Monday, August 15, 2011

Holocaust and Marrickville Council's Burma-Boycott

Anti-Fiona (Marrickville Mayor) Mural in Sydney. (SMH)

It was last year December when I shockingly discovered that the Marrickville Council -The local Government of Marrickville Municipality in Sydney- has been running a successful campaign against my former country Burma.

And I heard it straight from the horse's mouth. I had in my cab one tall, middle-aged, bespectacled woman who introduced herself as the councilor from Marrickville Council. She wanted me to drive her to the Council’s offices in Petersham just off Parramatta Road. And on the way she found out I was a Burmese and proudly told me about her Council’s ongoing Burma-Boycott campaign.

I knew it is very fashionable for the western democracies to impose brutal sanctions on Burma, but the Marrickville Council? I couldn’t believe my ears that one of the most multi-racial municipalities here in Sydney the immigrant city of Australia has imposed the symbolic sanctions against poor and destitute Burma. I didn’t even know they could do that.

Of course I immediately complained to her that the reason I had to drive a taxi now is because of Australian targeted trade sanctions I couldn’t continue my business of importing seafood from Burma to Australia. I was a casualty of the sanctions and she seemed surprised hearing my story.

She basically knew the misleadingly simplified fact that the generals ruling Burma are bad and sanctions are needed to bring them down. But she didn’t know the history of Burma and her more than a million deaths from the longest-running civil war in the world and her near collapse in 1949 just after Independence. And she was supporting a symbolic but a crucial sanctions decision against Burma, a faraway country she barely knew.

And she didn’t know the ultimate sufferings the sanctions had brought upon the destitute people of Burma. So I grudgingly told her after she paid me the fare and just before she got out of my cab that what her council was doing was almost like pissing on the graves of those one million civil-war victims of Burma. And she didn’t like it at all and told me I was really rude for a cabbie and quickly got off the cab.

I then almost forgot about her till the loud public outcry broke out this year just after the same Marrickville Council in April unsuccessfully tried to support the GBDS – Global Boycott Divestments and Sanctions – campaign against Israel. The Council’s Boycott-Israel campaign was quickly abandoned after the Federal Government spoke out against and the NSW State Government threatened to sack the Marrickville Council.

This is the story of how Australian Greens Party’s Fiona Byrne-led Marrickville Council attempted to piss on the graves of six million Israeli holocaust victims and got almost kicked out of their pathetic jobs in the process.
(Coming soon.)