kids in need, 24/7, 365/12. Such good hearts. Alician Treasures.


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