vigil – a necessary visible presence in this time of secrecy

castlemaine vigil 30th September 2013

It’s scarily windy here in Castlemaine tonight.  I am writing this late as the wind has made it impossible for me to sleep. Ourghhh I feel – may there be no boats out in windy seas tonight, may the seas be calm and kind.  And those on Manus and Nauru – may the winds be low.  In a tent or makeshift shelter these winds would be terrifying.

Sitting the vigil this evening I was, of course, thinking of those little children, their families, their mothers, their sisters, brothers, fathers, aunties …. I was thinking of all those who drowned off the coast of Java after Australia refused to respond to calls for help – many calls for help.  These people were murdered by invader-australier – there is no other way i can see it.

I will write up a petition to the UN and other bodies to protest and report on the Australian Governments violations of human rights and war crimes.  For this Government has declared war on both Indigenous Australians and people fleeing persecution and seeking asylum.

I think the last time I wrote about the vigil i was asking myself – and others – what worth there is in it.  I am very clear now.  At this time of limiting information, media white-outs and state secrecy the vigil’s presence is a reminder of the un-named human rights abuses and terrors and deaths being carried out against refugees/asylum seekers by the invader-australier government and wilfully-(un)aware populace.  When ‘out of sight out of mind’ is the aim of these deathly policies a visible presence is necessary.

I have started following a couple of different information gatherers so that i can put as much information as possible on this blog about what is happening (or what information people on Christmas Island can obtain) in relation to the people smuggling (australian government’s secret smuggling of people) there – that is arrivals of peoples seeking asylum, deportations to Nauru, Manus Island or countries of origin etc.  You will find these under the category – “stop the white out – reporting refugees in boats arriving”.  If anyone has further info on this can you please let me know.

I will also get a whiteboard and be writing this info up to have at the vigil so that people can see it as they go by.

And there has been some further engagement – a woman on Castlemainia who is determined to stand against this tyranny.  And a man who stopped at the vigil the other night.  He and his friends – a car with 5 men in it – had driven by earlier and came back.  A man got out and came up to ‘see what this’ all about’.  He was ready to fight but for some reason we just started talking and he started saying ‘ya know I got some bias’ and ‘not everything on telly’s right i guess’.  We talked about how it is in Pakistan and Afghanistan for Hazara people (or my understandings of this anyway); and the terrors that Tamil people live with in Sri Lanka – and Iran and … And as he left he took some information on both Australia’s ever growing disdain for the human rights of refugees and what other alternatives there are, as well as information on Aboriginal deaths in custody.  He took quite a bit of information saying: ‘I will read them and pass them on’.  For me, this was a moment of renewed energy.

Come down to the vigil and sign the petition to Stop Deaths in Custody.  Other petitions will be ready in the next few days.

May those who have lost their loved ones feel our love.  May those who are in peril find safety, may those on Manus and Nauru and in detention throughout this continent be safe tonight.

Vigil runs Castlemaine Market Building Steps 5pm – 6.30pm each weekday evening. (unless one of us is unwell and we can’t find a fill in!!)

janet galbraith

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