The Good Samaritan

I wish no living thing to suffer pain.” – Prometheus Unbound (Shelley).

It is ironic that Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, would choose Palm Sunday as the day to call the federal election. A day of peace to call an election for a government that supports war.

Meanwhile Dr Peter Catt – Dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral and Chair of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce had a very different take on the election at the annual Palm Sunday Peace rally in Brisbane/Meanjin on 10 April 2022.

This is what Peter Catt had to say at the Palm Sunday rally:

The election has been called .. (unenthusiastic Yeah! from crowd) … Yeah indeed. I would have groaned actually. The election has been being called. And over the next six weeks, we will be subjected to simplistic slogans, simplistic slogans about the economy, about the environment, about refugees, about what it is to be in Australian. 

On Palm Sunday, we say that such simplicity, the simplicity that we are fed by all politicians, is not good enough. Because we live in a complex world. We live in a world where a simple declaration of war against one country, which Putin did not so long ago, he thought it would be a simple matter, and he would reestablish Russian pride. Those sorts of simple, pride-driven, short-term-goal statements and policies that we’ve been enduring for ages, just are not good enough.

But in a complex world, every decision has a consequence that goes on forever.

Nearly 20 years ago Howard, Bush and Blair invaded Iraq, they thought it would be a (voices cry out shame, shame) simple exercise, a simple exercise to tidy up the world and make it fit their simplistic understanding of world order. We have been living with the consequences ever since a world that was destabilized by short term gain. A response (was) needed for 9/11. So Bush decided to take it out on somebody, and the ripples continue. And they continue to this day. Refugees walk the face in this earth because of that intervention 20 years ago.

The Ukraine invasion has already been destabilized so much of the world, just to fulfill one guy’s ego really, and sense of national pride. And these ripples of that intervention will carry on for years. 

That our politicians just keep on sending arms, getting involved without talking to any of us, and not even taking it to Parliament. So the vortex deepens.

In 2014, Pope Francis said the world war three was starting by stealth. It was sneaking up on us. And he pointed to all these little things that are happening across the world: the invasion of Bosnia, the Arab Spring, and its consequences. And he just said, look what’s happening. Today, we see that it is happening.

So today, we are actually here to demand the things be done differently. We’re asking for serious diplomacy. We’re asking for peace makers. You can’t get peace, just by being peaceful, you actually have to make it, you have to be serious about it. And saber rattling against China is not going to bring peace. It’s going to deepen this creeping world war three, the pope talks about it

On Palm Sunday, the origins of this this day, Jesus went into Jerusalem on a donkey to signal that he was actually just going to undermine the whole structure. So one of the things we have to work together to do is to work out how do we undermine the structure in a peaceful way. It’s very easy to repay violence with violence. It’s actually human nature. If someone hits us, we want to hit them back. We bring a lot of anger with us today. And one of the challenges for us is not to turn that anger into hatred or violence. It’s a huge challenge, because we are angry enough to be violent. But we have to work out how we turn that anger into a transforming energy. And we need to do that for the sake of the poor and the disenfranchised: the refugees.

Dr Peter Catt
10 April 2022

One thought on “The Good Samaritan

  1. Thanks to the organisers and participants of the 2022 Palm Sunday rally and march that covered much ground in these uncertain times. It was troubling that numbers were small again this year.

    I do not wish to detract from what people said at the rally, but I do think there needs to be some discussion of why, in a world devoid of just leaders, where a brutal war has just begun and the rich are greedy for more profits, the numbers of poor on the rise, so too the numbers of refugees, and vulnerable people, where the economic system is constantly in crisis, housing unaffordable, and workers denied the right to organise … will prayers and peace rallies be enough?

    While the Palm Sunday rally was in progress, only a few hundred metres away, in Reddacliff Place, a large number (one estimate was 2,000 people) of Sri Lankan-Australians were protesting the repressive government in their country of origin.

    Not a word was said at the Palm Sunday rally about this. Why?

    It was only last year at the Palm Sunday rally on 12 April 2021 that the spokesperson for the Refugee Action Collective called the rally stating “Several groups have been involved (in organising the rally), including Amnesty International, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, The Greens, Labor for Refugees, representatives of the Hazara and Tamil communities, as well as the Refugee Action Collective.

    It was the maltreatment of Sri Lankan Tamils that became of such concern to the refugee movement in Australia over the past 20 years and was in part responsible for the formation of the Romero centre in Brisbane/Meanjin. Concerns about what is happening in Sri Lanka have constantly been raised by the Refugee Action Collective over the years at rallies such as Palm Sunday.

    Yet both the Sri lankan protest and this 2022 Palm Sunday rally occurred concurrently. Why was that? Is nationalism the cause? Yet Ian Rintoul gave a speech from an internationalist perspective and was well received when he criticized both the government and the opposition. A significant absence from Palm Sunday was the Trade Unions and the Labor Party. There was however some diversity in opposition to the AUKUS agreement, the Bring Julian Assange home campaign (his father John Shipton spoke at the rally). John Shipton – Father of Julian Assange – has returned from London where he attended the marriage of his son Julian Assange to Stella Morris. John spoke about the Brisbane screening of Ithaca at New Farm cinema on Monday night at 6.30pm. The film documents the campaign for Julian’s freedom over many long years.

    Fahima Ahmadi gave a much needed Afghani perspective on refugees.

    Combined Unions Choir sang their liar song about the PM.

    Cameron Leckie – a Retired Australian Army Officer, spoke out against the war in Ukraine, citing skepticism about the media and government narrative in that place since 2014.

    Sri Lankan protest rally in Reddacliff Place Brisbane/Meanjin 10 April 2022

    Sri Lankan rally in Brisbane/Meanjin Square (Reddacliff Place) 10 April 2022

    in solidarity,
    Ian

    ————-
    Ian Curr

    E. iancurr@bigpond.com
    T. 0407 687 016

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