September Astromusings – The Aftermath of the Pluto Uranus squares – Humanitarian crisis of refugees, the upcoming Eclipse Season

Hi dear friends,

The Aftermath of the Pluto Uranus Squares – Civil War in Syria & Humanitarian Crisis of Refugees

There is so much going on at the moment that it is hard to keep up with it all. We are witnessing the biggest exodus of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries of Iraq and Afghanistan seeking asylum in Europe since the end of WWII. We are now seeing the culmination of events that began under the series of  Pluto Uranus squares, the last one which occurred in March 2015. In 2011 when the first square occurred the unstable Middle East erupted into chaos with Syria plunging into civil war and the Arab Spring. Now we are witnessing the results of this instability and also the meddling by Western powers led by GW Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard when they tried to impose Western democracy on Iraq, culminating in the formation of ISIS.

Collective Response to the Drowning of Aylan Kurdi

Policeman with Aylan KurdiPeople around the world were shocked last week when the photo of the lifeless body of lttle Aylan Kurdi, aged 3, washed up on a beach in Turkey. It was so in your face that people could no longer ignore the plight of the refugees. Successive Australian governments have preferred to see the refugee problem as someone else’s problem with Howard’s now infamous xenophobic pre election catch cry, “We will decide who comes to our country and the circumstances with which they will come.” We then had a race to the bottom with Abbott’s wedge politics pushing Labor into following the LNP callous policies.

Munich welcomes refugees

Munich welcomes refugees

Geoffrey Robertson on Q&AGeoffrey Robertson on the Refugee Crisis

On Monday night’s Q&A this week the human rights lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, said, referring to the pictures of Germans welcoming the Syrian refugees into their country. “It is ironic that these grandchildren of Gestapo are now the angels of mercy. “You saw today they welcomed them with open arms,” he said. “10,000. We should be taking 30,000 at least. Because the message is ‘no country is an island, not even Australia’.

Germany Welcomes Refugees
Angela Merkel with refugeesGermany’s example under the leadership of Angela Merkel is an inspiration for Europe and the rest of the world, taking 800,000 refugees this year. France is taking 24,000 over 2 years and the UK is taking 20,000 over 5 years. Germany and the UN have stressed the need for other countries to share the burden by increasing their intake.

Better Shelter model

Better Shelter model

Sweden’s Housing Initiative for Displaced People – Better Shelter
Sweden has taken the initiative to give displaced people better more dignified housing than tents known as Better Shelter. The Better Shelter model went on show for the first time at the Museum of Australian Democracy as part of an exhibition highlighting children’s rights. It is already in high demand from agencies like the UNHCR, the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.

Father Rod's sign for AylanCandle Light Vigils in Memory of Aylan Kurdi throughout Australia
On Monday night there were tens of thousands who attended candle light vigils in memory of Aylan Kurdi around the country. In Sydney’s Hyde Park there were over 10,000 with speakers advocating that Australia dramatically increase its refugee intake. Nobody put it more eloquently than Father Rod Bower of the Anglican Parish in Gosford, “Without warning little Aylan has become every Ron Tandberg's cartoon re compassionrefugee, an archetype, an “anointed one” calling us to full humanity. Suddenly the deaf hear and the blind see, the mute speak, the lame walk and the dead arise.
None but the wilfully deaf, blind and dead of heart can remain unmoved.
It is those wilfully blind who, to our eternal shame, govern us this day. This human carnage has not moved the stone heart of the Abbott Government to take one extra refugee, but rather to simply reinforce the mantra of national security.
Mr Abbott we will not allow you to destroy our national soul, we will not allow you to diminish us further, we will hear the cries of broken humanity, we will see the pain of lives torn apart, we will arise and reclaim our decency and we will have a government that is worthy of the Australian people.

The Prime Minister of Finland’s Response to the Refugee Crisis
Responses to the refugee crisis from world’s leaders have been coming in. Juha Sipila's houseThe Prime Minister of Finland, Juha Sipila, has offered his private home in northern Finland to asylum seekers.

pope-refugees-603423Pope Francis’ Appeal  For Refugees
Issuing a broad appeal to Europe’s Catholics, Pope Francis on Sunday called on “every” parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary to take in one refugee family — an appeal that, if honored, would offer shelter to tens of thousands.

UNHCR map Syrian refugees surpass 4 millionThis UNHCR  map gives some indication of the extent of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Tim Costello with refugees in camp in Jordan

Tim Costello with refugees in a refugee camp in Jordan

Tim Costello, the CEO of World Vision Australia, said that sadly it took this little boy’s tragic death to prick the bubble of people’s indifference. He continued, “250, 000 Syrians have died, 12 million have been displaced within Syria and 4 million have fled the country.” Australia’s contribution is not even in the 20 top countries. Taking 30,000 refugees would be a generous commitment and not just resettlement because that is a tiny drop in the bucket.  Only 30% of funding of the refugee camps is being provided by the global community. The suffering is immense and we now realise that they are suffering innocently. He also stressed that it needs to be a non discriminatory program not preferring one religion over another.

This view was also supported by Leonard Doyle from the International Organisation for Migration who said that it is a protection issue and their belief system is irrelevant. There are also Muslims who are persecuted. He affirmed that the refugee intake is not really up to the government and cited the 1951 Refugee Pope on Aus bombingConvention. He also criticised the Abbott government’s Stop the Boats policy, asserting that a fence or border only drives more refugees into the hands of people smugglers and it is not relevant to Europe as it is a false comparison. He also added that the transmigration flow is unprecedented since WWII. When questioned about the Gulf countries taking their share of refugees he stated that it is a different situation as the refugees do not receive protection or citizenship there.

Australian Government’s Response to the Refugee Crisis
Pushed by the clamour from various political parties, community groups, and from within ranks of their own party, the Abbott government has been forced to act. The PM held a press conference on Wednesday 9 September to announce the government’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Australia is going to take 12,000 Syrian refugees from persecuted minorities. They will give $44 million in aid to the UNHCR which will pay for the support of 240,000 displaced people outside Syria and Iraq.

Responses to Australian Government’s Decision to extend bombing of Iraq to Syria
Ironically, in the same breath that the Australian Government announced the increase in its intake of Syrian refugees and aid to UNHCR, it announced its decision to start bombing IS targets in Syria.

Aid for Syria Not Bombs – Tim Costello
In an interview, Tim Costello welcomed the Australian government’s decision on the refugee intake and increase in aid but said that it was not enough, only a pimple on a hippopotamus. He pointed to the meanness of the global community in reducing monthly food vouchers from $30 to $13.50 which amounted to about 45 cents per day for refugees, not enough food for them to survive, hence the refugees have fled the refugee camps. Tim discussed the terrible conditions in the camps there is no water, not enough food – freezing in the winter and baking in the summer. These refugees are utterly dependent on the UNHCR for their survival. The refugees are in debt to the middlemen and there is no education for their kids. The Australian government increased their aid from $16 million to $44 million. The UN is calling for $144 million. He stressed that there is an 8 to 1 ratio of bombs to food. With only 30% funding of the camps, it has caused more fleeing of refugees. For four years nations have been funding weapons for the Syrian war which keeps it going. Aid not bombs should be the first line of defence. He said that there may have to be a three state solution –  Kurds, Sunnis and Shias. Syria is so degraded – so far Damascus is ok but Aleppo and and Homs are utterly destroyed so these refugees have no home to go back to.

Professor Gillian TriggsHuman Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs warns bombing raids on Islamic State will create more refugees.
Gillian Triggs also expressed disquiet about the Australian government’s decision to bomb ISIS in Syria, fearing that it will create more refugees.

“It’s certainly rather contradictory that on the one hand we’re opening our hearts and country to Syrian refugees, and giving them permanent status, while at the same time we’re embarking on an increased bombing campaign in ISIS-held areas in Syria,” she told ABC Radio.

“I think it’s inevitable that that will increase the refugee flow and it will almost certainly lead to the deaths of more civilians.
“That is almost invariably the case with bombing campaigns of this kind.”
Professor Triggs’ call for the government to resettle Syrian refugees held on Manus Island and Nauru has been rejected by both major parties.

US bombing Syria has had no effect – ISIS is winning – Robert Fisk
In a  Lateline interview with Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent for the Independent, Tony Jones asked if there was any evidence that a US-led bombing campaign, which Australia has just joined against ISIS, will be – will have any effect? Fisk didn’t mince words in his reply:  “Well I suppose I can only hope that your Prime Minister can find Syria on a map because the Americans have clearly not had any effect and they’re doing most of the bombing. I think this is political. Basically, the ISIS are winning. He added further, “I don’t think you can win a bombing war against a guerrilla army. The Americans should’ve learned that in Vietnam. Mr Abbott possibly is a bit too young for that.”

EU President wants Europe to take another 120,000 refugees
EU President Jean Claude Juncker announced a blueprint plan for another 120,000 asylum seekers to be distributed among EU nations, with binding quotas for each country and streamlined, co-ordinated systems including new legal migration channels into Europe. France is already taking 24,000 refugees over 2 years, UK is taking 20,000 over 5 years and President Obama has just announced that the US will take about 10,000 over the next year.

Aylan Kurdi as angelAylan Kurdi global artists pay homageIt seems that this one tragic photo has woken humanity from its torpor and galvanised us into action. It marks a qualitative change in our collective response. Aylan has been depicted as an angel by artists and may well have come here to wake up humanity. It is heartening to see the response here and globally to their fellow humans’ suffering.

The upcoming eclipse cycle will no doubt bring more challenges with this human catastrophe and other issues for our government and the world in general.

The Eclipse Cycle in September
Eclipses bring things to a head. This month of September is defined by 2 powerful eclipses. The first one occurs on 13 September which will be a solar partial eclipse – a New Moon in Virgo at 20 degrees. It is interesting to note that in the event chart of the first eclipse Neptune in Pisces is conjunct the ascendant. Neptune, the ruler of Pisces, rules compassion and empathy. The New Moon is also in wide trine to Pluto, the planet of transformation, death and rebirth. Therefore, the theme of this eclipse could represent a huge collective shift as far as our compassion for refugees is concerned. Could it herald a geopolitical shift with the death of our old attitudes toward refugees and asylum seekers and the birth of a more compassionate stance?

Shropshire mum crowdfunding life jackets for refugees

Shropshire mum crowdfunding life jackets for refugees

A Shropshire Mum was so deeply moved by the image of little Aylan that she has started raising money for life jackets for refugees.

Blood Moon

Blood Moon

The Virgo Pisces axis is concerned with service and compassion. It culminates with the 2nd eclipse just 2 weeks later on 28 September which is is a Full Moon Blood Eclipse at 4 degrees Aries. This is the last eclipse of the tetrad.

The huge shift in the collective on the plight of the refugees who were formerly ignored or worse demonised is best summed up by Paul Bongiorno, contributing editor for Ten News, who on ABC radio described it as a sea change – like a tsunami that swept the world.


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1 Comment

  1. Heather

     /  September 11, 2015

    I especially like the crowd funding life jackets for refugees. I had this idea and posted it being an ex yachtie. Also the advice always travel on the sea without your shoes on. Dear sweet little Aylan still had his sneakers on..


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