I approached Red Cross, Amnesty International , 4EB, Palestinian Arts, Culture and Science Incorporation asking if they would help me with a Petition to free Ridha! by placing it on their stalls.
They all refused.
To sign a petition is a basic democratic right. In Qld we have been denied democratic rights in the past and one of the few such rights we retained was the ability to petition our members of parliament. Refugees need democratic rights too. Anyone can choose whether they wish to support Ridha by signing the petition. They have the democratic right not to sign, for whatever reason. But organisations such as the MDA, Red Cross, PACSI, 4EB, Amnesty should not take it upon themselves to deprive people of their democratic rights. I was told to go to the front gate and get individuals to sign the petition. But that is not the point – it is up to organisations to take the lead and to demonstrate their willingness to give people a choice to support who they wish – especially when it is a question of human rights and social justice.
4EB, Red Cross and PACSI said that the petition was political and that you can’t put political petitions on stalls at World Refugee Day.
Amnesty International offered to train me on how to run a campaign but said that they could not participate by taking up the petition.
I gave Amnesty my name and phone number and left them a copy of the Petition to Free Ridha. Amnesty rang me back today asking for more info. I had already given them the full story and the website reference. They said that they would try to look at doing a ‘UA’. I asked what that was. ‘AI’ said that a ‘UA’ is an Urgent Action that is sent all around the world. The caller actually said this in the age of the internet. The representative told me that Amnesty are opposed to preventative detention. I asked the rep. if that is the same as administrative detention that Ridha is on. They said: ‘no preventative detention is where an order is given to detain someone (like Melinda Taylor in Libya) – the Israelis don’t even bother to do that they just pick up who they feel like on the OPT (another acronym, this time for Occupied Palestinian Territories). I have not received anything from them yet about the UA (Urgent Action). I hope to be proven wrong but I think AI is just ticking all the boxes before they say they can’t do anything. Their representative told me he does not ‘do OPT’ meaning the Occupied Palestinian Territories he does Syria and has involvement in Libya. Well NATO and the supporters of the ‘no fly zone’ have done a wonderful job in Libya, haven’t they? At least he rang me up which is more than I have heard from 4EB or the Red Cross.
PACSI said that they would not get the stall again next year if they put the petition on their table.
All the stall holders at the World Refugee Day festival claim that Australia is a democracy where we (migaloo = many waters, many travel i.e. boat people) can freely express our views.
I asked 4EB to support the petition saying that Paradigm Shift 4ZZZ had done shows about what happened to Ridha. They refused. I asked them why. They said it is political?! I told them that Paradigm Shift (Fridays at Noon, 4ZZZ fm 102.1) is political so why isn’t 4EB? They did not answer but told me that the current station manager at 4EB came from 4ZZZ.
If what I was told by the stall holders is true, why does Multi-Cultural Development Association (MDA) prevent people from exercising their democratic rights.
The only help Ridha has received is from ordinary people. The Australian government say they won’t help because he is not an Australian citizen. The real reason is that the Australian Government supports Israel. Israel won’t help because they want to persecute Palestinians and drive them out of their homeland.
I ask the Multi-Cultural Development Association to assist me in gaining basic democratic rights for Ridha by asking people to sign the petition to free Ridha .
25 June 2012
Sent to Frederika Steen, board member of MDA at 6.50 am 25 June 2012