Thursday, 12 January 2012


Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees deserves his own special award. After all, as the founder of the so-called Sydney Peace Prize not only has he been handing out gongs for the past 14 years, but he’s also set himself up as an expert on who does and doesn’t deserve one.

Stuart’s award, which warrants being bestowed upon him at a glittering taxpayer-funded ceremony in the Great Hall of Sydney Uni, should be enscribed “for services towards the promotion of left-wing extremism, political bias and the unrelenting quest to create gratuitous offense and generate divisive controversy for no meaningful outcome.”

The award, of course, will be in recognition of Stuart’s sterling and relentless efforts to promote division and conflict by offering free PR and a bucketload of taxpayers loot to a dubious selection of “peace-loving” individuals, ranging from John Pilger and Hanan Ashwari to Noam Chomsky. (Common thread? Hatred of Israel, hatred of the US. Modus operandi? Complaining about complex and tragic political situations, but never coming up with any constructive solutions other than advocating violence towards Jews and/or Americans.)

Stuart’s most recent foray into the world of awards saw him pouring scorn and derision on John Howard for receiving the Queen’s Order of Merit in her New Year’s honours list.

“The invisible Buckingham Palace pundits overlooked his cruel record,” Rees sneered at the conclusion of a lengthy article attacking Howard both as a leader and as a human being, “and have given him an honour he does not deserve.” For Stuart, our Head of State recognizing our second-longest serving Prime Minister for his contribution to public service is undeserved.
Rees takes great exception to many aspects of Howard’s period in office, citing dark conspiracy theories about Guantanamo Bay, the Iraq war, his “cruel treatment of asylum seekers,” the failed referendum for a republic (it was all Howard’s fault, natch) and so on.

Stuart clearly sees little merit in the fact that Howard’s legacy was a well-functioning society, unencumbered with debt, that helped bring freedom to East Timor, sought to bring democratic values to Iraq and Afghanistan and is one of the most stable, prosperous, peaceful and envied country’s in the world.

Arguably, the Arab Spring, with its overthrowing of despots, owes more not to the whining efforts of Rees’s sorry collection of extremists, but rather, to the people of the Middle East desiring to share in the democratic values they get a glimpse of in only two of their neighbours; Israel and Iraq.

Strangely, in belittling the winner of four elections, Rees has chosen to ignore his own criticism of people who are disgruntled by awards he himself has doled out.

“We don’t think that derision is an appropriate form of commentary. When people have lost, they resort to character assassination,” complained Rees a few years ago, when yet again one of the recipients of his oxymoronic peace prize turned out to be someone loathed by the conservative side of politics.

Sound words. Worthy of an award.

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