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.
Journalist and author
Lawyer, broadcaster and writer
Dr Nathan Hollier
Director Monash University Publishing
Australians for Palestine
Editor, the Electonic Intifada
Stuart Rees OAM
Professor Emeritus, Univ. of Sydney, recipient of Jerusalem (Al Quds) Peace Prize
Poet and Overland board member
Online editor, Overland magazine
Editor, Overland magazine
Independent journalist, author and filmmaker
Emeritus Professor, University of Melbourne
Dr Jessica Wilkinson
Senior Lecturer, Creative Writing, RMIT
Economist, political analyst and reader at ANU
Professor Terri-ann White
Director of UWA Publishing
Professor, University of Melbourne
Research Support, UNSW
Visiting Fellow, UNSW
Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney
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]