‘Hostage Happening’ protest to free refugees on Manus and Nauru

Thanks for the profile of Rev. Bill Crews. I am pleased to say I am a volunteer, one shift a week, at Rev. Bill’s excellent Exodus Foundation.

The Reverend was kind enough to endorse our “Hostage Happening”, to free the refugee-hostages on Manus and Nauru, who have been there for five terrible years, with 11 deaths. There are about 1500 people that our government and opposition have trapped there in wretched conditions. It has been condemned by the UN, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. Unfortunately their acts of resistance are not ‘news’ to the ABC or the other networks, so it is easy to forget the Australian gulag archipelago, full of innocent people. Neither has the international condemnation of what we are doing been properly reported by the ABC. I say hats off to the Saturday Paper, that has been keeping this matter front and centre nearly every week. And well done to that publication that has published the words of Behrouz Boochani and others held captive. Perhaps Insights could do the same.

Please support our weekly protest, the “Hostage  Happening”, at the Queen Victoria statue in front of the QVB in Sydney. It is at 5.30pm every Friday (until they are free). All are welcome.

The protest is also endorsed by Rev. Margaret Mayman of Pitt St. Uniting Church, also Julian Burnside QC (see his film, Border Politics), John Pilger, and Noam Chomsky. It is for the  human rights of refugees, and against the politics of fear. Anyone who supports this is welcome to bring their banner or placard and use our megaphone.

I don’t like to make a long letter longer… ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’ (Shakespeare) but this statement by Noam Chomsky, US linguist and activist, I believe, nails it:

“The true measure of the moral level of a society is how it treats the most vulnerable people. Few are as vulnerable as those who have fled to Australia in terror and are locked away without charge, their terrible fate veiled in secrecy. We may not be able to do much, beyond lamenting, about North Korean prisons. But we can do a great deal about severe  human rights violations right within reach.”

I would like to thank the people from Pitt St. Uniting Church who come to the Happening when they can: Vivien, Rebecca, Des, Horst and Lizzy. And thanks to Rev. Margaret for her moral support.

Together we will end this abomination which is Australia’s violation of the rights of people we are obliged, morally and by the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, to help.

Keep up the good work.

Wali (‘See you later’, in Walmajarri).

Stephen Langford OT (Order of Timor).




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