War Stories: Poems for the Age of Fallibility
In these poems the violence of war is not confined to battle fields. There are cities where dead children lie in residential streets covered in the dust of bombed buildings, and closer to our home, conflict that is fostered by hateful words spoken at surburban barbeques. in War Stories, Antonia Hildebrand will not let us ignore the burning cities on another continent or accept the hateful words that would justify conflict. In these poems she sees our world as one community that is being destroyed by the violence that affects us all. She writes about the historical brutality of South African apartheid and our own colonial past, , the present day atrocities in Syria, and the terror of abuse in a surburban home. These are the real war stories and Hildebrand will not accept monuments that glorify conflict without showing the ugly reality of humans caught in the violence. By forcing us to accept the reality of war, these poems make a powerful plea for peace.
Robin Hillard (c) 2018
THE BLIND COLOSSUS
How Corporatism is destroying the World
BY Antonia Hildebrand
Published by Ginninderra Press, 2015
P.O. Box 3461 Port Adelaide 5015
ISBN 978 1 74027 912 3
Reviewed by Ian Keast
There is a traffic bridge in Parramatta, N.S.W., named in honour of Bernie Banton. His fight against corporatism, seen in his long struggle with the James Hardie Company and the asbestosis issue, is detailed in this book’s chapter, Corporate Psychosis vs Human Values: A Tale of Two Bernies. With her poet’s eye and empathy, the author uses him to show the inexorable human cost of corporatism.
What the author means by corporatism is (according to the cover blurb), an agenda devoted to the creation of an elite which is now so insulated by its power that it is largely unaccountable and owns a large slab of the world’s wealth. In the United States at least, it controls the law, the military, the media, and the banking system…there are catch cries such as, ‘the level playing field’, workplace flexibility’ and ‘deregulation’…the ubiquitous intrusion of free market economics into every aspect of 21st century life. Stated baldly, anything that does not increase wealth (profit) and power is to be swept away. It is a foreboding, disturbing thesis, forcefully and cogently argued. In this world of 1984 echoes, woebegone any individual who stands up to a ‘corporate giant’, which makes the stance of Bernie Banton very heroic indeed.
Antonia Hildebrand lives in Toowoomba, Queensland. She is a poet, short story writer and essayist, widely published in these fields. (See, for example, Studio 136). The Blind Colossus is a timely, awareness raising polemic, taking the reader on an ex-ray journey of our contemporary society. True, a lot of the book relates to the United States, but her analysis also has application to Australia. There are fascinating chapters on nuclear war, the arms dealers, Murdoch and his media empire: by contrast, Wikileaks and Julian Assange. Underlining all, the grim mantra and warning about ‘the consequences of continuing down the path of a society that has making a profit as its only moral value…’ Where are those, the book asks- in politics, economics and the media-prepared to hold the corporate world to account?
There are further questions that the book raises in the reader’s mind: what role does social media play, either as friend or foe, in this brave new world? How far is corporatism controlling sport? No doubt there are many others…but here is the value of The Blind Colossus. It raises questions about ‘mammon’ and the unsavoury exercise of power. And we are exhorted not to serve ‘mammon’ (Matthew 6:24). This book is a good place to start our thinking and our questions. March 2017
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