Tourism yes, but no human rights

“My father had a rawhide whip which his father had brought from Africa. He told us that it was a symbol of man’s inhumanity to man. As young children even before we really knew what the words meant, we knew that this whip was a thing of dread.” — Pamela Curr in American Torture, Aussie Style

You would think that a country like Indonesia that had thrown off the shackles of the harshest colonial master, the Dutch, would have more sympathy for others (the Tamils) yet to achieve independence. You probably could not expect the same of Australia, still under the yoke of dependence, formerly of the British and now the Americans.

Yet governments of both countries seemed to have learnt little from their own colonial experience.

On Australia’s invasion day (26 January 2010) Indonesian police detained two Australian and one Canadian refugee rights advocates.

Subsequently Indonesian Police and the Jakarta Post have published absurd allegations that three refugee advocates are human traffickers when all they have done is to visit NGO reps and refugees while on a brief stay in Indonesia.
The activists said the charges were changed when it became clear that Ms Nathan had been mistakenly identified as a notorious people smuggler of the same name.
”Initially I was associated with ‘Nathan’, a people smuggler,” Ms Nathan said. ”Later, they claimed we were in a restricted area near the boat, which is completely untrue.”
Since then all three of the refugee advocates were deported from Indonesia and grey listed for six months (i.e. are unable to return for that period).

National Police chief detective Comr. Gen. Ito Sumardi made the unfounded and unsubstantiated allegation that “We have preliminary evidence they were involved in human trafficking activities,” Ito told The Jakarta Post.

Pamela Curr and Saradha Nathan land in Sydney after being deported from Indonesia after crticising the the Australian Government's 'Indonesian solution'

The only questions raised by Indonesian officials was violation of restrictions placed on the visitors visa that the women were travelling on. In interviews held with the women police alleged a breach of visa restrictions which, as any traveller would know, are often based on arbitrary and ad hoc judgement by local officials.

The report from the Jakarta Post did not correctly identify the three women concerned and attempted to misrepresent their aims and those of the organisations for which they work.

This is sensational style of  journalism is only too common in ther mainstyream press. The Jakarta Post could have discovered the facts by ringing Ms Nathan or Ms Curr.

One of the women, Pamela Curr, is the Campaign Coordinator Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) and has visited other refugee detention centres on Christmas Island, off the coast of Italy and in Britain. Ms Curr has not encountered threats like this before certrainly not the trifecta of questioning, confiscation of her passport and deportation that she received at the hands of Indonesian officials, clearly sending a message to Canberra.

Of course, Pamela Curr is not the first to be threatened, late in 2009 refugee activists received similar threats in Indonesia. No doubt Australian officials play a role in this to protect the Australian government.


Ms Curr went to Indonesia on a visitor’s visa on Wednesday 20 January 2010 to see first-hand human rights abuses in Indonesian detention centres and to visit the refugees at Merak. At one point Pamela Curr managed to scribble the following report:

“Went to Jakarta detention centre today to see 9 men in one cell and 5 in another. Just a few square metres , unpainted walls with desperate messages written in Arabic, Farsi, Tamil and other laguages of desperation by those incarcerated. Grubby old eiderdowns line the floor and there they sleep at night lined up like sardines. No amusements, no space , no air-one tiny window. Locked in for months.”

And so Indonesian authorities detained her twice, questioning her the status of her visa – it was meant for tourists but not to visit people concerning the human rights situation there.

Pamela Curr was clearly targeted by Indonesian authorities because of her record for supporting refugees held in detention in Australia by both Howard and Rudd governments. In this case Ms Curr was defending the rights of 240 refugees at Merak, Indonesia that the current Australian government will not permit into the country.

Mahendra, a local labour activist in Indonesia, is reported in the Jakarta Post article as refuting the claims made by Indonesian police.

Mahendra said the foreign activists were detained at Indah Kiat Port near the boat where the Australia-bound Tamil boat people were being held by Indonesian authorities.

The Labour activist  said that “the women had come to Indonesia to monitor how Indonesia has handled the 200 or so Sri Lankan boat people stranded in Merak for three months on a boat designed to comfortably accommodate 50 people.”

Ms Nathan said officials from Indonesia’s department of foreign affairs told her they did not want to warehouse Australia’s refugees and are frustrated that the government hadn’t taken responsibility.

“I think Indonesia is trying to give a message to the Australian government by harassing Australian citizens,” she said.

It seems that all the Australian and Indonesian governments, media and business community want is to foster tourism. They are disinterested in human rights when they refuse to accept their responsbilities to genuine refugees fleeing from countries that are the victim of colonial wars of oppression by western governments.

I stress that these are my own views written in response to an attack upon the three women mentioned in the article in the Jakarta Post titled: ‘Australians, Canadian held on human trafficking allegations’

It is my view that Rudd (Australia’s current Prime Minister) has only two choices over the refugee issue:

1) He can take the Howard (previous PM) option of refusing entry to refugees; or,

2) He lets all the boat people settle here in Australia.

This will mean that he must have the political will to cop the flack that will come from all the racist and nationalist groups.

Personally, I am for the latter option.

There is no middle road for the Australian government on refugee policy, lives are at stake.

Ian Curr
January 2010

14 thoughts on “Tourism yes, but no human rights

  1. Pamela Curr says:

    FYI: NOT ALL PEOPLE HATE REFUGEES and ASYLUM SEEKERS and want to push boats back

    Italian Village Welcomes Refugees with Open Arms

    By Juliane von Mittelstaedt
    AFP

    …One Italian village is welcoming refugees in a bid to reverse its economic decline.

    An Italian village is hoping to reverse its population decline by welcoming refugees from around the world. The immigrants get free room and board and are expected to work and learn Italian in return. The project is proving highly successful — but the local Mafia aren’t happy.

    Domenico Lucano, a 51-year-old man, is the mayor of Riace, Italy. The village — with its three churches, two patron saints, sheep grazing on the surrounding hillsides and tangerine trees growing in the valleys — is like a corn on the sole of the foot of the Calabria region… Mafia Reaction … There is one group, however, that doesn’t like the fact that it no longer calls the shots or is able to collect money in Riace: the Calabrian Mafia. Its thugs poisoned Lucano’s three dogs and fired two bullets into the door of the Donna Rosa tavern. But for Lucano, it is a compliment, a sign that he has done his job well.

    refugees

    …. read on

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,675772,00.html

  2. Pamela Curr says:

    Dear Friends

    Australia proposes to send Tamil asylum seekers back into this cauldron of hate.

    I had a brief call at midnight from the man who was deported on Wednesday.

    The call was broken as he was saying what was happening to him.

    He did not ring back.

    Pamela Curr

    ***********************************************
    Reporters Without Borders/Reporters sans frontières*
    18 March 2010*
    SRI LANKA*

    NIGHTMARE MATERIALISES

    *Anti-terrorist police arrest journalist close to Gen. Fonseka

    Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of a journalist close to Sarath Fonseka, the former armed forces chief who was President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s main challenger in January’s election, and calls on the authorities to release him at once.

    “We are outraged by *Ruwan Weerakoon*’s arrest,” Reporters Without Borders said. “What we feared has come about. The decision to prosecute him is part of a witch-hunt against the relatives and supporters of Gen.
    Fonseka, who is himself under arrest. The police and judicial authorities have again abused their powers in order to silence an opposition journalist.”

    The press freedom organisation added: “Just a month ago, President Rajapaksa ordered the police to personally inform him before any arrest of media personnel. We would like to know if presidential consent was obtained before this journalist’s arrest.”

    Weerakoon, who was arrested earlier this week, writes regularly on defence issues for two newspapers, the /Nation/ and /Bottom Line/, and the /Asia Tribune/ website. It was as a defence correspondent that he became close to Gen. Fonseka when the latter was in command of the army during the final stage of the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009.

    Five media organisation issued a joint statement today condemning his arrest. “We ask the inspector general of police to disclose the reasons behind his arrest and detention and make arrangements for him to receive legal aid immediately,” the statement said.

    Prior to being arrested, Weerakoon was hospitalised under a police guard after suffering a heart attack brought on by the pressure he has been under for several weeks.

    Vincent Brossel
    Asia-Pacific Desk
    Reporters Without Borders
    33 1 44 83 84 70
    asia@rsf.org

    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075

  3. Pamela Curr says:

    [Refugee] Tamil Refugees on Al Jazeerah

    Please see the link below from Al Jazeera reporting on the boat at Merak with Tamil Refugees on board. In this footage you cxan see the apalling conditions in which people are trapped.

    [Editors Note: I have placed the video referred to below].

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ05vzWkaIw]

    Interesting also is how close the journalist was allowed to go to the restricted area. We were taken for questionning and had our passports taken when we were nowhere near this area.

    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075

  4. Navy leaving asylum seekers in the dark about their final destination says:

    by Pamela Curr, campaign co-ordinator at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    Monday, 22 February 2010 / 2 comments on Crikey.

    Asylum seekers intercepted by Australian authorities should be informed where they are being taken. But it seems many are still being left in the dark.

    In the wake of the SIEV 36 disaster, the boat that exploded near Ashmore Reef killing five people, processing changes meant informing people about what is going to happen to them and issuing language cards that explain they will be taken to “Australian authorities”. Stephen Walsh QC, counsel assisting the coroner, last week told the inquiry the changes to how the defence force handles unauthorised arrivals meant coroner Greg Cavanagh need not consider making any recommendations.

    I have asked four people from four different boats — rescued by Navy and Customs since the SIEV 36 disaster —  if they were informed about what was happening to them. I asked specifically if they were told that they were being taken to Christmas Island. In each case they said no. The most recent person was rescued in November 2009.

    That man has no complaints about his treatment at the hands of Customs, but he reports sitting on the deck of a vessel for three days, apprehensive and anxious. Some among the group believed they must be going to Christmas Island while others worried that they were going back to Indonesia.

    It was only when they arrived at Christmas Island that one of the Customs officers said quietly “don’t worry mate, it is Christmas Island”. The question has to be asked — why is it necessary to leave vulnerable people in total uncertainty after they have been rescued?

    I have checked with the most recent arrivals — the practice is still to tell them nothing. This is irrespective of nationality. Some have been aboard Navy boats for up to 11 days floating around not knowing what is going to happen.

    I have also checked on the language cards. No one with whom I have spoken, including those from recent boats, has seen these cards in English or in any other language.

    Were questions asked during the coronial inquiry about these changes and, more importantly, their implementation? In essence what the changes are supposed to do is to explain to asylum seekers, at the point of rescue, exactly where they are going to be taken. Surely questions such as when the cards were printed, how many have since been given out and the content of the cards are essential in light of calls for no recommendations for changes to naval procedures?

    Surely the Navy is required to provide proof of its claims that it has changed its procedures in face of an appalling loss of life? Or is it immune from examination.

    And why is the content of the cards not being questioned? It is hardly reassuring to asylum seekers to be told “we are going to take you to Australian authorities”. What does this mean?

    Indonesia is crawling with “Australian authorities”. The Australian Federal police are everywhere — in Indonesian detention centres and sidling around with the Indonesian military and police. Australia pays the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to record all asylum seeker arrivals. The statement is oblique and confusing at best.

    Furthermore, has an independent assessment been made of the translations to ensure that they say what is meant? It would not be the first time an unfortunate choice of words has turned up in translation.

    Why do the cards not say “we are taking you to Christmas Island”? This would provide real reassurance. Asylum seekers know what this means. Why are we fudging the destination? Is it because our Prime Minister, like his predecessor, is still hedging his bets on turning boats back if he thinks he can get away with it? Are the decisions regarding the destination of boats still being made by Prime Minster and cabinet? Is the Navy still hostage to these decisions?

    If the purpose of this coronial inquiry is to determine what happened and how and why deaths took place in an effort to ensure the circumstances leading to loss of life are not repeated, more questions need to be asked. Policy changes must be put into practice. Asylum seekers must have the right to know where they are being taken and what is going to happen to them.

    The Navy and Customs officers are entitled to clear guidelines to make decisions that ensure safety of life at sea (or SOLAS). This sacred duty of the sea must be made without reference to politicians thousands of kilometres away in Canberra. No one knows except the participants what happens on the high seas.

    It is dangerous territory when you have vulnerable people with no rights in the hands of people with consummate power. Australians need to have trust that the Navy is not being ordered by our government to place lives at risk for political imperatives that breach human rights and the international conventions in the process. The findings and recommendations of this coronial inquiry could provide a basis for this trust.


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075

  5. [Refugee] Afghanistan's lost boys on Australia's doorstep says:

    Dear Friends,

    You may wish to respond and redress the balance. In an election year the racists are running rampant.

    Regards
    Pamela Curr
    19 February 2010

    Story about ‘Afghanistan’s lost boys on Australia’s doorstep’ by Pamela Curr

    lost boys from afghanistan

    A decade after the Sudanese Lost Boys have told their stories and have had their plight recognised, a new group of lost boys has emerged.

    This time they are on Australia’s doorstep.

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2823784.htm


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075

  6. Pamela Curr says:

    Dear friends,

    Sadly Australia is contributing to Sri Lanaka coffers with money for airport surveillance cameras and boats for their navy- all to stop people seeking protection elsewhere.

    The EU on the other hand are trying to pressure Sri Lanka to implement human rights for all Sri Lankan citizens.

    News yesterday that the SL government has again extended the time to release Tamil people from the Camps. They had promised January now it is April!!

    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075


    EU to halt Sri Lanka trade preferences amid human rights concern

    Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:12pm

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union said on Monday it planned to withdraw preferential trade benefits to Sri Lanka because of concerns about the south Asian island’s human rights record.

    The European Commission, which oversees the 27-nation bloc’s trade policy, said an investigation had revealed significant shortcomings in Sri Lanka’s implementation of three UN human rights conventions linked to preferential trade tariffs.

    The trade benefits, worth about 100 million euros ($136.1 million) a year to Sri Lanka, will be withdrawn in six months’ time unless EU concerns are addressed, the Commission said.

    “I hope Sri Lanka will sit with us over the next six months in order to agree upon a set of measures that will result in rapid… progress in relation to the human rights shortcomings we have identified,” EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a statement.

    Sri Lanka benefits from concession in the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences Plus (GSP+), an incentive scheme tied to the improvement of human rights and good governance.

    The scheme offers tariff cuts to support vulnerable developing countries.

    Brussels has consistently warned Sri Lanka it must meet 27 international human rights conventions to retain its GSP Plus status.

    The country came under pressure last year from Western nations, including those in Europe with large Tamil populations, because of civilian deaths in the final phase of the war against the Tamil Tigers, which ended with the separatists’ defeat.

    Suspension of the preferential tariffs could hit Sri Lanka’s booming textile industry hard. The country earned a record $3.47 billion from exports of clothing to EU markets in 2008, the largest source of its foreign currency earnings.

    (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Susan Fenton)

  7. Jack H Smit says:

    Dear all,

    Recently I have been able to compile around 40 image scans of the 23 January 1979 Cabinet Minutes of the Fraser Administration, recently released after the lapse of the 30-year secrecy clause, into one single PDF File document.

    I’m sure the document is of interest to many of you, especially because it shows that the Fraser Government initiated what was essentially Australia’s first ever “warehousing initiative” in Indonesia, also available for refugees having already reached Australia as ‘unauthorised arrivals’;
    The Fraser Government launched the first initiative to draft laws that would impose severe criminal penalties for skippers and crew of unauthorised vessels reaching Australia;
    The Fraser Government initiated a major community education campaign because there was widespread negativity around the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers – but the campaign was not necessarily free of political bias and stacking, and did not necessarily educate Australians about International obligations and the UN Refugee Convention.

    NOTE: the mentioned document must be read in conjunction with the main document:

    http://www.naa.gov.au/Images/6-Refugees%20and%20migration_tcm2-27151.pdf

    Cabinet Minutes of January 23, 1979 show that it determined for an Inter-departmental committee to “consider and recommend legislative changes to provide effective powers over unauthorised boat arrivals in Australian waters and severe penalties on persons involved in the use of vessels bringing people to Australia without prior authority, particularly for profit”, and to “review provisions of international maritime law and the possibility of action outside territorial waters against vessels intending to break Australia’s laws.” (page 2-3)

    Cabinet further decided to “encourage other governments to take action against those profiteering against purported refugees, and persuade other governments to cease giving priorities in resettlement to people who have been clients of such trafficking.” (page 3)

    These Cabinet decisions were made in response to a Submission (Sub) by the then Immigration Minister Michael MacKellar, who in the Submission sums up in support for the proposals the following (and only!) benefit:

    “Widespread public support can be expected for Australian efforts to minimise unauthorised arrivals and to take a firm stand against them, particularly large groups aboard freighters.” (Sub page 2)

    Further, to deal with a possible backlash in the electorate, MacKellar includes “proposals for developing a major public information and community education program to evoke a more positive and better informed public response to Australia’s policies and programs.” (Sub page 2)

    The term “trafficked” or “trafficking” is used, but preferably in the context of Vietnamese “outflows”, in generic terms and in approaches proposed to “other countries”. (page 3), (Sub page 3, 4, 7)

    MacKellar expected outflows from Vietnam to continue at a rate of 10,000 per month. (Sub page 3)

    In the context of other countries, esp those of ‘first asylum’ being reluctant to accept too many of the sea-faring aslum seekers, MacKellar’s Submission aims to be a pre-emptive move to stop boats from arriving on Australian shores: “…more people will try to reach Australia by boat.” (Sub page 3)

    MacKellar proposes an “international reception centre”, but “under no circumstances should Australia offer to provide such a centre on its territory…” (Sub page 4)

    In addressing “unauthorised large boat arrivals”, MacKellar argues that “a compliant response could other people to flout Australia’s laws. Australia should seek to deny entry to such vessels and, failing this, to confine them and their passengers with a view to ultimately persuading them to depart.” (Sub page 5)

    While refugees’ resettlement needs were recognised by MacKellar as at least as great as those of other migrants, he raises the option of reducing benefits to “reduce Australia’s attractiveness”, (Sub page 5) and he suggests exploring “international maritime law and the possibility of action outside territorial waters against vessels intending to break Australia’s laws.” (Sub page 7)

    MacKellar’s Submission also reveals a recommendation by the Inter-departmental committee (Task Force on Refugees from Indo-China) to effectively and forcibly remove unauthorised boat arrivals to the last port of departure or the vessel’s flag country. (Sub page 10)

    Finally, the Task Force proposes to mix the number of unauthorised boat arrivals into the relatively fixed annual refugee and humanitarian intake quota in order to take away any perceived advantage of processing on the part of the unauthorised arrivals. (Sub page 27)

  8. [Refugee] A chilling insight into an Abbott treatment of AsylumSeekers says:

    Just in case you missed [it] – an Abbott plan of Attack on Asylum Seekers … complete with old hand Ruddock, Abbott vows to stop asylum seekers
    – more Abbott views direct from his home page.

    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075

  9. Pamela Curr says:

    ANDREW PROBYN and NICK BUTTERLY, CANBERRA, The West Australian February 10, 2010, 2:45 am
    merak boat
    Supplied / Steve Watson ©

    Kevin Rudd is to give Australia’s top spy agency ASIO a new mission: protecting Australia from people smugglers.

    The West Australian understands the Prime Minister intends rewriting ASIO’s 60-year-old charter to extend its responsibilities beyond preventing espionage and sabotage to border protection.

    Up until now, ASIO has been classed as purely a domestic intelligence agency but its new remit would also make it responsible for pursuing and gathering information against people smugglers.

    Read more … Spies to take on people smugglers


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075

  10. WESTERN FORCES sending Refugees running for their lives says:

    Dear Friends
    Below is a link to the Times on line report which explains what we are hearing from Afghan Families in Australia about people running for their lives in Afghanistan .
    Of course if they tried to come to Australia – the drawbridge is up and locked.
    >From The Times
    February 9, 2010
    Refugees flee to capital of Helmand to avoid huge Nato Afghan offensive


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075

  11. The Dirtiest Election Campaign says:

    This is the latest lie to do the rounds whipping up anti- refugee hysteria in the lovely land of Australia. Be ready for the nastiest election to begin.

    To those in search of truth check rates here http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/newstart_rates.htm

    NO PERSON WITHOUT A VISA GETS A CENTRELINK PAYMENT.

    Are we not sick to death of fighting these lies?

    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075

    Please e-mail this to all your contacts

    Sobering thought……………….as we all have parents that paid taxes their whole life in this country………….!!!!

    Are you aware of the following?

    The Australian Federal Government provides the following financial assistance:-

    BENEFIT AUSTRALIAN AGED PENSIONER
    Weekly allowance $253.00
    Weekly Spouse allowance $56.00
    Additional weekly hardship allowance $0.00
    TOTAL YEARLY BENEFIT $16,068.00

    ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS/REFUGEES LIVING IN AUSTRALIA
    Weekly allowance $472.50
    Weekly Spouse allowance $472.50
    Additional weekly hardship allowance $145.00
    TOTAL YEARLY BENEFIT $56,680.00

    All LIES — NO PERSON WITHOUT A VISA GETS A CENTRELINK PAYMENT.

    If I were a refugee, why would I look for work?

    Please forward to all your contacts so that we can lobby for an increase in the aged pension, and to put the welfare of Australian pensioners first, and then the welfare of refugees.

    After all, the average pensioner has paid taxes and contributed to the growth of this country for the last 40 to 60 years………….

    Kevin Rudd The Dud — Pay Heed!!!!!!!!…

    The elections are this year.

    The people who put you in power can also remove you from power as easily.

    THE HONEYMOON IS OVER!!!!!!!!!!!. Time for a reality check is here now!!!

  12. Lies about refugees says:

    This is the latest lie to do the rounds whipping up anti- refugee hysteria in the lovely land of Australia. Be ready for the nastiest election to begin.

    To those in search of truth check rates here http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/newstart_rates.htm
    NO PERSON WITHOUT A VISA GETS A CENTRELINK PAYMENT.

    Are we not sick to death of fighting these lies?

    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075

    Please e-mail this to all your contacts

    Sobering thought……………….as we all have parents that paid taxes their whole life in this country………….!!!!

    Are you aware of the following?

    The Australian Federal Government provides the following financial assistance:-
    BENEFIT AUSTRALIAN AGED PENSIONER
    ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS/REFUGEES LIVING IN AUSTRALIA

    Weekly allowance $253.00
    $472.50

    Weekly Spouse allowance $56.00
    $472.50

    Additional weekly hardship allowance $0.00
    $145.00

    TOTAL YEARLY BENEFIT $16,068.00
    $56,680.00

    If I were a refugee, why would I look for work?

    Please forward to all your contacts so that we can lobby for an increase in the aged pension, and to put the welfare of Australian pensioners first, and then the welfare of refugees. After all, the average pensioner has paid taxes and contributed to the growth of this country for the last 40 to 60 years………….Kevin Rudd The Dud — Pay Heed!!!!!!!!…The elections are next year. The people who put you in power can also remove you from power as easily. THE HONEYMOON IS OVER!!!!!!!!!!!. Time for a reality check is here now!!!

  13. Between Two Worlds says:

    Ahasin Wetei (Between Two Worlds) 2009 Ages 15+
    GOMA 6.00pm Fri 5 Feb 2010 and 3.00pm Sat 13 Feb 2010 / Cinema A. Nominated 2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Achievement in Directing.

    ‘In Between Two Worlds, the forces of history, of the past, the forces of nature, the forces of each character, the forces of the institutional powers, the forces of cinema, all come to a clash and to explode. All these forces flow through time, come from the past, reappear in the present and are tensed into the future.’ Vimukthi Jayasundara
    Between two worlds
    ‘Sri Lanka’s civil conflict raged so furiously for twenty-six long years that when it was declared over, one of the main reactions was numb disbelief.

    Director Vimukthi Jayasundara last explored the hollow absurdities of his homeland’s war in The Forsaken Land. Four years later, the fighting has stopped but the stark symbols of war are not so easily erased. Because Jayasundara is at heart a symbolist, Between Two Worlds never sets out to explain the conflict, but it does illuminate it.

    Aman washes up on the shore and makes his way into a rioting city. He rescues a foreign woman, and they begin travelling out to the hills. But instead of refuge, the countryside reveals increasing menace. What begins as enigmatic soon moves to unsettling, then descends into the stark stabs of violence particular to civil war. Jayasundara is always alive to the unique nature of his setting. Shooting in widescreen compositions that show off the area’s lush green vistas to sublime effect, he conjures up images that haunt this beauty – military helicopters sweeping over the landscape, a dog feasting on a cow. Here he expands and deepens the absurdist quality he brought to The Forsaken Land.

    Our protagonist witnesses a van plunge madly into a lake, but when he arrives at the shore, an old man swimming there insists the incident is ancient history. “It’s possible you just saw something that happened a long time ago,” he says.

    Jayasundara’s Sri Lanka is a mythic place where war has collapsed the space between past and present, has militarised traditional rituals and, perhaps worst of all, has made the mute witnessing of horror an everyday act. What elevates his filmmaking from commentary to art is the sophistication of his symbolism and his fluid, graceful articulation of pain.’ Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival.

    35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY SR, 86 MINUTES, SRI LANKA/FRANCE, SINHALA (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: VIMUKTHI JAYASUNDARA / CINEMATOGRAPHER: CHANNA DESHAPRIYA / EDITOR: GISÈLE RAPP-MEICHLER / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MEMENTO FILMS INTERNATIONA

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