BY HEATHER MARR
& MARIANNE JAMIESON
ALBANY, Western Australia — On December 14, towns across Australia will celebrate their communities' support for refugees on temporary protection visas, who are threatened with deportation.
The Albany City Council is supporting an extravaganza in the local park. After being welcomed by local Aboriginal people, the local Catholic priest will speak about the ethos of compassion and sanctuary reflected in the nativity story about Jesus, who was a refugee (would the immigration department have given Jesus refugee status?).
Rafiq Alizadah will speak about the circumstances that have brought Hazara Afghans to Albany and to thank the community for their welcome. Former federal Liberal MP Fred Chaney will talk about the growing groundswell of support for refugees' rights throughout Australia. Entertainment, including song, music and dance, will reflect the diversity of Albany's vibrant community.
People from more than 100 towns and cities, in every state, have contacted Albany Community For Afghan Refugees in a huge show of common concern for refugees facing forced removal. In locations as diverse as Perth, Murray Bridge in South Australia, Dubbo in NSW and Toowoomba in Queensland, communities are simultaneously assembling to voice support.
From Green Left Weekly, December 3, 2003.
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