26 September 2015: News, Stories and Ideas to Make the World a Better Place

WITADA Top 1026 September 2015

WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 

In this week’s Top 10 we feature some stories about Syria as well as the class action in Palm Island, Rwanda, Mozambique, World Peace Day – and much more.

1.  This is a fascinating story about the role of the arts in the Syrian uprising from the New Internationalist. It provides a different, and very important, side to the conflict and the life of Syrian people and the ways in which artistic expression broke the silence about life in Syria. “Political posters, cartoons, graffiti, film, photography, poetry, music – it was as if a deep reservoir of creativity had built up behind the dam of fear, and now, as it crumbled, Syria’s talent and imagination was pouring forth.”


2. Medecins Sans Frontieres provides a very human face to the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean sharing stories of those who are now seeking asylum.


3.  Palm Islanders’ class action claims have begun as the Federal Court sits in Palm Island this week to hear claims that police behaviour was racially discriminatory during the 2004 riots after the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee.  And as part of the Brisbane Festival a production, Beautiful One Day, based on the life of Cameron Doomadgee and his death in custody. The Guardian has a story on the reactions of Palm Islanders as they watched the production before it travelled to Brisbane.


4. Earlier this month legislation was passed in Western Australia to recognise Indigenous people in the Constitution. The Guardian reports that the “Recognition of Aboriginal People bill, tabled by Kimberley Labor MP Josie Farrer, amends the WA constitution to recognise indigenous people as the first people and custodians of the state”.


5. Human Rights Watch have released their report, ‘Why Not Call this Place a Prison’, on the unlawful detention of Rwandan people who are vulnerable for the purpose of presenting Kigali (the Rwandan capital) in a positive light to the public. “The arbitrary detention of people such as street vendors, sex workers, beggars, homeless people, and suspected petty criminals at Gikondo reflects an unofficial policy of keeping people the authorities consider “undesirable” away from the public eye. Until 2014, many street children were also detained there.”


6. It’s important to remember that there are a high number of Syrian refugees already seeking asylum in Australia, who are currently in detention on Nauru. Lenore Taylor from The Guardian reminds us about their plight.


7. Mozambique was once full of land mines but as of last month, they are no more – thanks to the work of Halo Trust, a demining organisation that commenced work in Mozambique in 1993. They cleared 171,000 land mines in 1,100 minefields. However there is much more to be done in many other countries where land mines remain active.


8. This week marked the International Day of Peace on 21 September. The UN Secretary General appealed to all countries to observe a global ceasefire. Check out our Choosing Peace Blog on the WITADA site for a dose of peaceful inspiration.

9. The folks at TED have produced a list of 8 books you must read when you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps with the state of the world. There are some great suggestions here to add to your ‘must read’ list.


10. There is no doubt that art, in all its forms, has the potential to create change and to move us all to think differently about the world and our role in it. Bruno Catalano is a French sculptor who creates works depicting the ‘world citizen’ – those who have been dispossessed and who have left parts of their lives behind. His images are remarkable and moving and seem particularly important as we reflect on the journeys that so many refugees must take to find safety.


Thanks again for your support and participation in WITADA. See you again next week.