Critical situation on Manus Island

I shared the following on my personal Facebook page on Tuesday.

“An urgent message from #Manus (Please share widely):

Please, if you are reading this, tell the Australian Government that we need urgent medical care for our Brother Abdi. 

Abdi, a Somalian man, was playing soccer on the ELRTC soccer field at 6:00pm on Friday, 27/7/18, when he collided with another man. Nothing has been done to help fix Abdi’s broken knee because there are not proper medical facilities to treat us. He can’t sleep, can’t sit well, and no staff care about him. 

Because the accident was late & the hospital has no doctor at night and because the PIH clinic is closed then too, he could not have any treatment on Friday night.
PIH clinic in the Lorengau camp is closed on the weekend. So, on Saturday, he went to Lorengau Hospital. He waited in the waiting area for 4 hours and nobody could give him any treatment. Abdi then asked for painkillers and they gave him an injection and they told him to come back on Monday for an X-ray. They said nothing can be done until Monday and that he should go back to camp. 

He came back to East Lorengau camp. He was in bad pain all night Saturday, all day Sunday and now still in terrible pain and cannot sleep.
Nothing happened to help him on Sunday.

On Monday (30/7/18) PIH said he must have an X-ray at the hospital and come back and see PIH doctor. PIH they told him, “We can’t help you until we get X-ray. Your problem is serious, but we can’t help u without X-ray” 

Abdi did go again to the hospital to ask for an X-ray but the hospital told him the X-ray machine is broken. There is nobody on Manus to fix the machine. He went back to camp, and his leg is in very terrible pain and this travelling is making it much worse. Abdi was really suffering by the time he arrived at the PIH clinic in the camp.

The doctor at PIH told him that there is nothing he can do for Abdi unless he has an X-ray. He told the doctor, “I will stay here until you solve the problem.” The doctor told the Security Guard to force Abdi to leave and to lock the door and to not let Abdi in. After guard used forceful words, Abdi went outside and the guard locked him out. 

Abdi cannot get any treatment from PIH until he has an X-ray. He cannot have an X-ray because X-ray machine is broken. There is nobody to fix the X-ray machine on Manus. We think maybe X-ray machine has been broken for a very long time. The only treatment he has been given is 20 Panadol tablets and 10 Naproxen tablets and bandage for leg. These are not helping him. See the photos to see how badly his knee is broken*.

To conclude the case for Abdi there is no sleep, no rest, no walking, no shower, hard to go toilet. He must also cook his own food because there are no food services in East Lorengau Refugee Processing Centre (ELRTC). Everything here is self-service.
Abdi needs urgent medical care.

This is very serious and urgent. We think it will take a very long time before PIH or ABF or Lorengau Hospital will help him, Maybe they will not ever help him.
Please help our friend Abdi who is in very terrible pain. Please do what you can to get him treatment. We are worried he will lose the use of his leg and never be able to walk again.


* = I’ve included one photo below from that post, you can see more here if you wish.

The situation hasn’t changed. I re-shared a post on my personal Facebook last night:

“No medical person has come to try to help Abdi. His knee is broken and now he suffered for six days with no treatment. Still no sleep, too much pain. We are very worried for him that he might lose his leg or maybe die. Please, people reading this, try to get some help for our brother Abdi who broke his knee last Friday. PIH doctors refuse to treat him because XRay machine is broken. He needs to be on medevac flight to hospital today. Please please please help him before it is too late.

See this Guardian article about the medical situation on Manus here: Manus medical neglect scandalous, doctors say

The entire Manus and Nauru situation pisses me off. I’ve written quite a lot about my feelings about it and how I think there’s a better way.

Currently, I’m pissed off about this specific situation in a number of different ways. I can’t help but remember when I dislocated my kneecap two and a half years ago. I was able to get very effective, fast treatment, with appropriate pain medication and health support, and was back to my usual activities very soon after the accident. Heck, my blog post about it was even titled, Ouch! We’re lucky to have a good health system…..“, for crying out loud!

Abdi has been in pain with a suspected broken femur for a week without treatment! How long is it going to continue?? I have serious concerns about his welfare. He needs assistance now!

In the past five years that the refugees and asylum seekers have been on Manus and Nauru, there have been several deaths due to negligence and outright brutality by the Australian government.

A government that is deliberately causing harm to people that it should be helping. Their actions are despicable.

Photo of Abdi’s leg:

dark-skinned leg that is unnaturally swollen above the knee.

PiF: Health Care and First Aid…

My Pay-it-Forward story this week is personal, involving action I’ve taken.

I’m a giver, in many ways. One way of showing this is to be a Blood Donor – of Plasma to be exact.


Scheduling this is the tricky bit, but it can be done every two weeks if I chose. Plasma recovers fast. It only takes a little time out of your day – a perfect chance to catch up on reading, or watch a TV programme, or just relax. Good downtime!

The other day, I put myself on another register, which I’d been meaning to do for a while:

I’m now on the Organ and Tissue Donor Register. I said yes to everything. So, if something happens to me and I die, my organs and tissues can be removed and given to someone who needs them. It means a lot to me to think that if I do die “before my time”, I might help someone else regain a full life.

Also today on my newsfeed, I came across this:

Chris Cincotta of Humans in Melbourne was in the position today where he helped save someone’s life. Quoting from the above post, “This is what I know for sure. In that moment, when something had to be done, I remembered my first aid training.
If you haven’t done your first aid or CPR please book in now. You might save a strangers life or even someone you love. I’m still a bit shaky and bloody emotional but it could of been a lot worse and this story would be a lot different if not for learning CPR.”

I know CPR and have a Level 2 First Aid Certificate, due to work. I’m so glad I do.




Uncomfortable Compassion

The Easter period has begun. In the media (social and otherwise, especially on blogs), there are many reflective pieces. Mine will be short, as I have quite a few of those posts in my inbox already.

I had a thought, earlier today: part of the ceremony is that we use the same words, year after year and even the same songs. It is ritualistic, rhythmic, symbolic yet containing truth. An old story, passed down through the years. It is up to the priest to bring anything new to it – if they wish to. (In that light, I ought to say that a lot of the stuff I talk about below has been influenced by things I’ve heard religiously-trained people say and what they’ve taught me, as well as things I’ve researched from other religious sources.)

One thing I’ve noticed about both ceremonies (Thurs and Fri) is how explicit the text is that Jesus loved his friends. His teaching wasn’t the distant, high-and-mighty sort, after all. He was down-to-earth, empathising with those He taught. Especially with His disciples, “whom he loved” as the text says. I believe that His companions were men and women, by the way.


It’s Holy Thursday, otherwise known as Maundy Thursday. The readings tell of the first Passover (after all, Christianity developed from Judaism). Then of how Jesus took supper with his disciples and washed their feet.

Jesus knew he’d been inciting trouble from those in power by preaching the message of non-violence, compassion and forgiveness to each other. He was a rebel, in a disenfranchised community. The people in charge were greedy traditionalists who wanted everything to stay the same – it suited them, after all. They targeted Jesus and He knew it. Not that it stopped Him – He had a vision (from God, you could say) and was not intimidated by others disagreeing with him.

In the supper, Jesus offered up bread and wine as His body and blood – basically asking his disciples to not forget Him or His teachings, after He was gone. I like to imagine that, before or after that “surprise” from Jesus (depending on when exactly it happened in the meal), the group would have spent time laughing and talking and sharing stories. A true communion between good friends who shared a common purpose. I believe there were more than just the Twelve there. It would have been like a big party, with strong bonds between all.

Before supper, though, Jesus gave His disciples another example of what his mission meant. He washed their feet. In those times, people wore sandals and walked around streets that were dirty due to animal and other wastes, I believe. So one of the things that ‘important’ people would do would remove their shoes and have their feet washed when they arrived home inside. Usually, a servant (or slave) would wash the feet of the master of the house and his guests (‘her’ guests was rarer). Jesus was a Teacher and a ‘Master’ (addressed as such at points in the Bible). His disciples were like servants in a sense – certainly lesser than Him in the parlance of the time because they were learning from Him and not the other way around.

For Him to wash their feet was the greatest of role reversals – hence why Simon Peter was so adamant that “no, Lord, you will not wash my feet”. Jesus was just as stubborn, though. In the end, He washed all of their feet, with a joke for Simon Peter when he was overeager (Jn 13:10). Jesus went on to explain why he did it (Jn 13:13-:17). He was manifesting a visible form of compassion.

Another way of explaining it is this song, often played during the ceremony of Holy Thursday (while the washing of the feet is re-enacted): = The Servant Song.

Pope Francis washed the feet of refugees of different faiths this year. He’s washed the feet of prisoners and other people who are marginalised or outcast in some way. This shows what we need to do, symbolically and physically: welcome the “stranger”, even the inconvenient one, or the one we might not think to help first. Welcome them with love and compassion and leave your judgements at the door.




Ouch! We’re lucky to have a good health system…..

Last night, this happened:


I dislocated my kneecap (patella) at home – I banged it on a chair leg while it was flexed (bent) and I was off-balance as I was pivoting (turning) using the other foot. Smack and ouch. As you can see from the image, the good people at our local (private) Emergency Department fixed me up, though I was woozy and uncomfortable afterwards. I’m managing now – it’s a rest day at home for me and I’m in good hands, so don’t stress.

It was painful last night. Collapsing-on-the-ground painful – we were all a bit surprised I didn’t cry much. Then again, I think I was in shock. Mum and Dad drove me to the hospital while I whimpered and tried to control the pain using my breathing. The dislocation was pretty obvious, especially when Mum found a wheelchair for me to sit in, so they took me straight through. The night nurses and doctor saw to me, getting me onto a bed in the ED and starting me on drugs for the pain, once they’d evaluated me. I talk faster and slur my words a bit when I’m shocky, it seems.

One of the drugs they gave me separates the brain’s processing from the body. That’s why people say weird things sometimes. I talked a lot about deja vu because I kept repeating myself. I also thought I was on a Metro train, going for a ride, even though the disconnected part of me knew I was in hospital. If you want to imagine what that “disconnected” feeling was like, it was as if a part of me knew what was going on and could tell I was saying some strange things, but couldn’t and didn’t want to stop the other part which was speaking. Aware enough to think and say, “this is weird“, but not caring too much, because all details of one’s surroundings are blurred. No wonder people call them the “good drugs”….

While I was “out of it”, they re-set the kneecap and took me for an x-ray to ensure no lasting harm had been done. Then we had to wait for the drugs to wear off, as one of them (morphine, I think) caused nausea. Bleargh. That was a pain.

By half-past midnight I was home in bed, with a clunky “zimmer brace” keeping my lower limb straight to support the knee. I’ll be stiff and sore for a while – hobbling rather than walking and moving into and out of chairs very gingerly. But I will recover. I’ve got an appointment (referred by the ED doctor) to an orthopaedic doctor next week. We’ll see how things go from there. I’m glad it’s nearly Easter break…recovery won’t cut into uni time too much.

I’d like to say a giant thank you to the ED staff on duty last night. They were busy with lots of things – apparently the night before last had been a full one and the hospital itself (not the ED) was at capacity. I was told that my town has grown to the point where there are discussions about building another private hospital, to take the total number of hospitals up to three. Despite all that, they were very careful, friendly and helpful. Thanks!

Another few things I’ve learnt:
* First Aid training helps you help yourself in these situations. I knew I was going into shock, so was able to deal with that.
* Distractions and information help me manage my pain. It’s a good, if ironic, thing that my latest anatomy lecture had been about the knee, as I used the information I remembered to distract myself.
* People really do experience deja vu

So, there you have it: my ED trip.

What sort injuries have you had?

The Importance of Sight (reblog)

I have hyperopia or long-sightedness. Also, when I was very young – maybe three or so – I had an operation and other treatment to correct a ‘lazy eye’ or “strabismus” (I learnt a new technical word for this post! Cool!). That means eye muscles in one eye had to be tightened a bit for me to focus properly because it was letting the other eye do all the work. That determined which eye was the dominant eye and from that point on (I think), I’ve worn glasses.

Due to the degree of hyperopia in different eyes, one glasses lens is slightly thicker than the other. When I was in primary school in particular, if I tried to read or do anything close-up without my glasses on I’d get read bad headaches. Now, thanks perhaps to me working with computers, as well as genetics, I have a bit of myopia (short-sightedness) too. Don’t ask me to read smallish print at distances greater than two-three metres or less.

Why am I blathering on about this? Because (as discussed below) our sight is important so we need to protect it.

6 steps to save your sight


When we think about prevention in health care, we tend to focus on the worst diseases, those that threaten life- cancer, heart attacks, stroke, violence. But non-fatal conditions can also “threaten life”, putting the quality of our lives in danger.

Limited vision contributes to severe and significant loss of function and well being. If you include people whose vision problems are corrected with glasses or contacts, it may be the most common disability in the world. But even excluding those people, vision loss still affects millions of people in the world.


Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)

Here are some key facts about vision loss from

WHO (World Health Organization)


  • 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.
  • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income settings.
  • 82% of people living with blindness are aged 50 and above.
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of moderate and severe visual impairment; cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness in middle- and low-income countries.
  • The number of people visually impaired from infectious diseases has reduced in the last 20 years according to global estimates work.
  • 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.

A refractive error is a very common eye disorder. It occurs when the eye cannot clearly focus the images from the outside world, causing blurred vision.

The four most common refractive errors are:

  1. myopia (nearsightedness): difficulty in seeing distant objects clearly;
  2. hyperopia (farsightedness): difficulty in seeing close objects clearly;
  3. astigmatism: distorted vision resulting from an irregularly curved cornea, the clear covering of the eyeball.
  4. presbyopia: which leads to difficulty in reading or seeing at arm’s length, it is linked to ageing and occurs almost universally.

Refractive errors are commonly corrected with glasses or contact lenses, or refractive surgery. 

Read more by clicking here: 

Looking for Humanity? Sign Here….but the kids are All Right

First story: No Business In Abuse

I support this group. Wholeheartedly. Strip away the labels and what remains are people – locked up in appalling conditions as a deterrence measure. They deserve to be free. All they’ve done is try to find a safer place to live, reluctantly leaving behind their homelands which have turned to hellholes in one way or another.
Companies support this inhumane bull. So we have to fight back and show them that we don’t. The way to hit companies is through their profits unfortunately. We’ve got to hit them where they hurt. I believe the campaign is based on the anti-apartheid campaign…..

22 Sep 2015
By Max Chalmers

A group targeting companies profiting from offshore detention won’t be stopped by taunts or legal risks. Max Chalmers reports.

A group of activists, lawyers, unionists and church groups causing increasing headaches for immigration detention contractor Transfield Services say they are prepared to kick on with the fight despite the ‘real risk’ of legal action being launched against them.

The group, which has taken the name No Business in Abuse, has seen a coalition of refugee action and support groups come together to heap pressure on the lead contractor in Australia’s offshore detention facilities by trying to ensure there are broader business ramifications for those who partake in the detention network.

Shen Narayanasamy, Executive Director of No Business in Abuse – who is also the Human Rights Campaign Director at GetUp! – said the campaign was seeking to “dry up” Transfield’s opportunities for expansion by signing individuals and businesses up to a pledge not to work with businesses that profit from the detention industry.

“We’re not only talking to people about a particular company, we’re talking about the values basis on which detention is currently enshrined, which is based on the human rights abuses of vulnerable people,” Narayanasamy said.

As the lead contractor for the Australian funded detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island, Transfield has already faced a separate campaign of divestments,with major super fund HESTA pulling the plug last month.

No Business in Abuse’s campaign shifts the focus to future projects, trying to encourage those working in other sectors where Transfield provides services – including health care, schools, and hospitals – not to do business with the company.
Read more here at winston close – original article from new matilda.

On another note:

Check out this page. The kids are all right, people! This kid is awesome. Joel, aged 9, saw something and was moved to help. One of the important takeaways is what Joel says about the kids on the news just being “other children”. Children like him. Refugees are like us. They have similar wishes and hopes: for a safe happy future, a good place to raise their kids, a steady job. The big difference: they have to fear for their life. We don’t. So why not help out? I’ve mentioned ways to do so several times now. 🙂

Hats off to you, Joel. You rock mate. 😀

From the fundraising website:

“I’m walking 115 miles from my house to Hope Square, London, to help child refugees. I’m 9 years old.
Joel Condron
Email Verified
133 Facebook Friends
United Kingdom
1 Team Member

Contact See More Details

Hello, my name’s Joel…

…and I live in Oakham, Rutland with my Mum, Dad and little brother. I’m 9 years old and like cars, football, playing my guitar, Minecraft and Lego. I go to school each day where I learn, play and hang out with my mates. I’m an ordinary English kid living in a safe town.

Lately, I have heard stories on telly about other children that have had to leave their home towns and go on dangerous journeys because there are bad people around that are fighting in wars. The news calls them refugee children. Some of these kids have had to walk a long way sometimes without their parents to find a safe place to live. A lot of them are even younger than me.

Five (very cute) Syrian refugee children pose for a photo at Domiz Camp in Iraq

I want to do something to help them, so in half-term I am walking 115 miles from my house to the Kindertransport statue in Hope Square, Liverpool Street Station, London so that people can give money to help these children get food, water and somewhere warm and safe to sleep.”

If only they would listen [REBLOGGED from The AIM Network]

I agree 100% with what Kaye Lee, and through her, Julian Burnside say here. This is what I’m talking about when I speak of a real “regional solution” which is truly multilateral. It would be lovely if this idea gained traction with the politicians. After all, some people have been advocating something like this for years. Please look beyond your own concerns, people. It’s not “someone else’s problem – it is our problem, a global member of society.
After all, in Australia we’re supposed to have “boundless plains to share”, aren’t we?

Show your support and attend an event in support (I gave links to other forms of support on Friday):

European Day of Action for Refugees
UK – Glasgow Sees Syria
UK – Edinburgh Sees Syria
UK – London – National Day of Action
Canada – several locations – Refugees welcome (Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, St Johns, Toronto, Victoria, Vancouver)
United States – Seattle
Australia – several locations – Light the Dark (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide)
Read and share.

While the Liberals gloat over stopping the boats, and Labor wrings its hands pretending concern about drownings, other more enlightened people are offering practical advice, if only our politicians would listen.Julian Burnside, who knows more than most about the plight of refugees, makes the following eminently sensible suggestions.“I suggest an alternative, genuine, form of offshore processing, which is for Australia to process asylum claims offshore (in Indonesia, before they get on a boat) and, for those assessed as refugees, promise resettlement in a finite, specified time.

The essential elements of this proposal include:

• Our annual refugee intake would need to be increased. It is presently set at 13,750. It should be increased to 30,000 per year.

• The processing has to be fair. Experience suggests that, when processing is not subject to judicial oversight, the result of the process owes more to political considerations than to the merits of the particular claims. Experience on Nauru from 2001 to 2005 threw up some notorious examples of grossly unfair processing.

• The increase in refugee places has to be sufficient to keep their waiting time in Indonesia to a reasonable length: one year at the most. A longer waiting time than that may prompt some to try a quicker route.

• We would have to enlist Indonesia’s cooperation so that the refugees could live without harassment while they waited in Indonesia for resettlement. In particular, it is desirable that they be allowed to work while in Indonesia awaiting resettlement.

• We would have to warn them about the risk of getting on a smuggler’s boat.

This sort of offshore processing would in fact solve the problem of people risking their lives at sea. By processing refugee claims in Indonesia, and increasing our refugee intake, we would create a system for safe, orderly resettlement. We can do it. But we won’t do it unless our concern about people drowning at sea is genuine.

A real regional solution

I do not advocate an open borders policy. Initial detention for people who arrive without papers is reasonable. But it should be limited to one month, for preliminary health and security checks. After that, release them on interim visas with four crucial conditions:

• they must stay in touch with the Department until their refugee status has been determined;

• they are allowed to work or study;

• they are allowed access to Centrelink and Medicare benefits;

• they are required to live in a regional town until their refugee status has been determined.

There are plenty of country towns which are slowly shrinking as people leave. The National Farmers Federation estimates that there are 96,000 unfilled jobs in country areas. It is highly likely that many asylum seekers would get jobs.

How this would work can be tested by making some assumptions.

First: numbers. The average arrival rate of boat people over the past 20 years is about 2,000 per year. In 2001 (the year of the Tampa episode), just over 4,000 boat people arrived. (It is a striking thing how the arrival of 4,000 frightened people threw the country into a panic). In 2012, 25,000 boat people arrived. That is roughly equivalent to the annual arrival numbers in the late 1970s, as we resettled Indo-Chinese refugees, with no observable social difficulty. The arrival rate has fallen away again, but let us assume that the 2012 figure becomes the new normal.

And second, let us assume that all of them stay on full Centrelink benefits.

These are both highly unlikely assumptions.

It would cost us about $500 million a year. All that money would be spent in the economies of regional towns on rent, food and clothing, to the great benefit of the economy of the regional towns where they lived. It is not difficult to see the benefits to the economy of towns which are slowly losing population to the capitals.

By contrast, we are presently spending about $5 billion a year mistreating refugees. In other words, by treating them decently we could reduce the cost of the system by about $4.5 billion a year.

It is not hard to think of national infrastructure projects which might be funded from the savings. A billion dollars a year could be turned to creating more public housing for homeless Australians; another billion dollars a year could be applied to building schools or hospitals, or used to reduce the deficit or reverse tertiary education funding cuts.

There are many ways these ideas could be implemented. A few billion dollars a year can be used to damage asylum seekers profoundly, or it can be used for the benefit of the community in which asylum seekers live pending refugee status determination and for the benefit of the wider community. But it won’t happen until someone shows enough leadership that we are behaving badly because we have been misled about the character of the people who wash up on our shores.

Let us hope that, one day soon, Australia will show that it can return to its true character.”

Hear, hear.

We Must Do the Right Thing, Not the Easy One

*Yes, the title is paraphrased from a quote in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Good guess. I thought it appropriate.

Can you hear the whispers? It’s a movement, a gathering storm of change. While the less-altruistic may dismiss it as simply noise, or try to only do the bare minimum possible, others know better.

The simple, sad photo of “The Boy on the Beach”: Aylan Kurdi, is waking people up. Perhaps in the long run, this collective recognition of the plight, our empathy, will come to nothing. But I dare to dream and hope for better.

Arise from your slumber, oh people! Wake up to the devastation of the world. Then, see that all is not lost or hopeless.
Everything is interconnected. Our inaction, or action, on various fronts (however small or large our contribution) helps sway the balance one way or another. This relates to the current wars, rising conflict between groups at home, distribution of weapons and dropping bombs etc. vs. giving real help…
In short, how we deal with social, economic and environmental pressures, globally and regionally, separately or together, matters.

Here and now, we have to stand up – we have to fight back, with words and ideas. We must say a firm, “No!” to one way and a strong, “YES!” to the other.
More than anything, we have to come together and talk about this. Slogans and pointless politicising just doesn’t cut it.

It’s just common sense.

A few other bits of common sense from The Progressive Conversation (1) and The AIM Network (2) – click on highlighted words to follow for the rest:


Image from@Latuffcartoons Via @MiddleEastEye

It’s something we take for granted isn’t it? That each of us has a country – a place to put our feet – on a planet where 71% of the surface is covered by ocean.

Like having air to breathe, we assume that having somewhere to stand, to walk – is a basic right of existence. Our bodies aren’t exactly ocean-friendly – not for anything longer than a shortish swim in any event. And without a place on this planet to safely put your feet so that you can find shelter, get food, water and continue to breathe air – you die. It’s as simple as that.

This “stop the boats” rubbish must stop. (2)

  • September 5, 2015
  • Written by:
This “stop the boats” rubbish must stop.Both major parties, and the people who condone this rhetoric, should be ashamed of themselves.

In 1959, during the opening of World Refugee Year, Prime Minister Robert Menzies said

“It has not been easy for organised world opinion in the United Nations or elsewhere to act directly in respect of some of the dreadful events which have driven so many people from their own homes and their own fatherland, but at least we can in the most practical fashion show our sympathy for those less fortunate than ourselves who have been the innocent victims of conflicts and upheavals of which in our own land we have been happy enough to know nothing.

It is a good thing that Australia should have earned a reputation for a sensitive understanding of the problems of people in other lands; that we should not come to be regarded as people who are detached from the miseries of the world.”

More later, as there’s an article from The AIMN which deserves to be republished in full.

As I said on Friday and others have said before that, those making these journeys are desperate. They’re not going to be deterred by treacherous seas, barbed wire, guards or other measures. The measures only induce fear and confusion.

We are strong enough to help. If we share the load properly, then it won’t seem so bad. Just the same, though, if some (e.g. Gulf states) refuse to take in many, that doesn’t mean we (Australia, etc.) have an excuse to continue our poor behaviour.

Edmund Burke once said (among numerous other good things): “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

After all, to go back to Dumbledore and Rowling again (but this time the Chamber of Secrets): “It is our choices that define us far more than our abilities.”

Other links: ~ That editorial from the New York Times ~ An interesting website tracking the discrimination and ‘wrecking-ball’ chaos of the Abbott Govt in several areas; this tab focuses on refugees. ~ An explanation – again – of why asylum seekers get on boats to Australia instead of staying in Indonesia

#ClearTheSky – Create A No-Fly Zone Over Syria

Why do we selectively choose to forget some things, while focusing too much on others?

Displaying photo.JPG

Paraphrased from the Planet Syria team:

Two years ago, the Syrian regime used the chemical agent sarin to gas hundreds of civilians in Ghouta. Entire families foamed at the mouth after the dawn attack, shaking in shock, and hundreds died. … The pictures from Ghouta shocked and angered people all over the world. Bashar al-Assad had joined the only two leaders in 90 years to have used chemical weapons against their own people: Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler. Barack Obama said a red line had been crossed and a threat of force by the US led Assad to agree to destroy his chemical stockpiles.

Fast forward two years later to today, and Syrians are still being gassed. Barrel bombs are being filled with chlorine and dropped onto family homes, turning them into gas chambers. Yet it’s not the chemicals killing most Syrians – it’s the bombs themselves. There were nearly 7,000 airstrikes by the Syrian regime in July alone.

This time the silence from the world is deafening. A few days ago a market in the besieged town of Douma outside Damascus was bombed from the sky. More than 100 people were killed and 500 were injured. It’s in the same area – Ghouta – that was gassed two years ago. Editors kept the news off their front pages and diplomats’ empty condemnations were toothless. So the same site was bombed 24 hours later.

This will go on and on unless the world is prepared to stop it. We have countless UN resolutions and statements from countries and organisations around the world. But words alone will not protect these innocent civilians.

We need your help to break the silence now and show support for a no-fly zone that will clear our skies of the bombs. 

Right now countries are debating deeper military involvement in Syria. Whether in Australia or the UK, politicians and publics are talking about increasing strikes against Isis. But nobody is talking about the fact that the Syrian regime is killing seven times more civilians than Isis. The public needs to know the core truths, otherwise we will see more failed Middle East policies and more innocent lives lost.

To break the silence and spread the truth we are asking people around the world to join or organise a #ClearTheSky action on the anniversary of the Ghouta attack. 

Go outside and take a picture of yourself looking up at the sky. Then change your profile picture to it and spread the word. Please reblog – I’m a bit late on posting my picture, but better late than never. The civilians are the forgotten victims in this conflict.

5 things everyone should know about what is happening in Syria today.

1 – The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is killing at least 7 times more civilians than Isis.

2 – More than 11,000 barrel bombs made of scrap metal and high explosives have been rolled out of regime helicopters onto hospitals, homes and schools since the UN banned them. These aerial attacks are the biggest killer of civilians. They drive extremism.

3 – These barrel bombs are the leading cause of displacement, forcing refugees to cross the Mediterranean and other borders.

4 – Many of the barrel bombs are dropped on areas under siege. More than half a million people in Syria live in areas with no access to food, water or medicine since 2013, including the areas of Ghouta that were targeted by the sarin gas attacks in the same year.

5 – The international anti-Isis coalition is flying in the same airspace where many of these barrel bombs are dropped, choosing to look the other way

There is no military solution to the fighting in Syria. But like in Bosnia, a no-fly zone can help protect civilians from the worst of the violence and encourage the fighting parties to come to the negotiating table.

Too many Syrians spend their days looking up at the sky, wondering when the next barrel bomb will drop and what it will hit. Today we are asking you to look up in solidarity with all those who continue on and join the call to #clearthesky.

Join hundreds of non-violent Syrian groups in asking for the international community to enforce the UN ban on barrel bombs with a Bosnia-style no-fly zone.