week 9 vigil 11th – 17th August 2013

Castlemaine Vigil in Recognition of Aboriginal Sovereignty and in Solidarity with Asylum Seekers
11th – 17th August 2013

Firstly i would like to send condolences and care to the extended family of Aunty Carmel Barry – a local Jaara elder – who passed away last Friday. I remember her as very bright, very creative and with the ability to speak her mind. We, who live in Castlemaine and surrounds are blessed to be living in the country that has remained in her family from time immemorial. On behalf of those who participate in the Castlemaine Vigil in Recognition of Aboriginal Sovereignty and in Solidarity with Asylum Seekers we send our love to each member of the wider Nelson and Barry families and will continue to remember and honour Aunty Carmel through the vigil.

As some of you were aware, I did not sit the vigil this past week. I needed some time to recoup my energy and to become clearer on where to from here.

It was, for me, a fruitful week off. Over time you will notice some of what has come out of this. The name change is one.

The vigil did, however, continue. Helen Seligman came to my house and asked if she could help by sitting the vigil for 3 of the nights last week. I was so pleased that a presence would still remain.

Helen did sit on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Some of the evenings she had a friend with her from Daylesford. People dropped by for the petition and to chat and just to sit quietly.

One of the things that Helen noticed was that the vigil is becoming a safe place for people to come, sit, and share company; to speak about what’s happening for them and just to experience a little care. I love this about the vigil. For me this is of primary importance because it demonstrates locally how care and safety can be so healing and nourishing for all involved. It certainly has been for me. It grows openness which can then transmit into peoples lives outside of the vigil creating possibilities and, from my experience, the reality of respectful shared exchanges that grow understanding and connection. Peoples who often would not come across each other are meeting, and relationships and learnings growing. Within our differences we share and re-humanize ourselves and our connections with others.

I’ve just read the following article “who are the Hazara’s”,(see link below) about the protest/vigil that followed the terrifying and deadly February bombing of Hazara’s in Pakistan. The attempted genocide of Hazara’s is horrific and continued yet the Australian Government continues to actively stop Hazara people from escaping Pakistan, and from finding safety in this country. This article is both troubling and inspiring. Within it is such strength and compassion. I think it is a must-read.

From the article:
Even though the protest was initially met by inattention and unconcern, their fortitude and perseverance eventually started attracting attention. It was not long before Pakistanis of all backgrounds joined the protest; outnumbering even the Hazaras and Shias. It was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that everyone participated in a protest, which was for a racially and religiously distinct group. Here was a new history in the making. Here was a protest which was history’s most nonviolent and peaceful one with dead bodies lying un-buried unless justice was dispensed.

Do follow this link and read:
‘“Who are the Hazaras?”, Asked the Wondering Australian’ August 17, 2013 | Hazara Netizens Watch http://hnwonline.net/2013/08/who-are-the-hazaras-the-man-asked/

You may also be interested in the hazara asylum seekers website – see link below:

On the 24th of August there will be a big rally in Melbourne. A number of people are going from Bendigo and I am hoping that there will be a crowd from Castlemaine as well. The group from Bendigo will be gathering at the Bendigo Station and have invited the media to attend. I would love it if there were also a group from Castlemaine who met at the station prior to the departure of the 10:53am train to Melbourne so we too can also invite the local media. Building a presence in as many ways as possible is important. If you are able to come please let me know via a message on fb or on this site or drop in to the vigil.

I will be on the steps of the Castlemaine Market Building from 5pm – 6.30pm tomorrow, Monday the 19th of August. Thea will be there Tuesday and I will return for Wednesday and Thursday. Not sure yet who will be sitting on Friday yet. Hope to see you there.

janet galbraith

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