- The Guardian
- Issue #2077
Part of the Naarm/ Melbourne rally.
The struggle for Palestinian liberation continues in Melbourne, as hundreds gathered on a cold Wednesday evening. This was a rally co-organised by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) and Free Palestine Melbourne. The unifying theme of the night was a familiar one: Truth, Treaty, and Justice. Aboriginal and Palestinian speakers spoke of their shared struggles, of the parallels in the genocide and colonialism of their people, but also of the solidarity they had always extended to each other in this country.
Unity and solidarity in the face of extermination is why so many had gathered in front of Parliament that evening. The organisers and speakers called for an immediate end to the continued murders, torture, and atrocities committed by the Israeli and Australian regimes alike. They called for the Australian government to retract its support for Israel’s genocide and war, and to retract its support of Israel’s occupation across all Palestinian lands. These are demands that could be met out immediately by the Australian ruling class, if they so wished it. They do not.
While Australia’s politicians and media spokespeople continue to jump at the opportunity to defend the Zionist position and coloniser lives in Israel, they struggle to find similar energy in defence of Palestinian “terrorists.” The Australian ruling class actively endorses and enables Israel’s reign of terror, but the demonstrations that continue to occur around Australia prove that they do not speak for us, nor for the victims of the genocide they are guilty of!
This is all happening following the recent overwhelming failure of the Voice to Parliament Referendum, and this horrible reality was not ignored. The Indigenous people here were clear that the people of Australia had voted against their sovereignty, and this impact has already been felt within their communities. Not even a day after the bitter results were announced, Cleveland Dodd, a 16-year-old Indigenous boy being held in a maximum-security prison in WA, committed suicide. The continued deaths in custody and real torture of Indigenous children in adult prisons was a recurring point at the rally, and a sickening reminder that the voices of the victims continue to fall on deaf ears. The recent suspension of the Human Rights Act in Queensland towards Indigenous youths is further proof that our government is just as guilty as the Israeli government is of its human rights abuses, and it aware of it. This is why Aboriginal liberation was said to be tied up in Palestinian liberations, they are unified in their struggle to be treated as humans.
As with other Palestinian solidarity rallies, the crowd was a diverse one. One anti-Zionist Jewish speaker spoke of the sincere gratitude and sorrow she felt as an Australian – sorrow for the Palestinian people and the weaponisation of her culture and beliefs against them by the Zionist state of Israel. Sorrow towards the Indigenous people of Australia and that she felt she was a coloniser in both lands. She also felt gratitude that despite everything she was still accepted within both communities, and that she could speak out against Israel and Australia’s colonisation, and that she could still find a home among the victims.
There were also banners proudly held high by queer Australians, demonstrating that no matter the differences in beliefs between some Palestinians and Australians, genocide is not acceptable no matter the disagreements some may have with others. There is no Pride in genocide.
The police presence was pervasive. Although this time there were less ‘evidence collection’ cameras, every corner and every street was covered and enclosed by the enforcing arms of the state. At this point it should be clear that the Victorian police are more interested in controlling and intimidating Palestinian and Aboriginal solidarity protestors than dealing with the very real anti-Semitic Neo-Nazis that continue to walk free in our state.
While Western states have been silent for the past 16 years, over 3 million Gazans have endured the last 16 years living in the world’s largest open-air prison, the Communist Party of Australia has never stopped speaking and rallying in solidarity and support of the Palestinian people.
Those looking to take part in or support the movement can find out more at freepalestinevic.org