Bishop reviews ‘Murder in Melbourne’


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.

Codey is himself a victim of poverty, disenchantment, and neglect. Aiia, a vibrant 21-year-old student with the world at her feet came from a Palestinian village divided by the separation wall.

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.

Order your copy of Murder in Melbourne for $10 postage included: CLICK HERE.




















  1. Every now and then a Jesus-like Christian stands up and practices honest-to-God understanding which is not vituperative, not finger-pointing – but full of compassion across the spectrum of humanity being oppressed and suffering the ugliness of those concerned only with power. In other spaces I have praised the backgrounding by Alex Mitchell in this book to the tragedy of Aiia Maarsawe – tragedies do not spring fully-formed – they develop and bubble up out of a myriad of other injustices and oppression. Thanks to Alex Mitchell and to George Browning. And no thanks to the others named in this review. And how interesting and appropriate it is to have bullying acknowledged as the weakness it truly is: “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.”

  2. Generation after generation living in squalid conditions, insulted, humiliated, poverty stricken, no legal access to redress wrongs of all types, no confidence, no future.
    No wonder people grow up with confused and warped minds and mindlessly devoid of morale or hope.
    George Browning is right, as was the other bishop of Canberra, Patrick Power, some years ago.

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