Keeping Promises in OZ

by bicyclemark 0 Comments

Depending on where you live in the world or what media you consult in your daily life, you may not often hear about things happening in Australia.? You might hear the occasional story from a friend who travelled there or perhaps its the summertime wild fires that manage to make the oldstream media reports around dinner time.

One ongoing saga over the past decade, that involves so much human suffering and not much international media attention, is the detainment of asylum seekers in Australia.? Long before there was the torture prison at guantanamo, or extraordinairy rendition made the news, the Australian government was carrying out a policy of imprisoning anyone seeking refuge from war, political oppression, or any such cause that would force someone to flee their country.? These people, of all ages (that is: including children) were kept in prisons located on small pacific islands, which is how the program came to be named “The Pacific Solution.”

Started in the 1990’s under a labor government and then carried out in a big way by the Liberal government that allied itself so closely with the Bush administration, these imprisonments led to hunger strikes and demonstrations, as well as condemnation by international human rights organizations.? Yet still one would have been hard pressed to find much space dedicated to the issue in many of the world’s most popular news outlets. Even more rare was hearing any criticism or pressure from world leaders for the Australian government to change its policy.

And so it has taken many years and much suffering, as well as the election of a new prime minister, but finally this policy is changing.? Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s government has announced that they will stop imprisoning asylum seekers and end the Pacific Solution.? A look at the details reveals that children will no longer be detained, and in some “more extreme cases” people might be detained but their cases will be reviewed every three months. It may be too early to celebrate, but this announcement already seems encouraging…? full credit not to the Australian government for finally doing something to end the suffering, but to all those who sacrificed their own well being in an effort to make this change come true.

bm149 Australian Immigration Struggle

by bicyclemark

Throughout the past 5 years you may have seen the occasional story about immigration and Australia. As the government plays the law and order card, how do Australians, many once immigrants themselves, see their governments policies? Warwick of Nimbin Radio joins me from New South Whales, Australia, to share what has happened and what may happen when it comes to Australia’s attitudes and policies towards immigration.

Related: Roger Maynard’s Article in the Guardian

bm134 East Timorese Problems and the Bloggers That Observe First-Hand

by bicyclemark

+++ Fixed+++
In late May, violence erupted in the streets of Dili. For many, memories of the nightmare of 1999 resurfaced. But beyond that, the question of what will become of this tiny and young nation also returned. In this podcast I attempt to look at the economic and social factors that are working against East Timor, and how violence fits into the puzzle.

In this show I focus on 3 Timor based blogs:

El Diario de la resistencia – Alexis Oriol Caceres of the Cuban Medical Brigade
Dili-gence, with the subheading Random Observations from an English Speaking Foreigner in Dili,Timor-Leste
Dili-Dalying (Two Years in Timor Leste), an Australian Couple
who work in East Timor and were evacuated to Australia around may 25th

And here’s the item on Coffee in East Timor