By Victor Ochieng
ABC fired Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied in June this year, following a tweet in which she wrote: “Lest we forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine).” That post came on Anzac Day. Anzac Day is an acronym for the April 25 anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, the first major World War military mission by the Australian and New Zealand forces. Abdel-Magied later deleted the tweet after being accused of acting un-Australian, with the tweet being labeled “malicious” and “disrespectful.”
She joined ABC in 2016 as a part-time presenter on the channel’s “Australian Wide” show. Her role was to introduce recorded ABC reporter’s stories from across the country.
“ABC News is changing how we deliver long-form local journalism in order to better match our audience’s needs,” an ABC spokeswoman said after Abdel-Magied was dismissed.
The other message that came from the station was: “Instead of concentrating on one weekly broadcast slot, we will be using our best local and state-based longer-form pieces across the news channel, the extended weekend 7pm News and online. As a result, Australia Wide has not been renewed for another season. This decision has been under consideration for some time and was not to do with any controversy over presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Yassmin was aware the program was under review and we are discussing with her future opportunities at the ABC.”
On November 11, Remembrance Day, a day like the U.S.’s Veterans Day, Abdel-Magied tweeted #LestWeForget and added Manus in brackets. This too earned her serious backlash.
Russell Crowe has termed Manus as a shame to Australia. The now closed detention center was where asylum seekers ran to for fear for their lives. The Australian government facility was closed on October 31 with all the refugees therein ordered to move to Lorengu. The refugees have, however, been hesitant for fear of possible attacks.
Crowe, a New Zealand citizen who’s lived most of his life in Australia, said in February this year that he’d look for work for six men detained at the Manus Island.
Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian refugee and journalist, who’s been documenting events at Manus says police officers have been “telling the refugees to leave the prison camp,” saying “tomorrow will be the last day you are here.”
While people are all over the place talking against her, she appears un-bothered.