By Izzy Brown, as told to Zelda Grimshaw
As Published in The Guardian 6 May 2021
They make great trucks. That’s what my father says whenever I ask him: “What do they make? Who do they sell them to?” “Only to the good guys,” is his standard answer, and the topic changes quickly. But what he calls “trucks”, most people call “tanks”. And I am always led to wonder, “What kind of ‘good guy’ drives a tank?”
My father works for Thales, one of the richest weapons corporations in the world. Before heading up security for Thales he worked for Asio, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
On a rainy summer’s day in January I learnt that Thales sells weaponised vehicles to Indonesia’s special forces, Kopassus. The same Kopassus that have been accused of terrorising, torturing and murdering the people of West Papua.
My partner is a West Papuan refugee. Half of our children’s family live in West Papua, terrified of Indonesian soldiers, ready to run when Kopassus troops roll into their villages. I was suddenly painfully aware that my father is paid by a company that sells weapons that may be used against his own grandchildren’s family.
I had always suspected that my father’s employer and my partner’s journey might be connected in some way but I had never imagined how horribly entangled their stories were.
Zelda Grimshaw and Izzy Brown are musicians and activists from Narrm, Australia.
Jangan Bunuh Kami Lagi (Stop Killing Us) by Disrupt LandForces
80% of the earth’s wild places are protected by 3% of her people: First Nations people. Weapons are pouring into indigenous lands to enforce extraction and suppress resistance. The weapons used to attack people’s movements from the Amazon to Arizona will be up for sale at Land Forces in Brisbane June 1-3. We have created this anthem for all who stand with us to protect people and protect country.
With thanks to Manu Dibango, The Black Brothers, Elf Tranzporter, MC Izzy, Zelda Da & Porobibi