From Manus Prison

Behrouz Boochani

From Manus prison:

Behrouz Bouchani

Yesterday the evidence of shocking abuse of teenage prisoners in the Northern Territory juvenile detention shook Australia. Straight away the Prime Minister announced a Royal Commission and the Northern Territory Corrections Minister was sacked. That is important and valuable that a big part of the society has a strong reaction about human rights abuses in juvenile detention.

But there is a big question and that is, why Australian politicians and people don’t care about those reports that international organisations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UN committee against torture, and also the Australian Senate inquiry published about abuse, assaults, rapes and torture in Australian prisons in Manus and Nauru.

I give you an example. George Brandis says the Royal Commission about juvenile detention should ask many important things. Why was such brutal mistreatment of detainees allowed to happen? Is there a culture of abuse? Why was earlier evidence of serious problems not acted on enough? And did those people who did the abuse even understand they had a duty of care? These questions are so important and I have a question for this man and other Australian politicians.

Why do you never ask these questions about Manus and Nauru?


It shows that you don’t believe in human rights, and only use this concept for political aims. I mean that the human rights concept is only a cover for your political games and I wonder why Australian people don’t think deeply about the political actions of their politicians.

Human rights is a global value and we don’t have this right to discriminate between people. I know Aboriginal people in Australia are so discriminated against and that must change. They are human, and refugees in Manus and Nauru are human, and there is not any difference between people everywhere. I think that this discrimination shows us that moral values are completely collapsed in Australia and western countries.

We can not say that we believe in human rights and principles, and make discrimination between people. This kind of discrimination directly affects global values and it is dangerous for our civilization. Abuse of any person is wrong, and we need Australian governments to stop abusing people in juvenile detention, and in Manus and Nauru too.

Another point is that this is the best time for Australia to think deeply about the prison concept and find an answer for this question – why is prison a big part of Australian culture?

This a big moment when people and media should continue to ask this question because I know that the politicians are only trying to hide that this is happening under some moral words, and be sure that if Australia does not find an answer this kind of abuse and violence will happen again and again.

Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish refugee who fled Iran, in danger of his life. He sought protection in Australia but has been incarcerated on Manus Island in immigration detention since 2013.

Behrouz Boochani: Statement Following Protest April 24

behrouz_detainee number 2

MY STATEMENT FOLLOWING PROTEST ON 24TH APRIL 2016

First I want to say thank you to all those advocates, journalists, academics, writers and friends who supported me and my way with their beautiful words yesterday.

Really I am happy that people understood perfectly that I went on top of that tall tree because of humanity and moral values. I am proud that you could recognise that I did not do that because of any mental sickness and that it was a political action.

Yesterday i had some short loud talks when I was on that dangerous place with immigration, psychologists, and officers and I explained to them that this action is only for democratic values and is against modern slavery which we in Manus prison are subject to.

I could move to Oscar prison easily but I resisted and chose to fight on a tall tree with my body. I know that you can understand deeply my situation as a man who has been imprisoned for about three years without any crime. I am a political prisoner.

I know that many of you know that I did not have any other way open to me to resist this. I had to climb on top of that tree because there was no longer any other way.The action was political. We are victims of political propaganda and should be understood as political prisoners. Australia put up in a hell prison camp under a regime of systematic torture. I wanted to show that his policy is cruel, inhumane, unjust and a modern form of slavery. We were forcibly transported from Australia to their black site on Manus Island and are subject to a regime of systematic torture. I hope that this action will encourage people to think more about the Australian Guantanamo in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.

Lastly, I want to say that I will continue to fight in any way that I can, even with my body.

Behrouz Boochani

Border Fascist Update

 Dutton
According the the Operation Sovereign Borders December Update there were no so called illegal maritime arrivals transferred to Australian Immigration authorities.
And no illegal maritime arrivals were transferred to regional processing centres. This doesn’t confirm whether any people attempted to seek asylum in Australia by boat.
The report also mentions the 2 year anniversary of the policy to turn boats back to their country of origin. It claims 695 people on 23 boats have been returned to their country of origin (the country the boat left from most likely Indonesia).
Of course they claim this is saving lives at sea. But this logic is nonsensical.

How can you save lives at sea by keeping boats at sea? Do they know what happened to the people when they returned to Indonesia? Did they even get back to Indonesia?

I’ve read reports of boats washing up on remote islands and people dying trying to get to a habitated area..

There’s also the claim that refugees on Nauru are ‘free’ because they are no longer in detention centres. And that sending 72 children, who are in detention in Australia, to Nauru will be freeing them from detention.
They are free in so far as they can travel around the 21 sq km Island. Where the government is in turmoil and rape and theft are common, especially if you are ‘not a local’.
Last year children on Nauru staged a protest claiming to be bullied at school and hit by teachers.
“[Nauruan] children from the school are so bad. They tell us bad words and when you want to go to the playground, they will hit us. Nauru is so dirty and so small.”
Meanwhile the Department of Immigration and pandering to racists has committed to spending over $1M for medals for its Border Farce staff.
Much like Minister Dutton’s incapability to control a mobile phone this gave social media users a chance to have a lot of fun.
Underlying this humor is the knowledge of the torment and psychological and physical harm which is being perpetrated by the Australian government against some of the worlds most vulnerable people.
One of those people and someone who is able to allow his inner turmoil to flow into words for others to read is Kurdish Iranian Behrouz Boochani. Below is some of his writing.
From Manus prison for Australian civil society……Australia and Australian society are in a susceptible stage. The fight of civil society with the fascist state has reached to a sensitive point.
During last 3 years the Australian government has acted dictatorially and tortured asylum seekers. Australia’s civil society and human rights activists have not been stationary and are fighting against this dictatorial system by many means but the state has not shown any flexibility and has instead increased strain and stress on asylum seekers.
The behavior of a dictatorial state shows us that it does not value civil society and despite all actions will keep its ways! It is a dangerous occurrence for Australian society because if civil society is defeated in this fight and the state keeps on with its policy civil society will be weakened and the state will continue this pattern in the future. Dictatorship is like a cancer and can easily affect all the portions of a society.
The fight between the Australian state and civil society is a very sensitive fight. It is not only for tortured asylum seekers, this is a vital and significant fight for all Australian people also. It is a fight for the kind of humanity our world needs.We should make the fascist state understand that it can not simply ignore humanity and human rights emphasizing that our fight with Australia is not just for some thousands of refugees but a fight for humanity, justice and peace!!!
Imagine if Australian civil society were able to defeat Peter Dutton? What would the future look like? Many thanks. Behrouz Boochani.

The Tryanny of the Clock

As heard on today’s show.

 

THE TYRANNY OF THE CLOCK

George Woodcock

First published in War Commentary – For Anarchism mid-march 1944.

In no characteristic is existing society in the West so sharply distinguished from the earlier societies, whether of Europe or the East, than in its conception of time. To the ancient Chinese or Greek, to the Arab herdsman or Mexican peon of today, time is represented in the cyclic processes of nature, the alternation of day and night, the passage from season to season. The nomads and farmers measured and still measure their day from sunrise to sunset, and their year in terms of the seedtime and harvest, of the falling leaf and the ice thawing on the lakes and rivers. The farmer worked according to the elements, the craftsman for so long as he felt it necessary to perfect his product. Time was seen in a process of natural change, and men were not concerned in its exact measurement. For this reason civilisations highly developed in other respects had the most primitive means of measuring time, the hour glass with it’s trickling sand or dripping water, the sundial, useless on a dull day, and the candle or lamp whose unburnt remnant of oil or wax indicated the hours. All these devices where approximate and inexact, and were often rendered unreliable by the weather or the personal laziness of the tender. Nowhere in the ancient or medieval world were more than a tiny minority of men concerned with time in the terms of mathematical exactitude.

Modern, Western man, however lives in a world which runs according to the mechanical and mathematical symbols of clock time. The clock dictates his movements and inhibits his actions. The clock turns time from a process of nature into a commodity that can be measured and bought and sold like soap or sultanas. And because, without some means of exact time keeping, industrial capitalism could never have developed and could not continue to exploit the workers, the clock represents an element of mechanical tyranny in the lives of modern men more potent than any individual exploiter or any other machine. It is valuable to trace the historical process by which the clock influenced the social development of modern European civilisation.

It is a frequent circumstance of history that a culture or civilisation develops the device which will later be used for its destruction. The ancient Chinese, for example, invented gunpowder, which was developed by the military experts of the West and eventually led to the Chinese civilisation itself being destroyed by the high explosives of modern warfare. Similarly, the supreme achievement of the ingenuity of the craftsmen in the medieval cities of Europe was the invention of the mechanical clock, which, with it’s revolutionary alteration of the concept of time, materially assisted the growth of exploiting capitalism and the destruction of medieval culture.

There is a tradition that the clock appeared in the eleventh century, as a device for ringing bells at regular intervals in the monasteries which, with the regimented life they imposed on their inmates, were the closest social approximation in the middle ages to the factory of today. The first authenticated clock, however, appeared in the thirteenth century, and it was not until the fourteenth century that clocks became common ornaments of the public buildings in the German cities.

These early clocks, operated by weights, were not particularly accurate, and it was not until the sixteenth century that any great reliability was obtained. In England, for instance the clock at Hampton Court, made in 1540, is said to have been the first accurate clock in the country. And even the accuracy of the sixteenth century clocks are relative, for they were only equipped with hour hands. The idea of measuring time in minutes and seconds had been thought out by the early mathematicians as far back as the fourteenth century, but it was not until the invention of the pendulum in 1657 that sufficient accuracy was attained to permit the addition of a minute hand, and the second hand did not appear until the eighteenth century. These two centuries, it should be observed, were those in which capitalism grew to such an extent that it was able to take advantage of the industrial revolution in technique in order to establish its domination over society.

The clock, as Lewis Mumford has pointed out, represents the key machine of the machine age, both for its influence on technology and its influence on the habits of men. Technically, the clock was the first really automatic machine that attained any importance in the life of men. Previous to its invention, the common machines were of such a nature that their operation depended on some external and unreliable force, such as human or animal muscles, water or wind. It is true that the Greeks had invented a number of primitive automatic machines, but these where used, like Hero’s steam engine, for obtaining ‘supernatural’ effects in the temples or for amusing the tyrants of Levantine cities. But the clock was the first automatic machine that attained a public importance and a social function. Clock-making became the industry from which men learnt the elements of machine making and gained the technical skill that was to produce the complicated machinery of the industrial revolution.

Socially the clock had a more radical influence than any other machine, in that it was the means by which the regularisation and regimentation of life necessary for an exploiting system of industry could best be attained. The clock provided the means by which time – a category so elusive that no philosophy has yet determined its nature – could be measured concretely in more tangible forms of space provided by the circumference of a clock dial. Time as duration became disregarded, and men began to talk and think always of ‘lengths’ of time, just as if they were talking of lengths of calico. And time, being now measurable in mathematical symbols, became regarded as a commodity that could be bought and sold in the same way as any other commodity.

The new capitalists, in particular, became rabidly time-conscious. Time, here symbolising the labour of workers, was regarded by them almost as if it were the chief raw material of industry. ‘Time is money’ became on of the key slogans of capitalist ideology, and the timekeeper was the most significant of the new types of official introduced by the capitalist dispensation.

in the early factories the employers went so far as to manipulate their clocks or sound their factory whistles at the wrong times in order to defraud their workers a little of this valuable new commodity. Later such practices became less frequent, but the influence of the clock imposed a regularity on the lives of the majority of men which had previously been known only in the monastery. Men actually became like clocks, acting with a repetitive regularity which had no resemblance to the rhythmic life of a natural being. They became, as the Victorian phrase put it, ‘as regular as clockwork’. Only in the country districts where the natural lives of animals and plants and the elements still dominated life, did any large proportion of the population fail to succumb to the deadly tick of monotony.

At first this new attitude to time, this new regularity of life, was imposed by the clock-owning masters on the unwilling poor. The factory slave reacted in his spare time by living with a chaotic irregularity which characterised the gin-sodden slums of early nineteenth century industrialism. Men fled to the timeless world of drink or Methodist inspiration. But gradually the idea of regularity spread downwards among the workers. Nineteenth century religion and morality played their part by proclaiming the sin of ‘wasting time’. The introduction of mass-produced watches and clocks in the 1850’s spread time-consciousness among those who had previously merely reacted to the stimulus of the knocker-up or the factory whistle. In the church and in the school, in the office and the workshop, punctuality was held up as the greatest of the virtues.

Out of this slavish dependence on mechanical time which spread insidiously into every class in the nineteenth century there grew up the demoralising regimentation of life which characterises factory work today. The man who fails to conform faces social disapproval and economic ruin. If he is late at the factory the worker will lose his job or even, at the present day [1944 – while wartime regulations were in force], find himself in prison. Hurried meals, the regular morning and evening scramble for trains or buses, the strain of having to work to time schedules, all contribute to digestive and nervous disorders, to ruin health and shorten life.

Nor does the financial imposition of regularity tend, in the long run, to greater efficiency. Indeed, the quality of the product is usually much poorer, because the employer, regarding time as a commodity which he has to pay for, forces the operative to maintain such a speed that his work must necessarily be skimped. Quantity rather than quality becomes the criterion, the enjoyment is taken out of work itself, and the worker in his turn becomes a ‘clock-watcher’, concerned only when he will be able to escape to the scanty and monotonous leisure of industrial society, in which he ‘kills time’ by cramming in as much time-scheduled and mechanised enjoyment of cinema, radio and newspapers as his wage packet and his tiredness allow. Only if he is willing to accept of the hazards of living by his faith or his wits can the man without money avoid living as a slave to the clock.

The problem of the clock is, in general, similar to that of the machine. Mechanical time is valuable as a means of co-ordination of activities in a highly developed society, just as the machine is valuable as a means of reducing unnecessary labour to the minimum. Both are valuable for the contribution they make to the smooth running of society, and should be used insofar as they assist men to co-operate efficiently and to eliminate monotonous toil and social confusion. But neither should be allowed to dominate mens lives as they do today.

Now the movement of the clock sets the tempo men’s lives – they become the servant of the concept of time which they themselves have made, and are held in fear, like Frankenstein by his own monster. In a sane and free society such an arbitrary domination of man’s functions by either clock or machine would obviously be out of the question. The domination of man by the creation of man is even more ridiculous than the domination of man by man. Mechanical time would be relegated to its true function of a means of reference and co-ordination, and men would return again to a balance view of life no longer dominated by the worship of the clock. Complete liberty implies freedom from the tyranny of abstractions as well as from the rule of men.

To the Australian People from Manus Island

In the heart of the dark nights, I yell out through the mass of metallic and hard fences. Surrounded by agony and torture, I yell out right next to the tropical birds, thousands kilometre further away from the people’s world, in the heart of a remote island located in the corner of the vastest ocean in the world.

In the name of humanity and freedom, I yell out, in the name of all the values, values which connect human’s dignity with peace. I yell out, a yell from the hell where people are tortured and humiliated in a systematic form.

A yell having the quality of those flower-like ambitions when their petals are being plucked cruelly and a yell having the quality of a heart which has been crushed under the steel boots of politicians. Here is the hellhole Manus island.

Protecting the boarders and saving lives from the dangerous sea journey are the excuses for this brutal policy (The excuses for this brutal policy are to protect the boarders and to save lives from the dangerous boat journey).

After 27 months of implementing this policy, now it is time to impartially evaluate how this policy has been applied. During this long period, the Australian government has been accused of human rights violations by most of the credible international organisations which are active in human rights realm.

So far two people have lost their lives in the Manus prison ( detention centre). On Naura, dozen cases of rape and violence against women and children have been recorded, and with the continuance of this policy, everyday new cases are being added to the list of rape and violence.

Unfortunately, the government still insists on pursuing this policy. after 27 months, no one has been settled on Manus island yet. It shows that there is no planing for refugee resettlement on the island. Thus we could say that an obvious and official hostage-taking is occoring because since then no one has been resettled and no one has been released from the prison.

It is an apparent reality that saving people’s lives at sea is being used as a cover to implement the inhuman and immoral policy. Unfortunately, this policy has not had any achivement, it has just caused the intense suffering and the extreme agony for detainee asylum seekers as well as damages to the reputation and the credibility of Australia in the worldwide public opinion. It seems that it is time for Australian people to yell loudly at the government to urge it to confess that the policy of Naura and Manus resettlement has reached a dead end, and also to urge the government to bring an end to this harsh policy as soon as possible.

Behrouz Boochani Journalist and human rights defender Manus prison 5 October 2015

FREE BEHROUZWRITE OF ASYLUM

FIRST FORCED ASYLUM REMOVAL TO AFGHANISTAN SCHEDULED FOR TONIGHT, TUESDAY 26 AUGUST

REFUGEE ACTION COALITION

MEDIA RELEASE

A last minute application in Federal Circuit Court and an appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Commission are underway to try and prevent the forced removal of an asylum seeker to Afghanistan.

The decision by the Federal Circuit Court is due to handed down at 3pm this afternoon. The 29 year-old Afghan asylum seeker, who arrived in Australia in December 2011, is scheduled to be removed to Afghanistan at 9.40pm tonight (Tuesday 26 August).

If the government succeeds in removing this asylum seeker, it will be the first forced removal of an Afghan asylum seeker to Afghanistan.

The official Afghan government position is that they will not accept forced removals from Australia.

The government’s last attempt, in February this year, was stopped at the last minute by a Federal Circuit Court order.

“It is shocking that the Minister would consider sending anyone to Afghanistan given the deteriorating security situation there,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The country assessment was done almost two years ago in December 2012.
There is no doubt that the situation has seriously deteriorated since then.

“The political vacuum in Afghanistan is being filled by daily violence, and the situation is dramatically unstable.

The Taliban are making daily gains. Kabul itself is not safe. Hazara areas of the city are now being constantly shelled.

“The case also reveals serious flaws in the refugee determination system and the inconsistency of Refugee Review Tribunal decisions.

At least eight other RRT decisions using more recent country information have recognised the danger in Jaghori province and granted protection visas.

“Given the Afghan government’s unwillingness to issue travel documents, we have serious concerns that the government is using dodgy documents to facilitate his removal from Australia.

This will also make his situation in Afghanistan more precarious and more dangerous.

“The Minister has the power to prevent this obvious lack of natural justice. Afghanistan is unsafe for anyone.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713

www.refugeeaction.org.au

Refugee Action Collective Queensland