All posts by Workers BushTelegraph

Workers BushTelegraph discusses current and past events, books and film with the aim of sharing worker political education and consciousness. WBT poses 3 questions: who owns the land, workers control of production and democratic rights.


Motherland cradle me, close my eyes,
Lullaby me to sleep.
Keep me safe, lie with me,
Stay beside me don’t go

– Natalie Merchant

Local community choir ‘Singpatico‘ saw their way through Covid and managed to put in a great performance at the Laura Street Festival on Sunday 10 October 2021.

The choir featured a beautiful version of the very personal song, Motherland, by Natalie Merchant that gained political attention because the album of the same name was to be released on 9/11. Some of the lyrics were regarded as prescient of the fall of the twins towers.

The final cover of Motherland released in November 2001. The original album cover was a picture of children in a field wearing oxygen masks. Thus the Motherland cover shows a tree laden with apples with the songstress is sitting demurely beneath.

Take one last look behind,
Commit this to memory and mind.
Don’t miss this wasteland,
This terrible place
When you leave
Keep your heart off your sleeve”

Natalie Merchant withheld the release of the album Motherland and changed its cover out of respect for those killed in the Twin Towers. So strong were feelings running at the time, Merchant felt pressured into taking one song off the album “The End” which included the lyrics: ‘That’ll be the end of war/ the end of the law of Bible, of Koran, Torah.

Such was the hysteria surrounding 9/11, the US government got on with the insane payback of the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Merchant dedicated her album to the victims in New York of September 11, 2001 attack. Her album sold well.

The singer songwriter has been associated with a number of political campaigns in the US including opposition to President Trump. Natalie Merchant sang her song Motherland and Woody Guthrie’s This Land is our Land at a protest outside Trump Tower in New York City on January 19, 2017. Merchant was also involved in protest against oil and gas fracking in New York state, as well as campaigns against domestic violence. But when tested the songstress stuck to her music choosing the personal not the political (a harder road with probably fewer album sales).

The Laura Street Festival in West End has managed to re-capture community spirit during a very difficult time for people with progressive politics. Organising face-to-face has challenged grass roots movements.

Community organisations, unions, solidarity groups and left-wing parties have all felt the pinch in a world that has turned to religion and the right at a time when the gulf between rich and poor has never been so great.

Well, I’ve walked these streets
In a carnival, of sights to see
All the cheap thrill seekers vendors and the dealers
They crowded around me

Carnival by Natalie Merchant

Motherland by Natalie Merchant
While my guitar gently weeps by George Harrison
Lively Up by Bob Marley
African dancing music

Ian Curr
11 October 2021

Grand Finale of the Big Ride for Palestine (Australia)

At the close to the most successful Big Ride for Palestine (Australia) about fifty (50) from the community who support Palestine assemble near the Baladi (=home) Coffee Cart run by Farrah and Tony. Already 115 riders and walkers have completed over 11,200 kilometre Australia-wide and have raised over $44,545 for the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation in the refugee camps in Lebanon. This, our 5th Big Ride for Palestine in partnership with APHEDA (Union aid Abroad), is a good example of practical solidarity and awareness raising!

TBR21 for Palestine Grand Finale
In Brisbane, this Saturday the 9th October we celebrated this years Big Ride with a ride and walk at the Grand Finale on 237 Brisbane Corso Yeronga near Baladi Coffee Cart. Riders completed a 25 kilometer half-river loop and walkers went from Baladi up to the Dutton Park Cemetery and back. 

After Lachlan Hurse (TBR21 for Palestine) gave a welcome and acknowledgement of coutry never ceded, representatives from Brisbane’s community and activist groups spoke at the gathering. They were:

Omar Ashour (Falesteen Inc), Rosa – Justice for Palestine (Meanjin), and Wendy Turner – Labor Friends for Palestine. We then had a lucky dip to select gifts donated by Palestine Fair Trade (Australia) (winners to be announced).

Noor Zaman from the Rohingyan Community brought his nephew and his banner and looked after the TBR21 for Palestine stall during the ride and walk. Wendy spoke about how difficult it is to get the major political parties to pass motions in support of the Palestinians. Omar addressed the need for a Palestinian community and Rosa spoke about the need for Boycotts Divestments and Sanctions against Israel. JFP (Meanjin) are currently doing walks about the CBD in support of a boycott of PUMA which supplies the Israeli military.

Finally a word from the Director of Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation in Lebanon:

“Through my connections with Helen (McCue), I contacted APHEDA (union aid abroad) and with its help we were able to develop this (Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian) organisation and get some important projects off the ground, including job training in the new information technology industry, and in more traditional areas, such as dressmaking and hairdressing.

We also initiated much-needed childcare projects, after-school tutoring and summer school programs for children, and importantly for me, we aimed to keep our culture alive through a program that taught our young about Palestine and customs such as our traditional dance, Debkeh.

We also sought to empower women in the camps with workshops on their rights under Islamic law, and health and literacy education that gave them insights into how they could obey religious laws but still have planned pregnancies.” – Olfat Mahmoud in Tears for Tarshiha.

We were joined by the President of the Palestinian Association of Queensland, Omar Ashour. Also our celebration was boosted by the Al Zayton (olive) Palestinian Dabke Troupe performed Palestinian Folk Dabke dance.

Refreshments , coffee and Middle Eastern food were available at Farrah and Tony’s Baladi Coffee Cart. Thanks for their hospitality in helping bring the community together.

Ian and Lachlan
for The Big Ride Team

Free Free Palestine!

MMT and Marxist monetary theory – a reply to Bill Mitchell by a man with no name

It is not that I don’t trust intellectuals, or that I am wary that they can make anything sound true.

It is in struggle that we learn what is true.

However it is always good to discover which side you are on. Here is a clear rejection of Modern Monetary Theory by Michael Roberts. With you, I agree, comrade.

In solidarity
A person of no consequence
5 Oct 2021

Michael Roberts Blog

Bill Mitchell is a Professor in Economics and Director of theCentre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Professor Mitchell is one of the world’s leading exponents of what is called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). MMT has gained traction in the labour movement in recent years on the grounds that it provides powerful new arguments to refute the claims of mainstream economics that governments need to balance their books ie keep spending in line with tax revenues and not allow government debt to spiral. In order to balance the books, so the mainstream argument goes, government spending must be cut, taxes raised and debt levels reduced, even if that means more poverty and worse public services. There is no alternative – as Margaret Thatcher once said.

However, MMT is supposed to offer the answers to the Austerians, both theoretically and in alternative…

View original post 2,683 more words

unite dies but Foco lives?

Foco can mean a central space, however in revolutionary politics Che Guevara gave it real meaning in guerrilla warfare against military dictatorships around the world. It was a place from which the poor and oppressed could launch their attack on the ruling class.

On the Paradigm Shift, this week, Andy talked “about creating radical collaborative spaces in Brisbane. We hear from people organising this week’s Community Day for Climate, next week’s Laura Street Festival, plus the ongoing spaces at Common House and Moorooka Social Space.” – Andy from Paradigm Shift

Andy interviews people from four contemporary radical spaces around Brisbane: Turnstyle Community Hub in Laura Street, Common House in the Valley, Moorooka Social Space and Extinction Rebellion’s Community Day for Climate at Northey Street Markets.

The show looks at an evolving need for community. None of the spaces discussed existed more than ten years ago illustrating the precarious existence for organisations that run these spaces. For example, unite, set up only a few years ago (2016) has split and dissolved. Common House is now run by a management committee from a number of different collectives.

Interesting also is the generational nature of theses groups. Faced with a climate crisis, a global pandemic and the sabre rattling of war mongers, there is a need for stable lasting organisation of revolutionary groups … till now, unattainable.

It is interesting to hear Dave Eden speak when unite was set up:

It seems that unite was unable to live up to at least one piece of advice by Dave Eden: “Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!” so it ran out of puff. It is very difficult to maintain the level of organisation required, something that the more rigid Socialist Alliance had managed for many years prior to being taken over in that place by unite. Socialist Alliance are still going at the Albion Peace Centre. I would walk by Common House on Fridays after doing the Paradigm Shift on 4ZZZ at noon. Nine out of ten times I knocked on the door at 74b Wickham St, Fortitude Valley over a period of ten years, there was no one there. An empty space. There’s a radical concept.

Many communities in Meanjin
Some longer lasting groups tied to the Left in some way that were not covered on the show are: Foco Nuevo, the Cuba Friendship Society, Justice for Palestine, LeftPress Printing Society, the Big Ride for Palestine, Andy’s own community, the Catholic Workers, Just Peace and their Politics in the Pub, and of course a number of union based communities which get together each year on May Day. Some more examples are mentioned below.

Setting up is hard, but sustaining organisation is harder.

For example, the original FOCO lasted about 14 months, firstly at the old Trades Hall and then at AHEPA Hall in West End and rode the crest of the anti-Vietnam war movement and counterculture that grew out of it.

Foco Nuevo, on the other hand, has been going for over 11 years and is a monthly concert featuring local and international musicians from many different genres. It takes the form of a the regular performance space for Jumping Fences and guests, held on the First Friday of every month. It has even survived the pandemic.

There are a number of other progressive communities in Brisbane (Meanjin). There the St Mary’s community that formed because of the need for social justice in the church. Then there’s the community in Musgrave Park, Jagera Arts, WAR and the Sacred Fire which is about sovereignty and first nations land rights. There’s the Latin-American community that is a loose formation around solidarity with the struggles in the Americas. They often get together at various venues including the Spanish Club, Foco Nuevo, Cuba Friendship events and some restaurants. Not to mention the various places that have evolved from the women’s movement including Women’s House. As mentioned on the show the anti-poverty network is trying to make government accountable for the widening gap between rich and poor, particularly women. And, finally, there’s 4ZZZ an independent radio station that came out of the anti-war movement. But its main focus remains, music.

To name a few … I am sorry a full treatment in this short article is impossible.

Anyway have a listen to the show and see what you think …


Having left the Middle East in chaos, the United States is trying to protect its military superiority in the Indo-Pacific. Like a devoted child, Australia is going along for the ride providing an even greater base for US military superiority.

On this week’s Paradigms Shift, Andy manages to get a submariner on the show to criticise the new nuclear sub deal with United States. Not that the $90 billion French deal didn’t deserve criticism. Former submarine, Rex Patrick, is now an independent MP from South Australia and he shows up the admirals and defence budget analysts with a stinging rebuke.

What a pathetic government we have. 😂

Controlling the seas
A key U.S. strategic goal is to dominate the critical sea-lanes between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, through which a large portion of world trade passes. This includes the majority of China’s exports and imports, and the Middle Eastern oil supplies that are so essential to the functioning of its economy.

These sea lanes produce choke points and the US wants to deploy Australian submariners into those places to thwart Chinese attempts to break potentional US blockades of Chinese trade. It seems to me we would be fighting against our own economic interests because of the strong trade relationship we have with China.

What a pathetic President the US has, Joe Biden even forgot Scott Morrison’s name calling him ‘that fella from down under’ when they signed the deal!

Paradigm Shift


This week’s show is about last week’s AUKUS announcement – what does Australia’s new military alliance mean, how does it relate to potential conflict in our region, and what’s the go with these new submarines? I speak to international relations academic Vince Scappatura, and to former submariner, now senator Rex Patrick.

LIsten at

Disables – The lackey country
Soursob Bob – New American century
Combat Wombat — Shoot to kill
Midnight Oil – Hercules

Message from Olfat in Beirut – we will return

“…while I could not fulfill my grandfather’s dream of burying him in Tarshiha, I did the best I could, I planted an olive tree for my grandfather in his village, I chose to plant the tree as a symbol of hope and peace for my family and for the remaining inhabitants of Tarshiha, that they may be spared further conflict and war. And that one day, my family in exile might to be able to return to their village.” – Chaker Mahmoud, Palestinian refugee, now a Canadian citizen.

Now in its 5th year, the Big Ride for Palestine (Australia) has raised over $77K for important projects in Gaza, the West Bank and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. The crucial demand for the latter is the right of return to their homelands which are being settled by the apartheid state of Israel.

The 2021 ride will follow the COVID-Safe approach adopted last year, where participants ride or walk a self-nominated distance over a fortnight, seeking sponsorship from friends, comrades, and supporters of Palestine. This allows people to join, even in lockdown as exercise is allowed. In places where restrictions permit, local group rides and walks can take place.

Again, The Big Ride for Palestine-Australia will be a national event, held between September 25th and October 10th, 2021.

Following discussions with Union-Aid Abroad-APHEDA, we have decided that in 2021 funds will again be sent to its partner organisation, the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation (PWHO). Palestinian refugees in the camps in Lebanon are presently facing an extreme crisis generated by the convergence of three factors, the COVID-19 Pandemic, the collapse of the Lebanese economy and a political crisis with no functioning government in the country.

Apart from fundraising for critical APHEDA projects, The Big Ride participants assist with raising the profile of Palestinian issues in the general community. We do this through distributing leaflets, posting on social media, and proudly wearing our Palestinian Big Ride jerseys and tee-shirts.

Still not too late to sign up …

Ian: Could you please introduce yourself?

Olfat: Thank you for the introduction. My name is Olfat Mahmoud. I am Palestinian from Lebanon. And I’m the director of the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organization.

Ian: I’ve been reading your book Tears for Tarshiha.

Olfat: That’s my village in Palestine.

Ian: And I’m looking at the front cover of the book. And there are people carrying bales on their heads away from a village .. that’s down a road in what looks like in in the 1940s. Can you can you describe what that is?

Olfat: Actually I tell you the story of my grand mother, because I was not born yet.

It’s in 1948 when Palestinians were really scared and afraid, and it was heavy fighting was the scary … the Deir Yassin massacre and people hear the news, they were terrified. So they decided to send the woman and the children to Lebanon, because they were very close to the south of the south of Lebanon woman and the children mostly all people as well. They left the villages for just they said for two weeks, they were promised that only two weeks and you will return back they left and they never went back and this is the trip when they were leaving their villages to go to run away from war and from fighting to Lebanon. So that is the cover of the book.

Ian: So that’s your grandmother Her name is Alya, isn’t it?

Olfat: Yes. Alia. Yeah,

Ian: Alia, so she has already has children, which would be …  is that your mother?

Olfat: Hind, yes, she has children. Yes, she has children. And actually, on this trip, she lost some of her children from measles and so it was very hard for her. She had four daughters and a boy son with her and three, other than these three were died from, you know, measles and infectious diseases.

Ian: Yes, I’m looking at a photo of the Burj el Barajneh Palestinian camp where she arrived in the outskirts of Beirut in the early 1950s. And it looks like a shanty town With a very dusty, and there’s lots of clothes hanging out on lines. So she moved into that situation on the outskirts of Beirut, is that right?

Olfat: It’s the southern suburb of Beirut there near the airport. Actually it was first they went to the south of Lebanon, because it’s very close to their villages, and they stay there for sometimes. Then the United Nations, they established UNRWA. And they told people that they can’t go back now to their villages. So they went first to the Bekaa Valley, and they went to Beirut. So it was a long trip, like from place to place until they settled in Burj el Barajneh camp.

Ian: Yes, I read a comment about this in a in another book, the point that the author makes is that the Palestinian refugees became an ‘inconvenience to the international community’. How did that affect you?

Olfat: We have been refugees since 1948, before I was born, and the internet and actually, this problem is created by the international community, and they should be responsible for what they created. Instead, they get bored really and further from hearing about the Palestinian situation. So they are not doing their duties.

Ian: Alia must have thought that she was going to go back. But then UNRWA was set up. And then UNRWA created a situation where she couldn’t go back. And they started providing aid in those camps.

Olfat: … not UNRWA, not UNRWA … UNRWA is a UNITED NATIONS  body, it’s the international community who created this problem in 1947, one day decided to divide Palestine into two states. And then the problem happened and it was war. So the international community should do more, to help the Palestinian to help solve the problem of the Palestinian OF being refugees and help them to return back the international community, they should do more. It’s like we have been refugees for around 74 years. And they haven’t done anything. They should help us to return back to our country. They know that we were there before 1948. And they should work hard to help the Palestinian to return back. We don’t want to get refugees forever.

Ian: I’m looking at your book now. And I see that during your lifetime. You being a really a third generation refugee because it was ALIA. And then there was your mum, Hind and your dad, Khalil. And then then then there’s you. And then of course you have your children there. Your son (obscured)…

Olfat: He has a baby girl. Yes, Leah.

Ian: So that’s Leah, she’ll be the fifth generation refugee. And I’m saying in your book, not only has there been the normal difficulties of living in a camp, with insecure water and electricity, and in very cold and wet conditions. But you’ve also been the subject of bombing in 1985, at Burj el Barajneh, there was there was a bomb hit on the edge of the camp, you would have been really quite young, then. Yes. And then I’m noticing that your connection with Australia through Dr. Helen McCue is that … you and she managed to convince Cliff Dolan, the president of the ACTU,

Olfat: Yes yeah

Ian: …to help set up a feeder union aid abroad with the specific idea of providing care and assistance to the Palestinian refugees.

Olfat: Yeah, that’s true. And they still provide us with support and help.

Ian: Yes, you are not only a nurse, you’re also … I’m noticing here that you have from quite a young age, been exposed to the media and you’ve fielded questions from the media about the situation. Now, over the time that you’ve been doing that work, have you … is that … has the media been more or less sensitive to your situation?

Burj el Barajneh Palestinian camp, early 1950s

Olfat: No, I must say it’s more sensitive now because of, you know, technology, social media. So it’s more sensitive now. Yes, it’s more supportive somehow. Now.

Ian: There’s a picture also here of you as a student nurse. You’re at a nursing school in the Bekaa Valley in 1987. Now, does that mean that you were integrated into Lebanese society? Your training?

Olfat: No, no, this is Palestinian School of Nursing. I was teaching there.

Ian: Okay. Okay, so and

Olfat: … actually we have Palestinian, you know, at UNRWA while they have clinics and clinics only they have, they don’t have hospitals, but PRCS, Palestinian Red Crescent Society, they have clinics and hospitals, I worked there until 1986. And then, because of war, and because of lots of things, I enjoyed nursing, but I left, I left nursing and because I did this community nursing training in Australia in 1984-85. So I started to work within the community, with NGOs, raising awareness sessions, and things like that. Because all my experience with nursing was during war, so I had (had) enough. … And I loved working within the community. So I went back to university, I had three children, and I was working at the same time and I did sociology, psychology, and philosophy. As an undergraduate, then I now have a PhD in psychology.

Ian: Okay, and then you’ve also managed to write this book that I’ve been I’ve been reading … I’m just, … I’m amazed that someone from a refugee camp could do all of this.

Olfat: Yes, this is that was a motivation Actually, I want to prove to the world that we can, we are human beings, like all human beings. We can study we can work we can write, we can. So I’m not a writer, but this is my experience. This is my biography. I wanted to have it on and I should now say thank you, thank you. Thank you, Dr. Helen McCue. Because she encouraged me at the beginning, I refused. I said, expose my private life to you know, it’s and then I decided no, she’s right. I’m, I should write my experience and my biography. People can see from it’s not a political book. It’s not a an academic book. It’s a daily life, you know, experience book.

Ian: Also, I’m seeing you with your son, Chaker, he, he’s a, he’s a Canadian citizen. So he’s moved away from from the homeland. And is, I assume is started his own career.

Olfat: Yeah. homeland. What is homeland for us? It’s, it’s Palestine, which we are not allowed to go. So he was a refugee in Lebanon. And then he had the scholarship to go and study in Canada. So he started there, and he got the nationality. But he is he was able to visit Palestine many times that he became Canadian.

Ian: Aha, I say because of his citizenship that you can’t go there because you’re not a Canadian, but he can because …. so how do you … For example, you’re a stateless person. How do you come to Australia? Because I’ve seen you I’ve met you in Australia.

Olfat: No, like I I get the invitation from APHEDA. Always I get invitation from APHEDA. They sponsor me. And this is how I travel. So you don’t have a passport but there’s a letter I traveling document traveling documents. Need to travel?

Ian: Yes. It’s a year since we spoke and we spoke last time at the end of the last the 2020 edition of The Big Ride for Palestine, Australia. Now, for our supporters and riders and walkers. Can you give us an idea of the current situation for women in Burj el Barajneh, knee and Shatilla refugee camps?

Olfat: Actually, we work in Burj el Barajneh, Shatilla and the south of Lebanon, Palestinian refugee camps mainly in Bar Elias (?) (obscured).The work actually became very hard now. It’s very hard to support families who are already experiencing hardship greater than was seen during the days of the Civil War. And there are many reasons for for that we know that the whole world is affected by covid 19 pandemic and the economic situation everywhere.started to be harsh well, but in Lebanon, we have other crisis. The economic crisis began in Lebanon in late 2019, when we had the start of the 17th of October Revolution. And it was exacerbated by the covid 19 pandemic, after the fourth of August 2020 Beirut blast. All of this made the whole country actually half of the country’s population living in poverty. Even people who had enjoyed a good comfortable standard of living now struggle with soaring prices. So imagine for the Palestinians who live in the camps, already, they have a problem with work, they have no right to work in Lebanon. And already they live in poverty. Even the basic essentials nowadays, including food is unaffordable. The currency devaluation has rendered salaries almost worthless, almost because they was nothing … the Lebanese lire and due to restrictions, Palestinians have no right to work, and many people in the camps dependent on casual labor to support their families, which is (obscured), that means they are dependent on daily payment work, but now dried up due to COVID-19 … lock downs, and all the other crisis we have in Lebanon. Now, what shall I say, if you walk through on the streets, you will find queues of cars in front of petrol station trying to get some fuel to their cars. And people who need to travel to their work, they can’t work now because most of the time they have no fuel. Children now are going so so those who work on daily bement actually, they lost this opportunity. There is no more work. Even many companies who used to work in Lebanon, they move now out of Lebanon, so many people lost their jobs. And they can’t afford doing you know, painting and things like that. So Palestinians who used to do this daily payment work mostly stopped more costly, plus people without work at all. And now it’s the school now our schools are open now you know, after summer vacation. So these children, they will go to schools where there are no electricity, there is shortage of electricity, how they will study. We have been teaching our kids for two years because of COVID-19, online, but we don’t have the resources in the camps. People maybe the whole family, they all have one phone, how they can share it with their kids, they have four or five kids at school. So not all of them will attend classes. And computers, some they have some they don’t have so makes it very difficult to study online. And now if they want to go to school, there is no electricity most of the day. It’s a very difficult situation.

And also hospital hosting hospitals are struggling due to shortage of medicine and the fuel as well. Many cases over chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, heart problems. Nowadays, they don’t get they don’t get their medication. You you you will search for your medicine and you won’t get it and if you get it, it’s over expectation … the price. So it makes it very difficult for people with chronic illnesses. You know, the population and Lebanon it’s around 6,800,000 something … in let’s say 7 million from COVID from COVID-19 virus … from the beginning of COVID-19 till now it’s more than 8200 people died from COVID-19. And now the hospitals they don’t have enough oxygen they don’t have. … So it’s it’s a very, very difficult generation. If people get COVID-19 they … many people’s they suffer they struggle and they die at home. So it’s really really a very miserable situation. And we don’t know how people will survive. It’s it’s very difficult.

And UNICEF and UNICEF has warned that the current that the country’s water supply system is on the brink of collapse. So what we have nothing, nothing. It’s like if I myself, I prefer not to leave the house, because if you leave the house, you will want to buy something you can’t afford. It’s very no electricity, not enough water. Most of the time, no WiFi, no medication, no medicine, how people will survive. It’s really, really a very, very bad situation. Very bad situation. And you know what I call it it’s a dire situation with no end. in sight, it’s a dire situation. With no end in sight, we don’t see how it will be solved. Really no one knows.

Ian: … sorry to interrupt but in my introduction, I mentioned that there are two aims for the big ride for Palestine. The first one is to raise people’s awareness and but the other one was to provide, raise and provide money for programs to be run by your organization. Can you give some practical examples of how that money can helpthe people?

Olfat: Look, I’ll tell you now people are in desperate, desperate need. I know we believe in development, and it’s very important. But to be honest, we need also as well some relief for how they can how people were survive. And the problem is it’s not now it’s in the future and very worried about the future because now they’re in Lebanon there there is no milk for children even so what people are eating is very little and mostly carbohydrates. So after a few years, we will see what will happen to the health of the kids and people already we started to see anaemia, we started to see malnutrition. And we all know, these problems affect … affect, not just our health, but our brains as well. So these children will have problems with their school achievement. But with the help, we really appreciate, really, international NGOs one day contribute money or things to the camps because it helps a lot. .. It helps a lot. For example, it’s very important now and the due to lack of everything, it’s to do short courses for woma]en, mainly women and help them like cook good food, and affordable. Like, like ideas, how she can meat and chicken is you know, in our tradition, they think they are like they should eat them daily.

So we should teach them we should teach them with the help of a nutritionist Of course, how to cook affordable meals for their children. This is very important. It’s very important as well to raise awareness on now. psychological state of the families, like people are very angry people are very afraid they don’t feel safe. Because of the economic situation we started to hear about lots of crimes taking place and you know, I’m not because I’m a woman or …  women are more at risk of these crimes because they think you know women are weak we can attack them easily. So on the streets, some young men, they pull the bags behind bags of woman and do what they do bag and run away. So women are afraid now to leave the house. So it’s very important to run some courses on self defense or on exchange ideas how she can protect herself what she can do while she are outside her house, we need to help them to to do like short courses, especially families who have who are not well educated because if the woman if the family is well educated, even if they are poor, they still can do some type of teaching and then get some money. So we were rich women who are not well educated do short courses and You know, making clothes on skills, so she can work from home, she can at least she can at least earn some money to feed her children.

There are lots of other ideas as well also for now school schools are open. So you know, at least help children with extra curriculum help children with some stationary help could help children to if they are at risk to drop out to join especially classes in our center. So to avoid the drop out, there are lots of ideas

Ian: Ken Davis from AHEDA mentioned in his interview, how the alleyways in Burj el Barajneh  he can reflect the towns and villages where people lived prior to al Nakba in 1948. And several generations, like you have told us today, have now passed on. And you’re you’re struggling for the right of return to your own town of Tarshiha. What do you say to the people who maintain that the Jewish people must have the right to go to Palestine? And to settle there. What do you say to those people that make that argument?

Olfat: First of all, we believe we believe you know, we have Muslims, the Christians, Jews, we have also Hindus, whatever, like hundreds of other. So anyone, anyone can go and visit, like they can go and visit Palestine, they can go on.

But actually, you can’t put all Jewish people in one state. This is very dangerous, even. This is very dangerous. We should spread Muslims should spread the Christians should spread Jewish should spread. It’s like so all Muslims should go to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and say this is where we should live. Also Christians, for example, Jesus was born in Palestine. So they should all go there as well. This is not really I don’t, … this is a very weak argument. I don’t like either to go into this argument. But I think if I am a Russian Jewish, why I should go and live in Palestine. If I’m Russian, Jew, (if) I’m Jewish. This is my religious, not my country.

Ian: Yes, the the international community seems to see both the 1948 and the 1967 refugees as an inconvenience. And recently, the Australian government took $11 million away from projects run by APHEDA designed to assist the Palestinians. What do you say to Australian politicians and government officials? Who are making these cuts at a time of severe economic crisis in Lebanon?

Olfat: Don’t, I would say don’t make people really feel the injustice. If when people feel the injustice, they are exposed to many, many, many, many, I don’t know many problems. So we should we should live in peace and justice. You should not treat people as if they are nothing like they are only they are Palestinian refugees they don’t deserve anything. This is wrong, you are forcing people I’m not giving execuse to what is called between quotations Terrorism what but you are giving calls for people to revalue you are giving cause to people to do really to be angry so it’s the opposite you shall you should help people who feel that they are treated badly you should help people to feel justice you had you you should help people to to meet their needs. But by doing this, you are provoking them.

Ian: Is there anything … Thank you very much. Olfat. I know it’s been very difficult even getting in contact with you but, in these difficult times, but is there anything that you wish to add?

Olfat: Oh, I wish to say like, please always remember us. We are human beings like you. We have been refugees for 74 years without rights. Or with very limited rights. It’s not fair. It’s not fair. Always when we talk, we say, peace and justice, peace alone, it’s not going to work. While peace was justice, it’s going to work. And I believe in that, and believe me, sometimes like when we when I’m really angry of the situation of what’s happening, and I remember nice people I remember very good supportive people. It I don’t know what it what happens, like I say, are no, no, no. The world is not really unsafe by having these nice, very supportive people know, the world is still safe to live. And so I would like to thank all people who are helping and supporting us. And because now of the big right, and walk, this makes us feel really very, very happy. Because we feel that they we have both we are not alone. So keep us in our in your mind, and help us not only financially, also politically, help us talk to your peers, to your government to to keep their support that the Palestinians until there is a just solution.

Ian: I noticed that your son, he wrote a really quite beautiful article, and I just like to read out. The last part of it, he says: “…while I could not fulfill my grandfather’s dream of burying him in Tarshiha, I did the best I could, I planted an olive tree for my grandfather in his village, I chose to plant the tree as a symbol of hope and peace for my family and for the remaining inhabitants of Tarshiha, that they may be spared further conflict and war. And that one day, my family in exile might to be able to return to their village.”

That’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, in a way, it’s a very simple thing. It’s not it’s just how to achieve it

Olfat: …simple but very effective. Yeah, it’s like, you know, give us the hope.

Ian: Well, thank you very much for this. And I’m, I’m want to urge people here in Australia who are participating or thinking of supporting the Palestinian women’s humanitarian organization, by by participating in whatever way they can.

We encourage people also one other thing is we only do this event once every year, that’s all we can manage it our end. But I encourage people who are having thoughts about, about how they can help in other ways. I encourage them to join their local solidarity groups. There are quite a few in Australia now. Locally, here in Brisbane in Queensland, we have the justice for Palestine group, it has a website and a Facebook page. And they conduct a number of campaigns, demonstrations, public rallies. And I think that, you know, if you want to go to another level, that’s really, that sort of solidarity is important. so that people can still have hope.

Olfat: Thank you. Yes, thank you. And I would like to thank all people who think about others. Think about us as Palestinian refugees, and support us, thank you.

We highly appreciate that. And I would like to thank every there for what they are doing, and their support all the time. And

I should thank everybody. And because Helen McHugh is special. I call her my Australian sister. I would like to thank her for all her support as well. Thank you.

Ian: All right. I hope you can now go to bed.

Olfat: Yes, I will tomorrow. I have work in the morning.

Ian: I’ll talk to you again sometime. Bye Bye now.

Olfat: Thank you. Bye bye. Thank you. Bye bye.

Transcribed by Ian Curr

Factoring in Climate Change

Paradigm Shift
Andy & guests
12:00 – 1:00 PM
September 17, 2021

Welcome to the Paradigm Shift on FM 102.1 4ZZZ Fridays at noon. We challenge the assumptions of our current society, to resist oppression …more

This week’s show is about climate adaptation and resilience. I speak with Dan Metcalfe from the CSIRO about natural disaster resilience, economist Andrew Wait about the potential viability of rural Australia, and epidemiologist Colin Butler about the public health effects of climate change. Listen at

Wind Farm near NSW/Vicorian Border Photo: Ian Curr

The Rebel Riot – Let’s fight
The Lurkers – DIY armageddon
Billy Bragg – King tide and the sunny day flood
James Gordon – We can do this

The ‘social left’ and community radio

I’ve thought about the question of should people support community radio stations like 4ZZZ.

My answer is, I have renewed my subscription. But, of course, people have to make their own decisions.

This may surprise some people given my chequered history with the station since 1976.

On International Women’s Day I broadcast 2 speeches by radical feminists about the transgender issues. 4ZZZ will not brook any critique of Trans people occupying women’s spaces. Some wild statements were made about me getting advice from a 4ZZZ board member on this issue but that is incorrect. No one on the board would talk to me as to why Paradigm Shift (4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fridays at Noon) was suspended.

I think the Trans issue is important, but, overall, it is not a political question affecting all human beings. For example, lifestyle choices by individuals are not politics.

Some people on the Left are confused, they think personal gender preference is more important than issues of class relating to war, of access to food, shelter, and work. Democratic rights that affect everyone.

I had no choice but to resign from 4ZZZ as an announcer because the Paradigm Shift that I anchored (with others) for over ten years is a political broadcast. We wish to change the world.

Curiously the people who ran the station in the early days of 4ZZ never sought to use what skills I have as a broadcaster and activist. For example, it was I who provided the people at IWD ’21 with the PA system owned by LeftPress that enabled women to press their concerns on a range of issues relating to poverty, work and housing in the public arena. I have received no complaints from the women who organised the various events held on International Women’s Day.

However Zed management did allow Andy to continue with Paradigm Shift, 4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fridays at Noon.

Andy is doing a good job on Paradigm Shift … listen in on Fridays at Noon or on demand.

In the great scheme of things what I think matters little … my beliefs are political not personal. We (Paradigm Shift and Justice for Palestine) did manage to convince the station to boycott the Eurovision song contest in 2019. I held up this banner when the organisers of Eurovision (SBS) were selecting their contestant at Eurovision in Tel Aviv in Israel. Then I placed the banner in the front window of 4ZZZ lit up by a light box made by a comrade from this and many struggles. It stayed there for some time until someone at Zed turned off the light box and took it down.

Meanwhile keep an eye out for 4PR – Voice of the People

Ian Curr
4PR – Voice of the People
30 Aug 2021