week 6 vigil 19 july 2013

This day will remain in my body, my mind, and in those of many many others. This day of shame. This day of unbearable cruelty. This day when the Australian Government has blatantly shown its fascist face.

All future asylum seekers who come by boat to Australia will be sent to PNG an assessed there. They will never be ‘settled’ in Australia!

As the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre points out : “Rudd’s new policy is the worst attack on the Refugee Convention in its 62-year history”.

Here in Castlemaine different people arrived at the vigil tonight with bodies in, and words of, much distress. Some were unable to speak; some roared their rage; others just sat. Some bought food to me, a hot chocolate. There is much outrage. There is much shame. There is much sorrow. All of which needs to be channelled into action.

The young boy, Eamon, who came up to me was so angry. I said to him – ‘your reaction is healthy, we should be angry’….‘And it is important not to let the anger sit inside you and eat you up or paralyse you. Anger must be expressed, brought out of our bodies and directed at those who this shame and horror belongs to – the Rudd’s and Carr’s and Abbotts etc etc of this country.

Sara Nazari, who kindly gave me permission to quote some of her posts wrote: “Boat people, queue jumpers and coming from rear door are the jargons used for people who have nowhere to live. Who are not safe even in their homes. I dont blame u, I blame your lack of education. Please come out of the bubble there is a big world out there. Somewhere in the world children are being bombed in their schools, men are shot dead in bright day light while coning home after work but for you guys it’s ok because you have a nice home. Your kids are safe why u should care”.

I’m finding it hard to find words to express what I feel – to even begin to explain the horror of what Kevin Rudd has done.

For the past few weeks I have had the words ‘final solution’ float through my head at odd times. ‘Final Solution’. For me, those words, refer to the Nazis destruction, murder and torture – the attempted genocide – of Jewish people. Over the past years I have been reading about the rise of Fascism in Germany – before Hitler’s reign. And over these years I have been watching the grooming of the Australian public by politicians, big business and media interests and recognised how similar it has been, and is, to that of the German public in the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

This term, ‘Final Solution’, also resonates closer to home. It reminds me of the genocide waged in this country against its First Nations Peoples. It reminds me too that during the time of Hitler’s Holocaust the policies and practices of the colonisers towards Aboriginal people were also based on racist eugenics and the idea that a whole race of people could be disappeared.

When Kevin Rudd gave his apology I felt such relief, sorrow, hope – a whole mixture of feelings. And I was able to breathe better. Was more open … Over the years my hope has faded – especially with the continuation and deepening of the demeaning and dehumanising practices of the so-called ‘Intervention’.

Now, I feel, as I look at footage of Rudd speaking this apology, a form of disgust that grows from the sense that none of this was meant. There never was any integrity or remorse beneath the words. I had started talking of Rudd as the one with the Silver Tongue.

Having lived in Broken Hill, Paakantji country, far north NSW – a silver mining town – I have learned that the glitter of silver (the smooth language and glowing smile) exist with lead – a mineral that poisons. In this area – where silver has been mined, many people have been, and continue to be terribly affected and poisoned by the lead.

Yes, the silver tongue: Beneath the silver is the lead that poisons the community.
Beneath Rudd’s smooth talk are the policies and practices poisoning the community – making us sick.

For the past week I’ve had this sing-song voice in my head : Kevin Rudd – the Scudd missile! This may seem facile but there is a strong connection between Rudd and the Scudd. The Scudd missiles – causing so much death and destruction, so much pain in the world today – are Soviet designs that originated in a weapon developed by the Nazis.

I see more clearly this link between Rudd and this missile. For what Rudd is doing is assisting the perpetrators of the genocides that many people are trying to escape. What Rudd is doing is condemning many to death. What Rudd is doing is deciding which lives are valuable and which lives are expendable and then following up with the action of expending them.

What Rudd is doing too is re-invigorating the colonial imperative of growing wealth through putting others in peril. In PNG 51% of people live on less than $2 a day. 61% have no access to clean water. It is a country where human rights abuses are well documented and continue. It is a poor country that many have categorized as ‘3rd world’. Life expectancy is very low. There is little health care or education facilities. What bribe did Rudd give to ‘gain’ ‘agreement’ from PNG to take all refugees who reach Australia by boat?

It seems that this is Rudd’s own ‘Final Solution’!

We must make big noise about this. We must keep making big noise till there is change, till human rights, recognition, responsibility, care, courage and compassion become the leading values of this Australia.

I will end with Uncle Ray Jackson’s words:
‘I have nothing but disgust for both Labor and the Coalition that dare to put my name to their nefarious and inhumane actions. I have but two more points to make. First, these governments rule over the stolen lands of the traditional owners and yet firmly believe that they have some moral right to dictate who comes seeking refuge on stolen Aboriginal lands.

‘I do not accept that they have that right. Our lands were invaded 223 years ago and Australia has become most wealthy on our sequestered resources. The asylum seekers being imprisoned in isolated privately managed-for-profit incarceration camps, with the singular exception of Christmas Island, are all on Aboriginal lands. And I, as a Wiradguri man, say to those asylum seekers, you are most welcome to our lands. I realise, of course, that other Aborigines may have different views to mine and, of course, that is their right. But I will state most strongly in their defence that these refugees did not invade us, they did no!

‘To steal our lands, they did not suppress our culture and language, they did not commit genocide, they did not steal our children, they did not steal our wages, they did not steal our human rights as a first people to exist and to grow. The parliaments of the invaders have done all that and more. Again, I say to the asylum seekers, you are welcome to our lands. Second, as I have put so many times, these racist One Nation clones do not speak in my name’. [Ray Jackson is president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association.] –
Green Left Weekly 2011

And for me I imagine my nieces children saying to me ‘What were you doing at that time’.

To keep silent is to enable this horror.

I will be on the steps on Monday evening from 5pm -6pm. Please come by and sign the new petition and put your name down if you are interested in becoming part of a local Castlemaine action group.

janet galbraith


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