Saturday, September 11, 2021

Two decades on from 9/11 and a Pacific newsroom sense of dread

Reflections on 9/11 from a Fiji newsroom ... warnings about scapegoats and the media.
IMAGE: Al Jazeera screenshot APR

FLASHBACK TO 9/11: By David Robie

WHEN I arrived at my office at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji on the morning of 12 September 2001 (9/11, NY Time), I was oblivious to reality.

I had dragged myself home to bed a few hours earlier at 2am as usual, after another long day working on our students’ Wansolwara Online website providing coverage of the Fiji general election.

One day after being sworn in as the country’s fifth real (elected) prime minister, it seemed that Laisenia Qarase was playing another dirty trick on Mahendra Chaudhry’s Labour Party, which had earned the constitutional right to be included in the multi-party government supposed to lead the country back to democracy.

Stepping into my office, I encountered a colleague. He looked wild-eyed and said: “It’s the end of the world.”

Monday, August 23, 2021

Davey Edward, a Rainbow Warrior campaigner at Rongelap who cared and never gave up

Greenpeace campaigner Davey Edward ... in the workshop on board the bombed
ship Rainbow Warrior when he was chief engineer in 1985. IMAGE: David Robie/APR


A former Rainbow Warrior campaigner and Greenpeace International technical manager, Davey Edward, has died in Perth, Australia. He was 68.

Edward had a long history with Greenpeace. He started sailing with the global environmental movement in 1983 and was chief engineer on board the first Rainbow Warrior when it was bombed by French secret agents in Auckland in 1985.

Earlier that year, he had been part of the Rainbow Warrior mission to relocate the Rongelap Atoll community in the Marshall islands who had suffered from US nuclear tests.

After that UK-born Edward sailed as chief engineer on several expeditions, including the Antarctic.

Since his sailing career, Edward returned several times to Greenpeace, and left Greenpeace in the early 1990s.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Open season again for Indonesian military trolls and ‘fake news’ campaign on West Papua

Censured or punished? Conflicting reports about the alleged punishment of the two
Indonesian Air Force military policemen who stomped on the head
of young Papuan Steven Yadohamang at Merauke last week. IMAGE: Yumi Toktok Stret
By DAVID ROBIE in Asia Pacific Report

IT IS open season again for Indonesian trolls targeting Asia Pacific Report and other media with fake news and disinformation dispatches in a crude attempt to gloss over human rights violations.

Just three months ago I wrote about this issue in my “Dear editor” article exposing the disinformation campaign. There was silence for a while but now the fake letters to the editor – and other media outlets — have started again in earnest.

The latest four lengthy letters emailed to APR canvas the following topics — Jakarta’s controversial special autonomy status revised law for Papua, a brutal assault by Indonesian Air Force military policemen on a deaf Papuan man, and a shooting incident allegedly committed by pro-independence rebels – and they appear to have been written from a stock template.

And they all purport to have been written by “Papuan students” or “Papuans”. Are they their real names, and do they even exist?

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Outrage over Indonesian officers for stomping on disabled Papuan teen’s head

Two Indonesian Air Force military policemen stomping on the head of a deaf
Papuan teenager, Steven Yadohamang, in the Merauke region on 26 July 2021.
IMAGE: Screenshot from video


Shocking video footage showing a brutal and inhumane assault on a deaf Papuan teenager named Steven Yadohamang has emerged from the Merauke region of Papua and sparked outrage.

This assault occurred on Monday, July 26, 2021, around Jalan Raya Mandala, Merauke (Jubi, July 27).

The video shows an altercation between the 18-year-old and a food stall owner. Two security men from the Air Force Military Police (Polisi Militer Angkatan Udara, or POMAU) intervened in the argument.

One of the officers grabbed the young man and pulled him from the food stall. The victim was slammed to the pavement and then stomped on by the Air Force officers.

The two men, Serda Dimas and Prada Vian, trampled on Yadohamang’s head and twisted his arms after knocking him to the ground. The young man was seen screaming in pain, but the two men continued to step on his head and body while the officers casually spoke on the phone.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

1981 Springbok tour protests retrospective – and now Palestine is the new struggle


1981 Springbok tour protest leaders Ripeka Evans (left) and John Minto speak
to the protesters 40 years on at the restrospective exhibition at the Hamilton Museum -
Te Whare Taonga o Waikato. IMAGE: David Robie/APR


AFTER his release from prison in South Africa and he became inaugural president of the majority rule government with the abolition of apartheid, Nelson Mandela declared in a speech in 1997: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Founding Halt All Racist Tours (HART) leader John Minto invoked these words again several times in Hamilton on Sunday as veterans and supporters of the 1981 Springbok Rugby Tour anti-apartheid protests gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the historic events.

Starting at the “1981” tour retrospective exhibition at the Hamilton Museum – Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, the protesters gathered for a luncheon at Anglican Action and then staged a ceremonial march to FMG Stadium – known back then as Rugby Park – where they had famously breached the perimeter fence and invaded the pitch.

The exhibition features photographs by Geoffrey Short, Kees Sprengers and John Mercer of that day on 25 July 1981 when about 2000 protesters halted the second match of the tour.

Friday, July 23, 2021

NZ nuclear-free activists, campaigners back Tahiti’s Mā’ohi Lives Matter rally

Three generations of Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific activists crossing paths
- Hilda Halyard-Harawira, Ena Manuireva, and India Logan-Riley - asking for reparations
for the damage caused by nuclear testing and fighting for a better future
for the next generation. IMAGE: Jos Wheeler

By Asia Pacific Report

Moana activists, campaigners, scholars, researchers and Green MPs gathered last Sunday in a show of solidarity for Tahiti’s Ma’ohi Lives Matter rally at Auckland University of Technology and vowed to work towards independence for the French-occupied Pacific territory.

A live feed from the Tahitian capital of Pape’ete was screened and simultaneous events happened across the Pacific, such as in Fiji.

Many of the Auckland participants were stalwarts from the early days of the Nuclear-Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) movement from the 1970s and 1980s and declared their support for pro-independence Tahitian leader Oscar Temaru.

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