Liz Thompson explains why she is not speaking at the Close Manus rally on Saturday

28 Feb

Thoughtful advice, with the wisdom of inside experience. It is true. It does become about the same ‘white’ or ‘mainstream’ people but every movement requires a face, a voice, a unification. That is where rallies do come in, or groups such as RAC and ASRC, and people as courageous as Liz Thompson who can bring insight, knowledge, truth and motivation. There is far more that can and needs to be done than a rally, but we also need consciousness raising; the charging of hearts; the cohesion of community; the guidance and direction, the information, of where and how to take action which will bring change. There is, always, strength in numbers. Those numbers are being used politically against the people seeking refuge, and it is incarcerating them in conditions we wouldn’t accept for animals. Without rallies, without dedicated groups such as RAC and ASRC, people flounder, knowing they want and need to do something, but without direction. It becomes too hard and they withdraw, turn away. That’s what the purveyors of this inhumanity, the politicians of both major parties but none so cruelly as the Abbott led government, rely on; it’s what they work towards; it’s where they push us. That’s why we need a groundswell of resistance and that only comes from numbers, from groups. Yes, this must be about the people incarcerated by our government for nothing more than seeking asylum; but it is also about us, because what the government does to them, we do to them. Not in my name is not wrong, not misguided. It is hollow only if we do not follow through to ensure it is not done in anyone’s name and, unfortunately, when it comes to politics, if it’s not done, or in this not undone in our name, it is not done.
Liz Thompson is an intelligent and articulate woman. The light she shed on exactly what is happening inside the Manus Island Detention Centre, is vital and needs to be widely disseminated. Personally, I would like her to speak at the rally. The fact is this, those already aware, interested, concerned were most likely, almost exclusively, to have watched Dateline. What she has to say needs also to be revealed to everyone else as well. Perhaps, we cannot speak or act in their name, only our own but on their behalf. Liz, however, is more able to speak in their name because she has heard and seen their plight. I hope she changes her mind.


I am not speaking at the Close Manus rally on Saturday, organised by RAC [Refugee Action Collective]. Without thinking, I agreed to do it, thinking there could be no harm. But in fact the reaction to me speaking on Dateline has made me reconsider. 

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