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Was I a Stranger in My Homeland? By Malavi Sivakanesan Xlibris, 2013 Malavi Sivakanesan was eight years old in 2003 when her father, a Tamil dentist living in exile in Norway, went back to his homeland in Sri Lanka to set up a mobile dental clinic. He not only carried out dental work himself, but also trained local people to continue after he left. At the time, there was a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Before the 2007 federal election, former Labor minister and ex-party president Barry Jones made a striking analogy between the ALP’s factionalism and its predilection for selling public assets. He said: “The ALP has been privatised and factions are majority and minority stakeholders, run by professional managers, some now in the third generation.” Less than 18 months later, Queensland Labor Premier Anna Bligh won a state election on a platform that made no mention of privatisation.
Three quarters of Victorians believe improvements in public transport are more important than the construction of the East West Link. Although its stated aim is to ease congestion, in particular on one of Melbourne’s most congested roads, a government report revealed late last year that it would actually attract more cars and trucks and consequently increase traffic.
El Salvador joined four other Latin American countries in recalling its ambassador from Tel Aviv in protest against Israel’s bloody attack on the Gaza Strip, on July 30. Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru have all recalled their diplomatic representatives to Israel.
It is now two and a half months since budget night. Remember Treasurer Joe Hockey and Mathias Corman smoking cigars, satisfied and smug after doing a job on Australian workers, pensioners and the poor? The government got a free pass when the Appropriation Bills were waved through by the ALP and the Greens, despite calls to block the budget from within the Greens and strong public sentiment expressed at the March in May rallies. Only independent MP Andrew Wilkie and Palmer United Party (PUP) MP Clive Palmer were prepared to vote against the bills.
The Pentagon announced its approval on July 30 for unlocking a huge stockpile of ammunitions for use by the Israeli Defense Forces. It came as the IDF continued to pummel civilians inside the Gaza Strip, as the death toll neared 1400 people — a majority of whom are civilians, including almost 300 children.
The National Tertiary Education Union released this statement on July 31. *** The University of Sydney is in the midst of a major cutback to campus library services, with plans to remove collections from four libraries: Medical, Dentistry, Badham and Camden, restrict access to libraries for undergraduates and outsource technical services. Sixty percent of employees face redundancy. The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said the changes will result in a serious degradation to the university’s ability to meet the library needs of its students and researchers.
“This is not a war. It is genocide,” reads a popular slogan on homemade signs at protests against Israel’s current attack on the Gaza Strip.  The body count is enough to illustrate the one-sidedness of the violence. For the first nine days of their assault, Israeli forces pounded the besieged territory from the land, sea and air, but did not send forces in. About 250 people were killed in these nine days. Only one was Israeli.
"Is that the truth, or did you read it in the Murdoch press?" is a well-known slogan in social media these days. Public confidence in the mainstream media generally is at an all-time low. Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop have been reborn as international statespeople over the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine, if you can believe the coverage in the Australian mainstream media. Only in Green Left Weekly will you read the truth that the government have been exploiting the tragedy to deflect attention from an unpopular budget.
This was a speech given to the rally for Palestine in Melbourne on July 26. *** Over the past few weeks we have seen two major horrific events. Firstly Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 shot down over the Ukraine and 298 innocent people were killed. This horrific event has been thoroughly condemned by many world leaders. Many of the Western world leaders have called for retribution against the Russian separatists and for retribution against Russia. Many Western leaders want embargoes against Russia some from the US Senate and Congress even want war with Russia.
This article is based on a speech given by comedian and actor Nazeem Hussain, from Fear of a Brown Planet and SBS's Legally Brown, to a rally for Palestine in Melbourne on July 26. *** Indigenous people of Australia will no doubt relate far too well to Palestinians, for they are also a people whose country was stolen from them when the British invaded and created the idea of “Australia” on their country.
The campaign to save the homes of public housing tenants at the historic inner city suburb of Millers Point is growing. The NSW Coalition government is pressing ahead with its plan to sell nearly 300 public housing residences, in the face of determined opposition from the community and supporters. The government has successfully pressured some residents to relocate to other public housing areas, but many of the Millers Point tenants are holding firm and refusing to move.
The Tony Abbott government's "asset recycling" bill — in effect an incentive for the privatisation of public property by state governments — has been stalled in the Senate. Amendments moved by the Greens and the ALP were declared unacceptable by the government so parliament went into the winter recess before the bill was voted on.
The Students for Women Only Services Group held a vigil in Sydney on July 24 to protest against the recent decision to defund specialist women’s and children’s refuge centres in NSW. The vigil was attended by about 300 people. Speakers included Asian Australian Alliance convener Daphne Lowe Kelley, United Muslim Women Association CEO Maha Abdo, NSW Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi and Labor MLC Sophie Cotsis.
Joko Widodo, or “Jokowi” as he is popularly known, was confirmed by Indonesia’s electoral commission on July 22 as the winner of the presidential elections. Jokowi defeated, sacked Suharto-era general Prabowo Subianto, by 57% to 43% of the nearly 130 million direct votes cast on July 9. Prabowo has sought to challenge the result. However, supporters of Jokowi, whose campaign aroused enthusiasm among ordinary people hoping for change from elite-dominated politics, are intent on defending what they see as a chance for significantly more democratic reform.
Lock the Gate released this statement on July 29. *** A group of 20 residents living near the proposed Santos Narrabri Gas Project in northwest NSW have returned home in a state of shock after a tour of coal seam gas developments in Queensland. The group took a flight over extensive gasfields south of Chinchilla, spent six hours driving through Santos' “Fairview” gasfields northeast of Roma and have returned determined to prevent a similar invasion in northwest NSW.

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