A group of women asylum seekers share their reasons for seeking protection from Australia and their dismay and despair at being transferred to Manus Island. Their letters are reprinted below unedited. *** Letter 1 I am a 33 years old Iranian woman and I have a son, nine years old. We had to leave Iran because of the personal hardship that I experienced there.
Over 150 people attended a public rally to demand a memorial and park to commemorate two Aboriginal freedom fighters, Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner, on January 20 in Melbourne. Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were the first two men executed in Melbourne on January 20, 1842. The rally was addressed by various activists, including anarchist Joseph Toscano and Socialist Alliance member Davie Thompson. Toscano said the two men were among 16 Tasmanian Aborigines brought to Melbourne in 1839 to be “civilised.”
Prominent Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell has renewed calls for Aboriginal Australians to take to the streets in light of Canada's growing Idle No More movement. The campaign has had thousands of First Nations people march through major cities of Canada following their government's introduction of contentious legislation impacting Native Treaty rights. Mansell says it's time for people in Australia to take "more direct action" on Indigenous issues.
Venezuela's Vice-President Nicolas Maduro and government ministers marched with up to one million people on January 23 to defend the Bolivarian revolution, which has signficantly reduced poverty and promoted new forms of participatory democracy, on the country's Democracy Day. The right-wing opposition march turned out to be a small rally. Further, sectors of the far right have called on the armed forces to resist what they referred to as the “invasion” of “Castro-communism” in Venezuela.
Indian socialist feminist Kavita Krishnan spoke to Green Left TV's Pip Hinman about the new movement against gender violence in India. Kavita is Secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) and has been a leading activists in the campaign that has swept India (and beyond) since the brutal gang rape of a woman student in Delhi in a public bus. The woman, badly injured in the attack, died two weeks later despite being flown to Singapore for treatment. Her male companion, who was also severely assaulted, survived. Six suspects are being tried.
France, the former slave power of west Africa, has poured into Mali with a vengeance in a military attack launched on January 11. French warplanes are bombing towns and cities across the vast swath of northern Mali, a territory measuring some one thousand kilometres from south to north and east to west. French soldiers in armoured columns have launched a ground offensive, beginning with towns in the south of the northern territory, some 300 kilometres north and east of the Malian capital of Bamako.