Refugees

Rohingya refugees living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh are  just surviving, as they look towards the day when they can return to their homeland, writes Paul Gregoire.

Defend Medevac protest in Sydney on November 9.

Refugee rights activists rallied across Australia on November 9 to defend the Urgent Medical Treatment Bill (Medevac), which was passed in February.

The Refugee Action Collective organised a protest in Brisbane on November 9 to save the Medevac bill. The Medevac legislation applies to around 600 refugees in PNG and Nauru. It means that refugees who need medical care can receive it without political interference. The government plans to repeal the bill but doesn't seem to have the numbers to do so at this point.

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. Or, to be more precise, the border guards opened the gates and allowed crowds from East Berlin to cross into the west. People celebrated by climbing onto the wall and dancing.

The fall of the wall was widely seen as a victory for freedom. But things are not that simple.

In the three decades since 1989, new walls have gone up, and existing walls and other barriers to the free movement of people have been strengthened, in many parts of the world.

Australian Council of Trade Union’s president Michele O’Neil told an October 2 forum that the Coalition government’s attacks on refugees is a distraction from its failure to act on low wages, insecure work and climate change.

Fifty people rallied outside the Federal Court building on September 18, just before the opening of the appeal by the Tamil family from Biloela, in Queensland, against the government's plan to deport them to Sri Lanka.

A German boat captain faces a long and costly trial in Italy for charges targeting her humanitarian efforts on behalf of refugees. 

Captain Pia Klemp told Basler Zeitung on June 7 that her upcoming trial in Italy for years of efforts with the civilian lifeboat Iuventa that saved at least 1000 lives, will take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Klemp faces up to 20 years in prison, but whether or not she ends up in jail, she would challenge any conviction in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, if necessary. 

The highly topical musical Hadestown won eight awards at this year's annual Tony Awards ceremony in New York on June 9. The Tonys recognise excellence in live Broadway theatre.

Styx
Director Wolfgang Fischer, starring Susanne Wolff and Gedion Oduor Wekesa
English & German with English subtitles
Screening as part of the German Film Festival

The Styx was the name given by the ancient Greeks to the river dividing the land of the living from that of the dead, Hades. This film is a modern allegory for that journey.

This ensemble piece ranges over a series of time zones, travelling from the near future to the early 20th century, mostly in Australia, but also the Ellis Island immigration centre in New York. Its main segment is a deceptively simple, kitchen-sink style, family drama in which home truths are exposed and conventional dishonesties unravelled.

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