Last Wednesday night we were invited to go to the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, held by Amnesty. Starting with a welcome by a traditional custodian of the land, we were treated to a dinner in the Australian Jockey Club at Randwick Racecourse.
Some of the interesting moments included finding out that Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO is actually related (by blood) to Eleanor Roosevelt.
The food was, by mass catering standards, quite remarkable. Here is the entree of a huge Mezze Plate of roasted artichokes, vine leaves, stuffed sweet pimentos, proscuitto, marinated olives, Italian salami, hummus dip and lovely Moroccan bread.
The key note speaker was none other than Geoffrey Robertson QC - probably the world's leading human rights barrister. If he needs an introduction, check out his Wikipedia entry HERE.
He was one of the most fabulous orators I have heard live, he covered 700 years of history in a neat story explaining how we have got to where we have on the issue of human rights. And it's not far enough in his opinion either, people.
One of the funniest moments to me was finding out the initial draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was authored by a group of writers including H.G. Wells (War of the Worlds) and A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh) - pretty funny! Oh and the first version of the American version initially read these rights are 'sacred and inviolable' but Ben Franklin (who invented bifocals and the lightening rod) changed the words to 'self-evident' as he felt it sounded too close to the pulpit. Oh and Stalin liked show-trials. He really tied a whole lot of history together for me in an engaging and witty monologue.
Plus I am very chuffed that he also believes in exile, I have said for a long time, no death penalties, send 'em to Antarctica if they prove unable to live in a civilised society with others.
I saw David Hicks too. I would have loved to hear him speak (and touched him), but as the lovely Mohamed from Amnesty (who organised our tickets) pointed out, you can't touch him because well - torture probably means you don't feel so good about people touching you any more. He's not that chuffed with the media either. But way cool to see him alive, kicking and walking freely.
Finally we were rocked by Ebb Tide and The Shorebreakers with Rob Hirst, the drummer (and apparently the real singer) from Midnight Oil. They even performed some old Oils songs. Rob wrote, or co-wrote most of their big hits!
saving planet = tick