The catastrophic events in Palestine-Israel have been deeply traumatic for many in our communities.
Diversity Arts represents the interests of culturally and racially marginalised creative communities in Australia.
We stand against all forms of racism and racial discrimination. Our work is grounded in the principles of human rights and justice, and as such, we join the United Nations, Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International and others in their calls for an immediate ceasefire, compliance with international humanitarian law, increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, allowing essential supplies and services to enter Gaza; and the humane treatment and release of all hostages. Collective punishment, forcibly transferring the Palestinian civilian population, starvation and deprivation, and mass killing of civilians are all war crimes and must be condemned.
We mourn the loss of all life and the suffering of all civilians caused by these violent events. As Joanna Ware and Rabbi Becky Silverstein state, “There is no place to justify — or worse, celebrate — the war crimes committed by Hamas. There is also no place to justify or celebrate war crimes committed — now and in the past — by the government of Israel against the Palestinian people.” We echo their sentiments that “we have a responsibility to insist on humanity and context. Context matters… Which means we must address root causes of injustice.”
We acknowledge the Arts Minister Tony Burke’s public statements, especially his plea to those in power, that, “We can’t say we only grieve for certain people who are slaughtered. We can’t have a situation as a nation where we only formally acknowledge particular deaths.”
Over the years, Diversity Arts Australia has worked with artists from across the globe who have escaped state-sanctioned violence, ethnic cleansing, religious persecution, and other crimes against humanity. It is the responsibility of all people of conscience and civic organisations with influence to speak out against state violence and to hold power to account. Many from our artist communities have expressed their dismay and upset at Australia’s abstention from voting on the UN resolution for a humanitarian truce.
We support the 1,000-plus Australian artists and creatives calling for solidarity with the people of Gaza, as expressed in the Open Letter from Artists against Apartheid to the Prime Minister and Minister for the Arts, published on Overland, which states, “Israel’s brutal siege on Gaza continues to violate international human rights law and the laws of war with impunity, denying an already struggling civilian population water, food, medicine, fuel and electricity. This blockade of resources amounts to collective punishment…As artists and cultural producers, our work has the power to shape public opinion. Today, as the media wages a war against truth and strips this colonial project of its historical context, we have a unique responsibility to use our voice and artistic practices to say NO MORE!”
The silence of many cultural institutions and the active censoring and erasure of Palestinian voices and allies within the arts community must be called out. This is not the time for silence. This is not the time to turn away. This is the time for amplifying the voices and work of Palestinian artists. This is a time to practise solidarity.
Resources for those impacted
Australian Red Cross maintaining your wellbeing after distressing events
Lifeline: 13 11 14
What you can do:
Amnesty International has curated a comprehensive resource titled “Toolkit: Responding to the Crisis Unfolding in Gaza.”
Within this toolkit, a crucial section entitled ‘What Can You Do?’ has been designed to empower individuals and communities to take tangible steps towards effecting change. It provides a detailed list of practical actions that anyone can undertake to make a positive impact.
Explore the toolkit and discover meaningful ways to contribute: Amnesty International Toolkit for Gaza Crisis.