One hot summer day, the death of teenager Thomas “TJ” Hickey, who fell from his bike when being pursued by the police, ignited violent riots in The Block, Aboriginal land in the heart of Sydney. I was then living in Melbourne but had flown up to visit some friends. I went to Redfern to see what was happening and had stones thrown at me. Little did I know that only a year later Redfern would be my home.
That year Cyclone Monty hit Australia; there was Spanish, Uruguayan and Chilean illegal fishing; people demonstrated against military intervention in Iraq; there was talk of terrorism, Australian David Hicks was still locked up by Americans, he had been detained in Afghanistan in 2001 and then transferred to Guantanamo. In total, he spent five years in detention without trial.
There was a bit of a diplomatic standoff between Spain and Australia when Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Spaniards had given in to terrorists by voting out José Ma Aznar and his extreme right wing government. In Australia, however, John Howard was re-elected yet again in the federal elections and was congratulated by his mate, George W. Bush.
I moved to Sydney, first to Potts Point and later to Redfern.
Some articles published in La Vanguardia (open pdf in a new window on image click):