Hadestown Anais Mitchell CD, Righteous Babe Records The “folk opera” Hadestown is an interpretation of the ancient Greek myth of the poet Opheus’ doomed quest to rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld. It is set in a near-future post-apocalyptic US, beset by ecological and economic disaster. Orpheus, representing all poets, believes in the healing power of nature, but his wife is seduced by the promises of the huckster Hades.
Tamil and refugee rights groups have demanded the Rudd government reverse its suspension of refugee claims from Sri Lanka. This follows the release of an international report that provided more evidence that the decision to suspend the claims was based on a lie. The International Crisis Group (ICG) released War Crimes in Sri Lanka on May 17, a report into the Sri Lankan Army’s assault on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the entire Tamil population in the country’s north and east between January and May last year.
The land around Muckaty Station, 120km north of Tennant Creek, was nominated in 2007 as a possible nuclear waste dump site by the Northern Land Council. A small group of traditional owners, hoping for a combination of cash and improved services like roads, housing and education, agreed. Many other traditional owners remain opposed to the plan and have been highly critical of the process and approach taken by resources minister Martin Ferguson. Labor simply repackaged John Howard’s racist laws for the dump.
Gunns Limited and the entire forest industry in Tasmania is in crisis. Gunns chairperson John Gay, and fellow board member and former state premier Robin Gray have resigned from the company’s board. They were pressured to resign by major shareholders after Gunns posted a 98% loss in half yearly profit in February this year, the April 23 Hobart Mercury reported. Their profit was just $400,000 — down from $33.6 million at the same time last year.
Five young queer artists — the Centrepiece Collective — were evicted by Marrickville Council from the abandoned former nurses quarters at the old Marrickville hospital on May 18. The artists set up a work and refuge space in the “nurses quarters” in the inner west in April. Sydney's rental market is prohibitive and, for artists, studio art space is an added burden. The multi-storied building had been vacant for 15 years.
Recently declassified documents from US archives have shed further light on the extent of US complicity in Guatemalan human rights crimes, one of Latin America’s most brutal examples of population control. The hard-working farmers of Dos Erres, in Peten department, had never asked for much — just a few acres of recently-cleared land from which to scratch a meagre living in a country racked by violence.
MELBOURNE — Protesters added their voices to the international day of solidarity with the democracy movement in Thailand on May 20, gathering outside the offices of Thai Airways. May 20 is the anniversary of the end of Black May in 1992, when the Thai government used the military against thousands of pro-democracy protesters. The rally demanded the military end its repression, not just for the sake of Thai workers, but because it gave confidence to other governments to use force against workers everywhere.
“One of the great scandals of Australia's history: Aboriginal labour in the 20th century”, was a the title of a lecture by Dr Ros Kidd in the Queensland Trades and Labour building on May 20. The Alex Macdonald Memorial Lecture attracted about 80 people. It was organised by the Brisbane Labour History Association and sponsored by the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU). Kidd's latest book, Trustees on Trial, documents the abuse and misappropriation of Aboriginal wages during the last century. "The fight for justice is still going on”, Kidd said.
US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh told an audience at a journalism conference in April that American soldiers are now executing prisoners in Afghanistan, a May 12 Rawstory.com article said. Hersh helped break the story that US jailers were torturing detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. In 1969, Hersh broke the story of the My Lai massacre by US forces in Afghanistan. At the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Geneva, Hersh said US forces are engaged in “battlefield executions”.
A customs officer at Melbourne airport has said the passport of the Australian founder of Wikileaks will be cancelled “soon”. Julian Assange, formerly from Melbourne, now stays in several countries while running the high-profile Wikileaks website. He usually avoids publicity, but became famous in April when his site released a classified video of US forces laughing after killing 12 people in Iraq, including two staff from the news agency Reuters.