Ellos son nosotros

George Orwell en su novela ‘1984’, que publicó el 8 de junio de 1949, escribió: "En una época de engaño universal, decir la verdad es un acto revolucionario". Ha venido esta frase a mi memoria por esta época que nos ha tocado vivir, llena de paradojas y contradicciones.

Un tiempo en el que la sociedad se ha vuelto ‘líquida’ y en la que los humanos, confundiendo progreso con velocidad, buscamos atajos y nos aferramos a un insensible estilo de vida con el que vamos perdiendo humanidad.

Jacinda Ardern, primera ministra de Nueva Zelanda, nos acaba de sorprender con su renuncia. La revista ‘Fortune’ la situó como la segunda líder más importante y destacaba: "Los líderes del futuro pueden observar a Ardern para tomar una clase magistral sobre cómo conducir un país en una crisis".…  Seguir leyendo »

It’s Time to Stop Asking if Women Can Have it All. We Can.

Jacinda Ardern, the 42-year-old prime minister of New Zealand, announced this week that she would step down by Feb. 7. Ardern, who is also the mother of 4-year-old girl, said that after more than five years in office, she didn’t have the energy to continue in the role. “I know what this job takes”, she said, “and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It is that simple” — cueing up a fresh round of discussion about whether women can really “have it all.”

We can. She does.

Ardern’s savvy decision to leave office on her own terms is a win for working mothers everywhere, because she’s helping put the whole tired debate to rest.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jacinda Ardern is right to leave office — before voters force her out

Jacinda Ardern’s announcement that she would resign as New Zealand’s prime minister and leave Parliament might have surprised her many fans globally. But a closer look at the country’s politics shows that she likely made the wise decision to get on with her life before the voters kicked her out.

Ardern burst onto the political scene in 2017 when she took over leadership of her Labour Party just months before the next election. Labour had been trailing the governing center-right National Party by about 20 points, but the charismatic 37-year-old captivated the nation, and “Jacindamania” pushed her party upward. Labour finished second in the election, and she outmaneuvered the Nationals to form a three-party coalition government with the Greens and the populist New Zealand First party.…  Seguir leyendo »

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s appeal was always in her personality. The ‘relentless positivity’, as she called it in 2017. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

In one sense it feels as if Jacinda Ardern, who came to office in 2017, was the perpetual prime minister. In the collective memory, time fractures into the innocent period before the Christchurch massacre, the White Island eruption, the pandemic and then the exhausting period post.

In each period – both before and after that defining summer from December 2019 to February 2020 – it feels as if the constant was Ardern. It’s difficult to imagine any other prime minister cutting through their bureaucracy’s cautious advice, their cabinet’s hesitancy and their citizenry’s uncertainty to make the decision to lock down a country of five million and work towards eliminating Covid-19.…  Seguir leyendo »

Australia’s defence dilemma: projecting force or provoking China?

The shipyard in Osborne, a suburb 20km north of Adelaide in the St Vincent’s Gulf of South Australia, feels far removed from the simmering geopolitical conflict between the US and China.

The freshly built, modern facility has the air of a Hollywood set with enormous sheds connected via narrow roads. Golf cart-like vehicles ferry equipment and people between locations. A small strip of marshland, intended as a bit of greenery for the workers, is the only reminder of what used to be.

Now the Osborne precinct is the symbolic heart of Australia’s burgeoning military industry at a time when the country seeks to claim a seat at the “big table” of global affairs.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. and South Korean naval vessels taking part in joint exercises off the coast of South Korea, September 2022. Third Party / Reuters

For four years, as an increasingly belligerent China breathed down their necks, the United States’ allies in Asia quietly endured a torrent of abuse from President Donald Trump. Under President Joe Biden, they again have a winning hand in Washington. By the time he took office, Biden, a leading optimist about cooperation with China when he was vice president, had transformed into a hardened skeptic. He has promoted key alliance builders to the top Asia posts at the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Pentagon and ensured that his first in-person summit was with Yoshihide Suga, then Japan’s prime minister.…  Seguir leyendo »

Como muchas otras democracias, en años recientes Australia experimentó un aumento de la polarización política, sobre todo durante los últimos nueve años del gobierno conservador liderado por el Partido Liberal, en coalición con el Partido Nacional, una agrupación más pequeña con base rural. Por eso el resultado de la elección federal de mayo puede tener enseñanzas importantes para otras comunidades políticas polarizadas.

Tomemos por ejemplo el resultado en Kooyong, el distrito más seguro que tienen los liberales: se extiende sobre algunas de las áreas más adineradas de Melbourne, y desde su creación en 1901, siempre eligió a un liberal o a un representante de sus predecesores conservadores.…  Seguir leyendo »

The last time most Americans paid attention to the Solomon Islands was in the middle of World War II, when the United States and Japan waged a prolonged naval battle in the waters and skies surrounding Guadalcanal. That grinding fight had outsized strategic effects—halting the Japanese advance into the South Pacific, ensuring that allied nations such as Australia and New Zealand were neither surrounded nor cut off from supply by hostile forces, reversing the war’s momentum in the Pacific, and providing a base to launch a counteroffensive against a totalitarian enemy. Pointing to the hundreds of small islands spread across the Pacific, U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Como buenos herederos de la cultura grecolatina que hoy, aun decadente, todavía impregna gran parte del pensamiento global, en Occidente nos suponemos el centro del universo. Sumamente lógico en lo histórico, mas sumamente erróneo en la actualidad.

El mundo gira inexorable. Y en los últimos tiempos ha variado su eje de interés y de toma de decisiones a las lejanas aguas del Índico y el Pacífico. Ni siquiera cambia esta realidad la cruenta guerra de Ucrania. Prefacio, quizás, de enfrentamientos futuros mucho más terribles.

Con China como gran behemot de la región y aspirante al título de peso pesado mundial que todavía ostentan los Estados Unidos de América, los movimientos geopolíticos se suceden a una velocidad casi frenética.…  Seguir leyendo »

Australia sent the democratic world some useful messages in its recent election. The most important: that democracy can stay healthy even when voters are disgruntled, and even when they have problems with the two major parties.

Our friends Down Under could do this partly because they have an electoral system that requires everyone to vote and allows voters to cast ballots in a nuanced way. Preferential voting, in which voters rank their choices, means that voters can say more about how they think than a single marking next to one candidate or party can convey.

And with turnouts approaching 90 percent, the will of the people really is the will of the people.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Australia, for just the fourth time since World War II, the Labor Party, this time under leader Anthony Albanese, has been elected to form government from opposition. The conservative Liberal Party — led by outgoing Prime Minister Scott Morrison — was routed.

How did it happen? And what are the lessons for politics in Australia and elsewhere?

1. Don’t take your heartland for granted

Morrison not only lost seats to Labor but also lost a swath of seats to a group of female independents who adopted the color teal — a blend of Liberal blue (to signal they were economically conservative) and green (to signal they were progressives on climate change and the status of women.)…  Seguir leyendo »

Australian incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese debate ahead of the 2022 federal election, in Sydney on May 8. (James Brickwood/Pool via Reuters)

I blame the Americans.

Back in 1992, somebody asked then-candidate Bill Clinton if he knew, among other things, the price of “a pound of hamburger”. As it happened, Clinton was able to supply the answer — “a little over a dollar”, he said — but the “gotcha” question became a staple of political journalism around the world.

Witness the current Australian election campaign. In the run-up to the vote on May 21, candidates have become contestants in a daily quiz show, with Australian journalists the anchors.

Even before the election was called, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was quizzed over the price of bread and petrol.…  Seguir leyendo »

Officers with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force undergo training by members of the China Police Liaison Team in this undated photo released March 29 by the RSIPF. (AFP/Royal Solomon Islands Police Force) (Handout/AFP/Getty Images)

Over the past few weeks, the world has been understandably transfixed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s horrific invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, though, his close ally Chinese President Xi Jinping has been quietly taking advantage of the West’s distraction by expanding China’s sphere of influence in the South Pacific. If Washington doesn’t wake up to this threat, China’s efforts to dominate the region will gain dangerous and perhaps irreversible momentum.

Officials and experts throughout Asia expressed shock last month when a leaked document emerged showing a draft of a “security cooperation” agreement between China and the Solomon Islands, a small former British colony in the South Pacific that has been independent since 1978.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jetskis fly the Australian and Aboriginal flags during Australia Day celebrations in Sydney on January 26, 2021.

January 26 is, by coincidence, a significant date in the national calendars of two countries, with an important difference.

In India, January 26 marks Republic Day, and celebrates the date when the constitution of India came into effect in 1950. In short: official independence.

In Australia, January 26 marks the day 11 foreign ships sailed into what is now called Sydney Harbour and established a penal colony on the land of the Eora, the Aboriginal people of the area. This act was without permission, agreement or treaty. It set in motion events the Indigenous peoples of this country -- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples -- are still reeling from today.…  Seguir leyendo »

Podríamos decir, como Cicerón, O tempora! O mores! al contemplar cómo un suceso al otro lado del mundo genera una marea de reacciones que arrasa la aldea global. Unos y otros enarbolan sus respectivas banderas, se arrojan como pedradas enfervorecidos tuits, likes, favs, shares y comments. Los odios sobrevuelan las cabezas, las audiencias imponen sus reglas y, entremedias, queda la amarga impresión de que el impostado espectáculo nos hace perder por el camino algo importante: los conceptos.

El problema que se le ha planteado a Novak Djokovic no se refiere en sentido estricto a la vacunación obligatoria. Es cierto que algunos estados de Australia la han impuesto para ciertos trabajadores, particularmente los que se emplean en sectores sensibles por su contacto con el público.…  Seguir leyendo »

Solemos ser muy reacios a dejarnos distraer, a la hora de abordar estos hebdomadarios billetes, por la gayumba mediática que convierte anécdotas en fenómenos morbosos que arman la mundial. Nos referimos, en este caso, al sainete Djokovic, que es un tenista de leyenda, pero, para este plumilla, nada más (y nada menos). Sin embargo, una vez acabada la ópera bufa que ha montado en tierra de wallabies, creemos detectar una reflexión de cierta enjundia, para inquietos ciudadanos españoles.

Veamos los hechos relevantes en su desnudez. Un señor no australiano ni residente en Australia quiere pasar unos días en Melbourne, invitado a participar en un torneo de tenis, porque es jugador profesional… Democráticamente tiene los mismos derechos fundamentales y las mismas obligaciones que un zapatero de Andorra invitado por unos familiares a pasar el cotillón.…  Seguir leyendo »

Novak Djokovic descansa en una práctica del Abierto de Australia en Melbourne, el 14 de enero de 2022. El tenista serbio ha tenido problemas por negarse a ponerse la vacuna contra el COVID-19. Tendrá que enfrentar la misma situación en el torneo Roland Garros en Francia. (Diego Fedele/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Novak Djokovic, el tenista masculino número uno del mundo, ha ganado 20 torneos de Grand Slam, un récord que comparte junto a sus legendarios colegas Roger Federer y Rafael Nadal. Este mes tuvo la oportunidad perfecta para distanciarse de sus rivales: pudo haber ganado su Grand Slam número 21 en el Abierto de Australia, donde ya ha sido campeón nueve veces. Pero eso ya no sucederá. Djokovic ha sido deportado de Australia, y, por mucho que reclame y patalee, él es el único culpable de esa situación.

A diferencia de 97% de sus compañeros en el circuito de tenis masculino, Djokovic se niega a vacunarse porque está hipnotizado por disparatadas ideas new age sobre la salud.…  Seguir leyendo »

Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 men’s tennis player in the world, has won 20 Grand Slam tournaments — a record he shares with his fellow greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. He had a perfect opportunity to separate himself from his rivals this month by winning a record 21st Slam at the Australian Open, where he has already been the champion nine times. But now that won’t happen. Djokovic has been deported from Australia — and, however much he might wail and rage, he has no one but himself to blame.

Unlike 97 percent of his peers on the men’s tennis tour, Djokovic refuses to be vaccinated because he is in thrall to wacky New Age ideas about health.…  Seguir leyendo »

Novak Djokovic Got the Boot. Australians Are Thrilled

Update: A panel of judges ruled on Sunday that Australia’s immigration minister was within his rights to cancel the tennis champion Novak Djokovic’s visa. The judges’ ruling is final; the Australian Open begins Monday.

Novak Djokovic has had his visa to stay in Australia revoked — not once but twice. After a successful appeal of his apprehension at the border by authorities, our immigration minister has affirmed the initial refusal. The world’s No. 1 men’s singles tennis player is out of the Australian Open (at least for now).

It’s a move that the local papers have claimed will “undoubtedly prove popular with the Australian public.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Police personnel watch pro-refugee protesters rally outside the Park Hotel, where Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic is believed to be held while he stays, in Melbourne, Australia on Jan. 10. (Sandra Sanders/Reuters)

Tennis star Novak Djokovic’s detention by Australian border authorities has cast a much-needed spotlight on the Australian immigration system. Djokovic was held in the Park hotel in Melbourne, alongside 32 refugees who had sought asylum in Australia and have been indefinitely detained ever since — some for up to nine years.

If you are only just hearing this story, you may be shocked. But the arbitrary and ongoing detention of people, including children, indefinitely is tolerated and normalized in Australia.

This part of the story begins in July 2013, when the Labor Party announced that anyone who came to Australia by boat seeking asylum would be sent offshore to Manus Island, Papua New Guinea or Nauru, a tiny island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.…  Seguir leyendo »