The Courier-Mail

Mining debate finds a common thread

- Roslyn Smith, Middle Park

KATHLEEN Noonan’s provocativ­e column ( C-M, Aug 8) depicted that endangered species, the quiltmaker, as a harmless little Luddite, quietly stitching away in a corner of regional Australia.

Parallels can be drawn between dissident green activists and the tricoteuse­s of the French Revolution.

These simple souls were bestowed with near-mythic status as they sat knitting while the guillotine equally calmly and methodical­ly did its work.

Compare quilters and artists to mining behemoths. There are even parallels with the Ekka, where Maureen Cooper’s pretty, wildlife quilt is now displayed.

During the French Revolution, executions by guillotine attracted crowds of spectators. Vendors sold programs. Many people vied for the best locations from which to observe the proceeding­s. Parents often brought their children. And the knitting women formed a cadre of hardcore regulars, inciting the crowd. While not ascribing any ulterior motive to Cooper and her quilt of appealing native animals, the symbolism of a piece of cloth (flag or quilt) and forewarnin­gs of upheaval are best heeded.

Rights to free speech aside, in view of knee-jerk reactions on both sides, it seems conservati­onists are as fearful as miners and government in this battle of economy versus environmen­t. Compromise and patience on both sides is needed to peaceably manage a long-term issue.

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