Northern Territory communities redouble calls for ceasefire

November 18, 2023
Protesting for Palestine on November 17. Photo: Stephen W Enciso

Approximately 500 people gathered at the Darwin Esplanade on November 17 to demand federal Labor call for an immediate ceasefire. Labor has limited itself to calling for a humanitarian “pause”.

“A pause for genocide so that Palestinian civilians can be fed and hydrated to be massacred again?” is how Maryam Razi from United Muslims of the Northern Territory put it. “Since when did we take pauses from being human?,” she asked.

More than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed since October 7, including nearly 5000 children. Israel’s attack on the Al-Shifa hospital has further endangered the lives of premature babies and medical workers.

Dr Asim Razi, who chaired the rally, said: “Every day a child dies, humanity dies.” Imam Sheryar Zafar, from the Islamic Society of Palmerston, echoed the sentiment. “We all are here under just one flag and that’s the flag of humanity.”

Calls were made to put the genocide in Gaza into its historical context. “This is a war that’s being waged against the Palestinians and it has been waged for over 100 years now, and what you see now on TV is just a part of the process,” said medical practitioner Dr Sarmad Akkach.

Israel is systematically attempting to ethnically cleanse Palestinians through settler colonialism.

“The act of genocide being committed by Israel and other colonial powers is deliberate,” said Mililma May from Uprising of the People. “They are intentional. They are calculated. They are crimes.”

Maryam Razi from United Muslims of the NT spoke about her disappointment with Luke Gosling, federal MP for Solomon, who has refused to meet constituents and refused to act on a community petition calling on him to support a ceasefire.

“When his government’s lack of action is causing deaths and trauma to thousands, they chose to hold a $5000-a-head fundraising dinner in attendance by our Prime Minister, while thousands of Indigenous Palestinians were carpet bombed in their rightful land.”

Suki Dorras-Walker from the NT Greens also tried to meet with Gosling. “His response? To close his office to us, turn off the phones and ignore our calls and emails. This is because they know that this position in supporting genocide, in saying nothing while we are all watching in horror as thousands are being slaughtered, is completely indefensible.”

Razi called on Gosling to join the Labor backbenchers who have publicly called for a ceasefire. “We have to do whatever it takes to bring it to our governments around the world to stop this craziness,” said Larrakia Elder June Mills in her Welcome to Country.

Naish Gawen from Territorians for Palestine urged divestment from the military-industrial complex. “Israel thrives on and indeed requires the financial, military, diplomatic and moral support of the West to carry out its genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.”

Labor this year has agreed to 52 defence export permits to Israel: 322 such permits have been approved over the last 6 years.

“We must oppose our government. We must do it with actions, words, everything at our disposal,” Akkach said. “If this carries on and Palestinians are ethnically cleansed from Gaza because they have full support to do so, that’s us who has ethnically cleansed them.”

[Sign up to receive updates about the campaign here.]

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.