Melton: A Firsthand Account

Melton was the site of yet another disgraceful bigoted protest by Reclaim Australia (RA). Their ranks bolstered by deluded Nationalists like the True Blue Crew (TBC) as well as Nazi skinheads.

They did not go unopposed however. There to meet them were the combined forces of Socialist Alternative (SA), Bendigo Action Coalition (BAC), Antifa, Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF), numerous ‘independents’ like myself, and others.

There were instances of sporadic violence throughout the day, as Nazis and RA cling-ons tried to infiltrate our ranks, and disrupt our protest. All were repelled. Victoria Police even attempted to unleash their cavalry on us. This was halted in spite of our ranks being doused in CS spray/foam. Many brave demonstrators, risking life and limb, put their bodies literally on the line, to hold back the advancing cavalry.

 

Our point was made. Bigotry will not be tolerated in Melton, or anywhere else in Australia for that matter.

The injuries sustained by our people (myself included) should be worn with pride. Each one is a badge of honour; whether they are CS burns, bruises, broken bones, split lips etc.

To each and every human being who came out to oppose the bigots, I salute you. I offer you my thanks, and my solidarity.

Tiocfaidh ár lá!

Social Media & Sympathy

I have held off making a blog/statement about the horrific attacks in Paris. It is generally better to take time to evaluate a situation. Jumping to conclusions, as we so often see, leads down the wrong path.

After much contemplation, I feel compelled to break my silence. In particular, the social media trend of melding one’s profile picture with the French tricolour has me twisted. Annoyed. Angered even. Why does the atrocity in Paris warrant the world’s sympathy more so than the countless other horrors and injustices being perpetrated throughout the world at this very moment?

I speak of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land; the mutilation of female genitalia by Christians, Jews and Muslims in central and southern Africa; the bombing of innocent civilians by Russian and American air-strikes in Syria; the two women a week who die as a result of domestic violence here in Australia; the list goes on and on.

We, as a species, cannot afford to be indifferent to any atrocity.

 

Sands of Time

Almost thirty-five years ago, Robert Gerard Sands, the Officer Commanding of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) inmates inside Long Kesh prison, near Belfast, Northern Ireland, began a hunger strike for political recognition. Sands didn’t want to die. Nor did the nine men who followed after him, but they did. All of them. Each starving himself to death, one after the other. The oldest man to sacrifice himself was Joe McDonnell aged only 30.

Their leader Bobby lasted sixty-six days without food, taking only water and salt for nourishment. He chose to die, rather than live with the label of criminal, which had been bestowed upon him by the British Government, for his activities as an Irish guerrilla fighter. It was his mission to see British-controlled Northern Ireland reunited with the independent Republic of Ireland to the south.

Bobby was a twenty-seven year old Catholic. He was a father, a brother, a son and a husband. At a young age, he and the rest of his family, were evicted from their home by hardline Protestants, who were supporters of the British Imperial presence in Ireland. At age seventeen he was forced out of work by further intimidation from Protestant Loyalists. Many of the other Hunger Strikers, before their incarcerations, had been exposed to similar acts of persecution.

I doubt many Gen-X or Y kids (outside of Northern Ireland) would recognise any of their names, or understand much of their individual stories. Despite the significant Catholic demographic worldwide. So why bother to write about Bobby Sands and his comrades at all? What do they have to offer current and future generations?

Quite simply, their deaths transcend concepts of Irishness or Catholicism. Instead, their sacrifice should be an example to all. Whether you agree with their politics/methods or not, their legacy speaks for itself. What will your legacy say about you?

As for my own legacy, if I were to die tomorrow, the most that could be said is that I am happily married and in the process of writing my PhD. To some these are significant accomplishments. I would argue that my accomplishments pale in comparison to that of Bobby’s, and the nine other men who gave their lives on hunger strike.

I have taken my lead from Bobby, a man I never knew, but have shed many a tear for nonetheless. Bobby’s sacrifice has impressed upon me the need to make this world a better place. As Bobby said himself, “Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular role to play”. Although, Bobby was referring to the Northern Irish conflict, his simple philosophy can be extended to every aspect of human life, anywhere in the world. We all have a role to play in building a better world, not only for ourselves, but for our children.

The fact that some human beings have to die to impress this upon the rest of us is truly saddening. It should be inherent in us all to strive for a better world, free of injustice. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as all that.

So I say to you, please, don’t let the sacrifice of Bobby Sands, and his nine companions, be in vain. Play your role.

In Defence of What?

I am struggling to remember a time when social media in Australia wasn’t dominated by posts lambasting Islam. The general theme present is almost always the erosion of ‘Australian culture’. Yet, the authors of such posts are generally unable to actually define what Australian culture is. I even know of one individual- born and raised in Australia- who couldn’t explain what the Australian flag represented, yet was horrified when it was burnt at a Reclaim Australia (RA) rally.

To be blunt, the only authentic form of Australian culture is that of the Indigenous population (which has been present on Australian soil for approximately 50,000 years). I say this because the Indigenous peoples have their own languages, dress, music, customs and religion/mythology; all of which were developed over many millennia. Non-Indigenous Australia has nothing to compare to this. Everything it holds dear has come from somewhere else.

So it is rather ironic when groups like RA screech about protecting the Australian way-of-life. What they don’t seem to realise is that in post-1788 Australia, the only way-of-life here is actually multiculturalism. I am sorry to be the one to break it to them. Furthermore, the Indigenous population had no avenue to recourse when European migration began, so what makes these bogans think they do when it comes to Muslims?

Oh and one last thing; I am sorry, but a Bluey, footy shorts, thongs, a mullet and can of VB is not culture, it is clear evidence of a lack thereof.

Why this Atheist is Prepared to Defend Religious Liberties

Generally, I am wary of labels. I try to avoid them at all costs, which is a difficult task these days, so to some extent it is unavoidable. Labels tend to segregate people; whether it is left-wing/right-wing or Christian/Muslim. I like to think of myself as simply a human being, whereas others desperately feel the need to apply specific labels in a desperate attempt to define themselves.

Although, I will admit I am comfortable with describing myself as an atheist, as well as a libertarian. The latter is one of few labels out there that doesn’t function to segregate the masses. Its core principal is respect for others. That is why as an individual who would prefer a world without a god- of any description- it would be hypocritical of me to force others to abandon their belief in the Divine. Put simply, it is just plain disrespectful.

So when I witness a group like the United Patriots Front (UPF) call for the extirpation of Islam from Australia, I rally to the side of my Muslim brothers and sisters (despite my objections to certain aspects of their beliefs). And I will continue to do so until the day god, is but an academic footnote contained within some dusty tome locked away in the deep dark recesses of the Earth.