Syria: The Past. The Present. The Future?

My brief experience recently visiting Turkey has completely transformed me. With all the challenges that I faced, one of the greatest was failing to understand the sheer scale of the devastation the Syrian war has inflicted on so many innocent people. It is well known that while I have an impenetrable and staunch commitment to human rights, I am also extremely empathetic to a point that I almost feel the suffering of others and this pain has vicariously and rather deeply hurt. I felt helpless, heartbroken, desperate and unable to speak to anyone, the indifference only perpetuated the feelings I was having.

I need to understand the history and the politics of the region that has wreaked such havoc and caused so much unnecessary suffering. The civil war in Syria has seen more than half a million innocent people killed since it began in 2011, with 5.7 million refugees fleeing the country and 6.1 million internally displaced. Thousands upon thousands of people have died that have never had the respect and dignity of a burial. What happened in Syria that caused such horror?

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European Union Hypocrisy

Twenty years ago, the European Union began discussions with the Mercosur bloc of countries in South America – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – and only recently this historic agreement was officially signed that will successfully reduce billions of dollars in costs for both sides. The EU-Mercosur deal will both strengthen the relationship with European countries by removing duties on goods and improving an integrated market system, but also by modernising the challenging Mercosur system will improve agreements with South America beyond Europe, including Asia and the United States.

The agreement predominately includes the agricultural market – namely, beef – in exchange for cars and other items all with reduced tariffs. Included in this EU-Mercosur deal is the commitment by each of the signatories to climate change with reference to the Paris Climate Agreement. The agreement included targets by the year 2020 to reduce COemissions and Brazil is a signatory committed to the reduction of the global threat of climate change. The agreement ensured that all parties involved will improve and adopt a sustainable, low-carbon economy inclusive of mitigation strategies.

A sustainable, low-carbon economy. Cars? Cows? Mass deforestation? Read More

Saudi Arabia and Iran: The Arms Race Continues

In 2017, Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia signed a $110 billion dollar arms deal. It was clearly articulated that the purpose was to strengthen the “long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats.” The long-term security of Saudi Arabia? According to Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) in Yemen, there have been over 56,000 people killed since 2016 and complicit to this atrocity is neighbouring Saudi Arabia who – along with their allies – marketed the violence to be less intense and thus less of a concern. While they signed this deal, tens of thousands of Yemeni were suffering from starvation and malnutrition as well as well as preventable diseases.

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Culturally Diverse Leadership

Following an invitation to speak at a conference for emerging leaders, this article is a developed version of the speech I gave at the dinner.


My parents grew up in extreme poverty in a tiny village as ethnic and religious minorities who experienced discrimination and the threat of violence and their identity and cultural heritage heavily controlled by politics. Both were only primary school educated and started work almost immediately since children were viewed as an economic asset unlike most of the western world where they are seen as a cost. They migrated to Australia in 1968 and worked in a labour-intensive environment with little English and a weak understanding of the education system.

They were in survival-mode. Read More

Alt-Right: Gavin McInnes and his Exhibitionism

Some people would do anything to get attention. They navigate the social system to find an opportunity to whore themselves to an idea that would generate enough controversy to attract the surveillance of a bored and angry cohort thirsting for dissension. While the internet provides access to a repository of information that can inform and enlighten, a byproduct is a cesspool of toxic and debauch trolls devouring reason and common sense.

Gavin McInnes is one such exhibitionist with his cliche tattooed sleeves and Ned Kelly beard that pattern the popular and fashionable punk signature, but how effective has this provocateur been in reigniting far-right tensions?

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My Soul Aches For Bethlehem

I always wake up before sunrise, no longer needing any alarm and I rug up in my warm clothing and wander the quiet gardens as the morning beams of light penetrate the atmosphere and colour the clouds with a scarlet glow. It is a time of quiet for me to gather my thoughts, to solidify my disposition and prepare for what is often a long day at work full of meetings and people and reports. Read More