On Sunday I took part in the “March in May” demonstration in Adelaide, from Victoria Square to State Parliament. There were marches all over the country, protesting against the Abbott governments budget cuts to health, education, pensions, the ABC, and any other sector you care to name which Abbott does not like. The Murdoch media, predictably, was dismissive. The Sunday Telegraph headline was “The Ferals are Revolting”. Clearly the reporter had not noted the broad cross-section of Australian society represented by the demonstrators: school children, teenagers, parents, grand parents – every age group and every walk of life. Abbott has succeeded where Labor had failed – he has re-mobilised those who believe in a progressive Australia.
In the evening, coincidentally, I watched a gripping documentary called “The Square”, which happened to be about political demonstrators gathering in another square: Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011. The documentary tracks four or five participant in the demonstrations: a Muslim, a couple of young activists, a singer and an actor Khalid Abdalla, who starred in “The Kite Runner”. The demonstrations led to the overthrow of the oppressive Mubarak regime, only to see it replaced by brutal military rule. They then forced the end of military rule to see it replaced by the rule of Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Again they forced the end of Morsi’s regime in 2013.
It is an incredible insight into a complex situation, which I had barely understood before. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 100% and describes it as “… an immersive experience, transporting the viewer deeply into the intense emotional drama and personal stories behind the news”. You can watch the whole film on the net here and here.
I took some quotes from the film and, with some minor alterations, have combined them into a sort of collage:
They will take you away
for dreaming the wrong dream
The rich don’t demand freedom
Because they already have it
They made two ballot boxes
One for the killers
One for the traitors
We are not looking for a leader
We are looking for a conscience
Religion is not in a book or on paper
Religion is in your head and your heart
They are gassing the hospitals
Even the doctors are dying
The good and free are called traitors
The traitors are called heroes
The Square united us all
© Mike Hopkins 2014, except for quotes from "The Square"