a chat about the kangaroo point blockade

I haven’t really spoken much about politics on my blog yet but it’s something that’s important to me. I find it hard navigating writing about difficult issues because I know that I might not always know enough about them. I want to be as educated as possible before I speak publicly about something. I keep writing and rewriting this post until I realised that I can never be completely educated on an issue that I feel strongly about. I’ve come to realise that this shouldn’t stop me from sharing awareness and doing my part.

The situation: There are 120 men that are being held in immigration detention at Kangaroo Point central apartments (Brisbane). Most of them are genuine refugees and owed protected, others are asylum seekers and there are some that haven’t had their refugee status assessed. They were formerly detained in Nauru or PNG. All of the men have been medically evacuated to Australia for complex medical reasons – a number of them have severe mental health problems from past trauma and being held in detention centres for seven years. In detention it is impossible to treat the mental health conditions. They came to Australia in search of a safe place but instead they have been locked up. A 24/7 blockade has been setup after the forced transfer to BITA (an immigration detention centre) of Farhad Rahmati, a Civil Engineer and refugee because of his activism. Basically – the men being held in the kangaroo point hotel aren’t allowed exercise or access the community and they don’t have legitimate access to physical and mental resources. (I tried to paraphrase this from this and this source – have a read).

The Refugee Solidarity movement has three demands:

  1. Stop the transfers
  2. Free movement
  3. Community release

I’m not sure when exactly I found out about how messed up this is but once I did – I wanted to do something about it.

I went to my first rally on the 19th of July – it marked seven years since the government introduced the policy that no one would ever be able to settle in australia if they came by boat instead of by plane. I took some pictures on my film camera:

A few days after that my friend and I signed up for a shift from 5am – 8am on a Thursday morning. Our job was pretty much to keep an eye out for police and any suspicious activity going on in and around the hotel.

I went to another rally last weekend that was to protest for free movement – letting the men outside the compound for free movement at their discretion (ie to exercise, walk and connect with the community). There was a heavy police presence. Here are some more photos I took on my film camera:

Just quickly – if you wanna see all the fucked up (excuse my language) things Peter Dutton has done check out this article (its a bit old but still relevant) or read up on his wiki.

On Thursday my friend and I went to a fundraising gig at Can You Keep A Secret (btw – a very very cool bar). loulou, Nathan Kearney + Bridget Brandolini performed. Btw everyone is sleeping on Bridget. I LOVED her set – she has the voice of a literal angel – check out my fav song, Contagion. She kinda sounds like joni mitchell which is a HUGE compliment – GOOSEBUMPS. loulou: such a cute, quirky band – my fav song is It Spills Out.

If you’ve made it this far into my post – thank you. The message I want to get across is – this is wrong. This is a violation of human rights. There is no excuse. I feel ashamed of our government and the people who let this happen.

It can seem hard to know what you can do and how you can help. I think something that is important is to spread awareness – have a conversation about this with friends/ family/ acquaintances. I think a lot of people don’t really know what’s going on so educating yourself and others is an important way to support the cause. Another thing is to stay connected – turn up and show your support by going to protests or sign up for a shift at the blockade. You can also donate here.

I thought that I would provide some resources to have a look at because it is impossible for me to cover everything – I did the best I could.

Here are some resources:

letthemhug.com has explains the situation and what the demands are

the guardian did a good article that explains the situation as well

heres another article

sbs also wrote an article

I leave you with this video:

clara x 2020

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