(posted September 2021)
August 25 - 20 year anniversary of the Tampa affair (Afghan refugees)
August 31 - deadline for US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan
September 8 - end of quarantine period for Afghan refugees who flew into Adelaide on 25th August.
September 11 - 20 year anniversary of the terror attacks in the USA
ACTION: Contacting your Federal representatives
The power in writing a personal letter - hear from Melina Magdalena, about her experiences and be inspired.
I've been an activist since the International Year of Peace in 1986. I don't do it for the fame or the glory. The forms of activism I have engaged in include organising events, facilitating meetings, being on collectives and other kinds of groups, guerrilla gardening, postering, fundraising, protesting, meeting politicians, , talking to the media, making signs and banners, running pop-up playgroups, attending protest camps and blockades. There was a long time when I wasn't able to find groups to be part of, and when it felt as though most activists had given up. Although I felt guilty for not doing anything much activist-related, I focused on growing my community connections and expressing myself through writing. I got brave about sharing and listening. I have a background with many intersecting identities. There are many things I feel deeply about. There are many things that make me feel vulnerable. I find my strongest voice through writing. While form letters from big campaigns and the opportunity to add a comment to online petitions satisfies part of my urge to be involved and to make a difference, I find that taking the time to write a personal letter to politicians really makes me feel as though I am contributing something meaningful to the narratives and political discourse. On occasion I don’t get a personal response I feel tremendously frustrated, but in general I know my letters are received well and that somebody takes note of what I have said. My vote seems of paltry value, but my voice seems more powerful.
With her permission Melina has allowed us to share with you an example of her letters; Dear Minister Frydenberg
Still unsure what to say, for inspiration and common calls of action see below. We would also love to hear from you, so share with us your letter at firstname.lastname@example.org Find your local Federal MP HERE.
Australian Churches are calling on the Federal Government to welcome a special intake of an additional 20,000 Afghan refugees, and support the ongoing well-being of all Afghan refugees and their families. See more here.
Asylum Seekers Resource Centre campaign
The Australian government needs to do everything it can to help those fleeing the Taliban. This includes:
* Expanding the humanitarian intake with a special additional 20,000 visas for those most at risk* from the Taliban just as they did for people fleeing Syria in 2015 and as Canada has done this week,
* Granting permanent protection to all people from Afghanistan in Australia on temporary protection visas and in detention, and
* Making immediate arrangements to be made to bring the families of refugees from Afghanistan to Australia
Take action and call for the Australian government to act now to provide safe passage to those fleeing the Taliban. Call the Prime Minister now on (02) 6277-7700
Action for Afghanistan Petition This petition is running alongside a letter, led by the Afghan Australian Advocacy Network, which has received signatures from 307 organisations and over 9165 academics, community leaders, human rights advocates, lawyers, doctors, writers, engineers, artists, students and civil society representatives, calling for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take urgent concrete steps to support the Afghan people.
Refugee Council of Australia Letter to all Federal MPs and Senators Over 300 organisations, businesses, and community groups have signed on to a joint letter to all Federal MPs and Senators calling on them to take urgent action on the devastating situation in Afghanistan. The joint letter was sent to all Parliamentarians on 18 August and urges 7 practical steps that the Australian Government can take to provide safety for people from Afghanistan and to show leadership on the global stage.
News article 25 August 2021 "How an Afghan refugee crisis at sea transformed Australia policy" (20 year anniversary of the Tampa affair)
In August 2001, an Indonesian fishing boat carrying 433 asylum seekers was en route to Australia’s Christmas Island, when its engine failed in international waters. The Australian Coast Guard called on a Norwegian freighter nearby to conduct a rescue operation. Many on board the Indonesian vessel were Afghans who were fleeing persecution from the Taliban and included several pregnant women and children. When the MV Tampa’s captain, Arne Rinnan, arrived on the scene, he found the refugees in an obvious “bad state”. The Tampa’s rescue of the asylum seekers would later become the trigger for Australia’s hardline approach to border protection and then-Prime Minister John Howard’s decision to require asylum seekers arriving by boat to be processed in offshore detention centres – a continuing practice that human rights groups have called “abusive” and “cruel”.
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This post was written by j4rsa