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.

Reflections on peacekeeping in Egypt & Palestine

Let them sign what they like. False peace will not last. – Yasser Arafat after the signing of peace agreements between Egypt and Israel.

Lieutenant Kristy Miles was with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sinai Egypt set up as a result of the original UN peacekeeping force in 1947. Under the agreement between Israel and Egypt, Palestinians are confined to the Gaza Strip thus making it the largest open air prison in the world. Here is Lt Miles’ reflection on deployment to the Sinai in 2020. Her most powerful recollection was of a video she saw of a Palestinian woman trying to bottle feed her baby in Gaza. Here are Lt. Miles’ recollections given in Anzac Square in Brisbane /Meanjin as the keynote speaker at the Australia Peacekeepers annual celebration organised by the United Nations Association of Australia. Her keynote speech was given on 28th May 2022 before the governor of Queensland, Jeanette Young, to a crowd of peacekeepers, military, united nations community of ambassadors, consuls and volunteers from India, Rwanda, Turkey, Cyprus, Indonesia, Portugal, Japan and the Queensland Country Women’s Association.

Meanwhile the apartheid state of Israel’s merciless war against the Palestinian people continues apace with no UN intervention, no peacekeepers. This is despite the UN’s sponsoring the settler state of Israel in the Middle East. The Australian Attorney General and Minister for External Affairs, Dr H.V. Evatt, as President of the United Nations Assembly oversaw the partition of Palestine into the apartheid state of Israel. This resulted in al Nakba (the catastrophe) for the Palestinians in 1948. – Ian Curr, 30 May 2022.

Lt Kristy Miles: Good morning, Your Excellency, distinguished guests, family, friends. I’m beyond privilege to stand before you and share some of my reflections on peacekeeping. Knowing that you who stand before me have made extraordinary contributions to the effort. Thank you for lighting the way. 

Of all the images and video I saw in my time as serving as part of Operation Mazurka. There’s one image that still haunts me. The image is of a Palestinian woman living in the Gaza Strip, who sat crouched in the dirt beside an open fire under a tarp bottle feeding her baby. My immediate thoughts were questions like was that breast milk she was using? If so, how does she keep it cold? Is it formula? If so, does she have a steady supply? Is it in date that she needs to water it down to make it last? I lived in Canberra first world city and even I dealt with formula supply issues have been limited to two tins per purchase when it wasn’t already sold out.

These questions raised around my mind and led to my immediate memories of bottle feeding my own son. As a first time mum, I was incredibly pedantic in matters of hygiene around his food preparation. I remember scolding my very patient husband, because he had used tap water instead of cooled boiled water to make up Tommy’s formula. Or he had used this water God forbid, instead of the sterilizer when cleaning, humorous now to look back upon, especially these days when I find Thomas sharing his plate of food without dogs, not encouraged, but also not certainly prevented.

But that image was just a glimpse into the life of a mother feeding her child in the harshest of circumstances.

This image was a glimpse into how we are allowing large areas of humanity to survive. This image of a woman who could be me and a child who could be my son. The UN International Day of peacekeepers is observed as a chance to pay tribute to personnel, both uniformed and civilian, for their invaluable contribution to peace, as well as observe the more than 4000 souls lost serving under the UN flag since 1948. As briefly mentioned, my peacekeeping experience late in my time deployed on Operation Mazurka.

 Operation Mazurka is the Australian Defence Forces contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers commonly referred to as the MFO. The mission of the MFO is to supervise the implementation of the Egyptian Israeli peace, treaty of peace and employs best efforts to prevent any violation of its terms …”best efforts”.

The UN’s 2022 message on this day is ‘people peace, progress, the power of partnerships’. Today I would like to share with three reflections that speak to today’s theme and how they are shaping my pathway. People self destructive ignorance, or consuming greed, turning happiness into a commodity, the weaponization of fear, and grotesque narcissism.

These five behaviors while expertly summarized by Christopher Waltz have been contemplated, argued and demonstrated throughout history as inherent flaws of humanity. In my experience, self destructive ignorance was usually my greatest barrier in conveying an assessment. It was at times incredibly frustrating relaying trend analysis based evidence that spoke to an inconvenient or uncomfortable truth. Just to be told, I don’t believe that’s happening.

Disrupted ignorance is not about belief. It is about ignorance of evidence. I learned our best efforts as humans is to ensure we are not banding together, disingenuously to acknowledge an issue and then dismiss the evidence because it is too problematic to act upon. I understand the responsibility to be aware of inherent flaws, and actively find ways to combat them.

Peace in 2020, I was underprepared for what peacekeeping really meant. I often tried unsuccessfully to understand why there is peace, and why there is war … until it was put to me recently in another way, who benefits from peace? And who benefits from war? Does it really come down to all consuming greed and the weaponization of fear?

To save the succeeding generations from the scourge of war, UN founders chose those words for the charter on the back of two devastating wars. It is argued by some that we are currently living in the most peaceful era of recorded history. This statement, however, means very little to the humans currently living through the atrocities of the 20th and 21st century. When you think of the technology and lessons we have today, and then overlay them on to places such as the Ukraine, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, the list goes on. How can anyone truly justify this as the most peaceful era? Or is that or is this their intent, rationalizing this as our current best efforts at peace?

I’ve learned our best efforts navigating to a global understanding and live definition of peace is going to take time. I understand the responsibility to not become complacent while this time goes by.

Progress, the MFO is a meaningful example of progress in peace. It is not perfect, but it is working. I reflect on Einstein statement that peace is not merely the absence of war, but the presence of justice, of law of order. In short of government. No war is the first step to that progress. I learned the best efforts of humans facilitating meaningful and lasting progress to peace doesn’t always look how you think it will look. I understand the responsibility to be patient.

The UN has embraced the observance of international days such as international day of UN peacekeepers, as powerful as a powerful advocacy tool. In an effort to contribute to the awareness and action required on issues such as peace. I would like to close with these thoughts on the power of partnerships in terms of family.

The MFO was not my first deployment, but it was my first peacekeeping experience. And it was my first time deploying as a mother. My son was just 11 months old when I left. I missed many firsts. First birthday, first steps. But I’ve gained an insight into peace and a possible meaning of life. There had I not been a parent, I believe I would have missed.

So while I understand you’re just becoming acquainted with me. If I may be so bold as to add another P. to today’s things been Parenting. It is my firm belief that peace starts in your home. If you have been afforded the privilege of parenthood, you have a larger part to play in world peace than you may initially realize. As parents we need to be thought leaders, models of acceptable behavior, safe places for growth, development, resilience, and failure in order to facilitate future ambitions of peace. If we are practicing peace in our homes, there is a better than good chance you are going to send peace into the world. I am of the belief that an individual can make a difference. The next step is understanding that you, your children, and the people they influence will be those individuals. Thank you for your time.

The ‘Greensland’ Election

The Greens have won Brisbane, the party’s third gain in Qld, two from the LNP (Brisbane, Ryan) and one from Labor (Griffith). The Greens now have four House of Reps seats with the party still in the race for the Melbourne seat of Macnamara. – Antony Green ABC’s Australia Votes.

Apparently there is more to an election than handing out how-to-vote cards.

Today on the Paradigm Shift (12-1pm, 102.1fm or we look at the remarkable electoral success of the Greens in Brisbane. I speak to their two successful campaign managers Liam Flenady (Griffith seat) and Esther Vale (Ryan) about how the campaigns built, what it means for Australian politics right now, and their hopes for parliament. – Andy Paine

Life wasn’t meant to be easy under Albanese

Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage: it can be delightful.” – George Bernard Shaw in Back to Methuselah. Malcolm Fraser (Prime Minister 1975-1983) paraphrased Shaw saying: Life wasn’t meant to be easy. This became Fraser’s best known line.

The Liberal Party has suffered an historic defeat under Morrison and both major parties have had their lowest ever primary vote with only 35% voting LNP and 32% voting Labor. About 12% voted Green. The Liberals are such dills ignoring the secular base of the party for the religious right. Morrison even brought in his own candidates in NSW. People who do not represent their community and so lost out to independents. Their alternative leader Josh Frydenberg even lost his seat. Peter Dutton just survived in Dickson in Queensland and may end up leading the party.

Antonio Albanese is the first Italian-Australian Prime Minister. His father was from South-East Italy and his mother was Irish Catholic.

The Greens are unlikely to have balance-of-power in the house of representatives and will sit on the cross benches with the TEAL (liberal) independents as a third force in the parliament. Climate action is their main focus however Greens leader Adam Bandt has signalled that he will press the Labor government on inequality in health and housing. On the cross benches for the Greens, we will see Max Chandler-Mather (Griffith) and Elizabeth Watson Brown (Ryan) in the house of reps and  Penny Allman-Payne and Larissa Waters (Qld) in the senate from Queensland. In NSW, former NSW Greens parliamentarian, David Shoebridge, gets into the senate. Other wins for the Greens are Lidia Thorpe in Victoria, Peter Whish-Wilson in Tasmania, Dorinda Cox in Western Australia and Barbara Pocock in South Australia.

New managers of capitalism in Australia
Labor wins power at a time when capitalism is in severe crisis. Will Labor attempt social reform and put Dental and Mental into Medicare? How will they fund it? By cutting government subsidy to private health funds? Not likely. The new treasurer Jim Chalmers is right-wing Labor from Queensland and may resist the pressure for reform to both health and education. On housing Labor has made a big fuss over Albanese having been raised in public housing. With record house prices, the new managers of capitalism in Australia will struggle to arrest growing inequality in housing, record low wages and real unemployment.

Meanwhile in the background is Australia’s billionaire Simon à Court who is pressing for more government subsidies for renewable energy and electric cars by giving some financial backing to the TEAL independents. True to form the billionaire wants taxpayers to foot the bill for these reforms and is not willing to put up his own billions. Holmes à Court may be looking to be an Australian Elon Musk.

As Albanese goes to the QUAD meeting in Tokyo it is unlikely that he will raise the plight of Julian Assange with President Biden and if he does he will get short shrift from that spiteful administration who still blame Assange for Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 Presidential election.

On the bright side, the Tamil refugees will get to return to Biloela but Labor is unlikely to look too kindly to new boat arrivals having first introduced mandatory detention in the early 1990s.

Inequality was raised as a major concern by the Greens in the 2022 election campaign. However a socialist redistribution of wealth is unlikely to come from the Greens or Labor. Movement on that front will only come from the bottom up. Antonio Albanese is certainly no Jeremy Corbyn. He won’t be singing the Red Flag on election night.

Life wasn’t meant to easy under Albanese.

Workers of all countries unite!

Ian Curr
Ed., 23 May 2022.

العودة The Return العودة

“We travel like other people, but we return to nowhere … we have a country of words” – Mahmoud Darwish

They began by shooting the militants; then they shot the children throwing stones; and when that was not enough, they began shooting the medics; and finally they are shooting the journos. Israeli snipers have shot over 36,000 Palestinians since the March of Return began in 2018. With such a savage repressive state it throws into question: will non-violent resistance will be enough in the Palestinian struggle for Return?

Shireen Abu Aqleh was assassinated by Israeli occupation forces
This experienced was journalist wearing a blue helmet and vest with ”PRESS” written over it and was murdered by Israeli occupation forces on Wednesday 11 May 2022.

Journalists on the scene explained how Israeli snipers targeted their colleagues. The first three bullets fired at the scene were misses then one hit a male journalist (in the back) then when Shireen shouted that he was hit, she was killed with a bullet beneath the ear. Her colleague was transfixed fully expecting to be the next person shot. But a Palestinian climbed over the rock wall behind her and tried to give assistance. Then they fired at him. Why? The Israelis in the jeep nearby were likely to have been the murderers. And remember they were in Jenin where Israeli bombs fell like rain only a few years before, levelling the refugee camps. What did they expect? That people would not resist? Even children understood these cowardly acts fully funded by the US government. Now the US congress are voting almost unanimously to send arms to Ukraine even tough there is a shortage of baby food in the US ATM.

So people marched with Shireen’s coffin from Jenin to Jerusalem, thousands joining them on the way. So Israeli police deploy shock troops, stun grenades, tear gas, smoke bombs. It is not enough. So the settlers go to the empty homes of the mourners and put in their own furniture and occupy the buildings of the Palestinians. This is colonialism supported by the US, supported by the UK, supported by all the settler states, including Australia. Shame on you all!

But shame is not enough. Nor is the International Criminal Court under the influence of American liberals.

Our condolences go out to the sisters, brothers, and comrades in the struggle of five million people who struggle for the right of return to Palestine.

Ian Curr
14 May 2022

Phil Monsour – I left my heart in Palestine
Allie Sherlock & Three Buskateers – Dreams

 The Return - العودة

Political Music

This week on the Paradigm Shift is a special episode where you get to hear the fruits of Andy’s labour digging through the 4ZZZ CD library. I spent a while digitising old CDs that had fallen through the cracks and today on the show play a selection of mostly forgotten political songs from the compact disc era!

Exodus and the Wailers – Traffic jam

Ken Boothe – Is it because I’m black?

Steve Towson – The Ogoni 9

H-Block 101 – Koka-colonisation

Strange Tenants – Soldier boy

Dead Prez – We need a revolution

Scripted Dialects – Star Wars

Penelope Swales – Bougainville

Judy Small – What was her name?

Ani Difanco and Utah Phillips – The most dangerous woman

Emmylou Harris – The pearl

Nina Hagen and Lene Lovich – Don’t kill the animals

May Day special

This week’s show is a May Day workers special. Andy asks Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Michael Clifford some existential questions about the role of unions in 2022, plus offer some musings of my own on what makes a working class analysis actually useful. And some great union songs!

Mat Ward The workers united will never be defeated
Evan Greer Picketline song
Wurst NurseDedication doesn’t pay the rent
A Commoners Revolt The martyrs eight
Jenny Pineapple Rock against work


Palestinian Nakba Rally and March

FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2022 AT 5:30 PM

Palestinian Nakba rally and march

King George Square

May 15 1948 is the anniversary of the Nakba, the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland. This year we will join in solidarity with the Palestinian people to mark the anniversary on the 13th of May at 5.30pm in King George Square

Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, made 750,000 to one million indigenous Palestinians into refugees to establish a Jewish-majority state in Palestine.

Today, more than 7 million Palestinian refugees are living in exile, while 5 million Palestinians live under the control of Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

Join us on the 74th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba to say NO to Israel’s ongoing, intensifying Nakba and its war crimes, and to demand the right of the Palestinian refugees to return home.

We acknowledge that we’ll be gathering on the stolen lands of the Yuggera and Turrbal peoples, whose sovereignty over these lands was never ceded.

The strange case of Mohammed el Halabi

A Palestinian man jailed in Gaza by the Israeli authorities on the basis that he streamed $50 million from the Australian Government to Hamas, a organization labeled as being a terrorist group by both Israeli and Australian governments. Despite an audit by DFAT the Israelis continued to detain Mohamed el Halabi even though he has the full support of World Visions founder here in Australia, Kim Costello, the brother of the former treasurer of Australia, Peter Costello.

Nikita – Amnesty International (click CC for subtitles to overcome poor sound)

One can only conclude that Israeli authorities just pick up whom they wish and make up fictitious charges that could never be upheld in a properly constitued court of law. How does a young Palestinian man funnel money from the Australian Government to a terrorist organization? How fanciful is that?

The other aspect of this case is that it is not an isolated incident. Similar allegations were made against APHEDA (Union Aid Abroad) which had received $11 million from the Australian government and it was alleged by both right wing politicians both in Australia and Israel that Union Aid Abroad was funding Hamas instead of providing monies for agricultural projects in Gaza to grow fresh food.

Once again an audit was conducted. And despite that, the funding of Union Aid Abroad funding was pulled. This is ludicrous. This highlights the conduct of Australian, Israeli and United States governments that in concert with each other are attempting to withdraw all funding from NGOs and welfare organizations, which were set up because Palestinian land was stolen during Al Nakba in 1948. They set up these welfare organizations to assist the refugee Palestinians from their own houses.

Many Palestinians still carry the key to their residences which have been stolen by settlers under the full support of the Israeli military. So once again, we see the the colonial settler states implement illegal policies and then claim that they are not ‘failed democracies’. Full democratic rights need to be restored to the 800,000 Palestinians who have been made political prisoners in their own land since the Six Day War in 1967.

Free Free Mohamed El Halabi. Free Palestine from the river to the sea.

Ian Curr
2 April 2022