The Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on March 9. * * * A 34 year-old Iranian refugee on Nauru was savagely attacked by two Nauruans on March 5 at about 10pm. Two Nauruans on a motor cycle approached the man who was walking alone near the Nibok settlement. The man was struck across the top of the head by a machete, while the attacking Nauruans said, “Fuck refugees”. The Iranian man was left with a deep head wound that required 8 stitches.
French President Francois Hollande awarded his country's most prestigious award, the Legion of Honour, to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef on March 4 for “countering extremism and fighting terrorism,” the Saudi Press Agency reported. This understandably received criticism from Human Rights Watch, but its grisly irony passed was largely shrugged off by the Western media and political establishment. The HRW statement referenced Saudi Arabia's appalling human rights record. But it did not mention the year-long Saudi-led air war in neighbouring Yemen that has killed thousands.
The NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee is keen on new anti-protest laws in NSW. He claims to be concerned about the safety of the workers as well as the protesters “illegally accessing mine sites”. Mining and Energy Minister Antony Roberts has been a little more blunt: he says the new law is aimed at better enforcing the protection of private property and “lawful business activity”. Most, however, can see through the spin.
Childcare workers chained themselves to the entrance doors of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Melbourne office on International Women's Day, March 8 to demand better pay for the mainly women who work in the industry. The protesters said the 150,000 childcare workers nationally were "woefully" underpaid compared with other educators.
The powers-that-be in NSW have deemed that there are so many examples of “unsafe protest activities” across the state that, to make everyone safe, we need new laws that will protect “lawful business activity”. Protesters will be able to be jailed for up to seven years for “intentionally” or “recklessly” interfering with a “mine” — the definition of which has been changed to include an exploratory or test site.
Aboriginal activist and writer Ken Canning will head the Socialist Alliance NSW Senate ticket — For a People's Movement — in the coming federal election. “I've joined this election campaign to build a people's movement to free all our communities from the tyranny of the old big parties which have been bought out by the rich and the multinational corporations.
My Friend Hugo, a moving film tribute to former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made by well-known Hollywood director Oliver Stone, was screened at the Resistance Centre on March 4 to mark the third anniversary of the death of the leader of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela. The showing was organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) and the Latin American Social Forum (LASF), with the support of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Australia.
Hundreds of people marched for International Women's Day in Melbourne on March 8.
A recent cartoon by Bill Leake in The Australian gave me a good chuckle, although not for the reason you might expect. Captioned “The Road to Ruin” and featuring references to the recently published book of the same name, there was Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at his local newsagent picking up “his” morning papers, sighing while saying “just the papers thanks”. The papers were the Sydney Star Observer with the headline “Marriage Equality special edition” and tucked in behind it was a copy of Green Left Weekly.
Hail, Caesar Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes Written & directed by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen In cinemas There must be something in the zeitgeist. Within weeks, two Hollywood movies have come out referencing the left-wing victims of the McCarthyite period of US anti-communist witch-hunting — the Hollywood 10. But while Jay Roach's Trumbo takes a realistic view of the case and is sympathetic towards the victims, the Coen brothers Hail, Caesar is wild, wacky and hilariously disrespectful of everyone.
Human rights activists protested the visit to Melbourne on March 7 of Israeli war criminal Benny Gantz. “We will always live by our sword,” declared Lieutenant General Gantz on his retirement as Chief of General Staff of the Israel Occupation Forces, 12 months ago. Gantz led two major Israeli military offensives against Palestinians. Operation Protective Edge killed 2200 Palestinians, including 500 children and left tens of thousands of Gaza residents homeless.
Joe Solo is a “folk, punk and blues” artist from north Yorkshire, who sings about how it is in working-class Britain, without all the pretence and romance.