Palm sunday

Talk peace – war creates refugees

After months of rain, the sun was finally shining for this year’s Palm Sunday Rally and March in Sydney on 10 April.

IEU members and friends joined a committed crowd that was smaller than in previous years – but this neither detracted from the event’s importance in the lead-up to the federal election, nor the rally’s impact on supporters and bystanders from Belmore Park to Victoria Park.

Watching the daily news of destruction of lives and the country of Ukraine means war is engaging everyone right now. And a huge consequence of war is millions of displaced people who become refugees.

The rally had a strong emphasis on peace, the human aftermath of wars, the effects of global warming, the disillusionment of soldiers who fought Australia’s war in Afghanistan then felt forced to abandon the Afghan allies who helped them; the Morrison government’s failure to address climate change; its brutal treatment of refugees in detention; and its lack of support for migrants on temporary visas.

We thank Ruby Wawn for being the MC and NSW Police for keeping everyone safe.

For more information and videos:

Ann-Maree McEwan

Nick Deane, Independent and Peaceful Australia Network
“War profits a few multinationals and benefits countries like the US when their rival Russia is weakened. Australia gets caught up spending money buying nuclear submarines. We need passion for peace. War is the enemy.”

Maria Tiimon, Pacific Islands Outreach Officer, Edmund Rice Centre
“Our islands [Kiribati] have been collateral damage for a distant colonial power in the past and it’s the same with climate change – which we didn’t create. We are the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, yet climate change is destroying our culture and livelihoods. War and climate change need leadership and dialogue which we are not seeing with the present government.”

Assistant Bishop Richard Schwedes, Sydney Lutheran Parish
“Palm Sunday brings us Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem. Both Jesus and the donkey are symbols of humility and peace. The mission of Jesus is peace with humanity and showing love and peace in our relationships with each other.”

Glenn Kolomeitz, Director, GAP Veteran and Legal Services; veteran of the war in Afghanistan
“From the 20 years of war in Afghanistan there are thousands of Afghans seeking asylum in Australia. Were we as soldiers misled when we went to Afghanistan to protect its people? Australians and veterans want to help their mates from Afghanistan. The government can and should speed up the processing of visas for those still in Afghanistan.”

Arezoo Narimani, Iranian refugee
“I speak from the refugees’ side of the traumatisation from detention on me and my children. I’ve been trapped on a temporary visa now for 10 years after detention with so many rights denied. I can’t enrol for my PhD. My health is suffering and I am not allowed to have relatives come to Australia to give me an organ donation. We have to stop this cruelty.”

Anastasia Radievska, Legal Observers NSW, Ukrainian activist
“Our hope is when you are confronted by the suffering of the victims of state-sanctioned violence this pain becomes a ground of truth and clarity about the system that causes it and the alternate futures we can bring into the present through collective action.”

Amber Flohm, Senior Vice President, NSW Teachers Federation
“I thank Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grosvenor and her people for welcoming migrants to Australia for centuries. Standing with refugees is union business and has been so since 1918. The Teachers Federation condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Teachers have watched as children are bussed in and out of detention centres to attend school; and teachers have watched children duck for cover when a car backfires. We know the history and we will not repeat that history on 21 May. It’s time to vote them out!”