The Guardian • Issue# 1964

REPORT

“From the River to the Sea”, Meanjin rises for Palestine

Brisbane

Members of the Communist Party of Australia Queensland Branch attended a rally on Saturday 22nd May, just twenty hours after a ceasefire was announced, demanding an end to the occupation of Palestine by Israel. The rally was organised by Justice for Palestine Meanjin (Brisbane), which musician Phil Monsour led as MC, and around 1,500 people were in attendance.

Greens MP for South Brisbane, Amy MacMahon, was very critical of Israeli actions and the Australian government’s support for the settler state and went further, promoting the BDS (Boycott Divest Sanction) movement. She was followed by Labor’s federal MP for Morton, Graham Perrett, who was willing to label the conflict as apartheid, and made overtures that an Albanese government would put far more pressure on Israel – this followed on from an announcement by the ALP a month prior that it would finally recognise Palestine as a state, something they have evaded until this point.

Following on from the two politicians, a range of other speakers then took the stand to speak out for Palestine. Sam Watson Jnr spoke of the links between the struggles of indigenous Australians being part of the same struggle as the one the Palestinians are fighting – namely settler colonialism. A Palestinian woman who had grown up as a refugee in neighbouring Jordan referenced a famous Palestinian poet when she said that Palestine is the “only nation who knows each day will be worse than the one before it”.

Wendy Turner from Labor for Palestine spoke of the Israeli’s “burning Palestinian lands and crops and olive groves”. In introducing Michael Clifford, General Secretary of the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU), Phil Monsour spoke of the general strike that had recently swept across Palestine in the wake of the bombing of Gaza. Michael went on to speak at length about the difficulties involved for Palestinians who work in Israeli areas to attain a permit and the lengthy and demoralising daily delays in just being able to go to work.

The next two speakers were the most powerful of the day. A representative from the Islamic Council gave a stirring speech on behalf of the Muslim community, linking their struggle with the wider anti-imperialist struggle globally. He was followed up by a young Palestinian girl named Danya, who spoke of the story her grandmother experienced during the Nakba – or “The Catastrophe” as it translates, referring to the mass exodus of at least 750,000 Arabs from Palestine in 1948.

Justice for Palestine Meanjin (Brisbane) is holding a public forum at the QCU building on Tuesday 8th of June at 6pm.

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