Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hicks, Amnesty - and some still smarting

Fifty years ago today (28 May 1961) saw the foundation of Amnesty.

This week David Hicks launched his book Guantanamo and gave a presentation at the Sydney Writers Festival to a standing ovation. One person interviewed after the session commented that he was still smarting by the John Howard decision to denign an Australian citizen basic rights. Hopefully it won't happen again.

The following poem appeared on the Fair Go for David Website at the time of protest ...

Australia Day 2007

following the discovery of Botany Bay by Cook
New South Wales was first established
under the equanimity of Arthur Phillip
with authority from Pitt, Lord Sydney and George III
due to over-crowded English jails
establishment of an experimental penal settlement

all were put in the same boat
from that first fleet of eleven
the convicts given a second chance
and soldiers, free settlers, sailors, allocated
equal rations, and a law that would be first
to protect a convict before a thieving soldier

and so over the years much has been achieved
from the federation of the States
to bloodied Diggers at Anzac Cove
continual Aboriginal recognition
and respect for the culture of extensive migrant intake
while prospering below the southern skies

so Australia and Australians
unite as one people, the
diverse voices of many make one note
ring out loud, to rejoice again
at the founding of this fair nation
and the rights of all its citizens

but today it is not a hulk in the Thames
but a hiccup in an alien land that
allows a man to lie naked
before a foreign power, exposed to
five years of violated rights –

the egalitarian spirit of Arthur Phillip
gives rent to a cry of shame!

© Richard Scutter 26 January 2007

Comment on Australia Day 2007 at the time of writing ...

David Hicks, an Australian citizen, has been incaserated in Guantanamo Bay for over 5 years without charges made. Responsibility has been abdicated relegating legal treatment to a USA military tribunal. Other countries in similar circumstances, including Great Britain, have protected the basic rights of their own citizens.


  1. It expresses very vividly what many of us feel about the treatment of Hicks. It was not a matter of his guilt or innocence but of the flagrant disregard of his most basic human rights.

    Sadly it still continues for many others.


  2. Hicks - a western educated Guy went to fight for the Taliban who stone women to death. Whose side are we on for god's sake.

  3. Hicks was young and foolish to enter an alien philosophy which exhibits the worst side of humanity in obvious and frightening fashion.

    But there is only one side … humanity … and the Taliban are human beings … interesting that tentative discussion is now being considered as a way of change rather than just the gun.