Where do they go?

I am madly searching to see what possible routes to safety and security exist for Palestinian Refugees who have left their homes in Syria to escape war.

I have 11 reasons for this. They each have Arabic names and live and breathe- 3 are still on the breast.

People seeking refuge who have limited finances will seek out people involved in the extremely lucrative profession of people smuggling in order to have the experiences many take for granted. My Palestinian friend calls it ‘the life’. It is not until you get up close and personal with this that you realise what this really means and indeed how fortunate you are..

Every time I hear an Aussie say “I’m going to Bali” or “I’m off to Vanuatu for a week” or,” I’ve always wanted to go to Venice” I think about how they have such little regard for their passport and little understanding of how magical this document would be for others. Those who would die (or have died) trying to secure one for themselves. I won’t go into those same Aussies raving about how cheap the plastic facial surgery is in Thailand or how they can get their teeth done for one third the price.

My first understanding and connection to the real value of this document we take for granted was many years ago as a traveller on the hippy trail. I asked questions of my hotel hosts and was genuinely interested in their aspirations. My Afghan host said if he could have anything in this life it would be a passport as he wanted to see the world and escape the poverty that was endemic in his country. As an Afghan he would have seen much since (especially if he never got that passport) – that’s if he survived the Russians, Mujahedeen, Taliban and US/NATO/AUS military influence on his country. 

A passport and indeed an acceptable nationality is a precious thing. Palestinians, possibly more than any other peoples know this intimately. Palestinians who have been to Bali on fake or useless passports, in transit to leaky boats, en route to Ashmore Reef or certain death at sea actually know this in their DNA.

So what if you need to get out you have young children and the mortars are flying, people are dying? You aren’t poor you have savings. Where to? Lebanon? Egypt? Sweden? (where you get residency on entry)Thailand?   Germany, Italy? Canada, Australia, the places your family have gone? You want to be near them, but really you want to stay. This is your home. But this home is trashed. Yesterday you had to climb over bodies downstairs just to get to the street. You HAVE TO GO.

Could you possibly understand what this entails?  

Ramzy Baroud, Palestinian-American journalist, author, editor, Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) taught Mass Communication at Australia’s Curtin University of Technology, and is Editor-in-Chief of the Palestine Chronicle has been quoted as saying:

“There is nothing worse than being a refugee on the run, except being a refugee on the run again and again, with a legal status of perpetual statelessness, and with no country in which to seek shelter.” 1

It is devastating for those parents who as young children were banished from land they had called home for millennia to make way for an Israeli state in 1948. Now they have to leave again with no chance of sanctuary.

Syrian Palestinians find themselves in a bigger struggle as part of an ‘illegal’ diaspora. Previously they were supported in the Middle East by UNRWA. But UNRWA has shown how weak it is in the face of the Syrian war. They are weak, the UN is weak. But Palestinians are tough and if they aren’t they have to show that face to the world. Palestinians have a history of dispossession but will never act as a victim, they are survivors and have a real knowledge of how to survive in a world that rejects you as a human being with any rights.

In Malaysia Palestinians are offered entry without visa, but the tragic loss of ‘Palestinian’ as an option for ‘Nationality?’ is another sickening farce created by the memory hole conspirators that baffled the generous Malaysian border officials by not placing Palestine on the computer data base (thank-you Microsoft?). There’s a story there that maybe I’ll relate later, but for now try finding ‘Palestinian’ on any Australian Immigration documents under the ‘Nationality’ dropdown box.

The situation in Australia is now such that many citizens despair about our government’s appalling attitude towards asylum seekers and refugees. A history of fear and loathing that has progressed from bad to worse, no matter what version of neo-liberalism we vote into power. As a person of Anglo culture I am constantly enlightened by daily interactions with people who relate to a dominant culture different from my own. What is wrong with us that we fear the other? In the case of Palestinians it is clearly the Moslem version that the government has had problems with. Phalangist Christians have had much support in migrating to Australia yet they are known as responsible under Israeli tutelage for the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres of Palestinians in Lebanon. But forget bringing my extended family here to safety.

Then in my search I read that Palestinian national dishes are also being stolen in a controversy started by Buzzfeed about Kanefeh being an Israeli dish ….and the comments say ‘so what’s your problem Palestinian… you get so reactive?’ 2.

Food is how Arabic people connect with home (as do we all) This latest theft of culture has been rectified by Buzzfeed, was ignorant and apologies have been given but it raises how blatant cultural appropriation of indigenous Palestinian identity and culture is occurring. Palestinians  see the efforts to market their culture as “Israeli”, part of Zionism’s ongoing campaign to erase them culturally and physically from the geography, history and future of Palestine. That is very relevant and the reaction not out of kilter within this context. Anotherposted comment also mentioned  ‘Reclaimed East Jerusalem’ (so much for Brandis’ claim about removing the word ‘occupied’ from ‘Occupied East Jerusalem’ to assist the peace process)..

Resisting  cultural appropriation takes on great significance for Palestinians.


So yeh, I am madly searching to see what possible routes to safety and security exist for Palestinian Refugees who have left their homes in Syria to escape war. I have 11 reasons for this. They each have Arabic names and live and breathe- 3 are still on the breast.



  1. http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-syrians-iraqis-palestinians-no-place-to-hide/32065
  2. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2014/06/05/U-S-news-site-calls-Palestinian-dessert-Israeli-sparks-online-ire.html



I was so happy to read David Greaber’s interview on Salon.comi about his thoughts on reduced working hours, ‘bullshit jobs’ and why the jobs that give to society seem to be the lowest paid. An Anthropologist (and anarchist) lecturer at the London School of Economics,Greaber has run with issues that have always been on my mind. I guess we all wonder at times why the spread of pay for work is so horribly inequitable.

As a member of the great mass of unemployed, the concept of fairness in pay for work really hits home as I question why others are paid to, well think about this……….

I recall inventing an unemployment policy I called “Job Challenge” when I was thinking more Graebery in my past. It went something like this……..

A. You attend an office, shop or are simply on the phone seeking a service from someone paid to do a job.

B. They treat you poorly, do not provide an appropriate service or correct information, and don’t help you at all.

C. You believe with reasonable certainty that you could provide a better service than they do, you have suitable qualifications or the expertise to do the job they currently do.

D. You raise your arms and shout….”JOB CHALLENGE” and are immediately in touch with the person’s manager, who on hears your challenge and sums up what you and that worker have told them.

E. If your challenge is “found”, You get the job and the other person is sent to seek Social Security.

F. You undergo a two week trial.

G. If you pass the job is now permanently (until challenged) yours.

This policy has many good outcomes……

1. It immediately improves customer service.

2. It gives the unemployed a real chance at finding suitable work.

3. It makes dealing with dickheads more fun.

Ahhh, we can but dream.

With yet another recent job knock-back. I tell myself ‘there is always a reason’ and reflect on my presentation, behaviour, thoughts and experiences. This is how I convince myself I am progressing despite feeling I am sliding further downhill. My “Individual Assessment Report” on the recent “suitable but not preferred” Assessment further drove the reflectors in my brain. All I can say is I hope the interviewers never find themselves in my position. (I don’t believe they ever will because they are unlikely to ‘leap empty handed into the void’ as I have done, leave a very reasonable ‘No bullshit’ job, throw themselves to fate and move thousands of kilometres across Gondwanaland. (No real regrets by the way)

However back to the ‘Assessment’. Some background………….

1. I am now what’s called a ‘mature’ jobseeker, and Mr Abbot our venerable PM has suggested a further 10 years of work should be about right for me.

2. I have a solid working experience of over 30 years across my field, and never till my move here has this been in a ‘bullshit job’.

3. I provided the panel with referees that have known me and my work well over those years.

The panel did not call my referrees insteadthey contacted me for names of recent supervisors from their own department (all 3 of whom had known me for an average of less than 4 months, and therefore not that well. They then asked them about “past and current performance in relation to the position’s selection criteria, primary objective and key responsibilities…..”

My ‘Assessment’ Results:

Referrees said I was-

‘very knowledgeable’, ‘very passionate particularly about working collaboratively’, was ‘diligent and reliable’, could ‘work in a self directed manner’ but ‘tended to ‘over research’ topics’

Now for the “Not so good for getting a job in the public service” ones.

‘has been observed to sometimes express considerable frustration about bureaucratic systems and processes‘ has developed good relationships with managers and other team members, despite initially presenting as over-confident and abrupt‘ ‘personal style can be abrupt‘ has‘strong personal style had potential to ‘rub people up the wrong way’ though this not witnessed as occurring. (My emphasis)

I did however address the Panel’s questions about referee comments in an open and reflective manner, and said that I had learned to “lower expectations about what could realistically be achieved” in a bureaucracy.

Recommendation: Suitable. though not successful applicant

I am sure others with PS experience would agree high expectations about what can realistically be achieved (for others if not oneself) are often dashed in the public service. But there’s more bad news for them…ii

Now of course I cant sign off without mention of the situation for public servants keen on blogging or merely joining the farce book community who are now crippled into silence if not chosen for their compliant loyalty.

Well reflection really is a fine thing.

I thing these are excellent credentials for becoming a blogger. I am eminently suitable.

Possibly also excellent credentials for becoming a Human Rights Commissioner. (Although I am NOT a Liberal Party member or past member and am not a mate of Senator UNOCCUPIED PALESTINE Brandis.)

Although our ‘Freedom Commissioner’ appears to come further down the line from other aspiring candidates in relation to, ” demonstrated superior performance in sensitive problem resolution”


Don’t think I’d have a chance with the boss do you? Must be time to review the policy.

I http://www.salon.com/2014/06/01/help_us_thomas_piketty_the_1s_sick_and_twisted_new_scheme/

LETS JUST ‘SETTLE’ THAT NOW- There will be no collaborating or we move our cousins onto your property

1. If our settlement (read ‘occupation’) of the Indigenous people’s land of Australia was compared to Israel’s occupation of Palestine (our occupation commenced in  1788 and Palestine’s in 1948 -extended in 1967) and …..

2. our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples formed a Unity collaboration of Elders as one party to negotiate land rights and community autonomy and ……

3. the Australian government  then said to the ATSI group “if you’re going to do that we’ll have to put houses on Kakadu, settle people around Uluru and build housing projects anywhere else we choose, and……

4. the Australian government called the decision a “reaction effort” to the ATSI collaboration.


What do you think would happen?

This is how Israel has responded to the announcement that Hamas and Fatah are to combine to form a Palestinian Unity government in an effort to undertake peace negotiations with Israel.

AP News reported yesterday, “Housing Minister Uri Ariel said in a statement that the move was a “fitting Zionist response to the formation of a Palestinian terror government,” adding that the housing plans were “just the beginning.”

Tenders were issued late Wednesday for about 900 housing units in the (OCCUPIED*) West Bank and about 560 units in (OCCUPIED*) east Jerusalem, territories that Israel captured in the 1967 war and which the Palestinians claim for their future state. The tenders represent the final governmental approval before construction can begin.”

* My additions to deny Senator Brandis any memory hole allowances.


Senator Brandis has decided to remove the term ‘OCCUPIED’ in relation to East Jerusalem saying it’s “unhelpful to bring up historic events”.

Brandis was responding to Lee Rhiannon, Greens Senator who referred (as is the norm on both sides of Australian politics since the occupation of Palestinian Territory by Israel in 1967) to the occupied East Jerusalem in a question in the Senate today. Brandis described the use of the term ‘occupied’ as ‘judging matters that were still under discussion’ in the Palestinian- Israeli negotiations.

He called it a ‘tendentious’ description.

TENDENTIOUS: http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/tendentious

“If you are writing a report on climate change, and ignore evidence that the earth is warming, the paper might be called tendentious. Tendentious means promoting a specific, and controversial, point of view. When something is tendentious, it shows a bias towards a particular point of view, especially one that people disagree about. It shares a root with the word, tendency, which means leaning towards acting a certain way. If you have the tendency to talk in a tendentious manner about politics, people might tend to avoid you at parties.”

I wonder if people at parties avoid Lee Rhiannon? Or perhaps its Brandis who is ignored, just as we should ignore him now.

Here’s why……..

It is Brandis who is in fact being TENDENTIOUS in trying to sanitise what is clearly an occupation not an historic event

Since when is the Occupation of Palestine historical?

It exists NOW.

Are we expected to deny that when both the International Court of Justice and the UN have deemed East Jerusalem to be part of the Occupied Palestinian West Bank.

Additionally……(Though no-one pays any attention)

United Nations Security Council resolution 446, adopted 22 March 1979, on the issue of Israeli settlements in the “Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem”.[1] This refers to the Palestinian Territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip as well as the Syrian Golan Heights, determined: “that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East” (my emphasis)

The Resolution was adopted 12 votes to none, with 3 abstentions from Norway, the UK and the US.(Thanks Wiki) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_446

Dangerous precedents being trialed Australia, stay awake.

Nick Xenophon advised the Sydney Morning Herald that even the US does not hold this position. I would go further and say the only people who do hold this position are our excuse for a government and the current Israeli, openly zionist Netanyahu  Likud government.


Sisters Cities and Salvage


Today my thoughts are on people close to me, family is as relevant as climate change (more so) in these days of turning back boats, ‘assisting’ people to move to Cambodia, locking up people because they dare to get away from situations of oppression, fear and troubles. One little comparison to help you get there……

The streets of Melbourne city have come of age, cosmopolitan, thriving. Lanes and alleyways of cafe’s shoes and restaurants. bold, crazy and sometimes confronting graffiti splashed methodically in a city that has owned art and in an enlightened environment prefers to call these works ‘dynamic’ rather than delinquent. The city centre is no longer a drab dead heart but a throbbing hub of activity in both day and night. A place where people come to enjoy the company of friends and strangers. People no longer stand out in a crowd because of ethnicity, questions to others appear to come out of genuine interest in that person rather than because they look different or ‘other’. (I hope my rainbow of friends and family would agree as I have some doubt that stares remain as do bowed heads in silence of those who fail to acknowledge anyone for fear of being spoken to).

This city is coming of age. 3.7 million people almost feel really safe and secure (aside from media stories of ‘one hit deaths’ of young men outside the music venues, but hey its not like the Sydney Cross.) The country has human rights issues primarily for the indigenous peoples, who die younger, are imprisoned more, have more preventable illness, greater unemployment, higher suicide rates….do I go on?

I am informed by the CIA world factbook that in 2008 the Australian adult obesity prevalence rate was on a par with that of Syria, my guess is we’re fatter now. The ancient city of Damascus has around 2.4 million people over half a million were Palestinian refugees living in Al Yarmouk (The Camp) once a safe thriving cosmopolitan metropolis. Hell my friend went to Damascus only three years ago for a fabulous holiday, took cool snaps and said she visited a group of Hezbullah somewhere in Syria for lunch!

The Syrian capital is known as ‘The Cradle of Civilisation’. Few people had interest in ever leaving- it was home, a place of family, cafe’s, coffee and community. No-one ever asked if you were Sunni or Shia, Alawite, Druze or even Christian. The city was (and still is) loved by many who felt lucky to be living there. Of course there were Syrian ‘human rights’ issues -the arrests of people like Tal Al Malohi the 19yo female blogger who posted poems about Palestine, was arrested and hasn’t been seen since she was sentenced to 5yrs prison in Dec. 2009. Political dissidents were in gaol, internet was blocked or difficult to access, corruption was endemic and as in many countries it was expected that if you wanted anything you paid a middle man some extra cash.

I remember being asked by a Syrian friend why, when fined for speeding in Australia, I did not offer the traffic cop $50 to not give me the $240 ticket! I am not saying all was well in the land of shisha’s, great coffee and great food, but only 3 years ago it was still a fabulous holiday destination with a proud and generous spirited people.

Interestingly today I read on a more sinister note in Lila Rajiva, “The CIA’s Rendition Flights to Secret Prisons: The Torture-Go-Round”, CounterPunch, 5 December 2005 that according to a former CIA case officer “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear—never to see them again—you send them to Egypt.” Particularly interesting given the events of destabilisation, war and devastation in Syria and Egypt and the US regional activities.

So shit happened, a whole load of it.

People took to the streets in Deraa a boy died in custody following torture by local police, the so called Arab spring was purported to have risen in the provinces, everything escalated fueled by Qatar and Saudi $, Al Quaida affiliations Chechens, Jihadi’s and Brotherhood memories. I lost my brother in law, my husband lost his brother and his taste for life, and no amount of shisha, coffee or Fairuz would fix the problem. In all of this Bashar Al Assad stayed and many have believed he was their only hope. During the last three years many of the American/Israeli undercover plays and deceptive lies have been exposed.

For the Palestinians in Syria the road has been frought, damned if you do damned if you don’t. They are now mostly double refugees with slim hope of finding a way to live the life they had before the ‘trouble’. Their homes demolished by foreign zealots their children traumatised by the ravages of war and their hopes in tatters as smugglers feed off their need for a safe haven for them and their families.

Syrian elections have been held as promised. How they could possibly be compared to our so-called democratic (privately funded through vested interest candidates) elections that come with a 200 year history of practice in making our not so perfect system is beyond me.

The political and media response here has been glib and trite merely calling this election a ‘farce’. But it is no farce for the majority of Syrian people.

What is the US/Israel and Gulf States logic on non acceptance…..


Why have so many Syrian refugees supported Assad from the refugee camps of Lebanon?


People want stability and peace they want to return to how it was…….They want their families and homes back or maybe they want to come to Melbourne?

The Cartoonist.

I posted one of the over 40,000 drawings of Naji Al-Ali a couple of days ago…..The excellent Leunig cartoon also posted that day reminded me of this man and took me to that place of Palestinian pride.

Few people know his story. Yet what he stood for and his uncompromising talent for naming and shaming across all aspects of the conflict that remains ‘Palestine’ is unmatched.

Few outside the Palestinians who revere him (in the same way we many of us revere our own Leunig) know anything of this man. I know that the Green movement in Iran has taken the Handala character with a green scarf for their logo! (my world environment day blog concession) The similarities with Leunig is that both these artists can in a single drawing say what the rest of us can’t say in a lifetime. Their commentary is compelling.

The story of Naji Al-Ali should be told outside the diaspora it should not be allowed to be buried down the memory hole.

The critical thing for me in his tale is the child Handala remains, (see my comment following the cartoon post) Naji was 10 when his country was stolen and he became a refugee in his own land. The child,  like all trauma victims and survivors stays the same age and offers the same eyes on the problem until there can be resolution. In Naji’s case it is said that resolution was the right of return of Palestinians to their homeland, something he would never see as his life was cut short on a London Street by a bullet in the head. Assassinated for his honesty and the danger this posed you will read there are many who wanted him dead. To read more……….


And about the 1999 film Naji Al-Ali: An Artist with a Vision by the Iraqi filmmaker Kasim Abid……….