Belgian Chocolate… and other things

Worming my way through the crowds, the night now well and truly ready for the fireworks planned during the Flower Carpet festival. The theme? Mexico. The beautiful colours of yellow and orange light up the cobblestone centre of Grand-Place or Grote Markt in Brussels, where I had spent earlier that morning having breakfast observing the numerous trucks beeping in and out and unloading shipments of flowers.

I squirm my way past men holding their DSLRs and women tightly gripping the hands of their children, some holding beers and others eating. I look up at the City Hall balcony full of people, the building lit up with blue and green and pink and I don’t know how to get up there. They look unordinary; delegates, wealthy businessmen, women wearing gowns, that sort of thing, but the view from up there would be incredible. There is just too many people and I think that if the fireworks don’t start soon, I may want to head back out of the crowds and to the Le Comptoir de Mathilde for some Noix Noisettes, hot chocolate prepared in little square pieces with a spoon stuck inside that you simply dip into warm milk and mix so the chocolate melts into it. Read More

The Death of Love?

I believe that romantic love does not exist. Our interpretation of love is socially constructed and re-imagines co-dependency to be synonymous with a deep, intimate connection. For me, there is only one type of love and that is moral consciousness, the ability to give love to all things.

Capitalism has commodified love, marketing the idea that selling ourselves will enable us to receive love and attention, but selling is not the same as giving ourselves to love. Selling ourselves does require us to give – our time and energy, our efforts to be patient and tolerant under unhappy circumstances – so there is indeed an element of moral goodness since one is being dutiful, but the underlying intent is to receive from that effort and thus entirely dependent on the reciprocal exchange.

These socially constructed archetypes breed an efficient network of mindless drones who all believe in the same thing and who act in the same way enabling this sense of familiarity and unity, but all entirely founded on narcissism. Is this exchange ever real? Is there such a thing as romantic love? Read More

Tulip Country

“You like what you see?” he said, pressing down toward his crotch as the others laughed, all five of them now cornering us. They were drunk. Scottish men in Kilts touring Amsterdam for a football match and who thought that they can celebrate the win by visiting the Red Light District at the same time my friend from Canberra had asked me to join her.

“I told you I didn’t want to come here,” I whispered, feeling the tension quake through my veins, mostly from anger. People often think my hands shake from fear, but it is far from that, shuddering from the pressure of controlling and suppressing my indignation knowing that it might get me into more trouble. Read More

Before The Cock Crows, Thrice You Shall Deny Me

I am proud of the Australian judicial system, particularly their independence and separation from political and other corrupt powers attempting to influence decisions. Law is to serve people, to ensure justice and my passion for this righteousness was the reason why I studied human rights law. I have never been more proud then when I heard that Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic Church representative and now former prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy for the Vatican once making him one of the most powerful religious figures has been found guilty of sexually abusing young children. What does this precedent now mean for not only all the victims of sexual abuse but also for Catholicism? Read More

South of the Nile Delta

I think I have made a serious mistake, I thought to myself as I was crammed into a mini-van on my way through the Sinai Peninsula with two other women, both from South America. It was deep into the evening and there he stood at the van entrance, his eyes gleaming at me suspiciously as he held my passport in one hand and an AK47 in the other. My heart was racing, my mind thinking about the reality that it was just three girls surrounded by all these men. We could get dragged into the desert, raped and murdered and no one would ever know. Kidnapped, maybe sold into sexual slavery! Read More

The Rose City

“Make sure,” he said, pointing out into the middle of the bus, “to not give in, okay!” He was one of those tour guides where I was not entirely sure if he was honest or just believable because he spoke with confidence about things we knew nothing about. It seemed as though anything he said – even if it was absurd – must be true only because he said it loudly and with a firm expression. He was the expert after all. “No one in Jordan steals!” was one such comment. Read More