Statement from Las Vegas police officer

A clip by the ABC news (US) on the massacre at Las Vegas. Seems that one gunman was  responsible for the massacre. Twenty -three firearms were recovered at Mandalay Bay plus nineteen at Mesquite at the killer’s home.

Current known figures is that fifty – nine people have been confirmed dead and more than five hundred injured.

My heart breaks for all those affected.

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Massacre in Las Vegas

Last night (Sydney time), news broke out that Las Vegas has suffered a massacre at a country music concert at Mandalay Bay Hotel.

The death toll has risen to fifty – nine. This exceeds the death toll from last year’s Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre, which killed forty – nine. (Both figures exclude the shooters).

 

The shooter has been named: Stephen Paddock, 64, who killed himself when the SWAT team approached his hotel room. The woman who the police believed to be an accomplice, Marilou Danley, 62, while known to the shooter, had no role in the shooting.

 

As far as I’m aware, no Australians have been have been killed or injured in the attack.

While Islamic State have claimed responsibility, Las Vegas police suggest that this wasn’t an Islamist attack. Paddock’s brother, Eric, denied that Paddock had any political or religious affiliation.

While not much can be confirmed, Yahoo7! gives a bit of background of the gunman.

Women can drive in Saudi Arabia. But if attitudes don’t change about women, nothing will

Saudi woman driving with niqab on
Women can now drive in Saudi Arabia, although it’s very restricted and guardianship laws still apply (Image: iStock)

Laws have been passed to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia. They will come into affect from June next year.

Saudi Arabia, a Wahhabism state, has implemented a strict form of Islamic law, based on a fundamentalist interpretation of the Qu’ran. According to FutureScopes, Saudi Arabia has been only one of two countries in the world that have had a ban on women driving (the other being Afghanistan when the Taliban ruled in 1996). This ban has given Saudi Arabia a bad reputation around the world, including by their ally, the United States.

 

The excuses given to prohibit women from driving are nothing short of ludicrous. An article from The Atlantic in 2013 reported that  Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al – Lohaidan, a judicial adviser of an association for Gulf psychologists, claimed that women shouldn’t be able to drive because it pushes the pelvis up and affects the ovaries. This is not backed up by any science.

Saudi women who have dared to drive or protest the ban have also been likened to terrorists. According to India Today, two Saudi women were arrested for ‘terrorism’ offences when they defied the driving ban in 2014.

 

Earlier this year, Asma Alsharif wrote in Reuters that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz permitted women to be able to vote. Also, this year, Saudi women have been granted the right to take up tertiary studies, access some medical care and work without the permission of a male guardian.

As I pointed out above, while much progress has been made, there seems to be ingrained beliefs that will keep women oppressed. To be frank, I doubt that the most recent change has anything to do with rights of women itself.

The reasons why this ban has been so – called ‘lifted’ is to allow women to drive to work, to help the Saudi economy. From what I can gather, the change hasn’t come about because attitudes about men and women have changed. This explains why male “guardianship” is still enforced in the strict Islamic Kingdom.

 

Saudi Arabia is also infamous for accusing and executing people, predominately women for ‘sorcery’. Sounds quite 17th century, doesn’t it? (Note: for those who are confused why I picked that century and not the first millennia, I had the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller in mind. Same diff. Outdated and barbaric beliefs).

That is why these ‘advances’ that Saudi Arabia has made has been taken with a grain of salt. The reason why Saudi Arabia has had such a bad reputation globally when it comes to women’s rights is the fundamental beliefs about them. Without changes to those beliefs and attitudes across the country, what’s to stop women’s rights to study, access medical care and drive being stripped away again? Nothing, really.

 

From the outside looking in, Saudi Arabia is an epitome of how far the rights of women has to globally. It’s not just laws that need to be changed in such countries to make long – term impact. It’s beliefs, attitudes and distribution of power, particularly between men and women. Then, maybe the world will applaud Saudi Arabia for real progress.

Have you been to Saudi Arabia? Do you live there? What was/ is it like? Feel free to tell me your experiences.

Frances Abbott has made an advertisement campaigning for same – sex marriage

Yes!!!!

Daughter of former Australian Prime Minister, Frances Abbott, has vocally supported the legalisation of same – sex marriage in Australia, notably on Instagram. Now, Australian Marriage Equality has launched an ad featuring her. It’s brilliant!

Abbott did a brilliant job at explaining why she supports same – sex marriage. Her reason? Love and family. She spoke so fondly of her aunt Tony Abbott’s younger sister), Sydney Liberal Councillor, Christine Forster, who is in a long – term same – sex relationship.

This is what the same – sex marriage campaign should have been about from the start — love and family! Finally, there’s no ideological cat fight. Not left versus right. Just love. And LGBTQ+ people.

This is what about the “Yes” campaign should have been about all along! Instead, it’s been hijacked by ideologues, who’ve, lets’ honest, made the rate of favour for same – sex marriage has slipped to just over fifty percent. It’s become a left versus right issue. For too long, the campaign has been divisive and not something that some supporters of the LGBTQ+ community want to be associated with.

Is it too late, though? We’ll have to wait another month and see. There are no guarantees, but, as I wrote above, the “Yes” are still in front. Just. Hopefully, this advertisement can curb a further decline in support.

A few months ago, Australian Marriage Equality launched another advertisement, featuring former president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and author, Professor Kerryn Phelps.

While it isn’t a bad advertisement, I feel that it combated ideology, rather than dealing with just dealing with LGBTQ+ people. It was about countering the Coalition for Marriage advertisement, rather than aiming at people’s hearts. How many people really care about the politics, especially those who really don’t care either way (the people that need to be convinced)?

This is what made Frances Abbott’s advertisement so great. She has even said that she doesn’t care about politics. So, she talked about someone she obviously loves very much, her aunt. She said that she wanted to see her aunt happy and equal under Australian law. Again, this is what the  “Yes” campaign should’ve been about from the start.

What’s more, Abbott didn’t attack anyone; not her father, not Coalition for Marriage, no one. This is great, in my view.

 

Last night, Daily Telegraph’s Sharri Markson told Andrew Bolt (who was impressed by the advertisement), that it was good that Professor Kerryn Phelps did one of the “Yes” advertisement as it may encourage older people to support the campaign, where as Abbott’s campaign advertisement would likely preach to the converted. Maybe Markson has a point. I still think that Abbott’s focus on love and family, rather than combating the  Coalition for Marriage and the like may have won more hearts. It’s just a pity it was made so late in the campaign.

In regard to the vote, do whatever you think is fair. If you do feel strongly about the issue one way or another, vote and have your survey in by November 7.

 

 

The AFL has every right to support the LGBTQ+ community, including same – sex marriage

Screenshot of Herald Sun opinion piece "Praise AFL for its social conscience' by Justin Quil 25 September, 2017
Herald Sun’s acting media lawyer, Justin Quill has praised AFL’s corporate stance on same – sex marriage

I was going to criticise the AFL’s stance on same – sex marriage. My argument was that they shouldn’t it’s a hot – button issue and they may alienate spectators. Reading Justin Quill’s opinion piece in yesterday’s Herald Sun gave me a new perspective.

Companies DO have a right to express a view on social issues. As Quill pointed out, this is not the first time that the AFL has supported social causes. The AFL has had a reputation of trying to combat racism in the game, starting with former St. Kilda player, Nicky Winmar, who lifted up his Guernsey to defy racism back in 1993.

Now, the AFL has turned it’s attention to supporting LGBTQ+ people.

Over the past two years, the AFL has had the “Pride Round” between St. Kilda and the Sydney Swans. As I wrote last year in another one of my blogs, I supported this as I though it was good that the AFL were taking a stance against discrimination. I still hold that view.

While there are no openly gay or bi men in the AFL, there are two AFLW players in long – term same – sex relationships. It’s great that these women have gotten so much support, both from the media and the AFL.

 

Having said that, the AFL hasn’t been without controversy when it comes to homophobia, or at least, a lack of acceptance. In 2010, former Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions player Jason Akermanis controversially suggested that gay players should stay in the closet to avoid making other players uncomfortable. Maybe Akermanis’ comment revealed that, at the time, the AFL wasn’t openly embracing of gay and bi players.  Last week on ABC’s The Drum, former footballer – turned LGBTQ advocate, Jason Ball highlighted how hard it was to be gay in football. This was largely due to the prevalence of homophobic slurs and jokes in the game.

Screenshot of Jason Ball on ABC's the Drum
Jason Ball talks about how hard it has been for gay footballers when talking about the AFL’s controversial change in their logo in support of same – sex marriage.

The AFL has worked to tackle racism in the AFL and now turns it’s attention to homophobia and bi – phobia. This is great, as players, regardless of background, religion or sexuality should be able to play the game they love.

Likewise, LGBTQ+ spectators, should be free from discrimination and any that does occur will be condemned. LGBTQ+ who want attend a AFL game should be able to without fear of having slurs hurled at them or worse. Same – sex couples should be able to attend and enjoy the football like any straight couple. To be honest, it’s a shame that this still seems to be a controversial idea.

Regarding the criticism that the AFL is trying to enforce same – sex marriage on  the spectators and players, Quill made the point that no same – sex marriage opponent was being thrown out because of their stance. If that was the case, it’d be wrong. What the AFL are trying to do is make LGBTQ+ people feel welcome and that discrimination won’t be tolerated. That’s not a bad thing. Is it?

What are your thoughts on the AFL’s stance on gay marriage or the Pride Round? Let me know in the comments below. 

Mamamia celebrates 10 years!

Article: MAMAMIA TURNS 10: This is the original team who started it all
Mamamia celebrates ten years since it’s atart by founder Mia Freedman

Lifestyle, feminism and news site, Mamamia celebrates ten years since its launch by founder, Mia Freedman. What an achievement!

I’ve been reading articles on Mamamia probably for the past, three, four years. Some of the articles have been brilliant, and, as I’ve written here before, I’ve really admired the advocacy that the team at Mamamia do.

Mamamia has continued a spark in me to continue with this blog. Mia Freedman, along with the other columnists, have been a great source of inspiration for much of my writing, as you may have noticed by the number of times I’ve limked or talked about the articles. Along with columnists like Andrew Bolt, I love how Mamamia inspires me to respond, to get out thoughts and feelings I have about things that have gone one in the world.

 

I love how, along with the regular columnists, Mamamia allows other s to pitch in ideas, and have their own articles published on the site. As I’ve written here before, the one that touched me the most was Jo Qualmann’s article on asexuality in 2014. It was great that they contributed to asexuality visibility and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

 

Screenshot of story featured in Mamamia on asexuality in 2014,written by Jo Qualmann
Jo Qualmann had a story published in Mamamia on her experiences being asexual.

 

They have also done a great job at raising awareness around disability. I first realised this when they published an article on disabled parking. While I don’t drive myself, I think it was great how they allowed the issue to be raised, by a person affected by it. Most importantly, they’ve given people with a disability and their loved ones the voice.

I think Mamamia has also done a great job in the same – sex marriage debate as well. I’ve loved how they’ve let gay people and their family members tell their personal stories and how the debate affects them. I think that’s great. To be honest, I believe there has been too little of that in the mainstream media. The fact that the staff at Mamamia have given LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones a voice is something that is worthy of a great hug!

 

Back in the ‘1980’s ABBA claimed Thank you for the music. Well, I’d like to say to Mia Freedman and the team, thank you for the words. Thank you for the advocacy and inspiration to live and write authentically.

Happy ten year anniversary and here’s to ten more!

10 years candles
Image: Canva

 

Tell me, what have been your favourite articles you’ve read on Mamamia? 

 

Madeline should not have been let off for opposing same – sex marriage

18 – year – old, only known as Madeline, was let go from her contract at Capital Kids Parties, Canberra, after putting ‘It’s OK to Vote No’ filter on her Facebook profile.

Her contractor, Madlin Sims made a Facebook post saying that she let go of Madeline because she thought her views were “hate speech”.

There are feelings that there is more to this story, but I’ll go with purely the issue of unfair dismissal and anti – discrimination.

I don’t think people like Madeline should be let off purely because of their political or religious beliefs. And, as long as they are not advocating for the killing of LGBTQ+ people or they are openly hostile towards people because of sexuality, gender, race, etc, they shouldn’t be sacked/ lose their contract.

However, I’ve got a funny feeling that some people who defend Madeline also want businesses to be legally be able to discriminate against people based on their relationships, gender or sexuality. It should be all or nothing. Sims should be able to discrminate against conservative Christians, or it should be unlawful for a business or servicecto refuse to employ or serve LGBTQ+ people. All of one or the other.

 

There is something that I think has been left out of this discussion. Madeline is only eighteen. She’s probably just finished Year 12. She still needs time to grow and I do feel for her. She’s had her work and her beliefs scrutinised in the most public way. Her character has already been debated,bsparked by Sims’ Facebook post. Regardless of who you agree with in this, Madeline is still so young. She has her whole life ahead of her and she’s been subject to public scrutiny already. All over a Facebook filter. That to me, is extreme.

 

I feel for Madlin Sims, too. By the look at her Instagram picture, which supince has been taken down, apparentky,bshe’s also incredibly young. And the abuse she and her brother have allegedly suffered must be condemned. Why this hasn’t been talked about and condemned by mainstream and independent media, I don’t know. (You already know how I feel about the whole ‘debate’ and ommissions,bso Ivwon’t repeat them here).

 

Unfortunateky, I think this case has put a bad light on the ‘Yes’ side, again. It’s also exposed my worst feears about same – sex marriage; a values clash between the Left and conservatives that I believe needs to be sorted before (if) same – sex marriage becomes legal in Australia.

 

What are your thoughts on anti – discrimination laws? Should there be any exemptions on moral grounds?