Equal rights

Equal rights

On Sunday I attended the Lismore gay and lesbian rally, protesting the state and federal governments banning of same sex marriage. I think it is discrimination to stop same sex couples from getting married. Except for their interest in people the same sex, gay or lesbian people are the same as you or me. There is no reason for homophobia or discrimination against gay or lesbian people. If a member of an elderly same sex couple passes away the other can be left with no estate and penniless. I think all the people standing in the way (federal and state governments) should step aside and let the many homosexuals who choose to marry do so.

Daisy Aczel Morris (aged 10)

South Lismore

Pipe dreams

It now becomes clear, indeed clearer than the water, that the Wilsons River pumping scheme is for the short-term profit of a certain Ballina-based pipe company. Of course this company has no links to Rous Water or to Council as that would not be ethical if not illegal. Oh dear, oh dear. Drink up!

Bob Mac

South Lismore

Compassion for all?

Andrew Carlisle (Echo, Auguest 10) in writing about the Chinese Government and their persecution of Falun Gong, says of Ian Causley, Thomas George and Merv King: At a time when public policy puts trade ahead of morality and humanitarian concern it is refreshing to witness Northern Rivers political leaders responding with such genuine compassion and empathy.

I agree. Now I wait for them, especially Ian Causley, to show similar concern to see some of our own citizens are protected from persecution. David Hicks, for instance, would be a good place to start. He might have a word in the ear of the PM, the Foreign Minister and the Attorney-General?

Jim Cross


Building a better Ballina

Lifting the building height restrictions for Ballina is a fantastic idea.

But I say why stop at eight or 10 storeys? Lets get the height up to 15 or 20. Now thats more like it! Ballina could become the new Chatswood, North Sydney or even the New York of the south!

Imagine Ballina as a thriving, bustling metropolis filled with traffic and congestion, where the captains of industry could stalk the concrete corridors of financial power. These captains of course would be lead by our very own Chamber or Commerce, finally at the helm of an enterprise worthy of their immense talents and Ballinas sky rocketing rates.

But who could make this economic wet dream come true? Who would have the foresight to look into the crystal ball and make Ballinas skyscraper future a reality? The mighty councillors of Ballina Shire Council, thats who!

Im sure we can count on any number of our forward thinking leaders to firmly place money in front of amenity, to put profits before people and finance in front of fresh air.

In fact I say lets start off this building boom with an icon building! A tower that would dwarf all others, and act as a magnet to developers everywhere. Screaming to the world, Come to Ballina, you can build anything you like! Lets build a 100 storey monster that can be seen from the moon!

But what would you call this beacon to free enterprise, this lighthouse to liquid assets? For mine it could only have one name. A name that celebrates stupid ideas of biblical proportions, but with an Australian feel. I propose we call this colossus The tower of Ballina-nong!

Steve Bocking

East Ballina

Fascism by another name

The parallels between Hitler and Howard are not just the fact that their names are made up of six letters. No, each man:

1. Outlawed unionism. Hitler and Howard used the law to do this.

2. Wedged the working class. Howard does it by scare mongering workers against each other, Hitler did it by setting up his Labour front.

3. Represented the rich and powerful.

4. Created an enemy out of the other. Hitler used the Jews, Howard uses Muslims or Arabs in general. He is actively hunting them down with our defence forces in Iraq and Afghanistan just because they want their countries back and their culture left alone. They also want western nations like Australia to stop propping up corrupt local regimes like the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia which have been supported by the British, the Americans and of course lap dog Australia.

5. Set up state police apparatus under the guise of protecting their peoples when in fact they only serve to further centralise power into the hands of the fascists amongst us.

And that folks is what Australia is heading towards (or already is) a fascist state with the choice of Tweedle-Dum or Tweedle-Dee as the leaders. Fascism is by nature the system wherein you end up having no choice over who runs the country.

When you think about it, how much difference is there between Howard and Beazley to feel like you are actually getting a choice? Half of sweet FA I reckon.

M Mizzi


Whats for dinner?

Did anyone notice Attorney General Mr Ruddocks response to Terry Hicks (father of David Hicks) nomination for Father of the Year? Basically, its inappropriate for the father of an alleged terrorist to even be nominated. In 20 years time well find out about the atrocity, the war crime that has and is being executed at Guantanamo Bay by the good old US of A with the support of the Howard Government.

Ruddock is a legally powerful fella, and the governmentonly put him in the spotlight when they feel very threatened. Eg: a few years ago in Wagga Wagga (around the time the War on Terror began) we got some inside info that Ruddock was addressing the Young Liberals at the Wagga Country Club. Boosting morale in the face of our persistent, peaceful protests? Not likely. He was Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time, and was primarily visiting the RAAF and army bases there.

The riot squad were none too happy about our water-bomb fighting for the three hours we waited in 45 degree heat for him to arrive. When Ruddock finally did arrive they snuck him past in the local real estate agents 4WD (air-conditioned), not the limo that preceded him (decoy or Howard?).

I got a good look at him pasty-grey and hungry. It was a peaceful protest, and he didnt look worried at all. He was looking forward to the adulation, and it was around dinner time, so Im guessing he was more concerned about the three-course meal and the $80 bottle of chardonnay awaiting him.

And whats this got to do with David and Terry Hicks? Well, they need our active support and compassion. As far as Im concerned Terry Hicks has been Father of the Year for five years running. The Howard Government is withholding contact and information on Davids well-being, and Terry is suffering greatly. What I cant help wondering is what did David Hicks get for dinner last night?

Ness Lamia


Fired up over water

I write in regards to the recent publicity involving the problems facing Richmond Valley Councils deliberate disposal and poisoning of Salty Lake lagoon in Evans Head, which ended with hundreds of mixed species of dead fish.

This special site was once a meeting place, many many years ago, where young and older women of the Bundjalung would gather and join together for special lady conversations. Men were not allowed or permitted to enter this special place as it was believed by some of the Bundjalung ladies that an ancient spirit in the form of a woman guarded and protected this ancient site (as was told to me by a relative from Lismore).

I wonder with the very high shortage of water during hot summers when bushfires are common is it possible or capable for Richmond Valley Council to establish a functional system where recycled sewerage wastewater could be re-used to control bushfires etc?

Tony Paden


Fighting for survival

Perhaps Nick Fredman (Echo, August 10) should have read my letter more carefully before responding. I stated that Israeli Arabs are full and equal citizens of Israel ie they have the same civil, legal, and political rights as Israeli Jews. I did not claim that Israel was free of discrimination no country is, unfortunately.

The radical change, Nick, needs to be throughout the whole Middle East basic human rights for women, religious minorities, and others.

L Clarkes solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict Israel withdrawing to the 1967 line is good in theory. Unfortunately for all concerned, it hasnt worked out that way. The central problem is not the Israeli occupation; it is the Arab rejectionism of Israel. With the establishment of Israel in 1948, the West Bank and Gaza were occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively. From 1948 to 1967, the Arabs could have created a Palestinian state in these territories. Instead, during this period the Palestinians continued terrorist attacks against Israelis, and the PLO was formed in 1964. After the 1967 war, when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, the Arab rejectionism was re-stated in the three Nos at Khartoum: No recognition, No negotiation, No peace with Israel. Eventually, Egypt signed a peace deal with Israel, in order to get back the Sinai a land for peace deal; and so did Jordan.

Israels policy has been trading land for peace but unfortunately all Israel seems to have obtained is war from land traded. Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, and Hezbollah re-armed itself, culminating in the missile attacks on Israel and the killing and kidnapping of its soldiers.

Israel withdrew from Gaza last year, and since then the Gaza Palestinians have fired over a thousand rockets into Israel. The charters of both Hamas (elected to government this year) and Hezbollah (part of the Lebanese government) call for the violent destruction of Israel. The current Israeli government was elected this year on a platform of withdrawing from the West Bank. The solution to peace in Israel/Palestine remains the same: when the

Arabs truly accept the existence of Israel, then the Palestinians can begin to build their state.

The old saying still holds true: If the Arabs put down their weapons today there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today there would be no more Israel.

Julie Nathan


The business of war

We are now living in a world where we have extreme right wing governments presiding over much of the western world who are cultivating division and disempowerment amongst their population, producing anger and racial hatred.

With our level of technology and knowledge we could already be living in a paradise of inter-racial relations where the fruits of thousands of years of separate development in the arts, architecture, knowledge and healing fields could re-engage into a beautiful whole giving us an amazing perspective to view and live in.

A thousand years ago many European cultures looked to the Muslim world for enlightenment as they were extremely advanced in terms of healing, science, astronomy, architecture and mathematics. Strict interpreters of the Koran gained ascendancy over the leading intellectual lights of their culture and their civilisation stagnated. As we bomb these Muslim lands we destroy the evidence of that greatness remaining in their architecture, attacking their feelings of self-worth.

The earth they live on is also ruined, covered with unexploded cluster bombs and depleted uranium if that is what has been used. We havent had word from Lebanon but Afghanistan, Iraq and old Yugoslavia are all covered with depleted uranium which is slowly drifting around the world. All Australian soldiers fighting in those zones are affected as the land has become a uranium impregnated dust-bowl.

Humans are highly sensitive beings who are ruined by war. Driven into shock or on an aggression high all humans need to be calmed down effectively after war. It never happens and they start all over again. When I read of a member of the Australian Ballet going to the Gaza Strip a few years ago to conduct dance workshops for traumatised Palestinian children I thought what a good idea.

As we build an unbalanced world focused on testosterone and competitiveness we ignore the more feminine realms of healing, creativity and respect for our home, the earth, at our peril.

We have totally diminished the importance of community, creativity and the arts running full-pelt into an aggressive world worshipping money and business, enthusing the masses into a nationalistic euphoria over sport.

It is a suicidal mission. It wont work. Business is traumatising us all and destroying the planet. A major part of Americas economy is war armaments. In business terms, war is great. In terms of global warming, each war is a giant step.

Lynne Oldfield


Challenging opinions

I welcome William Lowes challenge (Echo, August 10) on the fluoride debate. I took his information seriously and sought to verify it.

It suffered the same fate as much of the rest of what is falsely promoted as science in this debate. His John Yiamourjannis appears to be unknown in the scientific community; a search revealed no references that I could find.

The Argonne National Laboratories certainly do exist, a major research institution. But a search showed no work they had ever done on fluoridation of drinking water, that I could find.

Another anti-fluoride challenge in a daily newspaper ran along different lines. Because a Google search of the terms fluoride toxic effects revealed 44,000 hits, then the writer argued that we obviously should have grave doubts about the suitability of fluoridation. So, lets test the Google method on another topic.

Flat Earth Proof gave 7,940,000 articles. Googling doesnt make any doubts emerge in my mind about whether the earth is round or flat. Why should doubts emerge if 44,000 people wrote about fluoride toxic effects?

Google lists everything on the internet containing particular words. Many who published the words fluoride, toxic and effects might have been saying that fluoride has no toxic effects. Only by reading all 44,000 articles can you know how many thought it was toxic.

Google makes no distinctions about authors. Many of the 44,000 were written by idiots, snake-oil merchants, charlatans or flat-earth believers. Thats lots of public opinion but very little science. Who wrote each? Where was it published?

On health you consult scientific databases try Medscape or PubMed. See what qualified, reputable scientists have published in international, peer-reviewed, credible journals.

Ballina councillors recently voted against fluoridation. One found it too hard to decide the question. You dont have to decide this one the science of fluoridation has been understood for 50 years.

Regions blessed with a natural, God-given optimal level of fluoride ions in drinking water generally enjoy better dental health. In naturally deficient areas, people enjoy major benefits when fluoride ions are added to reach the optimal safe range.

This is the way the world is as far as good science is able to reveal to us at this point. Deny it, by all means, but why not also deny that the earth is round?

In a minority, Ballinas mayor Silver and councillors Cadwallader and Moore had the perspicacity to recognise good science. Thats something we vote councillors into office to do on our behalf, and they did it. Sad about the others.

To those who disagree, tell your doctor about your views about medical science next time you need lifesaving surgery or a miracle drug. Say you dont really believe in good science; you only accept its benefits when its convenient and doesnt upset your prejudices.

When public health is concerned, science is not an option. Despite the popular argument that government has no right to introduce water fluoridation, on the contrary, government may have the responsibility to do so.

We need to ask whether those who religiously object to fluoride have the right to impose the risks, damage and costs of failure to fluoridate on the community at large? When we compare the freedoms at stake, might not the most crucial one be that which involves liberation from pain and disease?

I have an open mind on that one too, but its a question that hasnt yet been asked in this debate, and it certainly needs answering. Let the debate continue!

Lee Andresen

East Ballina

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