Bloody Sunday

One of the most chilling and hair-raising experiences of my life was listening to the audio recordings of the 1972 ‘Bloody Sunday’ massacre in Derry, Northern Ireland. The screams and calls for help of those involved is something I will never forget.

For those unfamiliar with the event, more than a dozen Irish Catholics were gunned down by British paratroopers whilst involved in a Civil Rights march. All they wanted was the right to be able to vote on the same basis as their Protestant neighbours, something they had been actively denied since 1921.

The British Army claimed that operatives belonging to the paramilitary organisation the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had fired on the soldiers, using the marchers as cover. This has since been proven false, after attempts at a cover up. What the British Army engaged in that day was State-sanctioned murder.

44 years have passed since that horrific day, and I pray the North of Ireland will never experience the likes of which again. Northern Ireland now operates as a democratic pluralist polity, governed by a provincial power-sharing Administration. Although, tensions remain, this arrangement ensures Catholics can never be treated with such blatant prejudice ever again. Perhaps by the marchers’ deaths, others have had the chance to live. I hope and pray this is the case.

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Power of the Petition pt. 2: The Day we Beat Chapman

I wasn’t expecting to write a sequel to my last blog, but things have a funny way of turning out sometimes.

After being made aware that the Foundry Hotel Complex in Bendigo was going to host One Nation’s Victorian Senate campaign launch, I took it upon myself to draft a petition demanding that the Foundry cancel the event. And they did; after a few phone calls were made and Facebook messages left by some of my acquaintances.

It was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. Elise Chapman’s bid for a Victorian Senate seat has suffered a setback. But the job is not done. Pressure must be maintained. Should One Nation, Pauline Hanson or Chapman try to relocate their campaign launch to another venue, said venue must be made aware of the community’s disgust at the idea of hosting such a vile collection of racists and xenophobes.

Hey Elise, how’s life?

 

Power of the Petition

I was once told by a student that online petitions get “nowhere in Australia”.

I disagreed then, and I disagree now.

Several months ago Australian TV presenter Samantha Armytage made a horrific racist comment, that clearly left her co-host taken aback. Armytage and her co-host were interviewing a pair of non-identical twins; one dark-skinned and the other light-skinned. One child had taken on the racial attributes of the father, and the other had taken on the attributes of the mother. Armytage responded “good on her” to the light-skinned twin.

An online petition from Change.org appeared demanding an apology, which Armytage subsequently gave. So petitions go nowhere? Clearly not. Whilst I personally believe Armytage should have been sacked, I take some solace in the fact that this petition- which gained more than 3,000 signatories- helped procure an apology.

Publicists tried to pass off the comment: ‘Sam has always admitted that her own fair complexion was a disadvantage in the Australian environment. We apologise if anyone misunderstood or if they were offended.’ I smell bullshit.

Even so, let us not forget the power of a petition, even in this day and age. Next time however, I hope that petition procures a more acceptable outcome.

 

Sources: Sunrise; Daily Mail; news.com.au; smh.com.au.

R.I.P RUQIA HASSAN

Reports are flooding in that 30 year-old Syrian journalist Ruqia Hassan, who wrote under the pen name of Nissan Ibrahim, was executed by IS in September 2015.

After the city of Raqqa was captured by IS forces in 2013 she refused to leave. Instead, Hassan chose to document life in the occupied region. She was outspoken, and critical of the extremist regime, something that many Syrians are terrified to even contemplate. Via social media she made her views on IS known the world over. Hassan had little time for the strict social rules enforced by them. Unfortunately, her dissident activity brought her to the attention of the extremist organisation.

IS suspected Hassan of communicating with the Free Syrian Army. This led to her incarceration, and eventual execution on a charge of ‘espionage’.

May this brave human being rest in peace, and forever be remembered as a true hero.

 

Sources: the Independent; the Guardian; the Daily Mail.