Letters //

Letters – Week 11, Semester 2

All the gripes, moans, whinges and complaints from Week 11, Semester 2.

An open letter against Islamophobia

Signatories of this statement stand opposed to the growing racism, Islamophobia and fear-mongering of the Abbott government. Shamefully, our own University of Sydney’s Vice Chancellor has contributed to the backlash by banning a Muslim speaker from campus. As the government prepares for a new war in Iraq, and continues trying to push through its regressive budget, it is whipping up a climate of fear and hatred. But we will not let Abbott divide and rule.

We condemn:

1. The draconian new terror laws which make travelling to designated regions in the Middle East illegal without “good reason” (effectively reversing the onus of proof), grant police increased powers of arrest on suspicion of terrorism, and grant ASIO more protection and increased powers to search and spy.

2.  The highly orchestrated terror raids carried out on 18 September, which amounted to a spectacle of police violence, intimidation and humiliation against Muslims.

3.  The University of Sydney Vice Chancellor Michael Spence for contributing to this Islamophobic backlash by targeting and banning a particular Muslim speaker, Uthman Badar, from speaking on campus.

4. The growing torrent of racist abuse, vandalism, anti-Mosque demonstrations, physical intimidation and attacks, death threats, and bomb threats to Mosques.

To read the full statement, and for instructions on how to add your signature, go to honisoit.com.



Kyol Blakeney (Indigenous Officer USYD SRC, NSW Indigenous Officer NUS, SRC President-Elect); Brigitte Garozzo (SUPRA Education Officer); Gabrielle Pei Tiatia (SRC Ethnic Affairs Officer); Surabi Alauddin (Vice President, Amnesty International Society); Fahad Ali (President, Students for Justice in Palestine); Kany Hardy (SUPRA councillor and USyd Greens on Campus Treasurer; David Shakes (SRC Queer Officer); Vivian Honan (President, Solidarity student club); Mariam S. Mohammed; Daniel Cheers (Pysch IV); Kitty-Jean Laginha  (anti-racism collective); Imogen Szumer (anti-racism collective; Mariam Bazzi; Cian de Bhaldraithe; Alireza Aboufazeli; James Cruz; Caitlin Doyle; Victor Yang (anti-racism collective); Althea Wang (anti-racism collective); Eliot Hoving (Arts adv honours); Bjorn Wallin (Masters of Teaching); Tomas Emmet de Bhaldraithe; Riki Scanlan (Arts II); Joshua Han; Emmanuel Esteves Sebastiao; Danny Hardiman; Tory Karmakar (Bachelor of Social Work); Don Sahand; Marco Avena (SRC Councillor, SRC Environment Officer, Vice-President Vegesoc), Priya Shaw


Nick Riemer (English and Linguistics departments); Kevin Lin (casual academic, NTEU); David Brophy (Lecturer, Department of History); Briony Neilson (History department); Anne Picot; Daisy Farnham (casual tutor); Erima Dall (casual tutor, NTEU); Marijke Hoving (casual general staff, NTEU); Jean Parker (casual academic researcher, NTEU); Alex Page (PHD candidate & casual tutor); Elizabeth Humphreys; Matt Withers (casual academic)

Carbon copy

Dear Honi,

Although the fact that four out of five students voted YES in the recent referendum on Fossil Fuel Divestment is pleasing, it was no surprise.

What was surprising was that only one out of thirty-thousand students was able to submit a piece outlining the conservative position on Divestment.

The sentiment among the young right on campus is that conservatives do exist a-plenty at USYD, but are oppressed by a juvenile swathe of moralistic young idealists. This sentiment is what keeps the delusion strong enough amongst Mon Droit’s writers and reader to facilitate the mental gymnastics they must perform to rationalise getting up in the morning.

But when Chaneg Torres penned the words “It is baffling that those who scream loudest about inequality and global poverty are often the first to condemn the coal industry” in his opinion piece printed 23/9/14 the truly baffling thing is that the young man seemed to miss the correlation between the volume the voice for divestment, the referendum results, and the University’s responsibility to let this perfect example of market voice dictate investment.

But Torres’ piece was not only representative of how lonely one must feel to be amongst the smallest consensus on campus after Jews for Jesus – it also was a reflection of just how impossible it is to write in favour of Fossil Fuel investment without economic incentive. Believe me, I tried.

Most disgracefully, the published piece was an example of why Turnitin might be just as if not more important to digital media than academia.

Torres’ article was plagiarised from multiple sources; sources paid for by Big Mining as part of their PR network, a press release from Scot Macdonald, and, ironically, a Peter Hannam article. Quoting every plagiarised sentence would have broken this letter’s 300 word limit before I’d have been able to even write a word of my own.

Articles published by NSW Mining and Australian Mining, to name a couple, were written by droids in PR firms paid to sell the un-sellable.

While the actual writers of Torres’ opinion complain that ‘activism’ is threatening the jobs of “our hardworking NSW miners again”, it must be asked whether or not they know that their jobs might be being threatened themselves by freelance benevolent volunteers like Torres’ willing to do the bidding of this gargantuan industry for free?

Joshua Dabelstein.

BroSoc: Shit name but a good idea

Dear Honi,

Reading ‘BroSoc, more like NoSoc’ was disappointing. An anonymous SRC candidate’s review of the new society felt unfairly biased and more like a loose web of poorly concealed prejudices instead of weighing the pros and cons of this new society. As a reader unassociated with the society, though admittedly a cis-male, the article was troubling as it did not fairly present a case for this society’s existence.

The main thrust of the article was that the poorly named BroSoc is inherently sexist “because it allows cis, heterosexual men once again to speak over and drown out other identities”. This bold assertion glosses over the society’s own description as “a safe space for men on campus” which is promptly described as “ridiculous”. Safe spaces for LGBTQ societies rightly exist on our campus in the name of equality and they support the broad spectrum of sexual orientation people associate with. These are spaces to voice, debate and support opinions amongst people who we feel we can share them. The statement that the group must by its nature propagate “heteropatriarchal standards of masculinity” suggests that identifying with masculinity implies inherent sexism. This argument about “problematic views regarding gender to which society has clung to” is superimposed over what could have been a weighing of the merits and implications of mens mental health, which sadly took a back seat to unfounded statements repeating the authors opinions that BroSoc will become a space to “whine about reverse sexism”.

The groups mission statement is to be a “Campus men’s shed… intended to be a safe place for men to engage in discussions about their mental health” – a statement later redacted. If identifying with masculinity and choosing a masculine space to associate with implies “heteropatriarchal standards”, then I ask the author to explain how masculine standards are reinforced through the very unmasculine act of talking about mental health. In Australia, an estimated 6-7% of young men and women aged 16-24 will experience depression. Is choosing to share your feelings amongst other men truly unthinkable, and whilst it is pointed out that MAHSoc does exist to cater to both genders equally, through the context of a Homesexual/Queer/Bi or Trans student choosing to reach out to their prospective societies for support,  I do not think there would be any such anger, pointing to a troubling double-standard.

Instead of condemnation, we need more discussion and open-mindedness.

Aidan Quinn

Arts II (Government)

Uncritical praise?!

Dear mega dork nerd kings,

Normally Honi letters are full of rage and anger but NOPE NOPE THIS ONE IS A GOOD FUN LETTER I LOVED YOUR ARTICLE.

Look I’m not saying that I am completely in love with your piece on X-Men and oppression, but no that’s exactly what I’m saying I’m going to frame that article on my wall and nervously ask it to the year ten formal and we’re going to have our first tentative sips of champagne together at the after party. You married two of my greatest loves – criticism of social systems and X-Men – and wrote a thoughtful article which challenged an element of the franchise I had never really questioned before. I’d kind of blindly accepted the analogy made to Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr, and it was a really important criticism of that analogy and I am so glad you wrote it. And you stayed true to the spirit and heart of X-Men, and talked about it with so much love and passion! Truly you are an inspiration. Also how great is Hugh Jackman?

With lots of love and the hopes of a very emotional and drunk X-Men marathon,

Emma Balfour


Stop being wankers


I`ve just read the latest newspaper. As a international and  second-year faulty of engineering student, I still find it is not easy to read through the whole newspaper.

I have to look up a lot of “fancy” word in the newspaper which makes me feel it even better to read academic articles 🙁

It is a ​University of Sydney’s weekly student newspaper and it means the newspaper should be “readable” for all student in uni right?


Fan Yang