“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?“
– W.B. Yeats The Second Coming, 1919
Australia has more sheep than any other country on earth. Nearly 20 million of us are bipedal.
Several hundred two-legged Australian sheep, with better superannuation packages than most, meet regularly in Parliament House in Canberra. Today they are all off for well-earned holidays. Another session of the Australian Parliament is coming to an end. It’s time for the Christmas break!
Another session is closing, in which the tragic and deepening plight of the Palestinians has not been seriously discussed. Indeed, it has barely been mentioned at all. As usual.
When Members conclude their business later today, exchanging pleasantries about Christmas goodwill in the improbable setting of a sweltering Canberra summer, the odds are nobody will mention the walled-in residents of Bethlehem or the shivering masses of Gaza.
Many of our elected politicians pray from the Christian Bible, but no-one will utter a word about the beleaguered Christians in the Holy Land. No-one will demand an end to the very un-Christian siege of those parts of Palestine not already under the thumb of the Israeli military or their collaborators. No one will say: enough!
Why is this?
Are the people in Australia’s Parliament completely ignorant about these matters? Are they cruel? Do they share the view of many Israelis that Palestinians are less than human? Is Evil now Canberra’s official religion?