Castlemaine Vigil in Recognition of Aboriginal Sovereignty and in Solidarity with Refugees
WEEK 10 AUGUST 18-24
Thank you to Narelle and Rob who sat the vigil on Friday evening.
The past week saw an increasing number of people fleeing persecution arrive in Australia by boat. The mainstream media no longer announces the numbers of people seeking safety in Australia! I guess this is to try to create the perception in the wider public that deterrence policies are stopping people fleeing unlivable circumstances!
Over this past week I have been very aware of Aunty Carmel Barry – Jaara Elder who passed away recently. I attended a commemoration of her life at the local Anglican Church this Sunday 25th August at midday. It was, for me, so good to hear stories of Aunty Carmel’s life that I did not know. I was especially struck by her important working role in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and of her invaluable way of working within the Melbourne Custody Centre- not least her way of creating strong and real relationships with the people being brought into custody.
Thank you to Rick Nelson for organizing this. And to Rev. Ken. Thank you to those who brought the photos, to all those who shared and to Sarah James and Ron Murray for the beautiful didj playing and honouring and gentle goodbye song for Aunty Carmel.
After the service I was thinking about unprecedented increase in the building of gaols and detention centres by Australia. And how without justice there is the fall back position that seems to be being taken of so-called ‘deterance’. I am thinking of this in the context of the huge increase in the incarceration of Indigenous women in Australia. This invader-Australia is truly demonstrating the indivisible links between its formation, dehumanization, torture, murder and imprisonment.
On Tuesday 20th August , 120 nautical miles north of Christmas Island, 106 people were rescued from a boat that was sinking.
Sadly 5 people are missing presumed drowned. Five people have died.
Those who survived will be sent to either Nauru or Manus Island – into horrible and unhealthy conditions, in an “atmosphere of fear and impunity”* overseen by invader-Australia. ‘Facilities’ that have been built and are operated in such a way that – ( according Mr St George – who worked for GS4, security on Manus Island and became a ‘whistleblower’) – if they were in Australia ”couldn’t even serve as a dog kennel. The owners would be jailed.”*
*(Mr Rod St George, SBS Dateline Interview transcribed on ABC Radio National July 24 2013)
The names of those who have died have not been released. This is a deliberate and political practice designed to create a false separation between the humanity of those who flee persecution and those who currently live in this continent.
To each of you who survived – I am sorry that you have not been cared for or afforded the respect and dignity that a humane society/populace would impart. I am sorry that you will be forced to try to survive inhumane circumstances. I am sorry that the trauma you have endured will not be recognized by the illegal rulers of this continent. I am sorry that you will likely be further traumatized. I am sorry that you will not feel the embrace of many of us who care about you.
To those whose loved ones died during this sinking – I am so sorry for this terrible loss – this loss that results from the inhumanity of invader-Australia. I am so sorry for your loss.
To those who drowned in these seas I send my love. I am sorry I do not know your names. I am sorry I do not know your homelands. I am sorry I do not know who, what and how you have loved. I am sorry that I do not know of the sorrows you have endured. I am sorry I do not know of the times you have danced. I do know though that you have been courageous people.
To each of you who died on Tuesday the 20th of August 2013 I will remember you
“and I think of each life as a flower, as common as a field daisy, and as singular
… and each body a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth”. – Mary Oliver
To those in Castlemaine, you are encouraged and welcomed to pay your respect to, and celebrate, this beautiful Jaara country and to honour the Jaara people and other Aboriginal peoples as well as Torres Strait Islander people by attending the PERMANENT RAISING of the ABORIGINAL FLAG (by Jaara Elder Rick Nelson) and the TORRES STRAIT ISLAND FLAG (by Uncle Phil Ahwang) at the new Civic Centre in Lyttleton Street this FRIDAY 30th AUGUST at 10.30am. The Meeting Place students will also offer their hospitality.