LETTERS: Welcome economic migrants

Parody posters of the government's "Boat, No Visa" campaign.

It's 200 years too late to stop the boats. Almost everyone of non-Indigenous origin is an economic migrant or a refugee. Greeks left Egypt in the 1950-1970s because the government passed laws decreeing that only 15% of any company's wages could be paid to non-Egyptians.

The laws were meant to help poorer Arabs get jobs, but they also resulting in one overpaid European company manager pocketing the 15% while refusing to employ any of his fellow Europeans.

In those days Australia welcomed such "economic" refugees from Egypt, many of whom were multi-lingual and highly skilled, and went on to become community leaders.

If the current immigration laws had been around in the post-war era, many of these migrants would not have been able to contribute effectively to Australia. In fact many children of migrants like myself would have been born in immigration detention centres.

Green Left Weekly, keep the myth-buster articles coming!

Helen Said
Melbourne, Vic

Israeli army commits another callous murder

In the early morning of July 2, 2013, the Israeli army invaded the town of Dura, near Hebron. As the Israeli forces moved into the town they fired live bullets, sound bombs and tear gas at a group of young men who had gathered.

Some of the youths responded by throwing stones at the occupation soldiers. During the clashes, in another display of excessive use of lethal force, a young Palestinian civilian, 19-year-old Mo’ataz Abdel Fatah al-Sharawnah, was killed. He was not one of the youths throwing stones.

According to an investigation carried out by the Palestine Centre for Human Rights and evidence from several witnesses, after clashes broke out, Israeli soldiers got out of their vehicles and chased the young men into the centre of town, firing at them.

Mo’ataz Abdel Fatah al-Sharawnah was hit by a sound bomb to the chest from about 18 metres and fell to the ground. His nephew, Bahaa Abdel Fatah al-Sharawnah, tried to rescue him but was shot at by the Israeli soldiers. He sustained a bullet wound to the shoulder and was arrested a few minutes later by Israeli Special Forces.

Meanwhile, a number of Israeli soldiers gathered around Mo’ataz who was dying on the ground and they beat him and violently stepped on his chest and stomach. The Israeli soldiers then left and Mo’ataz was comforted by a number of youths until an ambulance from the Palestine Red Crescent Society arrived. 

Mo’ataz was then taken to Hebron Hospital where he died soon after arrival. According to medical sources at the hospital, Mo’ataz sustained a deep cut in the chest and bruises and died due to extensive bleeding.  

“Sharawnah was killed though he did nothing wrong. We hold the occupation authorities responsible for what has happened and what might happen as a result,” Hebron Mayor Kamel Hamid told Palestinian radio.

Violence in the West Bank has risen since the beginning of 2013. According to Palestinian rights groups, at least 16 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the first half of 2013. This is compared with three killed on the West Bank in the same period in 2012, according to The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The Palestine Centre for Human Rights said in a statement it “expresses deep concern for such crimes which reflect the continued use of excessive force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in disregard for their lives. PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate and effective actions to put an end to such crimes.”

I urge those seriously concerned about the escalating repression and use of lethal force by the Israeli forces to do as much as possible to make others aware of the situation in the West Bank, to talk to people, to post information on Facebook, to write letters to the press and politicians, etc, to express your indignation at the plight of the Palestinians living under this brutal occupation. Speak out against this and other Israeli crimes.
Steven Katsineris.
Melbourne, Vic

Single mums suffering

I refer to Lisette Salkavich’s article “My experience as a single mum on Newstart”. I was profoundly touched by it. I found her decision to keep the child showed extraordinary moral strength when she knew what the difficulties would be.

I am a Catholic, and have been an active Vinnies member for many years. We see many sad stories in Vinnies but Lisette’s experience “takes the cake”.

I am filled with anger at the system that has made Lisette and her little boy and those in her similar situation suffer so dreadfully.  

Margaret Mclellan
Cardiff, NSW

Weapons made in Bankstown

It has come light that Quickstep company, which is a manufacturer of carbon fibre products, based in Bankstown, is making parts for the Lockheed Martin F35 Joint Strike Fighter.

This aircraft is to be purchased by the Australian Defence Force (at enormous expense). There are many questions about the wisdom of the purchase and the actual worth of the aircraft. These featured in the ABC’s Four Corners program of February 18.
Whilst the contract must be highly valuable to Quickstep and its employees, members of the public should be aware of what is being manufactured in their vicinity, and for what purpose. They might even wonder whether this sort of manufacturing enterprise puts them at risk of some sort of terrorist action.
Carbon fibre is, without doubt, an excellent product with many uses beneficial to us all. However, the benefit of its use in the F35, a device which has the sole purpose of destroying human life, is open to question.
Nick Deane
On behalf of Marrickville Peace Group
Marrickville, NSW

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