I READ in the Newcastle Herald last Thursday (‘Refugee recasts his craft in a new city’, 3/1) about a man named Darwich Sido. It was a heart-warming story of a man and his family who were driven from their country by war (how many of us have had to do that?). Darwich’s business was ruined and his home was bombed after they left Aleppo.
I had occasion to need the repair of a pair of trousers so I sought out Mr Sido. I found him in Stockland Jesmond and told him what I wanted. He took a brief look at the problem and said “take a seat; I can do this while you wait”.
As it turned out, I took a seat at the rear of his shop and chatted to him while he was affecting the repair. We chatted about the problems in Syria and the plight of him and his family. He said “I’ve had to start over”.
When he first arrived in Newcastle, he attended TAFE to learn to speak English. Darwich showed me a photo on his phone of his wife, two sons and his daughter. It was nice to see them in the photo.
After about 20 minutes, he packed my trousers in a plastic bag, shook my hand and wished me well. What a lovely man. I wish him and his lovely family all the best that Newcastle can offer. I will never forget him.
Les Field, Wickham
I THINK Phillip O'Neill's article in the Herald (‘Hungry for transition’, 7/1) actually reads like something penned some 30 years ago. Professor O'Neill suggests that "Newcastle sits like Oliver Twist in a mud fog workshop, bowl out, asking for more". While some people have written to his paper wanting Gladys Berejiklian to take her money and machinery back to Sydney, thereby leaving us alone, Phillip O'Neill writes that Newcastle is hungry for transition and all the state government's attention is currently directed between Sydney and the Central Coast.
Presently, our skyline is almost dominated by huge cranes associated with developmental programs around the city and the transition of the magnificent harbour foreshores and its surrounds is, in my opinion, welcome and long overdue. Before he resigned as premier, Mike Baird inferred that he wanted to make Newcastle "The Jewel of the Pacific". I realise that may have been a slight overstatement, but, to my mind, the state government has, much to the chagrin of some critics, been trying to deliver on the visions of the former premier. I would like to invite the learned professor to have another visit to this area, from his office at the University of Western Sydney, and perhaps reconsider some of his views.
David Stewart, Merewether
A home of their own
WELL said Jason Nichol (Letters, 7/1). You are spot on with your letter about the boarding house. I have mentioned previously what a great job Aaron does with his care and support for all at his residences.
The boarding house is as stated: clean, safe and the family-type atmosphere was no more evident than on Christmas Day. A lunch was organised for all residents and their families and it was just another wonderful gesture from Aaron.
The joy and friendship as all gathered as an extended family to celebrate the festive season was very touching. Maybe if the lord mayor and our councillors and these inspectors actually witnessed this type of camaraderie they might form a different opinion.
Australia was once the land of opportunity where mateship and giving someone a go was the way this great country was forged. Let’s hope commonsense prevails and these men and children can remain safe with a roof over their head and with the ongoing support of Aaron and this facility; a break in life that all Aussies deserve.
Wayne Saxby, Wallsend
Not here, not ever
I WAS disturbed to read in the Newcastle Herald that Asset Energy have notified the Australian Stock Exchange of plans to ramp up offshore gas testing “at the earliest opportunity” (‘3D next step in gas hunt’, Herald, 10/1).
The waters off Newcastle are no place for seismic testing or an oil or gas field. Not now. Not ever.
Who asked the people of Newcastle or the Central Coast or Sydney if they want a massive oil and gas field off the coast?
The idea of sitting on Nobbys beach and seeing oil rigs on the horizon or dead whales and dolphins washing up is offensive. In March last year I stood with hundreds of community members at Nobbys in protest at this proposal. There’s too much at stake for us to accept this risk and we’ll be out in force again unless the licence is revoked and the project is rejected.
We don’t need new fossil fuels in an age of climate change and we should do all we can to protect our precious marine life like whales and dolphins, our ocean and our coastline from this industry.
I’m calling on both major parties to listen to the community and rule out an oil or gas field anywhere off the NSW coast.
Jeremy Buckingham, Independent NSW MP
Well done Trump, keep at it
IF I wrote a letter to the President of the US today I would say: I applaud your move to remove US troops from Syria and reduce US troops in Afghanistan and will urge our government to follow that lead and remove Australian troops from these areas too, thus enabling the countries concerned to determine and take responsibility for their future without foreign troop involvement.
I note that you stated to your troops in Iraq recently that : “…each nation in the world must decide for itself what kind of future it wants to build for its people, and what kind of sacrifices they are willing to make for their children.”
I totally agree with this statement and urge that in relation to Australia you withdraw your troops stationed each year in Australia (Darwin) and terminate the Force Posture Agreement between the government of the United States and the government of Australia thereby enabling the Australian people to recover sovereignty which is compromised by the presence of those foreign troops on our soil. We are not at war; we are not threatened by any country militarily and our Defence Department sees no military threat to Australia in the foreseeable future. In any case, we have a well-equipped and trained Defence force to defend our continent.
I also note that in withdrawing your troops from Syria and Afghanistan you see useful monetary savings for the American taxpayer. These savings could be further increased by withdrawal of your troops from Australia (Darwin) with the termination of the Force Posture Agreement between the US and Australia thus allowing our country to be free to build a peaceful future without the presence of foreign troops on our soil.