There is something deeply and disturbingly ironic about Tony Abbott meeting Egypt’s military dictator Abdel el-Sisi and asking the blood-soaked general to release journalist Peter Greste from his seven-year gaol sentence.
Greste was convicted of spreading “false” news that harmed Egypt’s national interest in a sham trial that resembled a Monty Python script rather than the heights of judicial intelligence.
The meeting between Abbott and el-Sisi took place at the United Nations general assembly in New York where both men gave impassioned, but totally wrong-headed, speeches about the threat of Islamic terrorism.
Leave out the grotesque parody of their meeting and what are we left with?
Two leaders who claim that it has become necessary to reduce freedoms in order to keep their citizens free.
In Egypt, el-Sisi is terrorizing the population with arbitrary detentions, the arrest of activists and death sentences handed out 600 at a time to alleged members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherood. Journalists and TV presenters are among those persecuted and gaoled for speaking out against el-Sisi’s coup and the farcical recent elections.
In Australia, Tony Abbott leads a government that is also slowly destroying our freedoms and political democracy so hard won over generations.
In a speech to Federal Parliament attempting to justify the anti-Muslim hysteria dog-whistled into being by a spurious “threat” of terrorism, Abbott laid out his anti-democratic agenda, couched in the faux-Churchillian tones of his political hero, John Howard:
“Regrettably, for some time to come, the delicate balance between freedom and security may have to shift. There may be more restrictions on some so that there can be more protection for others.”
Who are the “some” and who are the “others” in this Orwellian doublespeak?
Well, that is becoming clearer as the days pass and Abbott’s anti-freedom agenda becomes clearer.