Category: Society

Iranian refugees being told of the PNG Solution policy

Iranian refugees being told of the PNG Solution policy

Social media is awash with outrage today after the release by the Immigration Department of photos of refugee arrivals who have just been told of the new PNG Solution policy.

The photos show the refugees in obvious distress, and the whole incident appears to be manufactured by the Department of Immigration to support it’s tough new position on boat arrivals. It seems hardly likely that photographers would just happen to be on hand to photograph the refugees at the same time they were told of their being moved onwards to PNG. The photos are likely an intentional part of the government’s PNG Solution propaganda.

The photos can be seen here.

In what appears to be a wildly misinformed statement, Steven Karras, action Regional Manager for the Department of Immigration said of the refugees reactions “I’m sure they’re now thinking about whether it was wise to come in the first place. And I think in fact over the coming days … they will start to contemplate very seriously whether in fact returning home is a better option.”

Refugees spanning an ocean on substandard vessels, having spent their life savings and having endured untold hardships just to escape their circumstances, are unlikely to consider returning to their homeland to be more preferable than being processed on PNG.  Of course if the conditions are so bad on PNG that it would act as a deterrent, then Australia is in dire breach of it’s obligation to the UN Convention on Refugees.  Indeed, just this policy alone is almost certainly a breach of the convention.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/outrage-at-creepy-photos-of-distraught-asylum-seekers-20130722-2qe2z.html#ixzz2ZknZ2fXz

ABC Radio Transcript discussing the photos: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-22/immigration-dept-publicises-asylum-seeker-reaction/4836284

After the announcement of Rudd’s PNG solution policy – a plan to send all refugee boat arrivals to PNG for processing and relocation – the Brisbane activist community responded with a snap rally in King George Square today.  The rally will be followed with a protest at Rudd’s office Monday morning.

The rally attracted about 300 people and included speakers, entertainment and a march.  Larissa Waters of The Greens spoke, followed by a range of speakers and music by Phil Monsour.  Following this the group voted to march and set off down Adelaide Street, Edward Street, Charlotte Street, George Street and back down Adelaide.

Following are some inspiring pictures from the event.

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

Boundless Plains Rally

 

For more photos click here.

Well as it happens, the first article on Altmax Media will be a clarification/debunk of a news article doing the rounds of the blogosphere and alternative news sites lately, ie: the news that McDonalds “is closing all stores in Bolivia and is being rejected by Bolivians”.

These articles, while generally accurate in that they reflect a real event, don’t clarify that this occurred in 2002 and is not something that is just happening now.   McDonalds was present in Bolivia for about 5 years (1997-2002).

The claim that McDonalds was rejected on health grounds is a huge over simplification of the situation. Most Bolivian cities are rife with fast food:  Burger King and Subway, as well as other local fast food franchises proliferate, just like in most urban areas of the world.

Operating losses, and the inability to sell McDonalds food at prices that the average Bolivian can afford, are also a large factor.  Taking a quote by Esther Choque, an indigenous local woman, from “Latin American Studies”:  “I’ve wanted to try the food but I never have”.  She continues,  “The closest I ever came was one day when a rain shower fell and I climbed the steps to keep dry by the door. Then they came out and shooed me away. Said I was dirtying the place. Why would I care if McDonald’s leaves if they do such bad things?”  This kind of attitude has been reported elsewhere, and seems to indicate a failure by McDonalds to engage with the greater population of Bolivia in either economic or social terms.

I recommend reading the references below for a more balanced understanding of the reasons that McDonalds left Bolivia (and a more accurate time frame) than the majority of articles doing the rounds of the blogosphere currently.

References:
http://www.bolivianexpress.org/blog/posts/why-didn-t-the-mcchicken-cross-the-road

http://ain-bolivia.org/2012/01/mcdonald%E2%80%99s-left-bolivia-in-2002-fast-food-still-abundant-on-city-streets/

http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/bolivia/bolivia-mcdonalds.htm

http://www.ilo.org/indigenous/Activitiesbyregion/LatinAmerica/Bolivia/lang–en/index.htm

http://wafflesatnoon.com/2013/05/13/mcdonalds-banned-in-bolivia/