Hero: Another good week for heroes with the announcement of the Australian of the Year and a whole host of gongs recognising service in all its various forms. One name stood out for me among the many worthy recipients: Peter Andrews. Andrews is a Hunter Valley farmer whose development of a system called Natural Sequence Farming has the capacity to revolutionise land management in this country. He advocates returning farms to their ‘natural systems’ and working with seasonal rainfall to ‘farm water’. Andrews has written two books: Back from the Brink and Beyond the Brink, in which he sets out not just his vision for sustainable farming in Australia but practical steps on how it can be achieved. We need to take more notice of this man – the future of food production in this country may depend on it. Congratulations on the OAM, Peter Andrews – well-deserved recognition.
Villain: Another week, another dictator. Last week I nominated former Haitian dictator, ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier as my villain of the week and as I write this, Egypt is teetering on the brink of full scale revolution. Hosni Mubarak has held power in Egypt since the assassination of Anwar Sadat, 30 years ago. His regime has denied the Egyptian people basic freedoms while poverty and oppression are rife, providing the conditions for revolutionary foment. Until recently, however, political uprisings were fairly uncommon in the Arab world. This week, emboldened by the uprising in Tunisia which saw President Ben Ali flee, Egyptians have taken to the streets. With violent clashes occurring between protesters and police, the Mubarak government responded by shutting down the internet in an attempt to stop protesters broadcasting news and sending photos and reports to the world. Regardless of what happens from here, the oppression of the people under the Mubarak regime has virtually guaranteed an uprising. As John F.Kennedy once said: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”