Let Remi Speak: Overturn the visa ban.

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Open Letter

We the undersigned call on the Australian government to allow Palestinian American poet Remi Kanazi into Australia.

We feel very concerned by the Immigration Department’s denial of a visa to Kanazi. In refusing Kanazi entry into Australia the government is limiting the capacity of Australians to hear an important artist’s perspective on the Palestinian question. Australians should have access to a range of opinions and make their own judgements about these issues, based on free and full throated discussion.

We also note with alarm that this is the second time a significant Palestinian has been denied entry into Australia. In 2017 Palestinian human rights campaigner Bassem Tamimi, father of political prisoner Ahed Tamimi, was also banned from entry into Australia. This appears to be a developing pattern.

Kanazi is a globally renowned and respected commentator on Palestinian issues. His political commentary has been featured by news outlets throughout the world including the New York Times, Salon, Al Jazeera English, and BBC Radio. He has appeared in the Palestine Festival of Literature. This is the first time that he has ever been denied a visa anywhere in the world.

We agree with prominent Palestinian spokesperson Nasser Mashni (Australians for Palestine) therefore when he says: “This decision is an act of selective, politically motivated censorship. It is clear the government is deliberately silencing and preventing human rights defenders and Palestinian voices for justice, from being heard in Australia.”

We also concur with Guardian journalist Jeff Sparrow when he says: “The denial of a visa to Palestinian writer and performer Remi Kanazi is an outrageous act of political censorship. Kanazi is an internationally acclaimed poet who has brought his art all over the world. Australians deserve to hear him speak, just as much as people in other countries do. If this ban isn’t lifted, it sets an ominous precedent for freedom and political expression.”

We therefore urgently call on the Immigration Department to grant Remi Kanazi a visa for entry into Australia.

Yours sincerely:

John Pilger
Journalist and author

Lizzie O’Shea
Lawyer, broadcaster and writer

Melissa Lucasshenko
Author

Dr Nathan Hollier
Director Monash University Publishing

Nasser Mashni
Australians for Palestine

Ali Abunimah
Editor, the Electonic Intifada

Jeff Sparrow
Guardian columnist

Stuart Rees OAM
Professor Emeritus, Univ. of Sydney, recipient of Jerusalem (Al Quds) Peace Prize

Claire Corbett
Author

Benjamin Laird
Poet and Overland board member

Tom Bramble
Writer

Giovanni Tiso
Online editor, Overland magazine

Jacinda Woodhead
Editor, Overland magazine

Antony Loewenstein
Independent journalist, author and filmmaker

Jane Kenway
Emeritus Professor, University of Melbourne

Dr Jessica Wilkinson
Senior Lecturer, Creative Writing, RMIT

Rick Kuhn
Economist, political analyst and reader at ANU

Ahmer Rahman
Comedian

Michael Brull
Journalist

Professor Terri-ann White
Director of UWA Publishing

Christian Haesemeyer
Professor, University of Melbourne

Jennifer Mills
Author

Diane Fieldes
Lecturer, UNSW

Taylor Coyne
Tutor, UNSW

Marilu Melo
Lecturer, UNSW

Jeremy Carr
Research Support, UNSW

Sally McLaren
Academic, UNSW

Annie Herro
Visiting Fellow, UNSW

Nicholas Apoifis
Lecturer, UNSW

Nick Riemer
Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney

Benjamin Solah
Director of Melbourne Spoken Word

Dr Rowan Cahill
Honorary Fellow, University of Wollongong


To add your name to this open letter, contact Vashti Kenway via email: [email protected]