Every Friday at 5.30pm we are at the Queen Victoria statue in front of the QVB in Sydney, protesting against the terrible holding of over one hundred people as political hostages on Manus Island (part of PNG) and Nauru.
Apart from the suffering and hopelessness that comes with this endless imprisonment of innocent people who are seeking sanctuary and safety from persecution in Australia.
Unfortunately there are the disgraceful colonial relationships we have with our neighbours that our government is putting on full view.
We thank members of the Muslim community who join us in this protest, thank you Salima and thank you Rita.
Here are the names of the people who have died, mainly by suicide, on Manus and Nauru. However they met their deaths, they have all been killed by the Australian state over the past six years…
Sayed Ibrahim Hussein
Faysal Ishak Ahmed
We do not have to be very observant to see that there are no European names. It is simply inconceivable that any European would be treated in the way that we are treating the people who come here as refugees.
That tells us something about the policy if there was any doubt about it.
I think we should all be standing up against torture (which is what the UN rightly calls what Australia is doing) and for human rights. And we need to fight against racist policies.
I would say that the Department of Home Affairs, with its wretched Border Force, is a playground for racists in cohor with Australian government top leadership.
And I also hold the so-called ‘Opposition’ responsible for going along with it and spending vast sums of public money to make innocent people suffer.
Refugees are seldom saints. My father wasn’t. And they don’t have to be. They have rights, Australia has signed the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.
You would never guess it, but Australia has done that. Obviously, we need our own Australian Human Rights Act. We will be following in the dirty footsteps of Caligula in Washington till we stand up for human rights, and pass our own Human Rights Act in Parliament.
In January I was caught spray-painting ‘CLOSE THE CAMPS’ on an advertising billboard on a major road near Edgecliff. I go to court at the Downing Centre (near Museum Station) at 9.30am Tuesday 26 February.
We will be having an event out the front. I would love someone to play a Middle Eastern instrument in front of the court, to go with the speeches that will be given and the messages read, one from Noam Chomsky.
But whether you have an instrument, please come and support us and join the peaceful law-abiding event. We look forward to seeing you.
Inside the court, I will read out the names, and talk about all the letters, unanswered, I have written to the MPs and Senators, and to the ABC.
How often have I written to the ABC that ‘border protection’ and ‘border security’ are racist terms because refugees are not a threat? If something or someone is not a threat, then ‘protection’ is the wrong word.
I remember my own father. He had to get out of Austria or get killed. He was not Jewish, but actually a (Lutheran) church-going Christian. But that didn’t matter.
To the Nazis, his name implied that he was a Jew. With his friend, John Offenberger, he made it to New Zealand.
There was only one thing he was not supposed to do, as an ‘enemy alien’. That was, join the New Zealand Air Force. But he did… goodness knows how, but he did.
At the end of WWII, the New Zealand RSA (Returned Servicemen’s Association) passed a resolution saying all the refugees should go back to where they came from with what they had when they arrived.
My father was angry, very angry. He wrote a letter that was published in the NZ (Wellington) paper the Dominion. He said that the people who voted for that resolution obviously did not know who they were fighting in the War. He wrote, in a nutshell, that the resolution was a Fascist resolution that the Nazis would be proud of.
And that is what we have here… policies that target and scapegoat refugees.
Now, as then, they are Fascist policies that the Nazis would be proud of. Locking up and victimising the most vulnerable people is something that the worst regimes of the last century might have done.
But Australia did not count on Behrouz Boochani writing NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAINS: Writing from Manus Prison exposing it and putting a human face to the target of its cruelty and violation of human rights.
So please do join us every Friday at 5.30pm at the Queen Victoria statue… Queen Victoria is at least doing something constructive in the world! And you, AMUST readers, will be most welcome, and you will be entertained, when you join us in front of the Downing Centre courts, from 9am onwards, on Tuesday 26th February.
For more information, you can phone me on my mobile: 0451 509 232.