Measuring the exodus by the gravestones

A hearse waits in the grounds of Coburg Greek Orthodox Church. All images by the author.

Walk by the Greek Orthodox Church in Coburg on any given afternoon and there’s a fair chance you’ll see a hearse out front and black-clad mourners filling the grounds — funerals are becoming an everyday occurrence. The generation that founded the Greek community here is aging, as most arrived in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. I lost my own Papou, well into his 80s, just a few years ago. He‘d lived 40 years in the same suburban house, flanked by those of other Greek immigrants. Today, few remain.

It’s a slow process, but the community that raised me is slowly…

Lessons from the Argentine approach to immigration

All photos by the author.

Whenever I make my way to or from the subway station, Marina’s there, manning her post on the footpath. She offers avocados to passers-by for about 40 cents each, a far better price than what you’d get at the surrounding greengrocers. Sometimes, I buy her produce, making small talk as I do. I’ve learned that she’s from Bolivia, having lived here in Argentina for the last 14 years. The perpetually bored police officer stationed on the nearby corner often comes over and hangs out beside her, the two of them chatting for hours. He was there on the day where…

Argentina, 1976–1983

Image: Parque de la Memoria @ Flickr

Your military’s fighting an existential war for the country’s very future. That’s what you’re being told, at least, and you’re inclined to believe it, though you haven’t really seen anything that would indicate as such yourself. It’s 1976 and you’re an Argentine living in Nuñez, Buenos Aires, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of the city proper that’s a mix of upper-middle and upper-class residents; the latter living in gigantic mansions while the former live in more modest six bedroom abodes. …

There’s no shortage of legitimate criticisms, so why be bigoted?

Image: FolsomNatural @ Flickr

President Donald Trump is an all around terrible person. He’s a racist, a climate change denier, a sexual predator, a massive homophobe and transphobe, pro-corporation/anti-poor — the list goes on and on. On top of it all, there’s no shortage of ridiculous utterances coming out of his mouth. The man is everything that’s wrong with the Republican party in one vulgar, filterness package.

With there being so many different ways to shine a light on Trump’s very clear deficiencies, you’d think there’d be little need to throw out petty, discriminatory schoolyard abuse. …

Image: Wikimedia Commons

20TH DECEMBER, 2018: In a series of announcements, Donald Trump stated that the USA would finally withdraw its forces from Syria and half of its number in Afghanistan.

Reactions to this news were swift and came with a clear consensus; Trump is wrong. US interventionism is actually a good thing, and the US should continue to intervene in and start wars that kill millions of people on the other side of the world.

This is an interesting turn of events, considering that liberals are more inclined to be opposed to US interventionism than Trump’s Republican base. Rather than admit that…

Pro-refugee arguments should focus on morality, not economics

Image: Jonathan McIntosh @ Flickr

The right-wing’s reaction to the ongoing Honduran migrant caravan saga hasn’t defied expectations; they continue to portray people exercising their legal and moral right to seek asylum as a mindless barbarian horde intent on destroying everything good about the world. Refugees desperately fleeing violence and poverty have been tear gassed while the border remains militarised on President Trump’s direct orders. For most conservatives, this is sadly not anything out of the ordinary. …

Many Democrats crying ageism are ageists themselves — because it’s not really about age in the first place

Image: Marc Nozell @ Flickr

We’ve been hearing a lot about ageism recently. Many conservatives have attacked Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her age, while a featured article on Medium addressed ageism levied against Nancy Pelosi, arguing that its roots are sexist.

Yet ageism in politics is nothing new, nor are men immune to it. In fact, at least some of the same people backing Pelosi despite her age were certainly a part of the group of Democrats who levied constant age-based attacks at Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic primaries. Those same people are still using such arguments against him potentially running in 2020.

We’re in the midst of a red scare — and this time, it’s global

Image: Max Pixel

A popular protest movement, typified by the ‘yellow vests’ worn by protestors, has spread through France like wildfire over the last three weeks. While plans for a fuel tax that would have disproportionately affected working and middle-class people were the straw that broke the camel’s back, the protests are about much more than just one simple tax. They reflect a wider discontent with the austerity policies promoted by the unabashedly neoliberal Macron government that has shown open contempt for working people.

Piecing together the story of a settler family, one source at a time

One of the Hird family’s houses in Gannawarra, Victoria, Australia. Date uncertain; it could be anywhere from 1877–1912. / Image: PROV, Creative Commons 4.0

There’s a veritable treasure trove of historical sources out there; census data, shipping manifests, letters, birth/death/marriage certificates, inventory accounts, last will & testaments, etc, all just waiting for someone to notice them and piece their stories together. It is, of course, natural that there’s more interest in big people and big events. However, through studying the less eventful lives of less glamorous people, we can not only uncover incredibly interesting human stories, but also learn a lot about how life was for the everyday people who made up the majority — people like us.

In order to demonstrate the process…

George G

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