(From SPA eNews April #2 2020)
In a COVID-19 world I think we are all on the alert to find kernels of wisdom coming from commentators and opinion leaders. The one which stands out for me came from respected Australian author and critic, Christos Tsiolkas, who made a powerful comment in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald titled ‘Were so many of us wrong?’ Because it was well into the article, I suspect many would not have mined deep enough to find it, but here it is:
‘Yet there is another canonical ideal of liberalism that has also been demolished by the recent weeks, and that is the belief in open borders. While we waited to get out of Europe, country after country closed itself off from the rest of the world. In this sense, the virus and its consequences have validated the conservative voices that defend the nation state. It is not transglobal entities that are doing the work of looking after communities. It is the nation state. Were so many of us wrong? Were we shouting over people when maybe we should have been listening? Had we assumed racism and xenophobia whenever we heard an argument that challenged our beliefs? Had we forsaken questioning for certainty? And if so, what does that mean for the fiction we’ve been writing and the arguments we have been mounting?’
It is validating to hear someone of his calibre suggesting that people like us are not racist or xenophobic, which of course we already knew. It’s almost a game-changer.
National President(The original article can be found here)