I Will Tell My Story #3: Free In A Madrassah But Not In Victoria

GHF - PP

In the past year, I have lived in three very different places.

First, there was almost three weeks as a non-paying guest receiving asylum in an Indonesian Pondok Pesantren (madrassah). This learning institution gave me asylum under Islamic law after I explained to them my reasons that I went to Indonesia to renounce Australian citizenship under Indonesian law. My long standing commitment to studying the 99 Islamic names of God, asmaulhusna, from a western perspective is probably the biggest reason that I received this rare privilege. Or perhaps I should call it a rare recognition of my fundamental human rights.

Then in the second week of August last year, I was arrested and placed in solitary confinement in an Immigration Detention Centre in Indonesia for three months.

Thirdly, after being deported to Australia against my will, I have been living in Premier Daniel Andrews’ Police State Of Victoria.

 

What follows is a comparison of life in these three places.

 

In the Pondok (madrassah) I had the most freedom, and was in the most democratic and civilised environment of all three places. The Islamic lifestyle is one of clean living and devotion to God. The People talked softly and modestly and were always friendly.

I could come and go whenever I liked, and on the rare occasions, when a door was locked but I wanted to enter, someone would invariably unlock it for me.

The religious tolerance was extraordinary. In an institution dedicated to the very devout Islamic practice, I was totally accepted even though I was not a Muslim and not engaging in all Islamic rituals. This is because Islamic people in Indonesia have a very widespread and deep tolerance for their own principle La Ikraha Fiddin. (There is no compulsion in religion.)

I learnt a lot among those students about good calm living and made a little film about the liberation and enrichment which can be gained by prayer.

The Islamic environment was democratic because all the people there had freely consented to be there and were proud to be there. In any democratic organisation governing by the consent of the governed is essential.

 

The immigration detention centre was obviously very different. I was there because immigration officials believed I had broken Indonesian law. I disagreed with them and still do. The head of the madrassah and the very devout mayor of the large city in which it was located both agreed that from the religious point of view I had the right to seek “aman” (meaning safety) in Indonesia.

I was not in the detention centre by consent but my basic needs were met. There were lots of great people there. I got enough exercise and the food was nutritious and I was always delivered three meals a day. The ventilation of my cell was great. It was never too hot or too cold. I had all the sterile drinking water and washing water and toiletries  I needed. I received the medical care I needed.

I was able to communicate with a senior guy in America’s National Coalition For Men who wrote a letter to the head of the Detention Centre explaining why he thought my actions were justified. For two months I was able to engage online in artistic collaborations with Australians of which I remain proud.

There was a good balance between privacy and social interaction.

I also became much more accurate at kicking a soccer ball.

 

Compared to those two Indonesian places Daniel Andrews’ Victoria just doesn’t measure up. In this sad state all of the worst traditions of Terra Nullius are fully maintained. (It has to be said that there are a few great people here who have ensured that my experience here these last 8 and a half months has not been as bad as I feared it would be.)

This is a state where too many people live in fear.

Thats not surprising. If anyone was silly enough to go and sit on a park bench here in Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, that person would risk being fined $1,600.

Widespread fear now means that the economy is being trashed to fight a disease which is well under control by global standards.

Daniel Andrews has had the most draconian lockdown laws in Australia but this severity has given him the least success in getting the sort of community effort going where a virus can be controlled.

Freedom works, Daniel Andrews. Your Police State tactics don’t.

Democracy dies when the governing political party uses scandalous branch stacking the way it’s been used in Daniel Andrews’ branch of the Australian Labor Party and that party stays in power.

Being civilised is impossible when the government treats outdoor activities like golf and fishing in wide open spaces as dangerous.

Australian Rules Football is sometimes said to be the religion of  Melbourne. AFL footy was born in Victoria and none of the best clubs are playing here anymore. The grand final appears more likely to be played in Brisbane or Perth than in its normal home of Melbourne.

 

For any government in the world, getting the balance right between the economy and the Corona-virus pandemic is going to be hard.

 

Daniel Andrews and his political party proved to me in 2016 and 2017 that they don’t respect people like me or our rights or needs.

Nothing has changed.

Compared with being in Victoria, life in the Pondok in Indonesia was very very good.

I miss you, Gus.

Geoff Fox 23rd July 2020, Melbourne, Victoria, Terra Nullius

(“Gus” is an affectionate honorific title frequently used to address Islamic leaders in the Indonesian island of Java.)

Using Fear To Spread Socialism And Attack Human Rights

On the birthday of Karl Marx, let me count some of the ways fear is being used during the Corona-virus pandemic and has been used to spread Socialism and attack Human Freedom:

1. Premier of the Police State of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, has banned golf and said “I don’t need to play golf, and me playing golf is not worth someone’s life.” As if golf courses are not big enough to allow social distancing.

2. We are scared of approaching and touching each other.

3. Human contact is illegal.

4. Leaving our homes is also against the law.

5. Around the world countless threatened businesses want government bailouts. Is there a government in the world which can afford to give everybody everything they want?

6. U.S. Congress Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez uses the occasion of the pandemic to write, “We have to start demanding ……. that we strip profit motive out of our decisions and reprioritize for the public good …….” Whether this is right or wrong, it is not capitalism. It is not free enterprise. It IS socialism. How many of the congresswoman’s “demands” are affordable?

7. Marx himself wrote: ” ……. there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.”

8. In 1927 Mao Tse Tung first used the statement, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” at the start of the Chinese Civil War. Many other people like me prefer to follow Abraham Lincoln in believing that legitimate power is of, by and for the people. History has shown that Abe was right. Will the future agree?

Guys like President Lincoln didn’t just spread the Christmas spirit all year round.

He played a major role in creating it.

But Socialists like Daniel Andrews want to deprive people of the fresh air and sunshine which kills the Corona-virus.

God help us All.

Geoff Fox 5th May, 2020, Down Under

The American Revolution – Freedom

Minuteman

The American Revolution began on this day 245 years ago.

The great gift to the world of this revolution is a profound commitment to freedom.

As Walt Whitman put it: “What do you suppose will satisfy the soul, except to walk free and own no superior?”

Whitman’s vision was was not of a totally anarchic freedom but of a Mighty Union: he believed that shallow people “consider liberty a release from all law, from every constraint. The wise see in it, on the contrary, the potent Law of Laws.”

To this very day the British culture, which the American revolution rejected, has in it a cringing fear of dictatorial authority which America cannot stomache.

Neither can I.

When Boris Johnson called on his people to embrace Herd Immunity, he was shouted down and he then retreated.

Donald Trump is supporting his people in calling for the freedom, which fear is attacking, to be restored.

God Bless America.

And freedom from fear.

Geoff Fox, 19th April, 2020, Terra Nullius

Opening Up America Again

 

Donald Trump believes in freedom and he loves America.

How will his “Opening Up America Again” announcement work?

 

Whether the Corona-virus shutdowns are right or wrong, they are a massive reduction in freedom.

They also probably constitute a massive reduction in any nation’s chances of quickly developing herd immunity to the virus.

I believe that the nations which will come out of this crisis strongest are those which develop herd immunity first.

That will take strength, courage and sacrifice.

 

I don’t believe mankind has a better weapon against this virus than our own God-given immunological systems.

IMHO

In My HUMBLE Opinion.

(I am not God. I am not omniscient. I admit this is an opinion not knowledge. But I don’t believe any mortal human being knows for sure where the right balance is between the demands of economics and “safety” here.)

 

Is the race for herd immunity the real race between America and China now?

Geoff Fox, 17th April, 2020, Australia

PLEASE STAY FREE

In almost all fields of human endeavour important in my life, freedom and discipline are inseparable partners for success.

Without freedom, both creativity and the ability to assess the truth are dead.

Without discipline, there is none of the strength and perseverance needed to protect freedom and develop its benefits.

So while this world is rushing to say “Please Stay Safe”,

I feel impelled to add, “Please Stay Free.

So we can stay strong.”

Geoff Fox, 6th April, 2020, Terra Nullius

AMERICAN ENERGY

I offer an arrangement of the thoughts of Walt Whitman for reflection at a very strange time for the people of this world.

“O public road …….. you express me better than I can express myself.” ……. “My words itch at your ears till you understand them ……”

Whitman did not reject the place of science but he also saw: “……. the fossil theology of the mythic – materialistic, superstitious, untaught and credulous, fable-loving, primitive ages of humanity.”

“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles …….”

……. “From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines.”

……. “In the faces of men and women, I see God.”

…… “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.”

……. “I exist as I am, that is enough,”

When Walt wrote, “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” did he foreshadow POTUS 45’s reinvention of presidential communication to the people via Twitter? And then some of the world’s reactions to Trump …… “I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones.”

In this time of a terrified rush to isolation, is it more important than ever for America to remember these words: …….. “TO the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist much, obey little, Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever after-ward resumes its liberty.”

“Unscrew the locks from the doors ! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs !”

“……. we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.”

Stay safe, everyone.

And please stay free.

Geoff Fox, 27th March in Terra Nullius, 26th of March in America, 2020

Abe Lincoln: A Civil War Xmas

On the first of December 1862, with his country torn apart in Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln told America, “In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.”

On Christmas Day that year Lincoln visited soldiers in hospitals. Then the president commissioned artist Thomas Nash to create the first modern image of Santa Claus, in the cause of freedom.

What a wonderful Christmas spirit that was: visiting those wounded in a righteous cause and creating art celebrating generosity.

In the modern world, freedom is under constant threat.

Why cant we give freedom to each other anymore?

Why cant we even communicate?

Geoff Fox, Terra Nullius, December 1st, 2019

THE CULTURE WAR

I am now a stateless refugee.

I have a chance of sanctuary and a meaningful life in the Republic of Indonesia.

 I flee from a western world which is at war with itself and at war with human nature.

This war is a cultural war. To paraphrase and borrow from former Reagan White House Director Of Communications Patrick J Buchanan from his landmark 1992 speech in Houston:

This modern war is about more than who gets what. It is about who we are. It is about what we believe, and what we stand for as human beings. It is critical to the kinds of nations we shall be. It is a war for the soul of the world. And in this struggle, the values of the Republic of Indonesia are on my side.  But the Maribyrnong and Victorian Australian Labor Party governments, in my country of birth, Australia, are on the other side.

Please pray with me for freedom, decency and civilised humanity.

They are dying in The West.

Geoff Fox, Malang, Indonesia, August 8th, 2019

Tony Abbottt’s Tragic Mistake – Is this a Lesson for ScoMo?

Today is my last day as a Registered Midwife in Australia. Cutbacks in services to mothers and a personally debilitating attack on my human rights from within the ALP in Maribyrnong have combined to deprive me of this livelihood.

I am proud of the unique knowledge midwifery has given me of what women, men and children need.

Today my midiwfery registration expires. So this is my last chance to put on record as a midwife that I know of no other politician in Australia’s history who stood up for what Australian mothers really need as well as opposition leader Tony Abbott did with his courageous policy of a Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme funded by taxing big companies. At that time, as I recall, whenever I googled “ALP breast feeding policy”, I came up with policy relating to feeding lots for cattle.

Postponing the implementation of his truly great PPL scheme to the third year of his government’s three year term was a tragic mistake.

By the time that third year arrived, relentless attacks on his alleged misogyny had eaten up the massive political capital he had in his first year.

So feminist and conservative attacks on Mr Abbott’s proposed PPL contributed to Australian mums losing a great chance to get a huge part of the support they need to increase their chances of breast feeding longer.

There is a lesson here for reelected Prime Minister Scott Morrison: he should not wait till the third year of the normal parliamentary term to do things for which he has a clear mandate now.

Freedom of Speech.

Freedom of Religion.

We need both these fundamental rights protected now.

In his maiden speech to parliament in 2008, ScoMo said “Australia is not a secular country — it is a free country.” With passing time these wise words are less clearly true.

Good on you, ScoMo, for saving Australia’s national government from the human rights catastrophe of Maribyrnong Bill.

Please protect our freedoms soon.

Geoff Fox, Maribyrnong, May 31, 2019