Occupy Auckland media team member Suzie Dawson recently went public about her application for temporary asylum in Russia. The Kiwi journalist’s documentary ‘Diary of a Person of Interest‘ details how she has been targeted by the New Zealand and United States governments, leading to her becoming exiled from her home country.
In an interview last week, two eye-witnesses to the targeting of Suzie, the media team co-ordinator Redstar309z and Internet Party of New Zealand candidate Chris Yong, spoke out alongside Suzie to verify her claims.
Yesterday, another media team member, Lyn Ny, was interviewed to get her take on the situation.
Suzie cites Occupy Auckland media team as being the start of her journalism and activism. What are your observations of her personal and media career development over the period 2011 til 2015 when she left New Zealand?
Lyn Ny: Suzie was thrown in the deep end. Occupy was a baptism by fire for a lot of us. An introduction to activism and the government’s response to [our supposed] freedom of speech lol! I watched Suzie arrive at Occupy green and immerse herself and take the penalty that goes with it. Her personal life became public and she rose to the challenge and became a fantastic journalist and advocate for change. It drew a big target on her arse!
What significance and impact did the efforts and actions of Suzie and of the Occupy Auckland media team have in Auckland and in New Zealand?
Lyn Ny: I think that Suzie was integral to the media team… it wouldnt have been as effective without her. She made us all more efficient at sharing the Occupy message initially and then continuing to provide real news about topical events and issues that helped to wake up a lot of people to the state of our city, country, world. Those efforts are continuing thanks to ongoing input from the original team together with the new lot that have largely taken over.
What are your recollections of Suzie being targeted? Can you cite specific instances? On how many occasions did she discuss with you the targeting of her?
Lyn Ny: Suzie was definitely targeted… because she was effective. The internet expose springs to mind. Her family home, car and all other details are probably still available on the internet for the world to see thanks to that crap. That definitely endangered Suzie and her family. We were all watched electronically and physically. Some of us were given special attention from Police and Council … any opportunity to make life difficult was exploited against us. I know her car was messed with and we both had road events that were threatening and unsettling. Its hard to say categorically that someone was trying to kill us but someone was certainly trying to tell us they could.
Suzie has claimed that after leaving your home one night, she was targeted by vehicles who tried to drive her off the road. Do you have any doubt this happened?
Lyn Ny: No doubt at all. At the time it seemed far fetched but in light of what happened to Hone Harawira and then later to me in Dome Valley I have no doubt at all. Suzie was and probably still is of sufficient interest to warrant this kind of fear tactic and who knows how far they would go? I dont think they would mind if they ran her off the road and killed her or the kids and I wouldnt be surprised if that was their aim.
Suzie says that the targeting of her continued as she travelled across the world, and she recently revealed that she is seeking temporary asylum in Russia. Do you feel this is justified? Do you believe that the targeting of her was particularly voracious?
Lyn Ny: I cant comment on her travels since she left New Zealand but I can assert that she was targeted specially for her high profile in media in NZ. I know she was because ALL high profile occupiers were given special attention. She was more vulnerable in some ways than me… young kiddies make you more vulnerable. And she was more publicly visible and therefore more effective. This meant more effort went into trying to shut her down… move her out of Occupy or out of town… or, as it turned out, out of the country.
Has the political environment in New Zealand improved?
Lyn Ny: No… it’s worse. Many times worse. Those who are still effective as activists are discouraged by any means possible. It is deadly dangerous to speak against the government.
Suzie’s supporters have created the Twitter account @HelpSuzi3D to raise awareness about her situation and this Tumblr account to pool media resources and related information about her asylum application. Suzie is unable to work while her application is pending and donations are urgently required to sustain her young family during this time. Please give generously and share this information by whatever means you can.
Kia ora koutou.
OCCUPY AUCKLAND MEDIA TEAM