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Newsletter for 16 August 2016 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Big Banana roadside demonstration report
Popup demonstration: Thursday 25 August Nambucca Plaza
Chasing Asylum - Movie - Sawtell screening
Next Market Stall - 28th August Coffs
Film Review - Book Review

Report from the Big Banana roadside demonstration

A big thank you to the nine supporters who braved a chilly afternoon to take part in our roadside demonstration in Coffs Harbour last week. We calculated that about 1,000 vehicles travelling north had a good sighting of our banners and placards. As usual, almost all the responses from passing motorists were supportive of our key messages about ending offshore detention.
Our next roadside demonstration will be in Nambucca Heads at the side of the highway near the Plaza shopping centre on Thursday 25th August from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm. If you can join us, even for part of the time, then please email Robin at:
Report on the impromptu photo shot in Nambucca Heads

Yesterday, at short notice, more than 30 supporters turned up for a photo opportunity with all our banners and placards in Nambucca Heads, in support of the GetUp campaign to close offshore detention centres. A great turnout, and our message could not be more clear. It is time to bring an end to the shameful, brutal and indefinite detention  of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. The government’s response to the publication of the 2,000 incident files from Nauru has been shockingly dismissive. We therefore have to keep up the public pressure on both the government and the opposition to end the misery and the torture of these innocent people.
Chasing Asylum: Sawtell Cinema: Monday 22nd August at 6.30 pm 

The showing of this important film (see last week’s newsletter) will definitely go ahead, since enough tickets have now been sold to make the showing viable. If you haven’t yet booked your tickets, you can still do so at:, or purchase your ticket on the night. The cinema managers have kindly agreed to us having a RAR stall in the foyer. We hope to see you there.
Next Market Stall: Sunday 28th August: Coffs Harbour

Our next market stall will be at the Coffs Harbourside market on Sunday 28th August. If you can help for an hour or so between 9.00 am and 1.00 pm, then please email Mike at : It would be great to see some new faces. The task is not onerous and interacting with the public at these events, and especially in the current climate, is really important. ...and almost always enjoyable! Why not give it a go?

Film Review: CHASING ASYLUM – a documentary film by Eva Orner and Robert Connolly
Only recently released, CHASING ASYLUM is an excellent documentary film of Australia’s refugee policies since World War 2 when we made welcome thousands of displaced Europeans to our shores, followed by the successful settlement of 70000 refugees from Indochina.
The film mainly documents the hardline taken by the Australian Government starting with John Howard and perpetuated by every Prime Minister and Opposition since.
By cleverly stringing together footage of the most important events until now, this extremely moving production by the renowned film makers Eva Orner and Robert Connolly, paints a shocking picture of Australia’s inhumane and barbaric treatment of traumatised and demonised people fleeing persecution and then being incarcerated for their “crime” of seeking asylum.
This is a must-see film for all compassionate Australians.
It is showing at Sawtell Cinema until Wed. 17 August.
Judy Cooney 

Book Review: NO MAN IS AN ISLAND by Adele Dumont (Hachette Australia)
No Man is an Island is a searing account by a young teacher of her two years spent teaching English to mainly Hazara men from Afghanistan, asylum seekers on Christmas Island and Curtin Detention Centre near Derby in the Kimberley.
Termed “clients”, many of these men have been incarcerated for up to three years, waiting, many without hope, to be “processed” as genuine refugees after surviving often horrendous trips from Indonesia in leaky boats. 
All are anxious to be granted the mythical visa which allows them to stay here, if not rejected; all are traumatised and missing their families.
Adele Dumont, their English teacher, quite young and naïve on initial arrival to these centres finds herself immersed in learning about the rich culture and traditions of their homeland as well as the history of persecution for centuries of the Hazaras by other ethnic groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But they are avid students. Many have skills and qualifications and are highly motivated which would make them ideal settlers here.
Though exhausting, frustrating and often soul destroying, the author finds the work immensely rewarding and writes a hard-to-put-down story anyone with compassion would benefit from reading.
Judy Cooney    

​Impromptu photo shot in Nambucca

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