Ramadan is coming up. I think of the beautiful young woman, Mohsen, who explained something about Ramadan to me, what it was, the spiritual side of it. I remember her loveliness, but not exactly what she said.
She, or maybe her parents, were Indian-South African. Wherever she is I hope she is well and happy. Also, Mohammad, originally from Jakarta, who followed Ramadan. I like the way that people who fast during Ramadan do not make any kind of fuss about it. Non-Muslims would hardly know it is happening.
It is, in my experience, a modest and discrete thing, as far as the people I have worked with, nurses and doctors mostly, are concerned. I remember one really funny occasion when I asked Mohammad, a nurse, if one had to go without sex for a whole month. “No! What are you thinking of, Stephen?! We are human too!!”
Thank you to all the Muslim people who have talked with me about Ramadan, when I have asked, including another Mohammad, originally from Iraq, who fixes my computer, a bit of a genius, up on Oxford St, Darlinghurst.
At this time I want to raise the situation of refugees being held hostage by Australia. They are being held hostage in overcrowded camps like Villawood refugee prison.
My father, Henry Langford was a refugee from Austria many years ago. He found refuge in New Zealand-Aotearoa. Recently someone who had bought what had been my parents’ house in Karori, Wellington, contacted me. He sent me a link to an article published in 1939 in a Christchurch newspaper, about people collecting money for my dad, and his friend John Offenberger, who would be arriving the following year, as refugee students.
I had seen this article before. But seeing it again made me think. How different New Zealand was, even then, from Australia.
Even under close to ideal conditions for my father, life was not so easy. When his mother, Ella Loeb, finally made it to New Zealand, it was a hard transition. She had known him last when he was not much more than a boy, 17 years old in 1938. Very unusual then, he went to see a psychiatrist to talk about it, to recast the relationship somehow.
How much harder is it for refugees now, who Australia tries to destroy, who Dutton (and the rest of them, and I include members of both major parties) seem to set out to demonise and destroy?
My dad had Jewish ancestry. I would like to see Jewish people defend the refugees of today. I would also like to see Muslim people defend the refugees of today.
It is no secret that most refugees today are being persecuted for political gain, partly because they are Muslims. Worse still, many refugees have come from countries destabilised, even attacked, by the United States with Australian collusion.
Despite the continuing COVID-19 lockdown and Ramadan, I believe we should, with precautions, still protest, still demonstrate our determination that the Refugee Convention that Australia signed in 1954, be adhered to.
I will be on the steps of Sydney Town Hall every Friday from 4.30 pm, with placards and banners wearing a mask with my dog, Elf, will be with me. I have been questioned by the police regularly but I will continue, and I have been doing the weekly protest for two years, until it becomes impossible.
It is our right to protest against injustice, an implied right of free political speech, under the Australian Constitution. Please join me.
Let us all remember, the many who have died because we failed to protect their rights… they tried to seek sanctuary here… especially:
Reza Barati, actually murdered by an Australian-paid guard on Manus Island,
Sayed Ibrahim Hussein,
Hamid Kehazaei, killed because of a simple infection left untreated.
Omid Masoumali, what his parents wrote from Tehran is so sad. His name means ‘Hope’.
Faisal Ishak Ahmed,
and Fariborz Karami.
These are just some of the people killed by Australia’s rotten, cruel, abusive and racist ‘deterrence’ policy.