This is not a political blog.
I don’t generally have much to say on the business of politics, but this current sword fight between the two parties regarding the issue of boat people is so incredibly disturbing and saddening that I’m moved to say a word or two.
Obviously, with a Federal Election only months away and both parties having egg on their faces for various reasons, they’re both trying to make a major point in order to garner the votes in their bid to run the country.
The rationale is that if they do this elaborate ‘Boat People’ dance that perhaps people will forget that Tony Abbott is one of the least liked Liberal candidates in history, and that the Labour party is a circus.
It’s not the first time shock tactics and sensationalism have been used to sway opinion, and it sure as shit won’t be the last, but it’s been turned into an almost computer game of good versus evil.
My strongest point that I wish to make is asylum seekers are not criminals. They are not gunner runners, drug smugglers and sex traders.
These are frightened men, women and children who are not stowing away on cruise liners in order to come and smoke free cigarettes in holiday camps until they’re processed and then they come and take our jobs. These are people who are risking life and limb aboard largely unseaworthy vessels because facing unknown dangers at sea, with a possible better life free of persecution and terror seems a better option than living in their own war-torn countries.
We have no idea how lucky we are.
We may see images of their life on the news. Schools bombed, civilians killed, genocide, human rights mercilessly stomped on year after year and we have the luxury of turning the channel over to The Biggest Loser and watching someone struggle to touch their toes and finally overcome their weight problems and we can cheer them on as if we helped and feel uplifted by their achievement.
That’s our reality.
We are desensitized to the atrocities committed daily, hourly, every damned second to our human brothers and sisters around the world.
Imagine if you had a violent intruder in your house and you ran to your neighbour and they turned you away, or told you to try across the road. That’s what we’re doing.
I don’t know what the solution is, but this new proposal of sending asylum seekers to Manus Island is fatally flawed. There is space for 300 people and in the first week there are 800 people forced to live in third word prison conditions, and history has shown us that they end up in this purgatory for years.
Entire childhoods spent behind bars for the crime of their parents dreaming of a better existence. A chance at a normal life.
Our government’s treatment and now, diversion of these refugees, directly contravenes the United Nations Geneva Convention which clearly states that we are obligated by law to provide asylum to genuine refugees. Our mandatory detention was not in keeping with this, and sending people to New Guinea most certainly isn’t either.
My voice alone probably can’t help, but if I add my voice to others, then perhaps we can create a chorus.
If you would like to speak out for asylum seekers to be treated fairly, take 30 seconds to add your name here,