Why literary festivals matter

My weekly Guardian column: The Byron Bay writers’ festival, one of Australia’s largest literary events, has just finished after three days of discussion and debate under sunshine and rain. With… record-breaking… crowds listening to writers and rappers in large outdoor tents, it was impossible not to be seduced by the diverse participants, including British authors… Jeanette Winterson… and… Geoff Dyer.…

How the West has always backed brutal Sri Lanka

My weekly Guardian column: The Sri Lankan Navy band was busy last week, learning the tune to Waltzing Matilda. They played it to welcome Scott Morrison, the Australian immigration minister, who was visiting to launch two patrol boats donated by the Australian government. A photo of the moment,tweeted… by journalist Jason Koutsoukis, showed Morrison sitting alongside…

On anti-Semitism, BDS, Palestine and justice

My essay in New Matilda is here: As the BDS campaign starts to gain traction, accusations of anti-semitism should be treated gravely – whether from pro-Palestine advocates or Israel’s defenders, writes Antony Loewenstein The charges of racism were serious. University orientation weeks, reported Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper,… The Australian,… in early March, “have been marred by a series…

Detention centre owners making a killing

My following feature appears in the January edition of Britain’s New Internationalist magazine: Outsourcing detention to private companies is a recipe for a disaster, says… Antony Loewenstein. Imprisoning immigrants is good for business. In the… US… it’s common for lobbyists hired by leading prison companies to magically convince officials to write legislation that benefits their bottom… line. US… magazine… The Nation… revealed…

ABCTV News24's The Drum on Sri Lankan abuses, asylum seekers and Kevin Rudd

I appeared last Friday on ABCTV News24’s The Drum and we discussed vast human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, highlighted by the Commonwealth meeting in Colombo, and Australia under Prime Minister Tony Abbott turning a blind eye to Sri Lankan torture and abuse in the name of stopping people getting onto refugee boats. With the…

What asylum seekers are facing on the ground and why support is desperately needed

My weekly Guardian column is published today (here’s my archive): Blind compassion is killing the asylum seeker debate. While Tony Abbott entangles his new government in megaphone diplomacy with Indonesia,upsetting our biggest neighbour… in the process,… refugees… are struggling to survive closer to home. Vast swaths of the Australian public remain hostile towards asylum seekers, and the advocacy…

Welcome to the remote Curtin detention centre

The following extract from my book Profits of Doom appears in The Melbourne Review: In this extract from his recently-released… Profits of Doom, Antony Loewenstein visits the remote and jealously guarded Curtin Immigration Detention Centre.…  It’s a 30-minute drive through the desert from Derby to the Curtin Air Base. A number of signs warn us to…

Let’s be clear, Britain sells weapons to thugs globally

A belief in human rights? Preaching to others about improving accountability? It’s all empty rhetoric by most/all Western governments, including Britain. Evidence for the prosecution (via Independent): The Government has issued more than 3,000 export licences for military and intelligence equipment worth a total of …£12.3bn to countries which…  are on its own official list…