Tens of thousands across Australia took part in the sixth consecutive weekend of rallies opposing Israel’s genocidal onslaught on Gaza.
Below we are featuring further interviews with participants, following our coverage yesterday.
In Sydney, Maryam, a medical student originally from the Middle East, was attending her first protest. She had been following the events in Gaza all her life. “It is horrifying, Israel has a plan to push them to the south, to get them out of Palestine completely. This plan has been hidden, but now people are waking up and understanding the truth. They see the real raw footage of what happens every day in Gaza. No human heart would ever accept it.
“I heard yesterday that the doctors, nurses and medical staff don’t have any medical supplies in the hospital. They don’t have electricity or food. They have nothing. Israel gave them 24 hours’ notice to evacuate the hospital. Then they entered the hospital and put guns to their heads. It’s heartbreaking.”
“Social media has changed things,” Maryam said. “Now people can see the truth, not just the lies of the main media outlets. I can see that everyone is trying to educate themselves and to spread awareness.
“I was surprised that Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese supports this genocide. We are living in 2023, and people still support genocide. I feel betrayed. You think ‘I have been working all these years and now my taxes are supporting Israel!’ Billions and billions of dollars to weapons. Yet take America for example, so many people are homeless, need healthcare and basic things. There are so many good things that money can do, rather than killing babies.”
In Brisbane, Raz, a worker originally from the Middle East, said he had known WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Brisbane in the 1990s when they were young. He commented on the connection between the persecution of Assange and the genocide in Gaza.
Speaking of the governments responsible, he said, “It’s absolutely the flip side of the truth for them. Whatever is the truth, is the enemy for them. Anything they say, it’s the opposite. They are trying to demonise Julian Assange for telling the truth. We are trying to tell the truth here, and we are getting demonised.
“The other side, they are a professional lying machine. They are the deceptive ones. We know that the people at the top, like Biden and Albanese, are the problem, but how do we get to them? We need to keep doing these marches.
“I know people who have lost close to 100 people from their extended families in Gaza, kids and everything. People there have no water or medicine. It’s not fair.”
Hannah, who works in the maritime industry, said she came to the rally to educate herself and her children on what was happening in Gaza. Speaking of Israel and the governments supporting its actions, she said: “They’re trying to take all this land from the Palestinians for their own gain and resources. Human life doesn’t really matter to them.”
Hannah agreed with reporters who said the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) had the power to stop Israeli ships from docking in Australia but had not done so.
“Why are all these governments supporting Israel and its murderous actions? It’s scary. It’s a huge concern. What are they going to do to the rest of us? There are no red lines they will not cross, and they are really showing us that right now.
“I’m horrified, especially as a mother, watching all these poor parents mourning their children. Children deserve to be safe. They need to grow up in a safe world. It’s just horrific what’s happening.”
In Melbourne, Harper, who is studying youth work, said, “With everything that is going on in Palestine, it’s abhorrent, it’s a violation of human rights. For those of us lucky enough to live in Melbourne and have liberty, it is important that we speak up and do what we can for the people of Palestine.”
Harper explained that he had been surprised by the Labor government’s support for Israel, and its dismissal of the mass rallies in defence of the Palestinians.
“Maybe I’m just naïve, but I really thought they would at least acknowledge everything that is going on, but they haven’t at all,” he said. “It’s terrible and disappointing. They should really think about human beings and not political agendas. You look around now, there’s hundreds of thousands of people showing up—there’s obviously a powerful movement of the people supporting those in Palestine. But the government isn’t doing anything about it.”
Sumayah, a recent university graduate, explained, “It’s injustice. This has been happening for so long and the world leaders have just allowed it to continue. Israel is an apartheid state, it’s committing genocide. It is happening right before our eyes; we need to keep this momentum up. I don’t know what we can do as individuals, but we need to collectively show support for Palestine.”
She continued, “Israel’s crimes aren’t just now, it’s been going on for 75 years. It’s so many things put together. One is obviously capitalism and profit being the only thing that is important in these people’s eyes. And Islamophobia too, which makes it easier to spread this hate, to make it easier to accept that people are dying. I think it’s also western powers not wanting to deal with the way the state of Israel was established. They didn’t want to deal with the Jewish refugees from World War II, so they decided to just take Palestine.
“I see Zionism as another form of Nazism—they’re crowding everybody into a little place and killing them all. It’s the same thing, just a different group of people. They say they are not killing women and children, but terrorists. But if you just look at it for more than five seconds, it’s a whole population of people, so many stories are lost, and that’s what they are destroying.”
Suzan, an engineer, explained, “I support humanity, and when you see injustice and occupation it has to be opposed. We’re not here for any kind of religion, this is not a religious fight.
“My dad was born in Palestine in 1939, he’s Muslim but he was born in a Christian home because during the British mandate his family was kicked out of their village, so he was born in a Christian house. He was educated in a Jewish school. All that was no issue. The issue is the occupation, the issue is the injustice that is happening. It is people being made into refugees and it is real genocide.
“It’s a shame that in this day and age, people are being killed this way and nobody in power is doing anything. History will remember this. For governments, it is politics—it is political interests, and it is money.”