week 4 vigil july 7 2013

July 7 2013

This evening I was late to the vigil as it was the last day we had to finish moving and cleaning up the rental house we had been in for the past few years. It was another wet evening and very quiet.

Two people from Melbourne stopped and chatted with me for a while. Bizarelly we found that we had both lived on the same community in the Pitjanjatjarra lands and so knew some of the same people. I was there about 25 years ago and they were there about 33 years ago! It was a good meeting. They appreciated the value of the vigil. Ricky also dropped by and told me that the new Immigration Minister had just announced that they would free 18 children from detention. We need to remind them that there are many more children in detention and imprisoning children is not ok.

Imprisoning vulnerable, innocent men, women and children without charge, trial or hope is a historical and current feature of Australia as nation. We need to remind our politicians and friends that this is a reality that does not sit well with the nations claims to be ‘a “fair” (I always wonder at the many meanings of this word and what they may reveal!) nation that is not only “compassionate to those in need” but also “embraces cultural diversity” – “Australian Values Statement”, 2012’ (Desperate Times, Desperate Poetry: (Un)Australian Refugee Poets in a Post-9/11 Australia, Dona Cayetana, English/ MMCS, Macquarie University).

Every child is sacred….

I came across poet Mohanson Soltany Zand recently, and will share one of his poems with you in the context of recent reported incidents of brutalization of people in Australian detention centres by guards.

The poem’s title comes from the number imposed upon poet Mohanson Soltany Zand in detention. (People in detention are often referred to by number: a strategy of dehumanization.) Mohanson Soltany Zand spent 5 years in detention in Australia. This poem from his CD, Australian Dream, put out by Stickylabel, 2005, tells of a time when he was brutalized by the detention camp’s ACM (Australasian Correctional Management) security guards.

NBP 122
It was ACM
Securers of Hell
I am full of pain
Thrown from my bed
I can see nothing
My breath can’t help me
A wall of riot shields
Pressing down.
Power is in the baton
Flying through the sky.

-Soltany Zand, 2005

Sending all my love to those who are terrified, brutalised and ‘full of pain’ tonight.

I will be at the market Building Steps tomorrow 8 July 2013 from 5pm to 6.30pm. Come along and sign the petition which I will forward to our federal representative next week.

Janet galbraith

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