All posts by Jon Atkins

Anzac Day and the coronavirus

Marrickville Peace Park

Due to the coronavirus, no public gatherings to commemorate Anzac Day will be held around the country this year. This has also resulted in the cancellation of the alternative Anzac Day Reflection which was scheduled to take place at the Marrickville Peace Park in Sydney.

This circumstance, however, opens up an opportunity for the Australian community to move away from Anzac Day ceremonies that have become so commercialised and politicised in recent decades.

In particular, it offers the opportunity for people, young and old, to critically reflect upon the Anzac legend and the historical distortions that this myth entails.

Continue reading Anzac Day and the coronavirus

Inner West Council flies Morning Star Flag in support of West Papuan independence

Morning Star Flag flying at Leichhardt Town Hall. Photo: Australia West Papua Association. (Click to enlarge).

Saturday December 1, 2019 marked the 58th anniversary of the first raising of West Papua’s symbol of independence, the Morning Star Flag.

The annual Global Flag Raising for West Papua is an international event where supporters around the world hold solidarity rallies and, on December 1, raise the Morning Star in support of the West Papua people and their right to self-determination.

This legitimate aspiration for self-determination was thwarted when an ‘Act of Free Choice’, popularly known as the ‘Act of NO Choice’, took place on August 2, 1969. This fraudulent vote involved a handpicked group of 1,025 West Papuans who were coerced, under the threat of violence, into voting for integration with Indonesia. Continue reading Inner West Council flies Morning Star Flag in support of West Papuan independence

The beginning of the end of nuclear weapons

Source: Beyond Nuclear International

On November 21, 2019 the Marrickville Peace Group (MPG) held a public screening of two documentary films on the threat to human survival posed by nuclear weapons.

The first film shown was “The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons”. This feature-length documentary focuses on the history of nuclear weapons as well as the anti-nuclear movement that has sought to bring a nuclear weapons ban treaty into international law.

The later part of the film is based on interviews with leading activists from many different organisations and countries, including those associated with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Continue reading The beginning of the end of nuclear weapons

Sexual slavery victims to be remembered

Statue honouring ‘comfort women’, Uniting Church in Ashfield

The 7th International Memorial Day for Japanese Military Sexual Slavery Victims will be commemorated on Wednesday August 14th. The event will also coincide with the 1400th time that regular Wednesday rallies have been held in Seoul that have called for a resolution of the Japanese military sexual slavery issue.

It is estimated that 200,000 girls and young women were forced into sexual slavery in colonial times and during WW2 by the Imperial Japanese Army. Countries where this systematic sexual abuse took place included Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaya, Manchukuo, Taiwan (then a Japanese dependency), the Dutch East Indies, Portuguese Timor, New Guinea and other Japanese-occupied territories. Continue reading Sexual slavery victims to be remembered

Ridding the world of nuclear weapons

The date July 7 marks two years since the historic adoption of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW or the treaty). To celebrate the occasion, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has launched a new resource entitled Campaigner’s Guide to Signature and Ratification of the TPNW.

ICAN was a major influence behind the negotiation of the TPNW and was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its endeavours. The treaty is wide ranging and aims to prohibit the use or the threat of use of nuclear weapons along with their development; production and testing; acquisition, possession and stockpiling; transfer; and stationing and deployment. Continue reading Ridding the world of nuclear weapons

Open Letter on Venezuela

Recent pro government rally in Caracus. Photo by Prensa CRBZ

In response to the US led campaign to further destabilise Venezuela, an Open Letter was issued on Thursday, January 24, 2019. It has been signed by 70 scholars on Latin America, political science, and history as well as filmmakers, civil society leaders, and other experts.

The Open Letter notes that under the Trump administration, aggressive rhetoric against the Venezuelan government has increased with Trump administration officials talking of “military action” and condemning Venezuela, along with Cuba and Nicaragua, as part of a “troika of tyranny.” Continue reading Open Letter on Venezuela