Margaret Pestorius arrested at Talisman Sabre Galla Dinner
Rockhampton Grammar School 8 July 2011.
10 July 2011
Being Noticed for Peace
Fine day, cool breeze, laptop on folding table in shade of tree in backyard of Franz Jaegerstaetter House, the new dongle giving me broadband, a long lead powering up the laptop battery. Perfect camp.
Chant and yoga in the sun. House crew go off to Mass, a van load plus a sedan. Later Bryan came by to share a joint and blow the breeze about the success of the previous days actions.
Now as i key, a planning meeting is in progress and i choose to write this and if not that, sew. Old grey haired alpha male i can sit in the backyard, write, play truant from group meetings and feel no fear of censure.
But even as a get into it, a local peace activist arrives and comes to my table. Over the past few weeks in which i have been trying to get peace activism visible in Rockhampton, I have watched this one in a spin. I have come to see her as some kind of flying nun, full of good intention and failing or ailing circuitry which causes her flight to appear eratic in a bouncing off the walls kind of way.
She is a good woman who does good work best she can and right now she is stressed and needs help to sort out her confusion. But not me on this rare day without urgency.
In a state of agitation, she hands me a letter to read. Something about a local elder who had been offended by Margaret Pestorius' photo taking at the Peace Ritual that the flying nun had organised Monday previous. It was not an event blessed with a sense of the sacred.
Flag rig and ruined peace mosiac in the dsyfunctional Peace Park
27 June 2011.
I went away thinking how alienated i was from the ritual. Cursed by the ancestors was how I understood it. We had been on ground where things never went well, Auntie Jeanette Yowyeh had told me. "Not a happy place.' I, for one, was afflicted, zombied into a state of stupification, by the roaring of the traffic on the nearby highway bridge over the Fitzroy River. And here was the curse of the event still stuck to us.
Quickly scanned, i swiftly re-enveloped the letter and gave it back to her."I don't want to know anything about it. Looks like tantrums to me." Hurt feelings of no consequence at all, i was thinking.
How did the true path of peace activism get equated with unhurt feelings? i ask myself.
"Addressed to Margaret," I say. "She's inside, gathering a house meeting and triumphant from the action last night. Let me show you the pic of her which i have just posted to Facebook." She tried to refuse but i put the screen in front of her.
The perfect martyr image. Ought to be the ultimate in self image for any flying nun. Born up by handsome young coppers in impeccable shirts and Glocks. Glory, glory, hallelujah!
"But that's not the Margaret of last week," she says.
"But it's the Margaret you are dealing with today," I say.
Which i guess sounded to her like "don't waste her time or mine" because she stormed off, her disassociation from Peace Convergence evident in the body language of her headlong flight and the crunch of the gears in her take off.
Head down i want to write, to record events in the struggle for peace in this time of endless war. And I take short cuts with feelings. I wonder about the edge i walk. Maybe too hard hearted. Maybe pushing too much anger. Twice yesterday i raised adrenalin. Stressing for peace?
We are few but we are getting noticed. Bryan's getting noticed strategy, his Bob Katter look alike Peace Preacher character has worked superbly. I am happy to acknowledge him as a master of getting noticed.
Yesterday he was dressed in a hired dinner suit, his costume for the Gala Dinner that night, and he stood at the gate of the Show Grounds as the crowd assembled for the opening of the Talisman Sabre Open Day with his trike and signage.
"Lots of recognition, curiosity and nearly everyone standing about read the sign on his Peacetrike," Bryan reported. "Concern was also expressed about the parking restrictions and the delays."
For which i had been an accidental cause.
The deal struck with Sgt Kerrie Duffy and Inspector Mel Adams was that while i could not have Peacebus.com near the gate - the whole street was closed to all but cop cars. Big security operation and we were guessing a VIP such as the US Ambassador was in town. (The TV News later confirmed our speculation. "Our Ozzie mates" - how pathetic he sounds.)
The deaql struck was that i could park it school ground across the way along with the rest of the public parking. And if i got in first, i could park close and this would make it a relatively short distance to carry stuff to the site.
So i was outside the parking gate early waiting first in line to enter when i was challenged by a red faced man in a moustache and maroon Tshirt with a name tag identifying him as someone from Queensland Education.
"Get out of here," he ordered.
"But I am waiting to enter, deal with cops," i protested.
"Not with your signage. Not on Qld Education property. "
"What's your beef?" I asked.
"Ex-army," he replied.
"PTSD?" I suggested
As suggested earlier, i was quick to raise the ante. When told i would have no entry I promised i would follow him in. He promised to get a tractor and tow me away. I said, try it on.
When he drove away to enter the school grounds by a far gate, i parked across the entry, signage facing the passing traffic. Soon enough i reckoned i would be let in.
Peacebus waiting entry to the public parking area for the Talisman Sabre Family Open Day, 9 July 2011.
I was sitting in the open doorway of Happy Wheels cross legged, patient and at ease when Qld Ed retaliated by turning on the sprinklers. A newly affixed corflute sign by the gate deflected most of the water; it was a sign to say this was the official parking area for the Talisman Sabre Family Day. Gold coin donation.
How curious to be protected from a splashing by TS11 signage. Our defence forces at work! But there was some collateral damage. On the nearby playing field, a girls' soccer circle was scattered.
A free wash for Happy Wheels! Between sweeps of the sprinklers i scrubbed her front end down. First wash in a long time. "Thanks mate!", i called.
To the rescue came Sgt Kerrie Duffie and with her, another car and constable. I didn't have to call. She and i had met earlier walked the ground and struck the deal for the action. I knew she would uphold the deal and so she did.
But the obstruction and the negotiating held things up, including the set up of my banner rig. I rushed to get it in position.
A big crowd had arrived at the Showground gate, milling at the gate and they kept coming. Old digger types but far and away most were families; grand parents, children, grand children, a free event, a family day out for the poor.
It took me 20 minutes to get banners in position against the fence - the Yeppoon Peace flags looked great.
I noticed Bryan was confident in that space but others less so, overwhelmed by the numbers come to see military hardware.
Margaret had organised a black dressed line up, each pinned with an A4 sheet printed with details of a NATO forces atrocity in Afghanistan in the last three months. Incidents of children maimed and killed.
Bryan wore his dinner suit and had wanted me to wear the one hired for me. But setting up banners is dusty work, and i chose the more utilitarian Stand Fast veteran look.
Me dressed for action at the Talisman Sabre Family Open Day, 9 July 2011.
Standing in the stream of the gate I held the pole of a peace flag, watched faces and with a big voice spruiked as the crowd poured in.
"Roll up! Roll up! Come ands see the death machines. This is what $70 million a day defence expenditure buys you!" Etcetera.
This seemed to lift spirits of the protest group. We steadied, recognised our unity, our slightly more permanent condition in the passing crowd, strengthened psychically like rocks in a surging streaming.
But Bryan reported later that my provocative attitude and challenging words also drew forth angry responses. I am pleased for any response. Movement is a sign of life! Emotional movement too.
But after a while i ran out of steam and Ross took on a spruiking role, questioning the passing crowd about the absence of an Australian foreign policy independent from the USA. "Just like the Australians at Gallipoli."
What wilted my enthusiasm for spruiking apart from fatigue were the faces of children. I noticed that passing small children 4 to 6 year olds were watching me more curiosity than adults who have had long practice glazing eyes and turning off ears.
I was struck by the openness and innocence in those faces and compelled to say: "In Afghanistan, Australians and US soldiers kill children just like you. A grenade thrown in a bedroom, a drone fired rocket fired into a house, children just like you, splattered."
Shocking to children? Shocking to me!
The protest response to the Talisman Sabre Family Open Day had no central direction; everyone did their thing, best they could.
Some tried to enter but were detected. Emily got through the gate but was recognised by a plain copper and removed within minutes. Face recognition technology or just a good memory?
Emily gets noted by the plain clothes cop who identified her as a TS09 protester @ the Talisman Sabre Family Open Day, 9 July 2011.
Jim Doyle entered and was arrested and removed from the showground in the grip of two police officers. "For preaching the gospel," he told me as he was propelled past. Here is a video of Jim's outrage.
Anne Doyle organised blue scarves be wore and a sign that said they were supporting the Afghan Volunteers for Peace Movement. In solidarity with our Queenscliff protester comrades.
Anne Doyle with children and friends dressed for the Talisman Sabre Family Open Day, 9 July 2011.
Robin Taubenfeld arrived as a black wigged clown, pushing Moonby in a stroller, carrying bunches with peace symbols on helium balloons. She was recognised and refused entry. So she set up balloon distribution outside the gate.
Robin Taubenfeld and Moonby refused entry for the Talisman Sabre Family Open Day, 9 July 2011. That's our ever vigilant Police Liaison officer, Sgt Kerrie Duffy in the shades.
Treena Lenthal arrived with Omah in a stroller but her Tshirt was contested. "You don't support the US Alliance, do you?" asked the ejecting cop.
Auntie Jeanette Yowyeh, acclaimed Darumbal elder of the year and heroine of the NAIDOC March of the previous day, arrived with her sister bearing peace balloons. Inspector Mel Adams challenged her but stood aside when Jeanette reminded that she was a Darumbal elder and this her country.
Jeanette reported the kids inside ran to take balloons.
No question, we were few and we were a huge presence at the 2011 Talisman Sabre Family Open Day. No one entered without noticing us. Everyone at some level was touched by our challenge to the war machine even it was to erupt in anger. "You'd be talking Japanese except for the US in WW2!" "Get a job!" "In Afghanistan the army is protecting your right to protest." etc.
But best of all was the distribution of balloons to the departing crowd. Family entertainment is apolitical. Small tired boys and girls with camou face paint and a peace balloon a loft tied to wrist. Balance and lightness.
Peace balloons prevail at the end of the Talisman Sabre Family Open Day, 9 July 2011.
As negotiated with the cops, I took Peacebus.com from the Showgrounds and parked directly outside the Agnes St entrance to Rockhampton Grammar School, venue for the Mayor and Mayoress Talisman Sabre Gala Dinner and this the gate to be used.
I kicked back for a while, had a beer, a smoke and a snack, listened to a big band rehearse in the Gala Dinner venue about 20 m away. 1 RAR Regimental Band i learned when the guys came out. Great swing, great singer.
At sunset the duty cops arrived and in the charge was power dresser, Acting Senior Sergeant Kelly Hanlen., three handsome young men, buffed and coiffured, white shirt and tie, coatless, huge Glocks in holsters on their hips. Dressed to impress the US! Could have been out of some such racy Tv cop show.
When I set about driving pickets to support flags in the earth between the fence and the concrete footpath, i was challenged by an angry Council officer, Deputy CEO i think. He showed up later with a ticket to the Gala Dinner, likely the organiser.
A complaint had been received from the Grammar School principal, he said, so not only no use of fence to hang things from, but also no pickets in the ground. The headmaster of rich kids presuming to tell me how i may and may not protest outside his school. Up went the adrenalin again. "What are you going to do about it?" i demanded.
"Pull them out myself," he replied and raised his hands to the picket which stood in the ground between us. To up the ante i raised the picket driver. The Glock cops rushed to intervene.
Kelly made phone calls and a compromise was negotiated. The pickets could go in but on the other side of the path. Done deal.
This swiftly resolved fracas was observed by a platoon on politely watching bandsmen from the Seventh Fleet. I wished them a good night.
The street light was poor at the entrance but hanging lanterns created a shadowy enchantment. In the shadows stalking back and forth across the entrance and clutching a plywood scythe, the Grim Reaper aka Jim Dowling.
Bryan Law arrived in dinner suit and Bob Katter suit with his wife Margaret Pestorius on his arm, she dressed in her hand painted wedding dress and my meditation shawl.
After banner and lantern rigging I changed into my hire suit and presented myself as if in disguise to the Glock cops at the gate. Said there was a ticket on the door for me. "The Seventh Fleet Band always leaves a ticket at the door for me."
They were impressed by my dress but not my story. No deal.
And so the playfulness unfolded. After we had observed the entry of the Mayor and Mayoress, Margaret made her move. She took her ticket and attempted to join the Gala Dinner.
The ticket has been cancelled, the Glock cops told her. "No one told me my ticket was cancelled'" she said insistently. (The Council had sent its letter of cancellation and refund to Bryan only.) "I want to go to the Gala Dinner."
She played it gently and with great resolve. She got about 4 metres inside the gate but was edged back all the time Sgt Kelly pleading for her not to force an arrest. But arrest and a complaint to the Anti Discrimination Commission is what she was seeking.
Margaret Pestorius puts her case for entrance to the TS11 Gala Dinner at Rockhampton Grammar School, 9 July 2011.
All this with a commentary from me on the Peacebus.com PA meant to be heard by the guests inside. "Oh what an ugly incident! Tickets to the Gala Dinner have not sold well and now they are turning someone away. Gives a sour taste to a Gala occasion." And so on.
Bryan stood at the gate saying tender words of encouragement to his wife. "Keep going, keep moving forward. You are doing real well."
When the arrest was made and Margaret escorted to the paddy wagon, the cops allowed him to kiss her. Genuine affection. They seem happiest together when dealing with arrests.
Bryan took the mike and spruiked to great clarity accusing the Mayor and CEO of breaking the anti discrimination laws to deny dissent to their endorsement of the US war games and their promotion for more US military presence in Rockhampton.
Bryan Law spruiks outside Rockhampton Grammar School, 9 July 2011.
He was magnificent and I jacked up the sound for this. Sgt Kelly soon reported she had had a noise complaint and gave me a warning under the sound abatement act.
End of action. We packed up and went home. Our message well and truly sent.
No media. A Seven News cameraman came but was refuse entry to video - likely embarrassed by the small attendance and also our presence. But it didn't matter for we had got attention of the local political elite, haunted them in their lairs of militaristic presumption and demonstrated our boldness, our righteousness and our wit.
Yeppoon Greens organisers, Paul Bambrick and Edwina Molloy, were participants in the action largely because they also had a music gig later that night at The Grand Hotel, a funky old weather board pub with balcony and a rough painted music room themed as a Cave.
Called Off With The Fairies, it's Paul's latest band (he is also currently bass player in a rock band), high energy Irish rebel music, Paul plays lead guitar and Edwina, bass. In the first bracket their 20+ year old son, a fine strapping young man called Clancy, arrived and at once leapt onto the floor to do a wild and solo dance that lifted the spirits of all present.
When Margaret was released from the Watch House, Bryan brought her to The Grand and they sat in chairs in front of the dance floor in their Gala Dinner gear like grand dignitaries, tired but happy.
And Paul sung a tribute from the mike.
The Rockhampton NAIDOC March of 8 July was a grand affair. I had worked hard to paint a banner, prepare poles for the flags sewn up last year and get the flags rigged. This to help Darumbal elder and my dear and ailing friend, Auntie Jeanette Yowyeh, marshal of the March.
Auntie Jeanette Yowyeh marshals the Rocky NAIDOC March, 8 July 2011.
Too frail to march I arranged for Chris "Pineapple" Hooper to pedal Auntie Jeanette through the Rocky CBD on one of his rickshaws rigged with signage for the occasion.
I was also Jeanette's graphic design man for the placards which she wanted in the parade. Jeanette composed ten different slogans and laid them out and got them printed. Here are some.
The flags gave the March height and dignity. When Jeanette called for flag bearers, young Murris rushed to take the poles.
The March went through Rocky CBD, across the Fitzroy River and onto a football field that had been set up with a stage and a quadrangle of stalls manned by different agencies providing services to Murris of the region. An Expo with lots of give aways and lovely music.
With help from Chris Hooper andd other peacniks we hung the banner at the rear of the stage and arrayed the flags about the perimeter. It looked great.
I met Robin Taubenfeld there; she and Moonby had driven through the night and arrived just in time to set up a stall offering peace paraphenalia.
But I was too pooped to participate and instead took Happy Wheels off to the shade of a giant fig tree and napped. From the horizontal i heard Jeanette being honoured as elder of the year and tired but happy, i was delighted for her.
Flag sewing in progress 22 June 2011.
27 June 2011
Sewing and subverting
Excellent start to the Yeppoon Peace Flag project last Saturday. Eight women arrived and for a time we had five machines awhirring in an assembly line of color.
By the end of the day we had 12 flags half finished. That's good progress.
We will certainly have 20 Yeppoon Peace Flags on parade at the Yeppoon Peace Parade 17 July.
Maybe more if more sewers get asewing. Whatever, it will make a beautiful spectacle.
Thanks to Leanne Smith of the Keppel Coast Arts Council for organising the venue and the volunteers, her mum among them. Thanks to all those volunteers too.
Special, special thanks to Rosemary Jewell, champion sewer of the day, who also took the flags home to do more work on them.
Rosemary lives in a small unit by the Mater Hospital in Yeppoon. She has had health troubles which now make it difficult for her to walk and get about. She was so happy to be active and useful for peace. Included for peace.
Rosemary has been following Peace Convergence on the web and reading in the local media about the antics of our hero and Bob Katter look alike, Bryan Law.
Here in Rockhampton Region, The Life of Bryan is an evolving narrative that has become the talk of the town.
Camped in the backyard of Franz Jaegerstaetter House this morning i watched Bryan go by on his way the newsagent ... and come back grinning. Another story. Page 6. Plus another photo of that hat!
The story was about Bryan lodging a complaint to the local office of the Queensland Anti Discrimination Commission about the Rocky Council's denial of his ticket to the Talisman Sabre Gala Dinner, 9 July.
Later Bryan went spruiking in East Street again. While there he was served with a notice by Inspector Mel Adams to appear in court of 5 June for a hearing of an application by the police to deny him a PA for his spruiking.
It contained sworn statements by three complainants including the publican of the Oxford Hotel plus Mel and her Traffic Sgt Ewan Hindlist. Heaps of paperwork! Hours of highly paid police work.
And all folly, sez Bryan. The application will be dismissed in minutes because the Peaceful Assemblies Act requires mediation and nothing recognisable by that name has taken place.
Whatever, a big thank you to Mel. Coming soon: another episode in The Life of Bryan.
"Gifts from Heaven," declares Bryan.
This is the same Bryan who is happy to tell those those non objecting listeners in East Street that he is doing what he is doing because of a promise he made to God, the God of Moses and the Holy Catholic Church, that he would do best can with his life and his creativity in this time to create peace for our times.
In return Bryan expects miracles. And lo! Bryan is blessed with miracles. And enjoys himself immensely.
This afternoon we went to the suit hire shop in East Street and fitted out for dinner suits for the Mayor and Mayoress' Talisman Sabre Gala dinner.
Raised working class, this the first time in a dinner suit for Bryan.
How splendid we will look as we approach police lines at the dinner!
What a dither we will create amongst the craven, US Alliance-pandering, war-promoting hoi poloi of Mayor Carter's social set cum 9 July.
Rumour in Rocky is that the reason the cops and Council are so confused and jittery is that a very, very important VIP is expected at the Gala Dinner. Maybe the US Ambassador. Maybe a Cabinet Minister too. Maybe the Commander of Seventh Fleet.
And maybe it is planned that the occasion be used to make a very important announcement to made about the next enmeshment of the US Alliance; US troops on Australian bases and US command.
Whatever, with Margaret Pestorius on our arms, Bryan Law and I will be bearing witness for peace in style. And enjoying ourselves immensely.
Last week i posted my Call to Action to Facebook and the national media. I am pleased to say Green Left Weekly took it up and published it.
But i am dismayed to report that it has been like calling into a hole in the ground. Not had a single phone call in response; not one confirmation of participation.
Expect no big crowds at Peace Convergence 2011.
How parlous the active peace movement in this time! 62% plus of Australians polling against the war but opinions are cheap; precious few are giving any time or priority to actually stopping it. Asleep in front of the Tv.
Obama has announced de-surge in Afghanistan. End game for the US War in Afghanistan begins.
It will be called many names and the US military drag its feet as much as it can, but total withdrawal of the US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq is now only a matter of time; defeat is its real name. The War on Terror comes undone.
The determination of tribal people with AK47s and IEDs has defeated and bankrupted the greatest (formerly, that is) economy, the greatest industrial military power and the most expensive, high tech, death-at-a-distance weaponry on Earth.
And we their lackeys! Let lessons of defeat be etched deep.
This war was born of 9/11 lies and has been conducted in lies day by day for ten years. It has never been popular with the Australian people; most Australians did not want it from the start.
But successive Australian prime ministers, Howard/Rudd/Gillard have peddled the US lies and seen it has their core job to deceive Australians.
Carpe diem! Now is the time for the peace movement to be visible and vocal calling for accountability.
Let the outcome of our end game be: "Never again!"
End the lies.! End the wars! End the US Alliance!
Dump Gillard! Dump the ALP
We, the awake and artful few, do best we can.
Bryan Law faces off the cops, the publican of the Oxford Hotel and the publican's mate, Mayor Brad Carter, in East Street Rockhampton 22 June 2011.
22 June 2011
Holding ground in Peaceful Assembly
Despite the agitated phone calls of the publican of the Oxford Hotel, Bryan Law, wearing a new Bob Katter hat, spruiked again today in East Street, Rockhampton.
But not until after a very long negotiation with Inspector Mel Adams and her agitated Traffic Commander.
The cops were not, they claimed, trying to prevent Bryan from exercising his rights under the Peaceful Assemblies Act as their junior colleagues had done on Monday, an intervention which had led to Bryan's arrest and the polling in yesterday's Morning Bulletin about whether or not he was a public nuisance.
They did however want to change the conditions on the permits already granted. Conditions in particular about sound levels so as to assuage the complaining, GI coveting publican.
But Bryan was having none of it.
He held his ground saying the police had charged him with failing to obey a lawful direction despite the permit he had and that they had not yet withdrawn the charge. That police direction, Bryan maintains, was unlawful which means the Rockhampton police have shown themselves to be not competent to administer the Peaceful Assemblies Act.
He demanded a magistrate's ruling before he was going to sign anything. That's five days away.
The talk went on for over a hour, with much agitation being displayed by the cops. But eventually they let Bryan be and he got on with speaking good sense about the US War in Afghanistan and the cost of the US Alliance to passing Rocky shoppers and lunch break workers.
The Morning Bulletin photographer was there and also a journalist from ABC Radio Capricornia. No question about it; Bryan is newsworthy. People in the street recognise him from Tv news and Morning Bulletin pix and he is talked about on local radio.
Indeed on Monday he was lambasted on talk back Radio 4RO by Councillor Glenda Mather who seems to see herself as some kind of arbiter of what's right and proper in the Rocky Region.
No doubt she sees herself as having a very important role when the Mayor and Mayoress conduct their official Talisman Sabre 2011 Gala Dinner on 9 July. Entertainment courtesy the US 7th Fleet Band and the Band of the First Battalion Royal Australian Regiment. Tickets $120.
With flourish and devilish delight, Bryan displayed two Gala Dinner tickets he had purchased to the Morning Bullie cameraman.
One of them, Bryan tells me, is for me!
I'm going to get me a dinner suit! And a thick skin.
Bryan wired up and triumphant in Rockhampton Base Hospital 22 June.
10 June 2011
Hospitalised for Peace
I have just come from visiting Bryan Law all wired up in the Emergency Ward of Rockhampton Base Hospital. Seems he is suffering from a case of police misjudgement.
While spruiking in Rocky CDB this morning and, despite having a permit, he got a move on from two cops. When Bryan protested his rights, the cops got narky and threatened to arrest him and leave his trike and PA unguarded in the street.
Then Bryan got narky and challenged them to try it. He went limp and the two cops together couldn't lift or move him. Not till they agreed to bring along the PA and Peacetrike did Bryan cooperate.
While waiting at the watch house (the humiliation of the wait in the charge room, an integral part of arrest procedures) Bryan, whose health is truly fragile, reported shortness of breath. An ambulance was called and the desk sergeant was very eager to see Bryan gone; no bail conditions, rather a notice to appear in court on 8 July.
In hospital Bryan got overdue attention for his trachycardia and diabetes for which is very grateful.
He was also happy that the Morning Bulletin got pix of the arrest and that they had mentioned him by name in this morning's editorial. He also had a visit from a senior police officer promising a meeting to review peaceful assembly procedures.
The only downside seems to be that in the confusion his Bob Katter hat went missing. Now that is serious!
Bryan Law faces off the miltary. Other photos of the action in the Morning Bulletin photo gallery. Photos courtesy of Chris Ison.
10 June 2011
Spruiking and Painting for Peace
Raining and cold this day in Rockhampton but spirits high in Franz Jaegerstaetter House. Another week, another successful media event.
On the front page of the Morning Bulletin, Friday 9 June , there was Bryan Law in his white Citizen Inspection Team overalls, the stout curve of his belly facing off a couple of diggers at the gates of Western Street Barracks, Rockhampton.
Inside on page 4 was a small photo of me looking colourful and passionate above a head line "Activists stage first anti-war protest."
The WIN Tv crew had been there too lapping it up. See their news report.
This was our opening gambit of our work to get war resistance noticed.
It arose in response to the publicity put out by Mary Carroll, the CEO of the Capricorn Tourism and Economic Development Ltd, celebrating Serco Sodexo its latest member.
"Talisman Sabre is the biggest military exercise in Australia," Mary crowed. Serco Sodexo has the service contract and its all good for local business.
Hooray, hooray! Pirates, bullies and war games are coming to town and everyone wins. Desperate stuff.
Try-hard Mary Carroll is the voice of corporate tourism at its blonde dumbest. She presides over a regional tourism industry in the doldrums; resorts empty, tourism dependent businesses closing and the once triumphant strategy of targeting corporate big spenders on the rocks.
Rumour has it she is a National Liberal Party aspirant for Minister for Tourism. God help us.
Robin Taubenfeld notified the elist of Mary's media and this led to a brief on line discussion about the repugnance of Serco and the quick decision to target them with an action.
Bryan unpacked his Citizen Inspection Team costume and i rushed to complete the new mural so that the occasion would also be an unveiling. In the previous week I had promised visuals to the camera people of the Morning Bulletin and WIN Tv and the time had come.
The action was set for noon Thursday 8 June. On Wednesday afternoon Bryan and I drove out to Western Street barracks in Peacebus.com to see if we could locate Building 23, the address given for Serco Sodexo.
We found instead a bunch of Army reservists holding Steyrs upside down in front of their chests, practicing gate duty. Our curious presence gave them something unexpected to practice on.
They asked for ID and so on, were polite but unhelpful in regard to Serco Sodexo. Bryan wanted to know why Australian soldiers were hiding and protecting a corrupt multinational corporation. We promised to return next day and went on our way.
The media statement was emailed on Wednesday evening and along with it, notice to our designated police liaison officer, A/Sgt Kerrie Duffy. She rang at 8.10 am next morning as soon as she opened her emails.
"Just a show for the cameras," I assured her. "There will be no trespass. And no, Bryan will not be seeking to get arrested. Not yet."
"It's all a matter of appearances," said Kerrie. We love you, Kerrie. You understand us so well.
When we arrived at the gate, a hatless Kerrie was waiting for us along with a detail of camou-clad soldiers but no Steyrs this time. But no other police officers in sight.
We complained. We wanted uniformed police in lines to give the impression of a crowd.
"And if we can't have uniformed police then please wear an impressive police hat as a sign of authority", I begged. No deal. No hat for her. Kerrie was being a tough negotiator and she had decided that the police presence be minimal and off camera.
Instead she put the soldiers up front and stayed nearby ready to arrest Bryan if he overstepped the line which was painted across the road.
All this was talked through while i attended to rigging banners and we all waited for the media people.
I like to give myself plenty of time to set up for an action, so i am not rushing about when the media arrives. Not something that Bryan appreciated when, as we departed from Franz Jaegerstaetter House, he directed me to drive in the opposite direction to find a hardware store so that he might buy an important prop; to wit, a pair of bolt cutters.
The pair of fencing pliers which i had on board he judged to be aesthetically inappropriate. So it was that we arrived later than notified, twenty minutes of my set up time lost and terse words exchanged enroute.
The timing proved perfect. The media people arrived as i tied the last tie, as Bryan was patrolling the fence and as a small convoy of Bushmaster armoured trucks came by.
The camera men were impressed by the banner rig and the new mural which i fixed onto Happy Wheels as the symbolic beginning of the Peace Convergence protest actions.
Graeme and Bryan with new mural. Photo courtesy Chris Ison of Morning Bulletin
I spruiked with one of the horn speakers pointed into street of houses opposite and the curious residents standing and listening there, and the other into the barracks which were for most part deserted.
It was not my best spruik; i hadn't rehearsed my sound grabs about Serco Sodexo and rambled. But the media were patient. Bryan was the main act.
As he spoke he held a copy of the report of Atrocities in Afghanistan by Voices for Creative Non Violence. http://vcnv.org/atrocities-in-afghanistan-a-troubling-timetable-updated-1 and spoke to it.
This is true cost of the Afghan war, he said: the slaughter of the innocents and the institutional lying by the US/NATO officials who seek to mislead and cover up.
Bryan Law spruiks to the media.
Bryan then approached the gate spoke to the Warrant Officer in charge there. Again no information about Building 23 or why the Australian Army was defending a foreign multinational corporation on Australian soil.
To each soldier in the line, he offered a pamphlet promoting his 4 July public meeting, What Cost the US Alliance? Most politely accepted.
Bryan Law seeking to enter the Western Street Barracks in search of war profiteers.
Bryan had made it very clear he didn't want to be arrested but for the cameras Bryan what he wanted most a scene of himself being man handled, preferably carried away, by big strapping coppers.
But it was not to be. Instead he feinted a break though, and when blocked, he moved sideways down the line in a provocative shuffle.
It got little edgy and, when she stepped forward to warn Bryan, all eyes turned to Kerrie. And at that moment her phone rang. A tension breaker; everyone laughed.
But Bryan's triumphant moment was when he produced the bolt cutters and, holding them up for all to see, re iterated his intention to break into the base during Talisman Sabre. Great theatre. Well worth being stressed.
The action over, the media departed, I put on the kettle for a cup of tea and Kerrie joined us at table at ease. Win-win for us all. We had got the media story we wanted and at no bother to local cops.
Kerrie took the opportunity to complain about an error of fact on my blog.
She is not, as i had recorded, a single mother. I apologised at once and wondered aloud how i had got that wrong. Wishful thinking maybe. She flashed a grin and snorted at my fantasies.
The mural painting took me a week of head down brush work. But carrying the panels in Happy Wheels and work tables on the roof racks, i moved around while doing it.
I set up in the backyard of local Greens organisers, Paul and Edwina Bambrick in Yeppoon, in the studio shed of Clare and Renton Bishopric's place in Byfield and then back to Yeppoon and the back patio of wildlife carer, Joy Dawson-Lee's place.
Fitting in with family life, meeting, talking and painting, the later grounding and authenticating the former.
Everywhere i went i was respectfully and lovingly received, fed and feted, this the good karma of previous Peace Convergence work.
And on the road talking up resistance to the war games, I became aware that my role is also to affirm and reinvigorate the cultural activists i meet.
Many are those who attend community and resistance building events; few are those who can organise such events; fewer yet are those recognise and understand their work and its value.
And over time disappointment accumulates and these activists get to feel weary, isolated and discouraged. Just them, it seems, up against a vast ocean of stupor and passivity induced by Tv watching.
"Where are the ones who might take over what i am doing?" wonders the aging wildlife carer, Joy.
"I get to feel reluctant to call musician friends up to ask them to play at a gig, afraid i am being a bore and a bother," confessed Steve Butler, president of Waru Permaculture Gardens and producer of music events at previous Peace Convergences.
And i remind them that this cultural organising work is their skin, as it is mine. This is what we are born to do. To deny it brings self loathing and depression.
Deep and abiding cultural change comes not from the froth of pop culture and consumerism. New brands and new malls do not a people make. Nor does watching more television make a more caring, responsive and resilient community.
Rather culture is experienced in relationship and in communion with others, in the sharing of common cause and common values. And cultural movement is created when people come together and are affirmed in celebration of new or different values.
Shared joy and beauty is what it is about. And the higher the aspiration for commune, the more wondrous the weave of the communion achieved and the deeper and more enduring the bonding.
Cultural entrepreneurs and festival and events producers are the key to this. Because they have no market place value, they are generally unpaid and unsung. But their worth is beyond market economies.
Takes one to know one, i suppose. But caring for the carers is how we make caring sustainable. Caring for the culture makers is how we make culture making sustainable.
And so we go: building community, building resistance, sustainable resistance, for the Earth!
Getting noticed. Gap toothed gray nomad and his battered van at Franz Jaegerstetter House, 27 May 2011. Page 6 Morning Bulletin 30 May 2011.
30 May 2011
Getting Noticed and Getting Peace Flags Made
What an odd couple Bryan Law and I must appear to neighbours here in Park Avenue. Big and bellied Bryan and spry and gray Graeme, back garden van dweller and yogi. The scent of incense and the sound of chanting.
What joy to have a concrete slab upon which to kneel sensei and stretch in the mild morning sun. The sound of doves and the neignbor's dog, a Staffie named Toa, pushing himself against the wire fence to get near as he can to the nectar of kindness and to be petted and praised.
Sunday morning and I watch as Bryan go by on his way to mass at the Our Lady Help of Christians Church near by. He walks carefully, bare head down and barefooted, his big toes bandaged white and vulnerable. Diabetic ulcers these and a constant reminder of the diabetic prognosis hanging over him Only a matter of time before he has no toes, no feet, etc, etc.
Going to mass is a ritual of piety for Bryan, an affirmation of his Catholic Worker faith and peace activist tradition.
It is also a sign to his good and long suffering wife Margaret Pestorius that he is upright on the path. She far away in Cairns managing a demanding job and the needs of their son, Joseph. "Saint Margaret", I call her for it is by her grace and generosity that we have this lease of this pleasant house and garden, a refuge from which to go forth for peace.
Bryan and i have sessions of irreverant religious bantering. Of the Church Bryan quotes Dorothy Day founder of Catholic Worker. "The Church is a whore. But what can i say? She is my mother."
And to where can i point in the Buddhist tradition of Australia to a direct action peace movement like the Catholic Worker Movement or the Society of Friends? I can't. Just me and that me meditating on emptiness.
Adrian Taylor, journalist with the Morning Bulletin, came by later to interview me for a photo story, a follow up of my media release of 23 May. He has happy to sit in the shade on the back of Franz Jaegerstaetter House, accept a cup of coffee and enjoy a a lazy Sunday morning chatting, gray nomad style.
Adrian revealed he was relatively new to Rockhampton, a career journalist from Sheffield UK who had followed his wife, an industrial chemist who had been head hunted to work for a local miner.
Sheffield's loss, Rockhampton's gain. A cut above the journalists one usually finds in Australian provincial newspapers, Adrian proven himself to be well mannered, well informed, perspicacious and an excellent writer.
Like the photographer Chris Ison, he too greeted Bryan as a celebrity. It was their first meeting in the flesh; Adrian had interviewed Bryan by phone for the original Ploughshares story.
Bryan has challenged the Mayor Brad Carter to defend his announced intention to seek funding from the US military to flood proof the Rocky airport, which would be a massive and costly earth moving exercise.
Bryan has accused Mayor Carter of wanting to prostitute the City to the US military and challenged him to a public debate on 4 July.
Adrian told us the Morning Bulletin had received a terse communique from Mayor Carter to say he would not be engaging with Bryan at all. Bryan had had no response from Carter which seemed to suggest that Adrian himself had put the question to the Mayor.
"If he won't come to us then we will take the debate to him," Bryan and I said in chorus, visions of Peacebus.com and its PA outside Rocky City Hall with the speakers up loud. Adrian grinned and his ears pricked up.
Good rapport, we will certainly get close local coverage for Peace Convergence.
In the afternoon i attended a symposia called "Be Heard. It's All about Culture" at the Walter Reid Cultural Centre, a renovated former wool store in the old port district, only a 60 meters from where i like to camp by Fitzroy River.
Sponsored by the Rockhampton City Council it was one of those professionally facilitated talkfests which claim to be about creating ten year plans and which one knows in their bones will come to nothing. Valuable for the people one meets though and I figured i would meet some local movers there.
And I did in the person of the perky Leanne Smith, President of the Keppel Coast Arts Council. Impressed by her presentation ("Create, Participate, Appreciate"), i approached her at the afternoon tea break, put the idea of a peace flag sewing project to her and she took it up at once.
It's a happening thing, folks. As of today Leanne has booked the Community Development Centre in Yeppoon for four consecutive Saturdays starting 25 June.
Bring own machine, sewing circles are a wonderfully convivial way to make a lot of beautiful flags (our target is 40) and create a beautiful parade. The makers of the flags will make sure there are flag bearers there on the day.
The Yeppoon Peace Parade Sunday 17 July. Hooray! i can now see this event happening. And Leanne can see these flags dressing future Village Festivals.
I also got chatting to Tom Upton, General Manager of Communirty Services, who asked me what cultural vision i might have for Rockhampton. "A city of peace," i said at once. "And certainly not courting the US military."
Without any prompting from me or reference to Mayor Carter's airport uplift gaffe, Tom exclaimed: "Yanks are the last thing we need!"
Oh how deep and enduring course the memories of the WW2 conflicts with US service men based in Queensland.
When i entered the Walter Reid conference room i was welcomed by the big wave and big smile of local Murri artist, Barry Boland, whom i met last year when together we painted a banner for the NAIDOC March.
NAIDOC banner painting group, Barry Boland at left, Jeantte Yowyeh beside 8 July 2010
Auntie Jeanette Yowyeh, marshal one more time for the 2011 NAIDOC March, wants another banner so i was eager to talk to Barry. But when he was called to the mike of the Be Heard culture talkfest, he had gone. No time wasting for Barry.
Today I went to visit him at his new vocational training business in the Rocky CBD. Back on Track it is called.
Before i could mention the NAIDOC March banner project, Barry was showing me a wall and inviting me to help paint a mural for his office. Kind but not quite what i was looking for.
Peacebus.com mural painting at Franz Jaegerstetter House, 27 May 2011.
Photo: Chris Ison, Morning Bulletin
26 May 2011
Mural painting and toxic doubt
Work on the new Peacebus.com mural is underway and today Chris Ison, photographer from the Morning Bulletin came to Franz Jaegerstetter House to take some pix for a photo story.
I had met Chris last year while working on the flag and banner project for the NAIDOC march and after i sent out the media statement about being in town to organise for Peace Convergence, he had been the first to respond. "Welcome to our fair city," he had emailed at once.
Chris was happy to sit with Bryan and i in the garden for a coffee break.
Chatting he revealed he had an army background and very well informed, very interested in the issues of war and peace and very interested in keeping close contact with us and our organising. He greeted Bryan as a local celebrity.
He reported that his editor too was interested because the controversy we are raising by resisting the war games "would sell newspapers."
Hat's off to Bryan! Here was the fruit of his work and his planning: the local media see him as both newsworthy and as an ongoing story.
Also present was Clare Botfield, the girl from Dubbo, now resident of Byfield and Renton Bishopric's partner. Visual artist andformer high school art teacher, Clare had come to help me paint the mural and learn some of my techniques.
Clare and I had first met at the C2C (Committed to Change) music festival which Renton and Byfield friends had organised at Byfield in association with the 2007 Peace Convergence. (For newbies to Peace Convergence, Byfield is a district about 80 km north of Rockhampton which adjoins the Shoalwater Bay Test Facility.)
Alas no such C2C organising this time around and both Clare and Renton are committed to the max with work and other stuff. Clare tends the Byfield Store 5 days a week and Renton pots at Nob Creek pottery at Byfield, this established by his father, Steve Bishopric, who was a major organiser of Talisman Sabre resistance in 2007. Alas Steve too gone to ground too since then.
Good news is that Clare is willing to organise a sewing circle at the Byfield Store as part of a project to sew up some distinctly Byfield/Yeppoon Peace flags of Clare's design, for the Peace Convergence Parade in Yeppoon on 17 July and for other community events such as the annual Yeppoon Village Festival. Such a flag project together with its attendant publicity and social networking can be expected to get a local crowd out on the streets come Peace Convergence.
In a time when corporate capitalism has robbed most folk of re-creation time and corporate media has so addled the masses that a state of permanent war appears as a state of permanent peace, we do best we can.
Meanwhile in the background on the Peace Convergence elist a splutter of static in response to my blog from Benjo Keaney a young, peace activist (or so i am told) from Canberra. It seemed to me to be Benjo's own toxic doubt and ruthless inner critic projected as critical analysis of and good advice to TS11 resistance organising.
He criticised Bryan and his Ploughshare tactics as bringing ASIO heat onto Robin Taubenfeld and by association other Peace Convergers and he criticised me for being a usurper convenor and a self referring, "been there, done that" kind of organiser.
I read it and thought that not even ASIO could have done a better job at exacerbating discouragement and despair in regard to peace activism in these times.
But the posting drew a considered response from Robin Taubenfeld founding Peace Convergence convenor who wrote inter alia:
"But everyone on this egroup is part of the capacity... to organise around the war games... we are the people who need to organise or spread the word to find others to organise. We can coordinate media and do support for other regions from Brisbane but we can not organise other regions ... A convergence requires... converging! ... Just do it!"
Also a response from Wayne Reid from Maleny:
"Difference is an easy response option in our climate of righteous revolution that seems to be sweeping the globe, wars of hearts and tongues...but mostly i believe that there are as many appropriate responses as there are people ... I see PeaceConvergence as ... coming together for peace...whatever that is for you, bring it...its a bit like a shared meal, it would suck if we all rocked up with brown rice."
"Here! Here!" from here.
Breakfast at Franz Jaegerstetter House, 26 May 2011.
26 May 2011
Donuts and Police Liaison
At 9 am this morning A/Sgt Kerri Duffy of the Queensland Police came to breakfast bearing donuts which she said were a symbolic peace offering. Kerri was police liaison officer for Peace Convergence in 2007 and she has the job again.
Tully and Jim who had arrived fro Brisbane the previous evening to check out Franz Jaegerstetter House joined our meeting. Kerri knew us all and was up to date with our blogs.
Kerri is single mum raising three children and she describes her parenting as "events management". She is a charmer and in the backyard of Franz Jaegerstaetter House there was lots of good natured banter around the Peacebus.com table.
Kerri emphasised that her mission is to ensue safety for all involved in the protest actions protesters, police and everyone else. She offered to facilitate the negotiations for any public place events we may produce.
I told her i had been in contact with the feds and she laughed and made jokes about their slick black cars and outsider ways.
Naturally she was interested in what Bryan had in mind for his announced intention to beat a helicopter into a ploughshare.
Bryan naturally enough was cagey. He affirmed that the action would happen between 1 and 31 July and that he would supply information only sufficient enough and timely enough to avert over reaction from police and military.
Kerri kindly warned that dogs would be on patrol at the airport and she had seen injuries inflicted by a police dog and told is that they were not pretty.
Bryan thanked her for that information and asked if he might borrow a patrol car and police hat for the event. No way said Kerri.
Before she went off to her paperwork, we exchanged phone numbers and i promised to get her our Peace Convergence program as soon as i one.
Bryan Law outside the Old Post office in Rockhampton, 25 May 2011.
25 May 2011
Bryan Law dressed in his Bob Katter suit and hat, tried out his rig yesterday in the Rockhampton CBD. I was his assistant flagman and pamphleteer.
Bryan's rig is a red tricycle with signage and a PA in the basket on the back. He tells me it was inspired by the Peacebus.com rig.
Peacetrike! I am flattered.
Bryan cycled down East Street and around the block with the PA booming Battle Hymn of the Republic and Bob Dylan's, Masters of War. Peacetrike is loud!
Like most provincial towns of Australia, Rocky is in sad recession generally and its grand old CBD especially so. So not a lot of people about. But even Bryan he got a heaps of recognition from pedestrians and drivers. This the fruit of his media work.
Most passers-by were open and interested. Inevitably there were some hostile responses: a couple of shouts of "Get a job!" (this from a cranky old pensioner!) and "Get a life!" Bryan looked admirably lively to me.
Particularly livid, his face red and blotchy, was the publican of the Oxford Hotel, who came out of his pub to appeal to the cops to move us on. "We (which he later clarified as meaning "the general public") don't want you here," he said.
But Bryan had met the cops earlier and negotiated the event and the two young constables were friendly. The GI loving publican stormed back to his pub.
The spruiking spot agreed was in the so called Mall. In truth it is a demalled Mall and all that's left of the failed civic vision is a big white circular umbrella structure over a public toilet adjacent to the Oxford Hotel. It works well as a sound shell.
But when he arrived to set up he found his approved spot occupied by a traveling busking show, violinist Yukimine Ishino and his wife. I knew of Yuki's street performance from Sydney.
Yuki plays his violin over a recorded backing, music from movies and folk music from China, Russia and Japan. He dresses in tails and looks as grand as his music sounds. "Sky music" he calls it. "Music from Heaven." He sells CDs.
I thought this double booking wonderful serendipity and Yukimine, when he understood what we were on about, generously offered to forgo his buskers income and, for peace, support our protest with his music.
"We are not compatible", Bryan said and instead chose to move across the round about to the corner outside the grand old Post Office. Via hand signals we respectfully shared the sound space taking turns.
Bryan began his spruik by facetiously thanking the Oxford Hotel for their sponsorship. He gave them a free plug. "If you want to get drunk today and go home and beat up your wife, the Oxford has the rum for you!"
Bryan spoke confidently and began by referring to the cost of the war in terms of Australian dead and maimed. With the death of another Australian soldiers in the news (the 26th) and the maiming of his two of his fellows (174th) in an IED blast two days before, this was current and caught the attention of the passers by.
He went on to describe the slaughter of innocent Afghan citizens by the US/NATO forces including Australians. He pointed out the repeated pattern of the first news claiming insurgent fighters killed and denying civilian dead, then later confessions of the killing of unarmed civilians, the fake condolences and the promises of enquiries which disappear into the waste baskets of old news.
"Can anyone tell me what has been achieved by the engagement of Australian soldiers in 10 years of war?" he asked rhetorically. "Can anyone tell me what will be achieved by staying there longer?"
He got no anwers. Truth is that when one goes beyond the lies and fake optimism of the US puppets in Canberra, Gillard, Smith and Rudd, no one can say.
While Bryan spoke i handed out Bryan's flyers advertising a public meetings and debate about the cost of the US Alliance. When Yuki played, i waltzed.
Too soon the Peacetrike's PA battery failed. Yuki called us over, cleared a space for us and handed over his mike. Yuki's PA was quarter the size and twice as loud.
And that's how we finished the day: comrades on the street and Bryan feeling very much affirmed by the recognition he had got and the reception.
Graeme faces the WINTv news camera outside, 24 May 2011.
24 May 2011
Well received in Rockhampton.
dear friends of the Peace Convergence.
We are two colourful gentlemen of Park Avenue. Well received in Rocky.
Yesterday when I emailed the first media release of Peace Convergence 2011, I got an instant email reply from Chris Ison, the photographer from the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, welcoming me back to town and promising a photo story. An hour later the producer of WIN Tv Rocky rang and set up the interview which occurred this morning.
It went well.
The eager and friendly camera crew, journalist Sarah Owens and cameraman Kent Murray, arrived as I was rigging flags in the front yard and the hoisting of the Eureka flag and the "End the Lies! End the Wars! End the US Alliance!" banner became part of the action.
Bryan appeared in his Bob Katter hat and suit, wheeling his tricycle and its signage out from under the House.
He looked good and he spoke well; using the opportunity to talk up TS11 as an opportunity for public discourse about the war and military spending.
I spoke about community engagement and peace movement building. I gave notice of lantern and flag making workshops to come.
The choirs at the Anzac eve Lantern Vigil in Canberra was such good medicine. Such a good way the bring forth joy and affirm peace in public place.
"When people start to sing, things are changing," so sings Canberra's A Chorus of Women. Photo's here.
How to draw forth a Peace Convergence Peace Choir in Rocky? I asked on camera. Now i await the angels to assemble.
Best we can.
Bryan Law in the news. Page 3 Morning Bulletin, 24 May 2011.
Bryan Law and Graeme Dunstan on parade for WINTv news camera
outside Jaegerstetter House, 24 May 2011.
20 May 2011
Welcomed to Franz Jaegerstettler House
Greetings from Rockhampton. I arrived last evening after a long and bumby drive, the Bruce Highway bruised by the rains.
Greetings from Franz Jaegerstettler House. I arrived her this morning.
It is a spacious wooden house up on stilts in downtown Park Avenue, an old working class suburb of Rocky, blessedly bypassed by modern development and still friendly in feeling.
Bryan Law and Margaret pestorius of Cairns Peace by Peace have the lease and they intend it as a base for activism and has set up broadband access by which you are getting this. Big space under the house where i plan to set up lantern making. And maybe cardborad drone making too.
Today i was a witness to Bryan acquiring a suit and broad brimmed Stetson as part of his Bob Katter look. The hat is a light fawn, you will all be pleased to know. Only baddies where black hats. Bryan looks very convincing. Eminent even, like some rich beef cockie or Qld mining magnate. Like Katter you look at him and know that when he opens his mouth anything might come out. But whatever it is, it will be straight talking.
I love Bryan's theatrical approach and boldness. I am thinking to start up a book, setting odds and taking bets on his intended Ploughshares action. 5 to one he gets past the wire, 50 to one he gets to a helicopter, 500 to one he actually makes physical contact with a helicopter. Better still I will get a local bookie to do it. Gamblers for peace!
After we went together and called in on Auntie Jeanette Yohweh who has been crook. She is on chemo and cannabis oil (low THC) and feeling the benefits. Bald headed and dressed for a funeral earlier that day in a white suit with black trim, she looked like a Zen nun and as radiant.
She told that she is marshal of the NAIDOC March (Friday 8 July) again this year and invited be to help with flags and PA. We also agreed to work together to make a banner for the March.
She wanted us to know how positive the influence the work of us peace(convergence)niks in past years had been on the Darumbal people.
She told the story of how the local NAIDOC committee had received an offer from the military to join the NAIDOC march. But without any prompting from Jeanette and a women spoke up saying words to the effect that it was not on because it is just a week out from Talisman Sabre and Peace Convergence. End of story. No military in NAIDOC March, well at least not with their uniforms on.
I also initiated police liaison by emailing AFP Protective Intelligence, the group responsible for protest management on federal property, inviting them to meet Bryan and I at Franz Jaegerstaetter House to start negotiations about the conduct of Peace Convergence. I will keep the elist informed of progress.
All feels very positive to me.
Franz Jaegerstaetter House, 22 Buckle Street, Park Avenue at time of lease talking. A gracious working class house looking forlorn. Now the centre for culture making and resistance organising.
19 May 2011
On the road Rocky.
Greetings from Maryborough and the broadband of Maryborough Library.
Last night i arrived after dark and after a long drive and meetings in Brisbane. Looking for a place to camp by chance i came upon the site of the original Wide Bay pioneer settlement now a well mown reserve by the Mary River, a ruin of a heritage site, all the markers defaced except a couple, one of which acknowleged the site was special to the Bajala women as a birthing place (spelt "Butchella" on the marker.
Yoga-ed in the morning sun there. Beautiful place with river glimpses through trees and lots of birds, black cockatoos their red tails flashing in the sun. Lovely peaceful feel and me grateful for the nurture of the feminine, the Mary River, the Great Mother and all the good women who helped me with the Anzac eve Peace Lantern Vigil in Canberra.
I am on the road to Rockhampton to take up some organising for TS11.Yesterday in Brisbane i met with Robin Taubenfeld at what was supposed to be a FoE meeting to decide their position on TS11. There were just the two of us and one other.
Robin has been distressed by the calls she has been getting from ASIO since Bryan Law's media about his intention to do a Ploughshares action. ASIO is seeking a meeting and she refusing to meet without witnesses. But she is feeling vulnerable because she does not have Oz citizenship. Furthermore she is feeling underwhelmed by the support she has for organising another Peace Convergence.
The outcome of this is that i have taken up the mantle of Peace Convergence Convenor and Robin is much relieved.
My intention is to join Bryan in Rocky and organise from there what events we can, best we can, there and there abouts.
My aim is to create a visible public presence for peace and in resistance to the war games and the US Alliance in Rocky and in the regional media.
My efforts will be focussed in these directions:
. first up, paint new mural for Peacebus.com. "Cut Military Spending!" Design below. I agree with Dennis and Hannah of Anti Bases that cutting military spending is the most appropriate theme for Peace Convergence 2011.
. create a presence on 4 July in Rocky with some kind of Independence from America Day Parade and SpeakOut. I have produced a series of these in Byron Bay in the past. I understand that Bryan is thinking along similar lines and proposing a some kind of public meeting on the cost benefits of the US alliance.
. support for Auntie Jeanette and the NAIDOC March in Rocky Friday 8 July. This will build on the work done last year. Here below a photo of Jeanette rallying the NAIDOC March with the flags we sewed up together, the banner we painted together and flags on parade. Robin says she plans a Peace Convergence stall at the NAIDOC expo after.
Jeanette Yowyeh and flags, NAIDOC March 2010
. organise a peace lantern vigil outside the Rocky Barracks associated with the beginning of TS11 live fire Monday 18 July. This to be proceeded by community lantern making workshops.
. organise a Peace Convergence March in Yeppoon for Sunday 17 July.
In Brisbane I also met with Hamish Chitts of Stand Fast and he expressed interest in coming to Rocky and organising some event aimed at the participating soldiers. Maybe a Stand Fast Speak Out at the Rocky barracks. But just what, where and when still to be confirmed. Whatever i will support him in this.
Once i have met with Bryan and Jeanette in Rocky i will be hurrying to Byfield to meet with Renton Bishopric, Clare Botsfield, friends and family to hear what they have in mind. Business and pleasure this.
On my way north a few (not many!) friends expressed interest in coming north for Peace Convergence and so i would like to make it easy for campers by securing some refuge somewhere.
Like Bryan i welcome sympathetic actions at military bases elsewhere in Oz such as Jessica Morrison has in mind for the SAS base in Queenscliff, Victoria.
Like fleas irritating an elephant.
We do best we can.
First arts project there, a new mural for Peacebus.com. Above the design courtesy of Softly Dunstan of Mighty Nice Studio in Sydney. See her hand at work!