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John Passant

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A letter The Age hasn’t yet published

I recently sent the following letter to The Age in response to its pathetic report of the protests at Maribyrnong Concentration Camp, the detention centre where asylum seekers are imprisoned for the crime of seeking freedom. In its reports the liberal newspaper didn’t mention the police violence against peaceful demonstrators. It hasn’t yet published my letter.


The Age’s report of the Maribyrnong Detention Centre protest in support of asylum seekers on Anzac Day was disappointing. It didn’t mention the police use of capsicum spray, a truncheon and horses to violently move away pro-refugee demonstrators from the outside fence.

The protestors only ‘crime’ was to try to put ribbons on the perimeter fence as a message to asylum seekers that some Australians support them.

These police attacks raise questions about the nature of democracy in Australia and the attempts of governments to suppress peaceful dissent.

Arguably dehumanising refugees and denying them basic human rights through arbitrary arrest is but the first step in the denial of basic democratic rights to Australian citizens. Certainly the reaction of Victorian police to the peaceful protest at Maribyrnong in support of asylum seekers further indicates that process is underway.  

These are surely issues worthy of discussion in The Age, or are you too now so thoroughly enmeshed in the institutions of power that such undermining of democratic traditions is in your view unworthy of comment and debate?



Comment from Gradool
Time May 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Oh come on JP. You guys got all you set out to achieve. Don’t get all uppity with The Age, other papers reported the spraying and the horses. Bit more to the point, what possible good did your involvement do anyone inside waiting on an asylum application assessment? Nix.

Comment from John
Time May 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Actually it is also about resisting the brutalising of our society, so protecting all in Australia. We raise the issues. And it might pressure the faux left greens to actually do something politically about refugees. Pastor Niemeyer comes to mind.Martin Luther King too. It is right to fight for what one believes in, and to join with those who are imprisoned for no crime. It bolsters the spirits of the refugees for them to know they are not alone, that there are supporters outside their concentration camps.

Comment from Gradool
Time May 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm

What utter nonsense JP. You could as easily have passed on your supports via their legal advisers – privately. Instead you chose to escalate the tension, egging them on to commit acts of violence and vandalism. Their gain from this? NIL. Your gain, well, I’ll leave it to your acolytes to consider. The conceit…

Comment from John
Time May 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm

My conceit? Fuck off.

Comment from Tony
Time May 1, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Dooley: Your most laughable post yet.

Weeks ago you urge people to participate in the policy process, and as you are surely aware it operates through pressure groups including activism, with most issuing press releases and doing little else.

When someone actually participates you suggest it’s inappropriate and a private letter of support will suffice.

By your reasoning the mining billionaires should have protested against the RSPT using private letter to Ministers rather than all over the evening news?

Denounce the mining billionaires’ alarmist and expensive campaign against the RSPT here or your argument is the stance of a hypocrite.

Comment from Gradool
Time May 2, 2011 at 8:47 am

No Tony, not quite that simple.

The narcissistic nature of the “participation” JP and his acolytes are so self satisfied about is what depresses me.
The target of their efforts (allegedly the people behind the fences waiting for an asylum decision) gained NIL from the performance put on by JP and his co-narcissists.

A private letter via the legal support would have done at least as much for the detainee’s morale (if that was the real goal) without inciting them to do stupid (self-defeating) things.

You think about that for a minute.

I don’t represent miners or billionaires Tony, I’m sure they have ample recourse to legitimate ways of getting their message heard so I doubt you’ll see them confronting lines of police outside of a public building any time soon.

You obviously feel JP and his team have a legitimate right to be defacto representatives of the detainees. I seriously question they do the detainee cause ANY good by engaging in the sort of conceit they engaged in (according to JP’s glorious retelling in recent posts).

That’s my point.

No one gained other than JP’s team (who all got their morale “hit” in post event re-telling and legend creation) and the bigots who see any enemy whenever they see/hear/read about detainees.

Well done all.

Comment from Tony
Time May 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Dooley: “You obviously feel JP and his team have a legitimate right to be defacto representatives of the detainees. ”

No, your words not mine. I’ve not suggested anyone is a “defacto representative” for anyone/thing.

Public protests are not illegal in this country and many organised protests have a police presence after being advised of the protest by the organisers, for public safety and traffic control if nothing else.

Why don’t you ask detainees what they thought of the protest rather than speculating on their impression of the presence of protesters? Possibly, by letter which you can post here? Then we have something to discuss.

Comment from Gradool
Time May 3, 2011 at 8:54 am

But Tony, it ain’t about what the detainees think – even the tiny minority of them who engaged in protest. It’s about what actually enhances their chance of getting a speedy and fair resolution of their claim. If the overcrowding and delays are “actual” then it is clearly important to try and ease both. Dialogue between interested parties MIGHT go some way to achieve this, engaging in conceited theatrics that only serve to damage the capacity of the rational to fix the problem is selfish in the extreme. They call it collective narcissism I believe, the Collective Narcissists had their latest meeting at the fences at Maribyrnong just the other day. I’m sure the poor souls inside the fences can’t wait for their next meeting. It’ll mean so much to them while they wait longer.

Comment from Calligula
Time May 4, 2011 at 12:17 am

Gradrool –
I see the light now.
All this time and my ego has been in the way of seeing your magnificence.
Your last.
Of course it doesn’t matter what the inmates of concentration camps think – not even the tiny minority with the balls left yo argue the toss with the psychos running the dump.

After all, who but the desperate would argue with escalating toward deadly force?
Indeed, I have to bow to your profound understanding.
They do have to learn to toady if they ever want to escape the place.
Of course you are so right.
Perhaps they could learn some Aussie ways of getting out of slam?

Prostitute their women and children, maybe?
Or some dialogue – a crash course in Urdu or Pushtu could help the concentration camp guards to negotiate that sort of deal?

But no theatrics, you reckon?
Kicking up a stink, counterproductive?

Hey Drools. How come you know so much about spending Time?
Been there, have you?

Jeesus you are a cheap shot AND a plagiarist.
I’m the one who called YOU the narcisso-psychopath.
You’ll never mend your fences if you persist in behaving that way.

Comment from Gradool
Time May 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm

sorry C, no longer participating in these games, engage in discourse and maybe I will acknowledge but otherwise you are persona non grata hence forth.

Comment from Calligula
Time May 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Drools –
In reply –
Master, sensai don’t go.
What shall we do without your profound guidance.
Reconsider the way wazzisname Cuthbert – no, Dogb – ummmm, Walter did.
How could I know what to say next without your hovering over and correcting every second word.
I’d be bereft without your elephants in the corner or your at-the-end-of-the-days.
Do you truly mean that I have to think for myself from now on?

Aaaaargghh – you cheating bastard.
Does this mean you’ve taken up with someone else?

Sorry John.