The vigils continue until David Hicks is brought home – and that doesn’t mean to a high-security prison …[Only John Howard or his unspeakable Attorney-General could suggest that bringing David Hicks back to further incarceration was the same as bringing him ‘home’…]
The vigil this week was addressed by John of Civil Rights Defence. Attendance was small – just short of twenty. The main points made were that the charges Hicks has been facing are only recognised within the context of the Military Commission, and it is only because David Hicks is an Australian rather than US citizen that he has been able to be tried in this way. He was being used to justify an unjust war on terror and legislation based on it. Similar ‘anti-terror’ legislation here in Australia is meant rather to generate ‘terror’ [that is to say ‘fear’]. So although the prospect that David Hicks may be coming ‘home’ [see above] may in itself be a welcome development, the struggle must continue. There must for example be no ‘importing’ of Guatanamo Bay to Australia, with David Hicks ‘hidden away’ somewhere under a regime that will replicate what he has been through in Cuba. He must not be allowed to disappear, and there must be no concession to the claim that he has received ‘justice’ or his ‘just deserts’. David Hicks has become a symbol of what happens when someone is exposed to this kind of ‘anti-terror’ legislation.
Also raised was the question of things happening here in Australia, where there are important civil rights issues to be taken up, most especially from a Melbourne point of view the ‘Barwon 13’. It was argued that their situation is really unparalleled as regards the oppressive conditions they are enduring, with strip searches, sniffer dogs, and punishments involving standing naked in a courtyard for extended periods for ‘misdemeanours’ provoked by the guards. “The eyes of the world must be brought to bear on what is being done here.” There are also implications for others who may have the legislation applied to them. So people were urged to keep alert for possible future actions that may be organised, as well as attending the April 21 NDA.
The banner on St Paul’s Cathedral: