just another reason to love the peace tree crew

Vines and fig trees.

Micah 4
1. In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it,
2. and many nations shall come and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3. He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more;
4. but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
5. For all the peoples walk,
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
forever and ever.

oh. my. goodness.

Un. be. lievable.

Pine gap protesters’ conviction quashed

Four anti-war protesters who broke into the Pine Gap spy base have had their convictions quashed by a Northern Territory court.

Donna Mulhearn, 39, Tim Dowling, 52, Adele Goldie, 31, and Bryan Law, 52, were the first Australians to be charged under the 1952 Defence (Special Undertaking) Act (DSU Act).

The four protesters – from the Group Christians Against All Terrorism – were found guilty of using bolt cutters on a high security fence and entering the secret spy base near Alice Springs in 2005.

They were convicted last June and together were fined more than $3,000. They had faced a maximum prison sentence of seven years each.

The Commonwealth DPP applied against what it said was the leniency of the sentence while the defendants appealed their convictions.

In the NT court of Criminal Appeal in Darwin on Friday, the full bench unanimously acquitted all four defendants of their conviction under the DSU Act.

Chief Justice Brian Martin said the full bench also declined to order a retrial.

The court will publish its reasons at a later date.

The four are still convicted of minor charges under the criminal code including damaging commonwealth property.

Outside the court, Mr Law said he had been entitled to call evidence during his trial about the role of the defence facility.

He said the commonwealth had tried to punish the protesters for a peaceful “expression of conscience”.

“This court has found that is unjust, a miscarriage of justice and we are within our rights to challenge the existence of Pine Gap,” he told reporters.

“We are completely vindicated and very happy.

“Pine Gap is not a base for the defence of Australia, Pine Gap is an instrument of international aggression.”

Ms Mulhearn said there had been a misuse of the DSU Act.

“It’s a draconian act and it was an extremist move that the act be used against us,” she said.

“It means the federal government will have to look at the Defence (special undertakings) Act and the application it has now for any other activists who want to participate in non-violent civil disobedience at Pine Gap.”

(I must admit I giggled at the ‘Tim Dowling’ bit…)

wendell berry on industrial sex

After seeing this article in today’s Age, my mind immediately went to this quote of Wendell Berry from Feminism, The Body And The Machine. I suspect when he wrote it (1989), it was intended as more wry overstatement than prediction, but there it is.

It is odd that simply because of its “sexual freedom” our time should be considered extraordinarily physical. In fact, our “sexual revolution” is mostly an industrial phenomenon, in which the body is used as a idea of pleasure or a pleasure machine with the aim of “freeing” natural pleasure from natural consequence.

Like any other industrial enterprise, industrial sexuality seeks to conquer nature by exploiting it and ignoring the consequences, by denying any connection between nature and spirit or body and soul, and by evading social responsibility. The spiritual, physical, and economic costs of this “freedom” are immense, and are characteristically belittled or ignored. The diseases of sexual irresponsibility are regarded as a technological problem and an affront to liberty.

Industrial sex, characteristically, establishes its freeness and goodness by an industrial accounting, dutifully toting up numbers of sexual partners, orgasms, and so on, with the inevitable industrial implication that the body is somehow a limit on the idea of sex, which will be a great deal more abundant as soon as it can be done by robots.

st francis I ain’t

I ran over a bird today. no, not in the car. on my bike. you heard right.

so I’m riding to work along Lygon St in peak hour traffic and as I try to avoid the mirrors of the cars that are crawling along, I see this myna (like the one pictured above) hop out of the path of one car. unfortunately, it hopped into my path. I had nowhere to go – parked cars to my left and traffic to my right, and only a couple of feet in between. I assume it sees me – birds always move when there’s something coming at them, right? so I watch it as I approach. and I watch. thinking it will move I wait until the last moment before I swerve out of its way, only to have it try to jump out of my way…

but we both moved the same way.

I can still feel the sensation of it getting caught in the grip of my front tyre and getting pulled under.

it was all over in a split second, of course. and it survived the incident – or I assume it did. after one wheel went over it, it flew away – toward the cemetary admittedly, but it did fly away from the scene, and without so much as exchanging phone numbers.

finally…some good news for JD

Received this from John Dear…absolutely delighted for him, especially in the week he was called a “renegade priest and a renegade citizen” and a “phoney” by the judge at his sentencing. It’s almost a year since we hung out here in Melbourne, and what a year. John’s been really supportive of me personally through that time. Continue to pray for him.

Dear friends, I’m sharing with you this amazing letter I just received which Archbishop Tutu sent to Norway!

Keep me in your prayers! Peace, John

* * * * * *

In support of The Reverend Father John Dear, S.J. : Nobel Peace Prize 2008

Dr Leo Rebello, World Peace Envoy from Bombay, India and Dr Charles Mercieca, President of International Association of Educators for World Peace, USA have nominated the Reverend Father John Dear, SJ for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize. I commend Father Dear to you and support his nomination.

Fr John Dear is a Jesuit priest who has been in the forefront of the religious peace movement in the United States. He is the embodiment of a peacemaker. He has led by example through his actions and in his writings and in numerous sermons, speeches and demonstrations. He believes that peace is not something static, but rather to make peace is to be engaged, mind, body and spirit. His teaching is to love yourself, to love your neighbor, your enemy, and to love the world and to understand the profound responsibility in doing all of these.

He is a man who has the courage of his convictions and who speaks out and acts against war, the manufacture of weapons and any situation where a human being might be at risk through violence. Fr John Dear has studied and follows the teachings of non-violence as espoused by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., he serves the homeless and the marginalized and sees each person as being of infinite worth. I would hope that were he to receive this honor his teachings and activities might become more widely accepted and adopted. The world would undoubtedly become a better and more peaceful place if this were to happen.

For evil to prevail requires only that good people sit on the sidelines and do nothing. Fr John Dear is compelling all of us to stand up and take responsibility for the suffering of humanity so often caused through selfishness and greed. I hope you will consider his nomination favorably.

God bless you
Archbishop Desmond Tutu


For those who understand this whole thing, I recently discovered that I’m a type 4 with a strong 5 wing. Ah yes, it all makes sense now.

Not that it can explain me at all of course, because I’m special and unique and can’t be understood by anyone…;)

defining irony

I’ve been doing a lot of clearing lately, making space for a veggie patch. First I needed to cut back the massive hedge which had grown over the top, blocking all sunlight. Then I had to clear the garden.

What resulted was a great piece of land to do some growing in. After having worked hard for weeks creating this space, I was finally able to add the piece de resistance – my pumpkin plant, which had been struggling in a pot.

The day after was 35 degrees in the height of summer.

Needless to say the plant was burnt beyond recognition, prompting me now to set up a temporary shade over it. So having removed all the shade from that area in order for it to grow, I’ve now had to create shade in order for it to not die completely.

My veggie patch (or, how I learned about the birds and the bees)

As I mentioned here, I was having some problems with my zucchinis.

Since then I transplanted them from the kiddie pool they were in to a garden bed that I’ve attempted to revitalise. Alas, the zucchinis were growing no larger there – until I discovered what everyone else probably already knows about zucchinis; that there are two types of flowers, males and females, and the female flowers have to be pollinated by the male flowers. The ones I’d picked before hadn’t been pollinated, so never grew beyond that size. So obviously, with no bees in my garden, I was going to have to do it myself. So I’ve been out there at 7am some mornings handpollinating them just to make sure it happens.

Hence, we are finally growing some decent sized zucchinis, now that I know what I’m doing.

Passionfruits have a rather amusing history in my family, but here’s the one I planted in just December, and has grown from half a foot to this in late January. It’s already flowering, so I may even squeeze out a fruit or two before autumn hits.

We were given this strawberry plant for Christmas. It was tiny then, just a little seedling, so we may just get some strawberries out of it this season.

We needed a climber for the side of the garage that doesn’t need too much sunlight. These pepinos are doing nicely there.

Then there’s the capsicums. For a while they were too crowded in, so didn’t do much, but recently they’ve gone mad and we’re doing quite well out of it.

And the beans are now taking over. They look fantastic up against the bare fence. Particularly since I cleared the fence to actually give them some room to grow.

And finally, my lettuces are doing great – using our old used coffee grounds we’ve had no problems with snails or slugs.

The saddest thing was that almost the entire worm farm died on a particularly hot day (drowned in their own urine – what a way to go) and the same happened when I transplanted my pumpkin from a pot to the garden (it just got obliterated by the sun). I’ve since got more worms, so the farm is back up and running, though my pumpkin still needs a lot of healing before it’ll even look like fruiting. Of course by then it’ll probably be too late.

Still, I’m pretty happy overall. More to come on my gardening adventures.