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|Silencing Dissent||News Overboard||Do Not Disturb|
|Sharon and My Mother-in-Law||My Israel Question||Helen Caldicott, Nuclear Power|
|Climate Code Red||Dear Mr Rudd||Mamdouh Habib, My Story|
|Tampering with Asylum||Watching Brief||Wordwatching|
|Spell Me Freedom||We Will Be Remembered for This||The Trial of John Howard|
|Acting From the Heart||From Nothing to Zero||Dark Dreams|
|From Under a Leaky Roof||The Sinking of SIEV X||Following Them Home|
|Human Rights Overboard||Rainbow Bird||The Bitter Shore|
The untold story of the people who struggled to get asylum seekers out of detention
Mandatory detention of asylum-seekers has been a prominent public issue for almost a decade. It has provoked shame and anger across society, been manipulated politically by all sides and has prompted many to become actively involved in campaigns in support of asylum-seekers.
The government's recent response to the crisis precipitated by the arrivial of the West Papuans and the widespread protest that followed show that the refugee crisis is not over. Nevertheless the prospects for incarcerated asylum-seekers have improved markedly since the intervention of Petro Georgiou and other federal Liberal backbenchers. This shift and the time that has passed since the Tampa incident, children overboard and near saturation coverage of individual asylum-seekers provide the opportunity for some reflection.
Margot O'Neill has covered many angles of the story herself, but writes now about the way Australian society at large was affected. She uses individuals - activists, psychiatrists, lawyers, politicians, prison guards - with direct experience to tell the broader story. This gives the book a strong narrative drive and a powerful emotional charge.
The tale of a terrorist who wasn't
In the early hours of 2 October 2001, Mamdouh Habib and two young German men were taken off a bus traveling between Quetta and Karachi by Pakistani security officers. It was shortly after 9/11, and only days before the United States attacked Afghanistan. The Pakistanis were rounding up anyone who looked foreign or in any way suspicious, interrogating them, and passing them on to the Americans. A few unlucky ones were then 'rendered' to a third-party country to be further interrogated and tortured, where they either disappeared into a web of secret prisons or were sent to Guantanamo Bay.
This is what happened to Mamdouh Habib. Branded as a terrorist, accused of attending al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and of training the 9/11 terrorists in martial arts, Mamdouh Habib was incarcerated and tortured - first in Pakistan, and then in Egypt, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo. Eventually, after three-and-a-half years, he was released without charge from Guantanamo, and reunited with his wife and four children in Australia.
Here, for the first time, Mamdouh Habib reveals the full story of his journey to hell and back. He exposes the complicity of the Australian government in his abduction and maltreatment, as well as its subsequent neglect of him while in Guantanamo. He also describes his encounters with other well-known alleged terrorists, including his meetings with David Hicks both in Afghanistan and in Guantanamo.
"While John Howard advocated Aussie mateship and a fair go, this Australian was being secretly handed over to rendition and torture. Mamdouh Habib's harrowing story will leave fair-dinkum Australians feeling nauseated by the double standards of their elected leaders." (Senator Bob Brown)
An Iranian family's escape to Australia and the hell they found at the border of paradise
The Bitter Shore is Jacquie Everitt's account of Zahra, Saeed and Shayan's flight from home and the shocking events that lay in store for them on the other side of the world.
It's also the story of the effects of the government's policy of mandatory detention on children, and the court case that took on the Howard government.
"Shayan was a bright five-year-old boy when he arrived with his parents in March 2000 from Iran. Less than two years later he had been taken to hospital nine times for rehydration after witnessing incidents and violence in the camps no child in Australia should ever have seen. He had suffered periods of mutism and self-induced starvation including refusal to take liquids."
Compiled and written by Linda Briskman, Susie Latham and Chris Goddard
This book, which could also carry in its subtitle a reference to Testimonies of The People's Inquiry into Detention, draws together, for the first time, the oral testimony and written submissions from the inquiry in a powerful and vital book that stands as an indelible record of one of Australia's bleakest legacies. In 2005, in the wake of the Cornelia Rau scandal, a citizen's inquiry was established to bear witness to events in Australian immigration-detention facilities. Until then, the federal government had refused to conduct a broad-ranging investigation into immigration detention in Australia, and the operations within detention centres had been largely shrouded in official secrecy.
The People's Inquiry heard heartbreaking evidence about asylum-seekers' journeys to Australia, their detention process, life in detention, and life after detention. Human rights advocate and barrister Julian Burnside:
"This is a profoundly important book. It is an unflinching look at disgraceful events. Too many Australians allowed these things to happen. Our generation will forever be marked with the shame of it. It is not only an epitaph for the Howard government: it is also a caution to future generations."
The case for Emergency Action
In this meticulously documented call-to-action, David Spratt and Philip Sutton reveal extensive scientific evidence that the global warming crisis is far worse than official reports and national governments have indicated - and that we're almost at the point of no return.
Serious climate-change impacts are already happening, more rapidly and at lower global temperature-increases than projected. "Climate Code Red is a superb, visionary blueprint for development in a new century which tackles the tough questions of how humanity can, in practice, rapidly secure a sustainable future. But it is also a work in progress, a draft strategy, which is primed to be shaped and developed by those who step up to meet the challenge we all now face."
David Spratt and and Philip Sutton show that the unofficial, real projected speed of climate change- with temperature increases greater than 0.3°C per decade, and the consequent rapid shifting of climatic zones - will, if maintained, likely result in most ecosystems failing to adapt, causing the extinction of many species. The oceans will become more acidic, endangering much marine life.
This means that the dangers we all face are already much greater than the headlines indicate. According to climate scientists such as James Hansen, it is no longer a case of how much more we can 'safely' emit, but whether we can quickly enough stop emissions and produce a deliberate cooling before the earth's climate system reaches a runaway trajectory that is beyond any hope of human restoration.
Ideas for a better Australia
Dear Mr Rudd hopes to help resume the conversation between public intellectuals and government, which broke down so badly during the Howard years. It hopes to play a part in suggesting that solutions to our problems need not be framed by the neo-liberal and neo-conservative perspectives that have threatened to dominate public discourse in recent times."
"During the period of the Howard government, the nation's critical intelligentsia had been treated by government ministers, Coalition backbenchers and right-wing commentators as un-Australian traitors. Unwelcome voices [...] had been, by one means or another, marginalised or silenced."
"With the coming of a new government, in an atmosphere of new possibilities, at the end of the barren Howard years, would there not now be an opportunity for conversation between the government and the nation's public intellectuals and independent policy experts to begin again?"
Reflections on Human Rights, Law and Justice
The first decade of the twenty-first century has seen a sharp decline in respect for human rights and the international rule of law. The legal conventions of the new realpolitic seem to owe more to Guantanamo than Geneva.
Australia has tarnished its reputation in the field of human rights, through its support for illegal warfare, its failure to honour international conventions, its refusal to defend its citizens against secret rendition and illegal detention, and its introduction of secretive anti-sedition legislation and draconian anti-terror laws.
In WATCHING BRIEF, noted lawyer and human rights advocate Julian Burnside articulates a sensitive and intelligent defence of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, and the importance of protecting human rights and maintaining the rule of law.
A picture story book for everyone!
"Rainbow Bird is a deeply moving children's picture book written and illustrated by Czenya Cavouras, who is now in high school. Everyone who has had anything to do with refugees and asylum seekers will want to read this book."
"Rainbow Bird is quietly harrowing, has a unique author voice, and is ultimately inspiring and uplifting. The Rainbow Bird project marks a new direction for us, for this will be our first AAR published work. Deborah Baldassi of Artberries is donating her skills as designer, and Wakefield Press have joined us as co-publishers." (From AAR)
Stark and beautiful, Rainbow Bird is a book of rare insight. More than a children's book, or an art book, this is a work of pain, hope, and simple, profound truth. An unseen, unnamed narrator takes us on a journey through fear, uncertainty and despair to hope. Every page challenges us to think and, above all, to feel.
The DVD of the Melbourne Trial
Part pantomime, part political satire - it is fabuolus fun. In the lead up to one of the most important elections we have faced, this is a timely and very serious message to remind the people in your life of the shame this little man has brought down on our country.
Julian Burnside and Rachel Doyle make formidable legal combatants. Who else but Linda Briskman, the head of the Centre for Human Rights could be a better choice for God. Rod Quantock wilfully incites the crowd and Max Gillies in the persona of Howard enjoys what little support he can from Her Gracious Majesty in the person of Gerry Connolly - who also brings us Paul Keating with his familiar and rambunctious interjections!
a film about australia
In 2006, a group of young people of different nationalities, backgrounds, attitudes and political views took a trip to the Baxter Detention Centre. The stories of the people they met behind the razor wire surprised, moved and challenged them.
We Will Be Remembered For This documents their journey. It is a film for everyone. It is a clear, rational and nonpoliticised look at the human issues of Australia's mandatory immigration detention policy. This film poses the essential questions surrounding Australia's refugee policy. Who are the people behind the fences? How did they come to be there? What are the psychological and legal battles they now face? How much do average Australians know about this policy, and if they knew the truth, would they want it to change?
In recent years, thousands of Australians from all walks of life have been moved to act in support of asylum seekers and refugees and against the Australian government's immigration policy and practice.
In Acting from the Heart, over 50 people who reflect the diversity of this movement describe how and why they became involved.
The contributors shared a sense of disbelief and outrage that 'Australian values' suddenly appeared to include callous self-interest and a disregard for human suffering. The detention of over 4000 children could not easily be seen as necessary or 'a fair go'.
For over a decade, the Howard government has found ways to silence its critics, one by one. Like the proverbial frog in boiling water, Australians have become accustomed to repeated attacks on respected individuals and organisations. For a government which claims to support freedom of speech and freedom of choice, only certain kinds of speech and choices appear to be acceptable.
Silencing Dissent uncovers the tactics used by John Howard and his colleagues to undermine dissenting and independent opinion. Bullying, intimidation, public denigration, threats of withdrawal of funding, personal harassment, increased government red tape and manipulation of the rules are all tools of trade for a government that wants to keep a lid on public debate. The victims are charities, academics, researchers, journalists, judges, public sector organisations, even parliament itself. Deeply disturbing, Silencing Dissent raises serious questions about the state of democracy in Australia.
"In My Israel Question, a young Australian Jew, Antony Loewenstein, asks how much Zionism - the ideology of Jewish nationalism - is to blame for this intractable conflict. He fearlessly investigates the ways in which the Jewish diaspora in Australia and elsewhere have campaigned on Israel's behalf, in the media and in political and business spheres. He also considers the historical rationale for Zionism-including the centuries of virulent European anti-Semitism from which it grew-and asks how relevant and sustainable twentieth-century Zionism is today. A searching discussion from a significant new voice in one of the most important debates of our times."
"I can think of few books about Israel and Palestine, written by an Australian, as important as Antony Loewenstein's brave j'accuse. In challenging the propagandists to give up their addiction, he is a truth-teller bar none." -John Pilger
From Under A Leaky Roof traces the journey of many Afghan refugees currently living in Australia. Based on interviews with refugees and the people who work with them the book details common experiences of discrimination and persecution which led them to flee their homes, the despair of detention in Australia and the fear and uncertainty when they try to start their new lives in the Australian community.
The Author Philip Sparrow, an experienced UN aid worker, has talked with the people themselves, and tells their stories, of life in Afghanistan, of their journey to Australia, and of their experiences of detention and trying to start a new life in a new country.
Informed and compassionate, From Under A Leaky Roof makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the refugee experience. It also highlights why we need to develop a more humane approach to those people unfortunate enough to be forced from their homes.
Actor Martin Sheen comments on this publication: "In a world where dark and dangerous forces are threatening our planet, Helen Caldicott shines a powerful light. This much-needed book reveals truths that confirm we must take positive action now if we are to make a difference."
In this revealing examination of the costs and consequences of nuclear energy, world-renowned antinuclear spokesperson Helen Caldicott uncovers the facts that belie the nuclear industry propaganda: nuclear power contributes to global warming; the true cost of nuclear power is prohibitive, with taxpayers picking up most of the tab; there's simply not enough uranium in the world to sustain nuclear power over the long term; and the potential for a catastrophic accident or a terrorist attack far outweighs any benefits.
Trained as a physician, and - after four decades of antinuclear activism - thoroughly versed in the science of nuclear energy, the bestselling author of Nuclear Madness and Missile Envy here turns her attention from nuclear bombs to nuclear lightbulbs. As she makes meticulously clear in this damning book, the world cannot withstand either.
Surprisingly funny, and refreshingly different from any other writings on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Sharon and My Mother-in-Law describes Suad Amiry's experience of living on the West Bank from the early eighties to the present. Amiry tells us about the life and gossip of her neighbourhood in Ramallah, her moving family history and the struggle to live a normal life in an insane situation; from the impossibility of acquiring gas masks during the first Gulf War to her dog acquiring a Jerusalem Passport when thousands of Palestinians couldn't.
A moving and witty book about the Israeli occupation of Palestine... Suad Amiry is an extraordinary woman, capable of expressing the heartbreak of an oppressed people but able also to see the absurdity of the petty rules, curfews, checkpoints and restrictions imposed on the people of the West Bank. -The Irish Times
Do Not Disturb - Is our media doing its job when it comes to Australian politics? Is it frank and fearless in pursuit of spin and evasion?
Why have we entered an era of shockjocks and celebrity commentators? What will changed media rules mean for our public sphere?
This is a book in which insiders assess the performance and the political influence of the Australian media. It offers a critique of its strengths and weaknesses and is not afraid to point the finger. Its writers are leading media figures who possess unique insights as well as the ability to write a highly dramatic and readable essay. They take us inside the fearful ABC, inside the world of the Murdoch press, inside the press gallery, and they take us inside the world of talkback radio.
Following Them Home - "One of the things that I found that was almost universal was that the implications of Australia's detention policies continued to affect people's lives as they had been returned. People spoke of ongoing sleep difficulties, continuing nightmares, headaches that were persistent. They spoke of, as a result of Australia's asylum seeker policies, of losing their dignity, of having lost their humanity, and they also spoke of being institutionalised in Australia's detention regime."
"There was a couple of instances in Iran of people who had been sent back with documents that put them at risk, and they were interrogated as a result of those documents. So there were different experiences of returnees, depending on where they came from, where they were returned to." (author David Corlett)
Spell Me Freedom - From a collaboration between media students and refugees comes a sharply crafted short story of life in Australia's detention camps and its darkest side: lip stitching, drinking shampoo, the desperation of life inside and the dilemma of an escape, followed by the inevitable post-traumatic flashbacks. (Format: DVD, 7min, 18 secs, - R)
Spell Me Freedom is an amazing outcome of the truly felt emergency on the part of director Dean Israelite - a South African resident studying in Perth - with Australia's detention policies, and a sometimes raw and graphic capture of essential moments describing the horror of the camps.
Spell Me Freedom signifies a first for an Australian movie where refugees as actors build, re-build and tell the story that should be told again and again to an Australian and international audience.
"I think it is a terrific film. It moved me. It had a truth about it. The subject is so important - vitally important and nationally important because it exposes the fundamental sham of our "fair-go" democracy. I'm not sure, but I think it may well be the MAIN, the BIG issue." (Award-winning filmmaker Paul Roberts, Fremantle WA)
WORDWATCHING [..] reminds us of the need to be aware of the misuse of language in the service of sinister purposes - whether political, ideological, social or personal. An ear well tuned to the nuances of vocabulary inoculates the hearer against this epidemic of deception.
"Doublespeak uses language to smuggle uncomfortable ideas into comfortable minds. The Nazi regime were masters at it. The Howard Government is an enthusiastic apprentice." (from A bit about words)
"...the word I think we need to introduce as expressing "not truth" is Reith. We could have truth, lie and Reith. You know, the sort of sludgy, the sludgy falsehoods that masquerade as a form of truth." (Don Watson:) "You could turn it into a verb - you Reithed it." (ABC The World Today)
"The treatment of refugees is one of the great scandals of the modern age ... with impressive courage and determination, Tony Kevin has unearthed the grim and deeply moving story he recounts in this remarkable book - an "always powerfully contested story," and one of "durable national significance" that has "crept into the hearts and consciences of many Australians" and must find its way to the hearts and consciences of many others if these persistent and shocking crimes are to be brought to end." -Noam Chomsky
A Certain Maritime Incident joins the dots for the first time to reveal a disquieting record of government misconduct, including Australian Federal Police involvement in a people-smuggling 'disruption program', and an extraordinary combination of stone-walling and professed ignorance by a government dedicated to micro-managing the deterrence of asylum-seeker voyages.
Many of the victims of this disaster have family members living in Australia on temporary protection visas. This book is dedicated to them. It is also for the rest of us because, Tony Kevin argues, nothing less than a comprehensive judicial enquiry into the sinking of SIEV X will suffice if Australia is to regain its national honour.
When the Tampa rescued 433 asylum seekers Captain Rinnan's courage and compassion was celebrated though out the world. In Australia, Rinnan and his container ship were portrayed as a threat to our sovereignty. "In Howard's Australia, asylum seekers are mandatorily and indefinitely detained in camps, off-limits to the media. This book is a stinging left hook to far right columnists and shock jocks who are powerful political players masquerading as journalists."
"In a cynical age, where many media organisations are partisan participants in the electoral process, News Overboard highlights how the tabloid media creates a fear of Islam that is clinically exploited by Australia's leaders for their own political gain.
"News Overboard examines how the tabloid media is a breeding ground for Hansonism and Islamophobia. It critically scrutinises how the tabloids' coverage of the Tampa Crisis turned voters away from One Nation and back to the Liberal party to secure a conservative victory..
"These stories will remind you that these unbearable events did not happen far away, to people we pity from a distance - a view the nightly news, especially now, too easily encourages. These events and histories are carried in the heart and mind of the person next to you, these experiences are with us, beside us..." Dark Dreams: Australian Refugee Stories is a unique anthology of essays, interviews, and stories written by children and young adults. The stories are the finest of hundreds collected through a nationwide schools competition in 2002. The essays and stories represent many different countries and themes. Some focus on survival, some on horrors, some on the experiences and alienation of a new world. This book will have a a key role to play in schools across Australia."
"Dark Dreams: Some are stories of refugees still living in detention centres in Australia, and one is the unbearable story of a twelve-year-old SIEVX survivor, told by her fifteen-year-old friend, and capturing both their voices. These stories are unavoidably topical, disturbing and political. They are highly, provocatively readable.
"With the Howard Government's revelation that 90% of the unauthorised boat arrivals in recent years have been proved to be refugees, it is timely to reassess the harsh measures instituted to process these people who were labelled as unlawful queue jumpers. Father Frank Brennan, Jesuit lawyer and human rights advocate, does so in his new book, Tampering with Asylum: A Universal Humanitarian Problem. The book compares Australia's dramatic over-reaction in closing its national borders to the Tampa's human cargo with the response of the United States and Europe, and offers a ractical blueprint for countries wanting to humanely protect asylum seekers."
"Tampering with Asylum is a primer for more informed public discussion about the morality of Australia's asylum policy. It moves beyond the point scoring of political parties."
Holiday Camp is a 45 minutes documentary, which investigates the current Australian immigration policies in the context of 200 years of colonization. It is currently screening throughout Europe. The BORDERPANIC project hosted the Australian premiere in Sydney, on the 11th of September. Holiday Camp connects the issues of indigenous dispossession, genocide, and the incarceration of refugees. It explores the implications of the mandatory detention system and the construction of national borders.
The unique documentary style of Holiday Camp juxtaposes challenging images, interviews, and personal experiences to intrigue and engage the audience in a satirical deconstruction of racism.
The pivotal action of the documentary is the 2002 Woomera detention center outbreak, which represents a significant protest against the political construction of national borders.
Holiday Camp reclaims the voices of the marginalized and connects the issues of Indigenous dispossession, genocide, national constructions and incarceration of refugees, which are often portrayed as unrelated or divisive.
This new publication by The Lonely Planet, 'From Nothing to Zero' - with an introduction to each chapter by Julian Burnside QC - presents edited extracts from letters written by asylum seekers held in Australia's detention centres. These letters provide a rare glimpse into the world of refugees who have fled war and persecution in their own countries. Several of the contributing detainees have been held for more than three years, often with no end to their incarceration in sight.
"Past history tells us that when this shameful period in our history becomes past history it will quickly be covered up - and there'll be no saying 'sorry'. All the more reason to read this remarkable book." - Phillip Adams
From the Scattered People website: "The CD evolved out of asylum seekers in Brisbane coming together to sing - finding and sharing their 'common ground' - their brokenness, their resilience, their frustrations and their hopes for the future. Songs were written and performed. Friends of the Refugee Claimants Support Centre contributed their songs as well and the CD was launched in late 2000."
Tragically, some members of the choir have been refused protection in Australia and have been forced to return to the countries from which they had escaped. We all fear for their safety. The Refugee Claimants Support Centre Choir has since disintegrated, its members demoralized, disempowered or deported. But their voices and their spirit carry on in this CD.