Monthly Archives: October 2009

Forced Removal – how it was done

Back to the Future - Refugees on the Tampa (2001)

by Pamela Curr

FORCED REMOVAL– how it was done

-Lest we forget

“…it is not their violence, it is ours, which turns back on itself and rends them; and the first action of these oppressed creatures is to bury deep down that hidden anger which their and our moralities condemn and which is however only the last refuge of their humanity.”

—John Paul Sartre in the preface to
“The Wretched of the Earth”
by Frantz Fanon

In 2001 when the Australian ship Manoora sailed to Nauru with its cargo of asylum seekers, it was anticipated that the Iraqis on board would resist embarkation.

These people knew only too well that while they were on the ship, they were Australia’s responsibility. Once off the boat they had no idea what lay in store.

‘The Chili technique’ used on refugee childrens’ rice

The Australian Navy laced the food with chili and limited water for 3 days prior to arrival in Nauru.  Iraqi Mothers told me later that they begged the Navy to at least not put the chili through the childrens’ rice.  The Mothers told me that their children were so hungry that they cried as they tried to eat the rice through cracked lips. Continue reading


Review of Palestinian Days Film Festival, Brisbane

This gallery contains 1 photos.

“What is my life worth?” asks a child standing in the rubble of Jenin, Palestine. Palestinian Days Film Festival was held in Brisbane’s Schonell theatre at the University of Queensland over the weekend 16-18 October 2009. It was organised by … Continue reading

US, Israel and Australian Governments try to bury Goldstone Report on War Crimes in Gaza

by Ian Curr

Despite the best efforts of Western democracies the UN human rights council has supported the Goldstone Report on Gaza. The significance of the Goldstone report is that it  focussed on possible war crimes committed by the Israel Defence Force (IDF) when it invaded Gaza in January 2009.

Some of the findings were as follows:

  1. There were deliberate attacks against the civilian population in Gaza by the Israeli defence force
  2. Israel used white phosphorous, heavy metal weapons, and depleted uranium against the people of Gaza
  3. Israeli Defence forces made attacks on the foundations of civilian life in Gaza: destruction of industrial infrastructure, food production, water installations, sewage treatment and housing

Obama, where art thou?
Of course, both Israeli  and its main supplier of weapons (the US government) tried to delay any action on these findings.  We should question what effect this report will have on the ground while settlements continue to be built by Israel in the occupied territories and Palestinians remain imprisioned by the IDF in refugee camps in Gaza and elsewhere.

Even though so called democracies like Israel, Canada, and Australia did not have a vote on the human rights council they did their best to prevent any action being taken on the war crimes in Gaza by the UN or by the international court in the Hague. Continue reading

English Police revoke bail for anti-war activists

by Ciaron O’Reilly

English Police revoke bail on 3 EDO Decommissioners – Trial set for May 17th. 2010 – Solidarity Needed!

The EDO Decommissioners are 6 anti-war activists who decommissioned EDO in Brighton/England and 3 others who arrested following the non-violent disarmament action.

EDO supplies components for Israeli F16 Bombers. The decommissioning action took place on January 16th. 2009 during the Israeli bombing of Gaza when the body count stood at 1400 (300 children) slain Palestinians. Continue reading

We can do better than Italy’s warehousing on Lampedusa

By Pamela Curr

“They did not drown. They died of thirst”, the UN worker on Lampedusa told me. In the busy shipping lanes of the Mediterranean, 75 Eritrean men, women and children died of thirst in an open boat.


Lampedusa is the small island south of Sicily in the Mediterrean sea and not far from North Africa

The five survivors told this UN worker who cared for them that 10 ships witnessed their plight and sailed away. This is the dark side of dehumanising asylum seekers. The result is that civilised nations can avert their gaze as asylum seekers die. Maybe Australians need to recall our history in this game as our politicians begin the anti-refugee war games again.

In 2008 when Australia had 179 boat arrivals to Christmas Island, Lampedusa, an island off the coast of Sicily but closer to Africa had 31,500. Unlike the current boat arrivals in Australia, not all these people are asylum seekers and many, such as the 7000 Tunisians who came in 2008 to Italy, do not want asylum. They want to land in Italy and then go to France to work so that they can send money home to their families. The Tunisian Government refuses to take back its citizens preferring the dollars they send from abroad. Continue reading

Local Musos at the Step-Inn



Ruby Blue
is playing with Kingfisha at the Buddha Bar, the Arts Factory, Byron Bay, tomorrow night, Fri Oct 9 from 8.30pm.  entry is free.
Also,  Nicky Bomba from melbourne is fronting a band of local musos including myself, Georgia Potter, Paulie B and Charles Wall on this Sat Oct 10 at the Step-Inn (see below).  The Step-Inn is on the cnr of Brunswick and St Pauls Tce.

Peter Hunt

The Letter Q


Brisbane Lesbian and Gay Pride Choir
presents its stage show

The Letter Q

Letters between lovers, family and friends and
Australian songs of the city and country
With special guests, Dawn Daylight and Mary Jane Carpenter
and featuring Chris Pye and the choir’s song ‘Dear Me’

Brisbane, Saturday 31 Oct 09, 7:00pm
Old Museum Concert Hall
Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills

Book tickets on line at:

Sustainable Homes Program – Oct, 2009

Location:         69 Thomas St., West End

Dates/Time:     Saturday, 17 Oct, 9am to 3.30pm

Sunday, 18 Oct, 9am to 1pm

Cost: $120 per person (cash only)

Ph. 07 3207 5077 or Mob 0400 177 283 Continue reading

Sustainable Homes Course

Sustainable Homes Course

Sat 17 & Sun 18 Oct 09

Solaris Sustainable Home

Solaris Sustainable Home

Presenter: Trevor Berrill (M. Env.Ed., Dip. Mech. Eng., Cert. Energy Manmgt.) – an award winning educator and systems consultant with over 30 years experience in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Course Content:

  • Energy efficient internal fittings/appliances & energy auditing,
  • Energy efficient building design,
  • Solar electricity and solar water heating,

  • Rain water harvesting and grey water reuse.

Feedback from previous course attendees

“Brilliant! Very practical.”

Time: Sat. 9am to 3:30pm, Sun. 9am to 1pm

Cost: $120 per person

Please register at: Ph. 07 3207 5077

Sustainable Energy-Myths and Realities

By Trevor Berrill
What does sustainable energy living really mean? How can we put It into practice In our own community
here on Stradbroke Island?

What are Australia’s options for renewable energy and how
quickly do we need to act?

These are just some of the questions Trevor will answer. Trevor has worked in the sustainable energy field for 30 years a an educator~ consultant, government advisor and aca emlc. He will guide us through the basics with a big picture view of the state of the planet’s energy situation.Trevor Berrill at Moreton Bay Research Station

Then he will focus down to the here and now in our own lives; what it means for our homes, businesses and community.
Learn how Trevor has put theory into practice at his own home In Wellington Point.

This is an opportunity to gain sound knowledge and be inspired by what we can do in practicalcost effective ways.
Admission is free.
Children are welcome, but must be
accompani ed by an adult.
Date:Thursday, October 8th, 2009
Time:6:00-7:30 pm
Place:Corner of Flinders Ave and Fraser S1,
Dunwich, North Stradbroke Island

Palestinian Days Film Festival – a review

A Review of Palestinian Days Film Festival, Brisbane

Palestinian Days Film Festival was held in Brisbane’s Schonell theatre at the University of Queensland over the weekend 16-18 October 2009. It was organised by the Queensland Palestinian Association and Justice for Palestine.

The festival consisted of films made by Palestinians and individual who support the Palestinian people in their struggle for self determination. In the period between 2002 and 2006 there was a burst of filmmaking produced this intifada in Palestinian cinema. Films like Frontiers of Dreams and Fears and Arna’s Children are contemporary documentaries of a high technical standard that should be shown on prime time TV. A teenager, when asked what she thought of Arna’s Children shown on opening night, said that it put the violence (of the conflict) shown on TV in context. Yet the films have not be shown on Australia TV for political reasons. For example, SBS – TV will not permit the use of the term “Palestinian land” in news reports about the Middle East.

Opening night of the festival was a spectacular affair with the theatre booked out. People were treated to felafel rolls, dabke dancing, singing and music followed by a speech by the special representative of the Palestinian Authority in Australia, Izzat Abdul Hadi. He spoke about the films and the strong culture that they depict. In all 421 people saw the films and over $5,000 was raised to support the Palestinian people through organisations like Apheda – union aid abroad, Australians for Palestine, Qld Palestinian Association, and Justice for Palestine.

The films were reviewed and classified and submitted to the censor prior to the festival. Many were rated R+18 and MA+15 because they depict violence done to Palestinians, many of them children.

One film The Iron Wall sets out the main cause of the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel – the occupation of Palestinian lands, villages and houses by settlers. Both Jewish and Palestinian commentators like Jeff Halper[1], Samaan[2] and Hind[3] Khoury and Ismail Daiq[4] explained how Israel was trying to create ‘facts on the ground’ to deprive Palestinians of their land. The film shows the building of the wall by Israel by which means ‘Zionist colonization can develop[5]’. It demonstrates the failure of the two state solution advocated (previously, at least) by the people interviewed in the film.

Other festival films show the humanitarian crisis and the courage and determination of the Palestinian people. Of these, the award-winning Jenin Jenin[6] by Mohammed Bakri is particularly powerful because it shows how ordinary people resist the occupation. Banned in Israel, Jenin Jenin is dedicated to Iyad Samudi, the producer of the film, who returned home to Yamun after the shooting of the film was completed. On 23 June 2002, as Israeli forces besieged Yamun, Samudi was shot and killed as he was leaving a militarily-closed area with three friends.

The devastation of the village of Jenin by Israeli caterpillar bulldozers inspired inquiries, songs, reports, films. Finally the United Nations appointed a commission of inquiry, but Israel refused to let its members visit the scene. Will prosecution of Israeli war crimes in Gaza in December/January 2009 be thwarted as well? It has a scene with a small girl standing on the rubble of her town saying that when she heard that Sharon was coming to the Camp she was so angry she burst into tears because she had a great desire to take revenge on him… she told us how legendary the cowardice of the Israeli soldiers who hide inside their tanks when children throw stones and who dropped bombs that fell like rain on her family’s house and nearby houses for two weeks. What is her life worth she asked as she stood there in the devastated house and then tells us that she and all her people win resist and win the struggle for their homes and their lives.

Since the Madrid conference in 1991 there has been hope of peace through negotiation with Israeli governments. Yet, in the years that followed, hundreds of settlements have been built housing for proles lured there by cheap housing – duped by economic incentive. In Hebron violent and fundamentalist settlers tried to drive Palestinian residents from their homes. Settlement building increased after the Oslo Accord was mediated by President Clinton at Camp David in December 1992. Not a single settlement has been dismantled in the 17 years since.

The failure of the peace process was confirmed when Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, went to the temple mount with many troops and provoked the Al-Aqsa Intifada (Arabic: انتفاضة الأقصى‎ ). Since that time Israel has invaded Gaza and Lebanon (Palestine, Summer 06) and placed a wall around Palestinian towns and villages on the West Bank. All this to contain the Palestinian resistance. These events are depicted in films like Arna’s Children, Gaza Strip, Jerusalem – the East Side Story and A Letter from Sarah.

During the festival filmmakers John Mandelberg and Janis Abo Ghanis spoke about how the films came about and the making of their own Watani Habibi – My beloved homeland. After the morning session on Saturday, Michael Shaik from Australians for Palestine spoke about the current situation in Gaza and the occupied territories after the screening of Frontiers of Dreams and Fears and Jerusalem. The East Side Story.

Thanks to all the many people helped organise the event.

We are amateurs all but made the festival a success through solidarity and practical sense. The mainstream media were contacted and some reference to the festival appeared in the Courier Mail, Quest newspapers, the ABC and some community radio stations. The alternative media and the web played their part in making sure people knew about the festival. The people at the Schonell theatre was supportive and the University of Queensland Student Union provided an excellent venue.

A photographer, Carolyn Stubbin, provided beautiful shots of the festival like this one of Amber dancing the dabke in front of the opening night crowd.

Thanks to all those who made the festival possible and to all those who came to see this touching human narrative of Palestinian struggle and determination.

Ian Curr, October 2009

[1] Jeff Halper founded Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) which resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories.

[2] Peace and Democracy Forum

[3] Minister of State Palestinian Authority in early 2005

[4] Ismail Daiq is the General Director of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)

Vladimir Jabotinsky, leading intellectual of the Zionist movement, wrote: “Zionist colonization must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an The Iron Wall , which the native population cannot breach.”

[6] 2002 – Best Film – Carthage Film Festival, Tunisia; 2002 – The Critics Prize – Ismalia Film Festival, Egypt


Jenin Jenin

Mohammed Bakri

Palestinian Days Film Festival
October 16-18, 2009
Schonell Theatre, University of QLD

Phone: 0400 720 757

Featured  dabke dance performance by Amber Hansen
and music by Phil Monsour
Festival opening by:
Palestinian Ambassador to Australia, Mr Izzat Abdulhadi

Continue reading

The Origins of Marijuana Prohibition in Australia

Marihuana prohibition in Oz JOHN Jiggens poster

The Origins of Marijuana Prohibition in Australia

A talk by John Jiggens

The Ellen Taylor Community Centre (formerly Ahimsa House)
26 Horan Street, West End,
Wednesday, October 14 (7pm for 7.30 start).