In the wee hours of Saturday morning, December 3rd, some 40 people gathered in the dark at the monument in Eureka park in Ballarat. For the last 10 years people have gathered at the monument for a dawn vigil to remember those who died one morning 157 years ago fighting to defend basic rights and liberties.
The persecution of Julian Assange and wikileaks for publishing diplomatic cables, and information on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars is just the latest in government suppression of freedom of speech and human rights and liberties, which past generations have fought for including the men and women of the Eureka rebellion in Ballarat in 1854. I have just returned from Ballarat where I was part of the commemoration of the Eureka Rebellion in 1854 - the 156th anniversary. The struggle for democratic rights and liberties and against corrupt government continues in 2010.
One hundred and fifty six years after the Eureka Rebellion was drowned in a sea of blood in Ballarat on the 3rd December 1854, diverse opinions are still held about the Rebellion's significance. Opinions have varied from Karl Marx's observations in 1855 "we have to distinguish between the riot at Ballarat (near Melbourne) and the general revolutionary movement in the colony of Victoria. The former will have been suppressed by now; the later can only be suppressed through complete concessions". Mark Twain, in 1897 in his whirlwind Australian tour believed "Eureka...