In the mid-1980s, Lachlan Hurse travelled across Latin America, where he saw first-hand both “the consequences of military dictatorships” in places like Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, and “a very different sort of world” in countries like Nicaragua and Cuba.
“That experience has driven me since then. At the same time, in 1982, there were the massacres in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon. These events awoke my understanding of the troubles faced by Palestinian people.”
For Lachlan, there were parallels between the struggles for land rights and sovereignty in Palestine, Latin America, and Australia, as “the dispossession of Palestinian people mirrored the dispossession of the Australian Aboriginal people. The struggles for indigenous rights in Latin America highlighted how colonial states displace indigenous populations in order to build a different economy.”
“It shows how around the world there is a powerful few who are prepared to engage in terrible practices – with military dictatorships, torture, and human rights violations – to achieve benefits for such a small group of people, at the expense of thousands of lives.”
“It also showed to me how important international solidarity was.”
“It means to be part of the practical solutions to provide assistance and support to people in other countries and workers struggling for their rights.”
“Global solidarity means to be part of a movement that says a better world is possible, to be part of a movement that knows the key to a better world is solidarity between workers, no matter where they are from.”
One of the ways in which Lachlan expresses his internationalism is through his activism in Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA since the early 2000s. Working with organisers and members in his union, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), Lachlan helped build the Brisbane activist network from the ground up.
When talking to members and organisers about Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, Lachlan would encourage them to join because “It really does give you an enormous sense of satisfaction and pride to know that you are part of the union global solidarity movement.”
Above: Lachlan Hurse and Sue Monk with Mapuche community, 1985
Above: Lachlan and Sue Monk on the steps of the National Palace at Managua, Nicaragua
Above: Lachlan in Sydney for the 2018 Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA Activist Conference
“To be in a union is to be part of a collective that struggles for a world free from the exploitation of labour. To be union is to stand shoulder to shoulder with workers who fight against injustice. In my heart, it is to know that the unity of labour is the key to a better world for us all.”
Every year, Lachlan and the Brisbane activist network organises the Global Solidarity Trivia Night, and to show their solidarity with Palestine they have launched the Big Ride for Palestine, which this year has grown into an Australia-wide event to raise funds for the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation (PWHO).
“The Big Ride participants feel a sense of unity, they bond through the ride, and they know that they are supporting the people of Palestine.”
“It’s easy to participate. It’s very rewarding, especially if you can do it as part of a team. You know that you’re giving real solidarity to Palestinian people, and it’s a very practical way of supporting people in real need. It’s enriching, rewarding, enjoyable, and it’s a way of taking the issues that the Palestinian people face to a broader group of people who may not be so engaged.”
“And this year, people can walk, jog, and they can nominate their own distance. So join a team, get sponsors, and participate!”
Above: Lachlan with Katie Camarena and Rosa Monsour in the Big Ride 2018
Above: Lachlan with Jill Biddington at the 2018 Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA Activist Conference
Join the Big Ride for Palestine!
The Big Ride for Palestine is an initiative by supporters of the Palestinian people that combines a love of cycling with practical solidarity and awareness raising.
By participating in the Big Ride, you will be joining activists like Lachlan who are committed to standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people. This year, you can register to ride from anywhere in Australia – so get on your bike and support the Big Ride for Palestine!Register today!