23 September 2015


Windows 10 gives the option of uninstalling  so that you can return to - in my case - windows 8.1. When I tried this, the problems that windows 10 had caused with its installation would not go away on windows 8.1, so I thought I would have nothing to lose by reinstalling windows 10.

How wrong can one be??? Not only were the previous problems caused by windows 10 still there but there were now new ones added to the old.

The main lesson I have learnt from this exercise of microsoft and its upgrading to new operating systems is that if something is working and it is not broken, don't try and fix it. You will make it worse and disaster looms.

I am now doing my best to keep my laptops which still have windows xp and also my laptops which have linux.

The sooner I can rid myself of anything to do with microsoft, the better.

............and good luck to all those who think they will be better off with windows 10! I wish them well.


This article by Arnold Zable was published in The Age on 22 SEPTEMBER 2015.

It is a story which could be told hundreds of times thanks to Australia's politicians.

The story of Australia's indigenous population writ large in the concentration camps - "WE STOPPED THE BOATS!"  

 Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani tells of the horrors of Manus Island: out of sight, out of mind

September 22, 2015

Arnold Zable

Instead of being imprisoned and harassed, deserving detainees should be welcomed and granted asylum in Australia.

The Manus Regional Processing Centre on Los Negros Island, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: Andrew Meares
His name is Behrouz Boochani. He was born in Ilam city in west Iran on July 23, 1983. He graduated from Tarbiat Madares University in Tehran with a masters degree in political geography and geopolitics. He worked as a freelance journalist and for several Iranian newspapers – Kasbokar Weekly, Qanoon, Etemaad – and the Iranian Sports Agency. He published articles on Middle East politics and interviews with the Kurdish elite in Tehran.

Boochani's passions are human rights and the survival of Kurdish culture. With several colleagues, he founded, edited, published and wrote for the Kurdish magazine Werya, documenting Kurdish aspirations for cultural freedom. He wrote a paper advocating a federal system for Iran, protecting minority rights. The paper was delivered at a conference in France on his behalf after he was denied a passport to attend.

On February 17, 2013, officials from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ransacked the Werya offices in Ilam and arrested 11 of Boochani's colleagues. Six were imprisoned. Boochani was in Tehran that day and avoided arrest. On hearing of the arrests he published the information on the website Iranian Reporters, and the report was widely circulated. Boochani feared for his safety and went into hiding.

During his three months in hiding, colleagues advised Boochani he was at risk of arrest and interrogation. As a member of the Kurdish minority in Iran, and of both the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the National Union of Kurdish Students, he had experienced threats and was under surveillance. Having been interrogated and warned previously about his work promoting Kurdish culture and having signed an undertaking he would not continue this activity, he was in grave danger.

Boochani fled Iran on May 23, 2013. In July of that year he was among 75 asylum seekers intercepted by the Australian Navy en route to Australia. It was his second attempt at the crossing from Indonesia. On the first, the boat sank. He was rescued by Indonesian fishermen, and jailed on his return.

He immediately asked for asylum in Australia. He was detained on Christmas Island where he developed a deep bond with Reza Barati, a Kurdish-Iranian, also from Ilam. He was transferred to the Manus Island Immigration Detention Centre in late August 2013.

Boochani's predicament is both unique and emblematic of the horrors facing the men detained on Manus Island. There are currently about 900. Behrouz is among a group of about 100 who are refusing to be processed by PNG immigration officials, claiming the right to be processed for asylum in Australia.

He maintains his sanity between descents into depression with his continuing work as a writer and journalist, and his lifeline via various channels with a few advocates in Australia, including Castlemaine resident and refugee advocate Janet Galbraith. She is in touch with him daily, and has arranged for his writings to be translated from Farsi to English. His accounts of his incarceration on Manus Island read like a Kafka nightmare.

He continues to write articles for Kurdish publications from detention. He remains active as a human rights defender, and is recognised as such by the UN. He collaborates with Australian journalists and human rights agencies, reporting on human rights abuses occurring in the centre. He was torn apart by the murder of Reza Barati, and has reported on the death, through medical neglect, of Manus island detainee Hamid Khazaie. Boochani was one of several asylum seekers arrested and jailed without charge in Lorangau prison during a hunger strike early this year. He remained peaceful during this action.

He says his communications are monitored by Transfield, the company that operates the detention centre, and that, as a result of his reportage and his human rights activity on behalf of fellow detainees, he has been threatened, regularly searched and is subject to surveillance.

The men detained on Manus Island have not been convicted of any crime. Yet they are imprisoned. Isolated. Kept out of sight and out of mind. Those who have been found to be refugees remain in the Lorangau transit centre. They have not been resettled. The men know they are the fall guys, punished as a means of deterring other would-be asylum seekers, as are the men, women and children detained on Nauru. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They have been palmed off, abandoned and all but forgotten. They are being driven mad.

The fate of Behrouz Boochani and his fellow detainees is Australia's responsibility. Instead of being imprisoned and harassed, he should be welcomed for his courageous stand for democracy and granted asylum in Australia. It is a profound irony that he is now experiencing levels of surveillance and harassment that have some parallels with his treatment by Iranian authorities.

In recent conversations with writer and trauma worker Janet Galbraith, he has said that when he sailed for Australia, he was happy because, "I knew Australia as a modern and democratic country. I thought that when I arrived in Australia they would accept me as a journalist. When I arrived at Christmas Island I said: 'I am a journalist', but I did not get any respectful response. I was wondering why it is not important for them that I am a writer. When they transferred me to Manus, I said to immigration: 'Don't exile me. Don't send me to Manus, I am a writer.' They did not care."

PEN International, a worldwide association of writers with members in more than 100 countries, has this week launched an international campaign on behalf of Boochani in collaboration with Reporters Without Borders and a range of human rights groups in Australia.

Arnold Zable is a Melbourne writer and immediate past president of PEN Melbourne.


15 September 2015


Jeremy Corbyn, Parliament Square, London
    September 12, 2015

I’ve never seen Parliament Square looking so filled, so beautiful and so 
happy as on this day. Thank you all for being here today.

When I was declared elected three and a half hours ago, I announced to 
our conference that my first action in this new position as leader of 
the Labour Party would be to come to a demonstration in support of 
refugees, the right to asylum and the human needs of people all over the 

And I do that because we are all humans, we all have a sense of decency 
and humanity and reaching out to others. And I am shocked beyond 
appalled at the way so many and so much of our media over so long, 
endlessly describe desperate people in desperate situations as ‘the 
problem’; desperate people in desperate situations, as people who are 
trying to travel or move illegally.

Those desperate people in desperate situations are all over the world. 
There are more of them now than at any time ever in the recorded history 
of this planet.

They’re victims of war, they’re victims of environmental degradation, 
they’re victims of poverty, they’re victims of human rights abuses all 
over the world.

We have a responsibility as one of many countries that signed the 1951 
Geneva Convention on the Right to Asylum. We are a country that is a 
member, obviously, of the UN, but also of the Refugee Council and the 
Human Rights Council.

And we therefore have a responsibility to ensure those people are 
properly cared for and properly supported.

And so I think it’s quite incredible what has happened across Europe in 
the past few weeks. Suddenly a lot of politicians have rediscovered 
their principles of humanity. They’ve rediscovered that you don’t need 
to walk in fear of the far right and racists – there is actually a 
popular uprising in favour of decency and humanity in our society.

To those who managed to try to get into Hungary, to get through Austria, 
to get into Germany, I say to the ordinary people, the ordinary decent 
people in Hungary, who came out of their homes to offer food and water 
and clothing and health and sustenance and comfort to Syrian people 
going through the most terrible stress and distress in their lives, 
thank you very much for your demonstration of humanity.

I also say thank you to the people in Austria who did the same, and I 
say thank you to Germany, for being prepared to take the numbers of 
refugees they are, and showing the way that should be followed.

I also say that we need to have a thought as to why people end up in 
such desperate situations. I’ve been in parliament a long time and I’ve 
seen many decisions taken. And in moments of clamor and moments of 
fervor, decisions are made – go here, invade there, bomb there, do this, 
do that.

It’s the easy situation, the media build it up, there’s lots of military 
advice, there’s lots of apparently simple and easy solutions. Tragically 
wars don’t end when the last bullet is fired, or the last bomb is dropped.

The mourning and the loss of soldiers of all uniforms goes on. The 
mourning and the loss of families that lost loved ones because of 
bombardments and fighting – that goes on.

The refugees move on and on, and there are whole generations of refugees 
around the world that are victims of various wars. Those desperate 
people in camps in Lebanon, in Jordan, in Libya and so many other 
places, desperate people trying to cross into Turkey and other places – 
they are all, in a sense, victims of wars.

So surely, surely, surely, our objectives ought to be to find peaceful 
solutions to the problems of this world; to spend our resources on 
helping people not hindering people; and to try and bring about that 
world of decency, human rights and justice.

And so none of this is simple, and none of this is easy. But surely we 
have a principle between us all – that we are all human beings on the 
same planet. We’re all human beings who want to live. We’re all human 
beings who want the children who live in the next generation to 
hopefully be better off than we are.

And you think of those families eking out an existence in refugee camps 
all around the world – they too are ambitious. Their children too want 
to be artists, poets, writers, engineers, lawyers, journalists… doctors 
and everything else.

The waste of human resources by the lack of human rights is one of the 
great crimes of the last and this century.

So today, here in Parliament Square, we as ordinary, decent people, 
stand up and say to our government, recognise your obligations in law. 
That would be good. Recognise your obligations to help people, which 
you’re required to do by law. That would be good.

But above all, open your hearts and open your minds and open your 
attitudes, towards supporting people who are desperate, who need 
somewhere safe to live, want to contribute to our society and are human 
beings just like all of us.

Together in peace, together in justice, together in humanity - that 
surely must be our way forward.


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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm