The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'refugees'


The latest refugee in Australia's archipelago of detention centres: an Iranian heavy metal drummer, fleeing persecution by the theocratic regime:

The man wrote that he abandoned his beloved drums after authorities began to increasingly target music fans.''In an underground concert more than 60 fans were arrested, charged and locked up. Players were taken to Intelligence. Two teachers of mine were arrested also.''
He panicked. He sold his drums, moved to a new location and changed his phone number, cut ties with everyone but family and sank into depression. ''I deleted every history of my music from my life because of my fear of being arrested by the government who were intent on stopping this music. During this time six musicians that I knew were arrested in their training place. After that no one contacted each other, even on Facebook.''
The Iranian regime's war on popular music is old news: a documentary from 2009, Nobody Knows About Persian Cats, recounts the travails of an underground twee pop band in Tehran. If anything, heavy metal musicians would be singled out for particularly harsh prosecution, possibly even executed for religious crimes, as the unnamed drummer suggests. (Metal bands in neighbouring Iraq haven't fared well either recently; the country's one and only well-known band, Acrassicauda, fled via Turkey and sought asylum in the US.)

(It's interesting that Facebook is (a) not blocked inside Iran, and (b) avoided by those fearing persecution; which suggests that the regime has the means to monitor it, possibly using those forged SSL root certificates it is speculated to have, enabling it to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks on any SSL connections.)

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While the rest of the world is closing its doors to refugees, Belarus's neo-Soviet dictator Alexander Lukashenko, is allowing them to settle and get full asylum — with the proviso that they settle in radiation-contaminated areas near Chernobyl. They will even get fully-furnished houses (as abandoned by their original residents some 19 years ago), and will live a life of luxury, as long as they don't mind getting cancer.

"Lukashenko wants to draw a line under the Chernobyl catastrophe and allow the area to regain its economic value." The government is especially keen to get the agricultural sector back on its feet again. Berries and mushrooms, which absorb radiation especially well, flourish here.

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Spiky-haired dude with a bozotic name goes on some reality TV show or other and stages a sit-in protest with a sign reading 'FREE TA REFUGEES'. People look away anxiously, as if he had started masturbating in public or ranting excitedly about giant lizards or something, or else raise an uproar about this humorless right-on radical-leftist tosser violating their right to feeling good about being apathetic. Nobody likes a smartarse, you know. Meanwhile, the paper of the elitist inner-city latte-socialist chattering classes decry this as a shameful indictment on Australia, tripping over Godwin's Law in the process:

Rod Cameron, chief executive of the Australian polling organisation ANOP, was quoted recently saying, "Those who think about issues, read the newspapers, discuss events, make up only about 10 per cent of voters." If you are reading this opinion page of a broadsheet metropolitan newspaper, relax. You may count yourself as one of that 10 per cent. But sadly, you are vastly, horrifyingly outnumbered. So was Merlin.

Isn't that the case everywhere? I'd be surprised, for example, if half as many Americans paid attention to the Abu Ghraib scandal as the last episode of Friends.

Discussing the plight of the Jews at tea parties in Nazi Germany would no doubt have produced reactions similar to those we saw on Sunday night; jeers, taunts and entreaties to stop all the depressing talk. "Please, mein herr, sit down. Have some more tea and cake."

The chattering classes on, however, say that that Merlin chap is a "fucking coolsie chat", i.e. a wanker, mostly because of his hair and wardrobe. Meanwhile, you can make your own Merlin sign here, by editing the URL (if you don't know how to do that, then y0re not l33t enough, beeyatch). (via Alex)

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Groups from as far away as America are offering to help reunite a refugee with a cat that kept him company. Aladdin Sisalem's only companion during his 10-month stay at the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island was a stray cat he named Honey. Then Sisalem's protection visa was granted and he was shipped to Australia, though the cat remained behind. Offers of financial assistance to fly the cat to Australia have since poured into the office of the Australian Democrats (remember them? Perhaps this is just what they need for a cat-led recovery.)

(There is an Age article there, but they've now instituted one of those annoying registration systems, and I can't be arsed doing it, so I'll just link to Beth's blog. Who do they think they are; the New York Times or someone?)

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Scenes from Howard's Australia: ABC censors Deepchild music video because of it containing a political statement condemning Australia's refugee policy. The ABC's transformation from an independent alternative voice into an inoffensive soma-holiday for Relaxed and Comfortable Australia seems to be well advanced.

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Unnamed Australian computer game developers have received Australia Council funding for a game based around Australia's detention centres. The game, to be titled Escape from Woomera, will attempt to realistically simulate conditions in four of Australia's most notorious refugee detention centres, down to meal times and the behaviour of guards. Players will be challenged to escape using the means at hand - refugee action groups, sympathetic lawyers, digging tunnels or scaling fences - all based on actual events.

Requesting anonymity, she said the project was also a reaction to the Federal Government policy of restricting media access to detention centres. "They don't want people to know what it's like, and we do," she said.

Immigration minister and outspoken Amnesty International badge-wearer (aside: don't they have procedures for expelling people of poor character, or could a Kissinger or Suharto, in theory, become an Amnesty member without the organisation having any recourse to keep their name from being dragged through the mud?) Philip Ruddock is reportedly not amused. Hmmm; aren't there new "homeland security" laws against humanising people who could possibly be baby-eating terrorist monsters he could use against them?

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Minority Christians and Mandaeans fleeing persecution in Iran end up in Australian detention centers, where they are persecuted by Muslim extremist refugees:

Mandaeans say Muslim extremists have defecated on them, and set fire to Mandaean and Christian accommodation when these groups don't join planned disturbances. Mandaeans say an extremist religious leader in detention has issued a "fatwa" that killing Mandaeans is sanctioned in Islam.

Screws at the detention centres have, of course, ignored these complaints. Firstly, they're probably just troublemakers making up stories out of pure spite and ingratitude. Secondly, the screws, being in the prison business, know from experience that laissez-faire policies in high-pressure prisons can be useful for creating a man-made hell, and deterring others from coming over.

(Btw, these sorts of Islamofascist extremists are around in significant proportions in the detention centres? That's a far cry from the cuddly, doe-eyed refugees the good burghers of North Fitzroy and such have been offering their spare rooms to. Of course, many probably weren't murderous zealots before, and have been radicalised by the detention centres; which amounts to Australia basically giving al-Qaeda and its ilk a surfeit of potential recruits with a burning hatred of the west.)

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Heeding the golden rule that one has to dehumanise an enemy to marshal public opinion against them, Australia's defence minister's office banned the taking of photographs which could "humanise or personalise" asylum seekers, lest they start to seem inconveniently unlike a formless terrorist menace and/or reason to vote Liberal.

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Howard screws refugee kids; G-G turns blind eye. (The Chaser)

"So some children got screwed, did they? Ah, that takes me back to my days in the Anglican Church," Dr Hollingworth reminisced before sweeping the entire matter under the carpet.

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Australia's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner says that conditions in detention centres breach UN conventions; in particular, the culture of despair among the children detained there. Though, then again, Australia doesn't need no stinkin' UN conventions; we're the America of the South Pacific, after all. Don't fuck with us or we'll have a talk to Uncle George, and see if he can lend us some daisy-cutters to drop on your ass. Yee-haw!

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