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Oct 22, 2009

An email for Mr Rudd and Mr Turnbull  to remind them that Australia rejected the politics of fear and hate 

Please change your policy on asylum seekers

I live in the Eastern Suburbs, Sydney.
I implore you Prime Minister, bring the asylum seekers to mainland Australia so their applications for asylum can be processed quickly and fairly.

Kevin Rudd, why are you stooping to fear and hate politics? I'm ashamed of this tough-talk of yours, and how you refer to these *unlucky people as illegal immigrants. I'm ashamed to hear you brag about your conversations with Indonesia, as if you had this country at your beck and call, and as if Indonesia would make 'annoyances' disappear to keep you happy.

Do you remember that we voted OUT the Howard Government?
So why do we still have an excision zone?
Why do we still have mandatory detention? 

Adding to the shame, Malcolm Turnbull, you (and your band of unmerry men/women) keep yapping for even harsher treatment of asylum seekers! Your voice doesn't seem to originate from heart or comes over as monotonous, pushy, loud, and repetitive. Not heart, not head? That means no compassion or wisdom.

The people we (worldwide) look up to (e.g. Helen Keller, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela) and who are quoted year after year, believe in human rights for everyone!

Can you imagine that either of you, Mr Rudd and Mr Turnbull, will ever be quoted with such reverence?

We in Australia have NOT been 'brainwashed' to treat some people fairly and others unfairly. NOR were we taught to 'pass the buck'. Being Fair and Taking Responsibility is built into our education values and studies. For heavens sake, it's obvious that when people seek to escape persecution they deserve support and fair treatment from peaceful countries such as ours is meant to be.

I know, Mr Turnbull, that you enjoy (or pretend to enjoy) your visits to various cultural events in your area. You are all smiles. You promote yourself as fair, approachable, one capable of interacting with people of all ages, races and backgrounds. Many of these people that you are out to impress have themselves been subject to torture and life-threatening situations. Many have made the journey to Oz in dire circumstances, from many different countries.

But imagine if those same people were desperately attempting to migrate to Australia today, attempting to leave horror and oppressive situations behind.

We all know that you, Mr Turnbull (and you too, Mr Rudd) wouldn't be offering smiles and handshakes.

We know that Mr Rudd would lock them all up for many years, and we have to assume that you, Mr Turnbull, would do something even harsher! Then you'd both stage a public fight over these people to prove who is the tougher of the two of you...

Why adopt the Bush-style of politics that promotes fear and hate?
What part of ignorance and spite do each of YOU find so appealing?
Do you imagine my family, my friends, and I are impressed by schoolboy bully posturing and tactics?
Do you think the ordinary Australian citizen benefits from your all too often 'reactive' outbursts that lack compassion and lack wisdom?
Do you think?

Again, I implore you Mr Rudd, bring these people to mainland Australia so their applications for asylum can be processed quickly and fairly.

* 'unlucky', refering to the fact that Australians like to think of Australia as 'The Lucky Country'

May 15, 2008


WebMD Feature from "Psychology Today" Magazine by Paul Tullis
Psychology Today Magazine
After the tsunami ripped through Southeast Asia in 2004 came a tidal wave of psychic devastation... depression and posttraumatic stress ravaged many residents of coastal villages from India to Indonesia -providing a living laboratory for testing the most powerful cures available.

What wound up providing the best help to some of the most afflicted refugees? Yoga.

Yoga is an age-old practice with roots in India—bas-reliefs depicting yoga asanas, or poses, have been found on 5,000-year-old archeological artifacts—but yoga as most westerners know it is only part of the picture. The hatha yoga popular with westerners emphasizes the exercise element. There are many forms of yoga and all share an attempt to create a state of blissful enlightenment, called ananda. ...specific forms of breathing and exercises encourage physical purification.

As a professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College who studies the effects of yoga on posttraumatic stress, Patricia Gerbarg seized the opportunity to test whether it could help tsunami survivors in India. To one group of 60 victims she gave a four-day yoga breathing course. Another group of 60 survivors was given the yoga course along with psychological counseling. A third group served as controls.

All the yoga users experienced a huge drop in scores for posttraumatic stress disorder and depression after just four days. And the effect was so persistent that Gerbarg and her team introduced yoga to those in the control group too. Counseling provided no added benefits over the yoga training alone.

While some forms of yoga have long been shown to reduce hypertension, cholesterol levels, and other signs of physiological stress, the effects of the ancient practice on psychological stress have been less studied. But a slew of research published in peer-reviewed journals in the U.S., Europe, and India is documenting the ability of yoga to decrease mood disturbance, reduce psychic stress and anxiety, and reduce PTSD symptoms.

Effects have been seen within days of initiating instruction, and have been documented up to six months after a course of yoga training.  

You don't have to weather a natural disaster or receive a clinical diagnosis to benefit from yoga, says Lorenzo Cohen, director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Calling it "the quintessential mind-body practice," Cohen predicts that yoga "can and will be shown to be helpful for managing the stress and mild anxiety we all experience in daily living.

A group of healthy senior citizens in Oregon embodies Cohen's claims. They experienced improved energy and a greater sense of well-being after six months of yoga training. The study was particularly valuable because it compared the yoga group with seniors engaging in walking exercise classes. The non-yoga exercisers reported no such benefit. 

In her yoga course, Gerbarg trains trauma sufferers in four types of yogic breathing that range from focusing on slow, complete exhalation to taking 30 breaths a minute... and ...found that yogic breathing physiologically affects the nervous system to produce profound changes in emotional states.

It acts via the vagus nerve—the "rest and digest," or calming, pathway of the autonomic nervous system extending from brain stem to abdomen; when activated, it slows down breathing and heart rate and increases intestinal activity. .

It not only carries signals from brain to body but ferries signals from the body back to the brain. "Your breathing pattern changes with emotional reactions to things," Gerbarg says. "Well, it goes both ways: If you change your breathing pattern, you can change your emotions." Lynn Waelde, a psychologist at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology and a yoga teacher, explains yoga's mind-body benefits in more metaphorical terms. "When we teach yoga, we teach people to let go of physical tensions," she says. "When you sit them in a chair in meditation, they get it. It's an easy step to see how you can breathe and focus on emotional or mental tension and let it go."

Could yoga save the world?
It improves fitness, it doesn't cost anything, it has minimal side effects, it acts quickly, and the benefits endure. The advantages are especially important when applied on a large scale to impoverished people. Gerbarg and Cohen believe the value of yoga is just beginning to be documented. "We're in the early phases of something very exciting, and there's a lot more to learn about it," Gerbarg says.

"This is not something you need to religiously incorporate into your daily life and do for years before you start to feel the benefits."

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Posted: May 15, 2008 7:00pm


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Jenny Dooley
, 3, 2 children
Eastlakes, SW, Australia
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