I had been planning to write about the increasing lack of compassion in the world but was temporarily stymied by the latest words of Peter Dutton (Australia’s Home Affairs Minister) who has made a statement so abhorrent that I was having trouble finding what to say.
“It’s essential that people realise that the hard-won success of the last few years could be undone overnight by a single act of compassion in bringing 20 people from Manus to Australia.” Peter Dutton
While Donald Trump demonises ‘his’ asylum seekers by separating children from parents with hardly a thought as to the damage it will do, our Australian Border Force controller warns of the danger of ‘a single act of compassion’ in relation to 'our' asylum seekers.
An 'act of compassion' spoken of as if it's something almost evil.
For anyone wondering what that ‘single act of compassion’ might have been – it was the act of allowing a dying man to leave his place of imprisonment on the island of Nauru to receive palliative care in Australia in his last weeks of life.
Mind you, this man had been assessed as a legitimate refugee but was not allowed to stay in Australia because he had made the journey here by boat. He was also denied appropriate treatment for his lung cancer and now it has progressed to the point where he is dying. He has been imprisoned for 5 years! And it took a petition signed by 24,000 decent Australians and a letter signed by 2000 Australian doctors (Yes, 2000 doctors!) to finally induce a bureaucrat in the Border Security department to allow this poor man to come to Australia to receive palliative care. Palliative care!
Does that make you at least wonder about the attitude of ‘those in power’?
Empathy is missing. Compassion is missing. Humanity is wanting.
One of the awful things about refugees and our country is that the media is not allowed to visit, let alone photograph what is happening in our off shore ‘processing’ prisons. There is a hefty fine for any journalist who breaches this ‘rule’.
It’s not only this blocking of media that is puzzling, it’s also the lack of reporting true facts that have many of us wondering just WHO is in charge? What part of the media is bending to the whims of the current government by not reporting what is happening - and allowing untruths about refugees to flourish?
No, they are NOT illegal!
And, who could - or should be, but is unable to - even start to work out a humane solution to this horrendous problem of refugees seeking asylum?
We know that the awful (yet obscenely costly) treatment of refugees (in Manus Island & Nauru) has not really ‘stopped the boats’ as claimed by politicians. Boats continue to head for Australia, but are ‘scuttled’ (Border Force expression) or ‘turned around’. Any information as to what happens to the people on these boats is not forthcoming, but I guess it is not a happy outcome.
But, we mustn’t think of that in case we find compassion creeping into our minds, thus undoing ‘the hard-won success of the last few years’ – that is, the mythical ‘stopping of the boats’: the method used to (supposedly) dissuade asylum seekers from seeking help and safety in Australia.
There must be a better way.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.