ICYMI | #137

Palestinian voices silenced | Australians vote no to Indigenous Voice | Polish elections

By Staff

Our weekly roundup of stories you may have missed.

Palestinian demo shut down at Potsdamer Platz

Berlin police continue to brutally crack down on all displays of solidarity with Gaza. On Friday a demo called ‘Jewish Berliners against violence in the Middle East’ was banned due to risks of ‘anti-semitic exclamations’. On Sunday over 1000 people gathered in Potsdamer Platz for a demonstration that was banned shortly before it started. Hundreds were arrested as police used pepper spray and batons to disperse the crowd.

Over 2800 people have been killed in Gaza in just over a week. UN experts warn of ‘mass ethnic cleansing’.

Award ceremony for Palestinian author cancelled

Organisers of the Frankfurt Book Fair have called off an awards ceremony for the Palestinian novelist Adania Shibli, whose novel ‘Minor Detail’ is centred on the true story of the murder of a Palestinian woman by Israeli soldiers in 1949. Over 600 writers and publishers have signed an open letter demanding the fair should “be creating spaces for Palestinian writers to share their thoughts, feelings, reflections on literature through these terrible, cruel times, not shutting them down.”

Afghanistan earthquakes

Afghanistan’s Herat region has been struck by another 6.3 magnitude earthquake, the fourth in just over a week. Since 7 October over 2000 people have died and several villages completely destroyed. There are fears that cold weather could mean disaster for those displaced by the destruction and currently living in tents. Afghanistan’s government has struggled to deal with the growing humanitarian crisis, made worse by the withdrawal of foreign aid since the Taliban came to power in 2021.

Australians vote against 'Indigenous Voice'

The referendum to amend Australia’s constitution and establish an indigenous committee in parliament has failed. The campaign for the so-called ‘Indigenous Voice’ in parliament, started in 2017 by a group of 250 Indigenous leaders, argued that the new committee would give Australia’s indigenous population, classed as the oldest living culture on earth, a greater say in the nation’s political system. Firmly opposed by conservative politicians in Australia, the referendum was rejected after 60% voted ‘No.’

Aérea Negrot

Berlin-based Venezuelan DJ, singer, dancer and artist Aérea Negrot has sadly died. An iconic figure in the city’s club scene, she released multiple EPs and one album through Berlin label BPitch Control, who wrote in tribute: “Her light, music and beautiful uplifting voice, her one-of-a-kind artistic approach and performance have touched every soul they have ever encountered. A classically-trained ballet dancer, singer, songwriter and an uncompromising DJ, there never was a stage she did not make her own.”

Climate researcher fired for slow travel

Climate researcher Gianluca Grimalda has been fired by the Kiel Institute for World Economy, after refusing to fly back to Germany at short notice from the Solomon Islands where he was conducting research. Grimalda refuses to fly due to the carbon emissions, telling the Guardian: “air travel is really the fastest way to burn fossil fuels, so the fastest way to walk ourselves towards catastrophe.” Grimalda will instead make the journey back to Germany via cargo ships, ferries, trains and coaches over 2 months.

Opposition wins Polish election according to exit poll

Exit polls suggest that Poland’s pivotal election will result in the right-wing populist Law and Justice party failing to secure a third term. A coalition led by liberal, pro-EU candidate Donald Tusk is expected to form a new parliamentary majority. Election officials report that the turnout was likely the highest since the fall of communism in 1989.

Law and Justice’s eight years in power have been characterised by democratic backsliding and crackdowns on migration, media freedom and reproductive rights.

Turkey/Syria airstrikes

Up to 70,000 people in rebel-held northwest Syria have been displaced by a wave of attacks led by the Syrian government and allied forces. Airstrikes in recent weeks on hospitals, refugee camps, mosques and other civilian infrastructure have killed at least 50 people. Over half of the region’s four million residents have already been displaced once, and the majority rely on humanitarian aid to survive. The recent wave of violence has been called “the most significant escalation of hostilities since 2019” by the UN.