Anarchy, Christianity, Terrorism and the Easter Baxter demos.
My father is generally supportive of "conservative" politics, and I am a queer anarchist. He has been an elder in the Uniting Church, and we have rarely if ever discussed religion. But the gospels tell of a Christ who denounced the hypocritic authorities of church and state, and so I told my father that I think Christ would speak out for the children and other people imprisoned for seeking sanctuary.
His blustering stopped, and he admitted the government had gone too far, and was critical of Vanstone (the minister overseeing the concentration camps). I don't know if he went as far as doubting the can-do-no-wrongness of Howard, but for the first time he expressed sympathy with those treated brutally by Howard's government, and actually listened to me when I told him about the real nature of the demonstrators.
There were about four hundred demonstrators, and yes, maybe five of those people were young bucks out for a biffo with the coppers, but the rest of us, at least three hundred and ninety five of the four hundred, were there to peacefully demonstrate sympathy with those imprisoned, and draw the attention of our fellow citizens to the cruel practices being perpetrated by their government, in the hope that with enough public sympathy for the asylum seekers, the government will stop this inhumanity.
We sung songs, flew kites and balloons, and held a silent prayer vigil at the gates of the concentration camp. We had to get closer than the small metre high outside fence so that the refugees could hear our songs and chants, and this brought the Darth Vader storm troopers out, because they do not want our support to be heard by the people the authorities are demoralising. (There was no danger of us breaking into the actual detention centre, a block fortress surrounded by a very high electrified razor wire fence.)
I was terrified when the line of police horses moved in to the crowd I was linked in, but elated when I learned that if you are a wall of people, you are more powerful than the armoured thugs on horseback. It was a moment of fear and trust and faith, and then the elation of an answered prayer, an apparent miracle. The horses stopped, having no place to go unless they deliberately trampled us, and they would no sooner step on a human than they would step on their own kin. They're vegetarians, remember, peaceniks.
The government has done its best to hide the concentration camps from the public, sticking Baxter in the middle of the desert to make it difficult for people to visit or protest, getting out the armed and armed police to attack civilians denouncing their evil, and buzzing the people with a big star wars helicopter drowning out our songs of peace. But we persisted, and we were heard, and we gained media coverage to raise the public's awareness of the evil in our midst.
I'm not overstating the case here. The concentration camps inter people who have done no wrong, who are imprisoned indefinitely in the middle of a desert was just because they fled their own countries to save their lives, and sought sanctuary in our country. Our government says it is a successful policy because it deters other people from seeking asylum here. That's what terrorism is: Doing something horrific to influence how other people act. And that's what this detention policy is. Which ironically makes us protestors the REAL anti-terrorist squad.
Please, don't support the evil things being done to human beings in the name of "war against terror". Join us in opposing terrorism, especially as practiced by our government, with our tax dollars. Join us in insisting that our country treats all people humanely, and that our immigration practices are compassionate. Or, if you like, caring and Christian.
Australians all let us give voice
For we should all be free
Indigenous or migrant born
Or fresh from overseas
These concentration camps
Do not belong in this country
Nor does it seem a Christian thing
To do to refugees
For how we treat the least of us
Is how far we are fair, or free
Queer Anarchist Hippy Hindu Bhuddhist Tantrika Taoist Christian Yogini
The Block, Redfern.