Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Back to stand up for something I believe

I thought a while ago that I would like to get back to blogging again - to writing social, cultural and political commentary again.

So much seemed to make me what to have a say, to speak out, yet made me feel that words – any self expression – was really so inadequate. The enormity of so much that was happening – the tsunami, the war in Iraq, the 'war on terror', the ill-treatment of assylum seekers in Australia, hurrican Katrina – made mouthing off in a blog that no one reads seem pretty dumb. A lot of the time, I didn't know where to start, how to capture what was happening, what I thought about it, or what could be done.

So, it took a while to come around to decide to start again.

The thing that clinched it was the news that ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) had declared the visiting American peace activist Scott Parkin a 'threat to national security', and on that basis Immigration had revoked his visitor's visa and was about to deport him.

The Australian Federal Police arrested Scott on Saturday 10 September on his way to giving a workshop on non-violent direct action (he's a bit of a non-violence exponent, according to the activist chatter and media) in Melbourne. He has been in the Melbourne remand centre since then. The news is that Scott will be deported on Thursday 15 September.

What helped to galvanise me was John Faine's suggestion (the journalist on ABC's 774 Radio Melbourne who has probably
given the most coveraged to this story) that this was a litmus test – that the Australian government was waiting to see if we (the public) were going to jack-up about a peace activist being deported like this, and if not, it then signalled that the government could get away with its new security legislation.

The response in support of Scott has been great –
the left and peace activists have taken significant leadership on this, and it has not only galvanised me, but many others, to stand up and condemn this action by the Intelligence forces and their political masters in Australia.

This only highlights the dangers of the increased powers that the new 'increased' security legislation presented by the Howard government poses to our democratic rights: our freedom of speech, of assembly, of political affiliation etc, AND our right to engage in the political process through non-violent direct action.

Thinking about it, while so much seems too big, horrendous, cruel or inconceivable or down right petty to try to articulate a response to, some things, like this and
the botched US Fed's response to Hurricane Katrina, demand a response.

So, blog on.


Post a Comment

<< Home