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Global Peace And Justice Auckland Newsletter #54


Global Peace And Justice Auckland Newsletter #54, February 27, 2004

Website http://www.gpja.pl.net/ Contact details: Forums - John Minto, (09) 846 3173, jbminto@xtra.co.nz; Newsletter Editor - Mike Treen 0212547440 / 3616989 miket@pl.net Web page - Geraldine Peters (09) 3765994 bern@ihug.co.nz Donations can be sent to GPJA, Private Bag 68905, Newton, Auckland. All communication regarding the GPJA mailing list (email or snail) should be addressed to gpja@xtra.co.nz

Dear friends,

Next week we celebrate International Women's Day with a GPJA Forum on Monday, March 1 and Rally on Monday March 8. At the forum we will have Maxine Gay, secretary of the Clothing, Laundry and Allied Workers as our special guest speaker.

GPJA Website Help: volunteers needed to help maintain and update the GPJA site. Contact Geraldene at: 09 3765994 OR email: bern@ihug.co.nz

The poster image is now available on-line from the march 20 Global Day of Action Against War & Occupation http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/20mar04.htm

NEWSLETTER CONTENTS 1) What's on in Auckland 2) Best on the Web: Race, Roger Award, Health, Science and Environment, Haiti, GM debate, Occupation and Resistance, Palestine/Israel, Milosovic 3) Messages from RAM, Peace Action Wellington and the Palestine Human Rights Campaign 4) Comment on Northern Ireland by Dean Parker

1) WHAT'S ON IN AUCKLAND

Sunday, February 29, 3.45pm - 4.45pm Downstairs crypt at St Benedicts Church in Newton, PAT SNEDDON SPEAKS ON The Treaty of Waitangi: Source of disunity or template for cultural inclusion? "I am going to discuss Don Brash's thesis from a Pakeha perspective and suggest that it goes nowhere near satisfying the view that New Zealanders have for a coherent future. I will illustrate by case study what that coherent future might look like if we had the the breadth and depth of vision in our a community to see it. I will talk for about 45-50 minutes."

Monday, March 1, 7.30pm, Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road, Grey Lynn GPJA FORUM: 'WORKING WOMEN ON THE FRONTLINES' - in the lead-up to International Women's Day (IWD) the IWD Committee will co-host the Global Peace and Justice Auckland forum. Includes a screening of the documentary film 'Even Dogs Are Given Bones', women workers fight back, Rixen NZ 1981, which shows the occupation of Rixen Manufacturing in Levin by 43 factory workers, after being given only one weeks notice of closure with no redundancy payment; guest speaker is Maxine Gay, secretary of the Clothing, Laundry and Allied Workers Union of Aotearoa who will be speaking on changes in the clothing sector in NZ since ’81, and conditions for workers globally; Janet Bogle will represent the IWD Committee, speaking about the history of International (Working) Women's Day and this year's event. For more info contact Karyn Amoore tel (09)358 4105 or email amoorenz@yahoo.com

Tuesday, March 2, 7pm, Theatre 401-439, Engineering School (20 Symonds St), Auckland University PROJECT AQUA: WHAT COST, WHAT BENEFIT? Speakers: Jeanette Fitzsimons, Meeting Chairperson, Green Party spokesperson for Energy Issues; Dr Helen Brookes, Chair, Waitaki First Inc; Michael Stedman Managing Director, Natural History New Zealand; Rod Morris, Producer and researcher, Natural History NZ; Dr Gerald Carrington, Professor of Physics, Otago University; Dr Tim Hazledine, Professor or Economics, Auckland University.

Wednesday, March 3, 8pm at the Academy Cinema (CIty Centre, underneath the Auckland Public Library) The Academy Cinema has generously offered Amnesty International the chance to host the Auckland premiere of "AMANDLA! A REVOLUTION IN FOUR PART HARMONY" by Lee Hirsch. From 8pm we will be offering refreshments and the film will commence at 8.30pm. Tickets are $15 each, with all proceeds going to help Amnesty International's worldwide human rights work. You can purchase your tickets by posting a cheque (made out to "Amnesty International Auckland Central" to: AI Auckland Central Group, Flat 21, 93 Shortland St, Auckland Central. Tickets will be sent out by post, so payment should be received by Saturday 28th February. IMPORTANT: Please include your name and address, contact telephone number and email address - and the number of tickets requested. Book early to avoid disappointment! NB: Tickets cannot be purchased through the Academy Cinema. About "Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony" "Amandla!" won the Audience Award and the Freedom of Expression Award at the 2002 Sundance Festival, as well as the Critics Prize at the 2003 Sydney Film Festival. It traces South Africa's struggle for freedom through its joyous, defiant music, following events from the introduction of apartheid in 1948 to the election of Nelson Mandela as President in 1994.

Friday, March 5 to June 6, Auckland War Memorial Museum

VIETNAM EXHIBITION TO SHOW BOTH SIDES OF CONFLICT. A collection of startling, never-before-published images of the Vietnam War by North Vietnamese photographers. It will be accompanied by "Vietnam - A Kiwi Snapshot" an exhibition presenting New Zealanders' memories of power politics, protest and the sacrifice made by our own soldiers in this unpopular war. "Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side," presents over 100 evocative black-and-white photographs by North Vietnamese soldier-photographers who risked their lives to capture their country's struggle. Many perished - nine out of 10 did not survive. For the North Vietnamese photographers, their images were used to win the war, and they considered their work a powerful weapon. Their photographs offer a new perspective on this divisive conflict and show scenes of battle and of daily life from the perspective of the North Vietnamese: elephants moving materiel down the Ho Chi Minh Trail, an impromptu operating room in a mangrove swamp and American prisoners of war at the Hanoi Hilton. "Another Vietnam" is based on a book by photographer Tim Page, who returned to Vietnam to find his Vietcong counterparts, 20 years after he first covered the war as a young photographer for United Press International. The exhibition is co-produced by the National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall, Washington, and the International Center of Photography, New York. "Vietnam - A Kiwi Snapshot, includes photography by fronline Kiwi soldiers and documentary film footage. $8 adults, $6 concessions.

Monday, March 8, 5-30pm, Aotea Square, Queen Street 'Women are on the frontlines' INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY RALLY - Every year on March the 8th women and men mark International Women's Day by remembering the age-old struggle of women for equal rights, and by protesting the barriers that still stand in the way of the winning of those rights. IWD Committee demands are: just pay and conditions for workers all around the world; money for caring, not killing - no NZ involvement in the war on Terror’; women are the primary carers and educators: no to the Jobs Jolt, increase the DPB, equal pay for work of equal value; violence against women continues in war and peace: end the silence around domestic and sexual violence; and racism is an attack on women too: dump laws that discriminate against migrants. For more info contact Kirsty McCully email euphemiak@yahoo.com or Janet Bogle email janetbogel@hotmail.com

Monday March 8, International Women's Day: UNIFEM (Auck) offers a splendid start to the week - Open invitation to UNIFEM IWD Breakfast at Ellerslie Convention Centre on Monday, 8 March 2004, 7.00 am to 8.30 am. Judge Karina Williams, first Maori woman Judge appointed to a District Court in Tamaki Makaurau is Keynote Speaker: “Reflections”. Spot speaker is Dr Cindy Kiro, Commissioner for Children. Tickets are $20 for High School Students; $30 for Adults with a concession ($280) for a table of 10 adults. To book: Please write cheques to “UNIFEM NZ” and list the names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of those attending and Post to UNIFEM (Lorna McIntosh), Private Bag 94030 South Auckland Mail Centre. If receipt(s) are required, please send a stamped self-addressed envelope. RSVP by 1 March please. For further information: Lorna McIntosh, ph: 521 1455; e-mail: lorna.m@xtra.co.nz or BeverleyTurner, ph/fax:418 0700; e-mail: beverleyturner@nznet.gen.nz

Saturday, March 20, 12 noon from the bottom of Queen Street MARCH AND RALLY ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE INVASION OF IRAQ - Bush has US sights set on Syria, and the occupation of Iraq continues; starts at bottom of Queen St then march to the Town Hall for the rally. More details as they are confirmed. Part of the Global Day of Action Against War and Occupation; organised by Global Peace and Justice Auckland, for more info contact email jbminto@xtra.co.nz or miket@pl.net

March 23 to April 10, Artstation, 1 Ponsonby Road Anti-war Art Exhibition entitled "Kill War" Works by: Jarad Bryant, Jon Carapiet, Bruce Mahalski. Opening: 5-7 pm Tuesday 23 March. This exhibition presents a series of work inspired by recent world events which questions our culpability for The continuing violence in our society. Aspects of 21st century life and culture are examined as possible contributing factors to our continued acceptance of violent solutions on a crowded and fragile planet that can no longer afford to sustain such destructive luxuries. The ingenuousness and doublespeak of 'The War on Terror' are highlighted and suggestions are made for more positive 'wars' in the future.

2) BEST ON THE WEB

RACE Treaty of Waitangi Quiz http://speeches.com/treaty/index.aspx Greens tell govt "Don't panic Helen" http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PA0402/S00443.htm John Pilger: Australia's enduring shame http://pilger.carlton.com/print/133204

ROGER AWARD Juken Nissho Winner Of Roger Award For Worst Corp http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PO0402/S00122.htm

HEALTH The sickness in public health http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0402/S00149.htm

SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT

Scientists accuse White House of distorting facts http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/18/science/18CND-RESE.html

Scientists See Warming Driving Mass Extinctions http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?id=4561&m ethod=full

Global warming http://www.spectrezine.org/environment/Globalwarming.htm

HAITI

Throttled by history: Haiti's political class has failed it, but the first black republic has also been squeezed dry by a vengeful west, Gary Younge in Port-au-Prince http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1153735,00.html

GM DEBATE Joan Ruddock: Why are they foisting GM crops on us?

The public is hostile, the economics unproven and the science uncertain

http://argument.independent.co.uk/commentators/story.jsp?story=493177

‘GM-free' rebellion grows as ministers give crops backing http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/environment/story.jsp?story=493254

OCCUPATION AND RESISTANCE

Tariq Ali: The bloody price of occupation http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1147921,00.html

Robert Fisk: Gunned down with abandon http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5743.htm

WHO suppressed’ scientific study into depleted uranium cancer fears in Iraq http://www.sundayherald.com/40096

Depleted Uranium: The War Crime That Has No End http://www.unobserver.com/layout5.php?id=1462&blz=1

John Le Carre: The USA has gone mad http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0115-01.htm

Rule of the rapists: Britain and the US said war on Afghanistan would liberate women. We are still waiting http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1146134,00.html

PALESTINE/ISRAEL

First we settled on occupied territory in the mostly densely populated place in the world. Then we expropriated the best plots of land for ourselves.

We killed them and were killed by them. See... Shulamit Aloni: Do Uproot That Which Is Planted! http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0402/S00079.htm Lost freedoms of Israel http://mondediplo.com/2004/02/06israel

MILOSOVIC

The Milosevic trial is a travesty: Political necessity dictates that the former Yugoslavian leader will be found guilty - even if the evidence doesn't http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4856972-103677,00.html

3) MESSAGES

RATES ACTION MOVEMENT

Ring the ARC! A RAM supporter suggests that people ring the ARC and complain about their latest letter/account, and do these things: Ring ARC on (09) 366-2000 and select option 3. When some one finally answers, tell them you're ringing about your rates and ask politely why an account has been sent when you are disputing the original amount levied (if that's what you've done). They won't know, but will try to fob you off with irrelevant garbage. When you insist on an exact answer, they will probably pass you to a supervisor, who won't know either. Then ask them for an exact and precise answer as to what the threatened action will be. (They won't be able to answer that either). Then register a complaint about never having received a reply to having disputed the original amount (which is probably what happened, as in my case; and a complaint about how objectionable the threatening letter is. Complain about how long it takes to get through on the phone. Also ask how many other dissatisfied ratepayers have rung! (and email RAM with any answer they give, please). Take note of the name of the person you spoke to and ask for a written response. At least it lets them know people are annoyed !

PEACE ACTION WELLINGTON

The recent news that 75 percent of 1500 Australian troops sent to Afghanistan were literally poisoned by anthrax vaccinations shots given to them by their government raises serious questions about whether similar shots, which were suspected to have been harmful, were given to New Zealand troops.

“It seems extremely likely that the New Zealand SAS and other deployments received these shots like their British and Australian counterparts, and that they suffered ill effects” said Valerie Morse of Peace Action Wellington. “Helen Clark’s blatant misleading of the New Zealand public about the deployment of SAS troops gives us no faith that she will be immediately honest when answering the question ‘did her government poison New Zealand troops?”

Peace Action Wellington have sent an Official Information Request to the Ministry of Defence to request full information about any vaccinations programs given to troops sent to Afghanistan or Iraq since 2003. For more information email valeriem@paradise.net.nz

PALESTINE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAUGN

Though it is late we have received some beautiful calendars 30cm square (12" x12") a Palestinian initiative to celebrate " the diversity and richness of Palestinian art and culture". A percentage of the proceeds is donated to the League of Palestinian Artist in Ramallah ~~ see website for more information. They can be purchased from us for $20 each. If posted they will be $25. They can be uplifted from 95 Market Road, the shop 296A Dominion Road, the monthly rally at Aotea Square or posted to you on receipt of cheque. Cheers, Jan Wakim, Palestine Human Rights Campaign. http://www.resistanceart.com/products.html

John Turner has worked miracles and has reproduced and enlarged 2 sets of 19 selected powerful photos by Bruno Stevens (including title and index pages) for display wherever and whenever possible. Each image is laminated, 92cm x 92 cm square (roughly 1m x 1m) with an eyelet in each corner for securing the photo.

You can check out the whole set, called FENCES, by visiting http://www.photoforum-nz.org/gallery/projects/fences/thumbnails1.html It is intended that one set will go to Wgtn for exhibition in the lower North Island and in the South Island and the other set will be available for circulation in Auckland and upper North Island. John has also produced handouts which can accompany the photos with suggestions for accessing more information and details of where to send donations.

IF YOU CAN THINK OF A SITUATION IN WHICH A DISPLAY COULD BE MOUNTED ~ SCHOOL? LIBRARY? COMMUNITY CENTRE? CHURCH? EVENT? ~ AND YOU WOULD BE WILLING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ARRANGEMENTS, CAN YOU PLEASE LET US KNOW AND WE CAN ORGANISE THE DELIVERY OF A SET TO YOU AND COORDINATE THE ARRIVAL AND RETURN DATES. The PHRC is indebted to Bruno Stevens for allowing his work to reproduced free of charge and the John Turner for his dedication and determination to carry through this ambitious project to equip PHRC with these graphic, aweful but educative images. In the first instance please contact David Wakim wakim.fam@xtra.co.nz or 09 520 0201

4) COMMENT ON NORTHERN IRELAND BY DEAN PARKER

What IS happening in Northern Ireland? "Men in balaclavas continue to terrorise the ghettos, ignoring the rule of law and acting as judges, juries and, all too often, executioners," reports the London Daily Telegraph in last Thursday's Herald (Feb. 19). "Was it not this, in large part, that the [Good Friday] agreement was meant to eliminate?" Well, no, actually.

The Good Friday Agreement was drawn up by Britain as a means of ridding itself of the economic drain of its unwinnable war in Northern Ireland. Its intention was to manage sectarianism. British-created and British-fostered, sectarianism was an ugly throwback to the days when Ulster was an important part of the Empire, threatened by the natives. Ulster became no longer important and the Empire dissolved, but the sectarian creature which had served its purpose just wouldn't go away. So it would be made workable.

In the Northern Assembly, currently suspended by a Unionist walk-out over Sinn Fein participation, members had to be designated Unionist-supporting the Union with Great Britain-or Nationalist-opposing the Union-so that a cross-community 60% vote could be ascertained. As was said at the time (here in New Zealand actually, in the Information on Ireland magazine Saoirse), this was not going to remove sectarianism. It was going to entrench it.

One of the first votes in the new Assembly was on whether to build a new maternity block in Protestant North Belfast or Catholic West Belfast.

All the Unionist parties and Nationalist parties voted absolutely and depressingly along Protestant/Catholic lines. No one suggested an extended health budget to cover both communities. Issues like unemployment, poverty, bad health services, bad housing were never part of the Good Friday Agreement. These were the issues that could have brought Protestant and Catholic together. Instead they remain the issues that continue to drive them apart.

Ardoyne is an embattled Catholic enclave in Protestant north Belfast. Many in New Zealand will recall the scenes of horror three years ago when terrified children from Ardoyne had to run a gauntlet of spitting, jeering adults. The children were trying to walk up a Protestant street to their local school, Holy Cross.

Since Christmas, 18 people have taken their own lives in Ardoyne. In a period of six weeks, that included 13 teenagers. According to the local priest of the Holy Cross parish, interviewed in Sinn Fein's Republican News of Feb. 19, "punishment beatings, local deprivation and a sense of hopelessness were contributing to the growing crisis." The report in the Herald from the Daily Telegraph ("Brutal, unchecked paramilitary gangsters drive the youth of Ulster ghettos to suicide") concentrated on two of the teenage suicides, friends, who killed themselves after being victims of local paramilitary punishment attacks. The attacks had occurred a while ago.

In one of the cases it was a year, with the victim being severely depressed since.

Punishment attacks are a terrifying substitute for normal policing. The problem with policing in Northern Ireland is the police are still considered by Catholics, as one of the biggest and best-armed Protestant paramilitary gangs in the province. To police criminal and "anti-social" behaviour, people turn instead to the local paramilitary enforcers. In an area where there is little chance of a job, where kids feel worthless, where there are memorials and wall murals but absolutely no facilities for teenagers, where there is a high level of alcohol and prescription-drug addiction and psychiatric services are totally inadequate, anti-social behaviour is pretty much the norm. And so is hopelessness and, with it, suicide.

As the Telegraph report makes clear, the punishment attacks in question were not carried out by the IRA, but by a small, but fairly long-standing republican splinter group. The Telegraph states that Ardoyne is, in fact, "home for dozens of IRA men with the fire-power to stop their rivals." The Telegraph continues: "They are under orders not to interfere, since any violent response would be used by Unionists as further reason for excluding Sinn Fein from any participation in the government of the province."

Well, the last couple of years have proved Unionists don't need this as a reason for excluding Sinn Fein from participation in government; any reason will do, and has done. But the Telegraph concludes, "Is this crazy situation what the Good Friday Agreement was supposed to bring the people of Ulster?"

Now, am I reading this right? Is the Telegraph, the stern voice of the British Conservative and Unionist Party, calling for the Good Friday Agreement to be re-written so that the IRA can bring order to Northern Ireland? Bit of a long shot, I would have thought. The problem facing Northern Ireland is not the paramilitaries. It is as it always was: British rule and Unionist obduracy, poverty and desperation. Its solution remains mobilisation by the poor, Protestant and Catholic, against the economic priorities of the rich.

Mike

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