Who will watch the Guardians at the Gates?

Montather launches his shoe
A gesture in return for the carnage
A solitary missile
But a gesture nonetheless
Al-Zaidi’s sole will give
The only eternity Bush will ever know
Humiliation and disgrace
For what he has done to Iraqis
And the human race!
                    - Ian Curr

shoe thrower“Queensland man throws shoes at Peter Dutton in protest over refugee policies” – The Guardian

Publisher’s Note: After the story was published in the Guardian I received this email:

“Funny. Big news in the Guardian online but doesn’t seem to have hit the Australian media yet, 8 hours after the event.”

What the commenter has missed, quite understandably, is that The Guardian is part of the Australian media, and a big part.

If you look at the top right hand of the Guardian’s webpage (for this link) you will see “Australian edition”.

There are two Guardian ‘newspapers’ in Australia: one is published by the Communist Party of Australia and the other is called Guardian Australia which is an offshoot of the British newspaper “The Guardian” which claims to be the third largest online media company in the world.

The former, http://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/, may still have a print edition but the latter, http://www.theguardian.com/au. does not, well … not in Australia.

Yet Australians are “The Guardians” ( http://www.theguardian.com ) fourth largest audience in the world.

In fact before the coming of “The Guardian” to Australia in 2012, its British online version was already competing with Murdoch and Fairfax online. At the time Mat Baxter, CEO of media buying agency UM said:

“The Guardian already boasts a local audience of 1.3 million unique browsers a month compared to around 6 million for the SMH, 4 million for The Age and 1.8 million for The Australian.”

Graeme Wood, who made his fortune through travel website Wotif, was the financial backer for Guardian online in Australia. Graeme Wood is not short of a quid, he owns a house made out of copper on North Stradbroke Island near Brisbane. Copper would have to be the most expensive building material on the planet.

The Guardian claims to be a ‘leftie’ paper, however it does attract some ‘bogans’ to its readership:

“I wish this guy was a dual citizen. We could export him to a country that prefers violence over peaceful expression.” – BiltonBladesworth

I thought about posting a photo of the refugee activist with his ‘running shoe’ with this article but with people like this around,  not sure it is a good idea. [See references below for public profile of ‘BiltonBladesworth’].

Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi reporter who  threw his shoes at former US president George Bush, was released after serving nine months in prison. Mr. Al-Zaidi was heavily beaten right after the incident in close proximity to the world media. In court, this is what the 30 year old journalist said:

“I saw only Bush and it was like something black in my eyes,” he said from the dock, an Iraqi flag draped across his shoulders. “So I took the first shoe and threw it but it did not hit him. Then spontaneously I took the second shoe but it did not hit him either. I was not trying to kill the commander of the occupation forces of Iraq.”

Does a similar  fate await David Spriggs?

Ian Curr,
June 2015


Refugee activist throws shoes at Immigration Minister Peter Dutton in Brisbane

In Brisbane this morning , a refugee advocate threw his shoes at Immigration Minister Peter Dutton as a symbolic protest against the Australian government’s refugee policies.

At a festival for welcoming refugees in Annerley, 33 year old David Sprigg threw his shoes at the minister as part of a long tradition of similar protest actions.

Most famously, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoe at George W Bush in 2008 as a protest against the Iraq war. But since then over 50 similar actions have happened around the world, including Peter Gray throwing his shoe at John Howard in 2010.

Mr Sprigg said he took the action to protest Australia’s human rights abuses when it comes to asylum seekers. “It is hypocritical for Peter Dutton to appear at a festival welcoming refugees when his government continues to lock up indefinitely asylum seekers who have committed no crime, and turn back boats at sea who are attempting to seek refuge in Australia.

protection visa app
Application for Protection Visa for refugee

“Not only have Mr Dutton and the Liberal Party’s “stop the boats” campaign made it abundantly clear that refugees are not welcome in Australia, but by continually exploiting this issue for political gain and using language like “queue jumpers” and “illegal arrivals” they have turned the Australian public further against refugees than they would have been.

“If Peter Dutton and the Australian government were serious about welcoming refugees, they would make a concerted effort to accept and resettle asylum seekers, instead of just turning up to a festival.”

The government’s policy of mandatory detention and offshore processing for asylum seekers have for a long time been criticised by human rights advocates. Mental health advocate and former Australian of the year Patrick McGorry described the detention centres as “mental illness factories”, while the human rights Commission earlier this year described detention centres as a “toxic environment” and called for a royal commission into detention of asylum seeker children.

More recently, Prime Minister Tony Abbott was quoted as saying there was “no way” Australia would accept Rohingyan asylum seekers fleeing persecution in Burma, while last week there were reports that Australian officials paid thousands of dollars to people smugglers to turn around boats full of asylum seekers.

Mr Sprigg said “under our obligations in the UN refugee convention and out of respect for our shared humanity, we should be accepting asylum seekers into Australia and giving them opportunities to live lives of freedom and dignity.”

“Australians actually mostly are welcoming of asylum seekers in our communities, and refugees have shown that they can contribute significantly to our country. But this is in spite, not because, of the policies and actions of the Labor and Liberal governments.”


Refugee activist throws shoes at Immigration Minister Peter Dutton in Brisbane @ https://andypaine.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/refugee-activist-throws-shoes-at-immigration-minister-peter-dutton-in-brisbane/

Release Montather al-Zaidi! @ http://workersbushtelegraph.com.au/2008/12/15/it-is-easy-to-duck-flying-shoes/
Link to Guardian article http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jun/14/queensland-man-throws-shoes-at-peter-dutton-in-protest-over-refugee-policies

FactCheck: does Murdoch own 70% of newspapers in Australia? @ http://theconversation.com/factcheck-does-murdoch-own-70-of-newspapers-in-australia-16812

BiltonBladesworth’s public profile
@ https://profile.theguardian.com/user/id/14545839

Guardian Australia funder says site will usher in era of open journalism – RN Breakfast – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) @ http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/guardian-launches-australian-digital-edition/4500922

Iraqi Journalist Zaidi Defiant as Trial Adjourned @ https://iraqibeacon.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/iraqi-journalist-zaidi-defiant-as-trial-adjourned/

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