Murder in Melbourne: The untold story of Aiia Maasarwe by Alex Mitchell, 2020
Bishop George Browning writes: The plight of Palestinians in their homeland was tragically on display in the aftermath of the brutal Melbourne rape and murder of Aiia Maasarwe. Her killer, Codey Herrmann, a 20-year-old Aborigine with no prior history of crime or violence made a full confession within hours of the crime.
She lived on the Israeli side and was known as an Israeli Arab. Following her death she was first identified as an Israeli, with appropriate concern from the Israeli Government. When her identity as a Palestinian was made public, it was never acknowledged. No condolence was heard from Prime Minister Netanyahu or President Rivlin. Her death highlighted the Israeli mantra that Palestinians do not exist, they have no story and deserve no homeland.
Alex Mitchell’s little book raises important issues, not simply about the murder, but more broadly about the Israel/US alliance that wishes to corral Palestinians into Bantustans of poverty and non-existence. Australia has a particular responsibility to right this wrong. We were amongst the first to recognise Israel, but among the few who still refuse to recognise Palestine.
The world is full of victims, but Israel’s brutalising of Palestinians is a sign of deep-seated weakness as they use historic victim-hood as a badge of identity, justifying crimes against others.
George Browning was the 9th Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn. He was elected to the position in 1993 and retained it until 2008. Born in Brighton, England, on 28 September 1942 he retains a very active interest in the campaign for Aboriginal rights, securing a homeland for the Palestinian people, climate change and Christian theology. He publicly disagreed with Cardinal George Pell’s confused dismissal of global warming saying: “Dr Pell’s position on global warming defied scientific consensus and theological imperatives to protect the Earth and its future generations. It also made no sense and would be proven a mistake.” Prior to the UN climate change summit in Paris in December 2015, he was a signatory to a letter calling on world leaders to ban new coalmines and coalmine expansions.
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