Compassion & gender differences.
As I’m sure most people are well aware…Australia is currently in a terrible situation concerning asylum seekers. Sure, many other nations are trying to sort out the dire consequences of war and the resultant influx of millions of refugees, but Australia seems to have a unique problem.
According to our National Anthem, we have ‘boundless plains to share’, but according to (most of) our politicians we are not about to share our land with asylum seekers – referred to as ‘Illegal immigrants’ - amongst other derogatory labels. If we do, it might encourage more ‘illegal boat people’. Heaven forbid!
Currently the plan is to send any ‘illegal’ (they’re not!) arrivals to ‘off shore’ detention facilities – which means in another country, such as Nauru or Papua New Guinea.
Costing billions of $$$ and presenting as places of horror.
To cut a long story short, owing to various (mostly) medical circumstances, some asylum seekers, including 37 tiny babies are now in mainland Australia and about to be sent back (or in the case of the babies, just SENT) to Nauru.
Now, from all accounts, Nauru detention centre is a hell hole, consisting of large tents, surrounded by wire fences. (It’s possible to find most of the details about it on-line).
Many, many people have voiced their objections to this plan in many, many ways. People of decency and compassion are against the returning of people to such misery - and today Bondi Beach is a scene where (& I quote):
‘37 cots shrouded in barbed wire sit in the sand depicting a fate so many Australians are trying to prevent.’
‘Bondi locals including M4R (Mums for Refugees) members turn up in their hundreds to protest the deportation of the 267 innocents.
Posts about this happening have been broadcast on Face Book.
Comments have been flowing all morning…more than 200 so far on one site…and the majority of them have supported the action of the protestors.
Here is a very small sample (lifted from FB):
‘This is so heartbreaking - why is it so difficult to be kind to others’
‘Australian born babies, I can't believe this is even an issue that people have to fight. There should be no question of where their home is.’
‘Good on you guys for standing up for these poor people caught in this scam of a war’
A quick calculations tells me that, of the 200+ comments, over 180 are of a supportive and an agreeing nature. Many people are extremely upset at our country’s treatment of asylum seekers – and I am one of them.
However, scrolling through today’s comments I find that (about every 15th or so) has a negative attitude.
Here are a few:
‘So we should just let anyone into this country? We should show sympathy because they have a sad story? ‘
‘Where's the funding going to come from?’
‘How about all you do gooders worry about things closer to home. There's poor people here in Australia, homeless ones as well.’
‘Get a job u bums’
Excuse me for using the age-old colour reference for gender, but can you guess why I’ve used the pink and blue? (Well, pink-ish & blue-ish, sorry!)
Despite the appearance of a few male voices supporting the protest, the vast majority of positive comments are from women, while all the negative comments are from men.
Why is this so?
Many men I know are as appalled at the maltreatment of refugees as I am, and yet, reading through what has been written today (and on other sites over the past few weeks), it seems as if these men have no compassion – no sympathy and, dare I say it, no understanding of suffering.
And, yet, and yet…many professional men – doctors, church leaders, lawyers – are extremely supportive of the idea that we should not be treating refugees in such cruel ways. Then why the negative comments from men on FB pages?
Is it because the comments are coming from men who are dissatisfied with their lot in life? Are they home with little to do but scroll through FB pages?
I can understand how women perhaps have more time (& more passion) to indulge in FB discussions of this sort, especially if they are at home looking after their children.
But it astounds and worries me that so many men have such a nasty attitude to people in dire need.
Are most of our politicians of this same breed?
Sadly, many of them seem to be.
Let the asylum seekers stay, I say.
And close the horrific detention centres.
PS: I am about to go on holidays for 2+ weeks, so blog post will be non-existent for that time as I am travelling minus computer.
Youth without purpose
On the day that school resumed after six weeks’ summer holiday, this graffiti (and more) appeared on the skateboard ramp in our local park. We take daily walks in this lovely park of winding pathways surrounded by grassy parkland and towering gum trees. There are several tennis courts at one end of the park as well as the popular skateboard area.
Sometime last year the skate ramps were smartened up with a new coat of paint and a general tidying up.
After school hours - and at weekends and holiday times - the ramps simply buzz with kids of all ages riding their zippy little scooters, their skateboards and BMX bikes. It’s great to see such activity, where kids are active, outside in the fresh air, not hunched over computer screens. There is never an overweight kid to be seen and laughter abounds.
Strange that someone decided to desecrate the ramps on the day that most kids were back in the classroom.
But is it strange?
Perhaps some disenfranchised teenage kids who joyously left school at the end of last year, assuming life without school work would be bliss, have discovered that once there is no school, no purpose, few mates and nothing to do, life sucks.
So, what to do but vent their anger and frustration by painting stupid slogans on the place that symbolises fun and companionship.
I may be wrong but you can see some of these aimless teenage kids roaming the streets and hanging about the shopping malls. They are too disillusioned and unmotivated to have stayed at school and too young and inexperienced to secure employment. There is not much for these kids to do except get into some sort of destructive mischief. Painting messages on a skateboard ramp is probably a very minor misdemeanour. Bur what comes next, when boredom and dissatisfaction with life increases as days go by?
There has to be sympathy for these kids.
Where are the family role models for them? What else could the school have done to keep them gainfully occupied? And I certainly don’t blame the schools. I bet the teachers were glad to be rid of most of these early school leavers.
But, when you see (on the nightly tv news), a vision of a suspect in some sort of crime or serious driving offence, can you not see the face of the disillusioned youth of earlier – only grown a bit older?
They have that look about them.
I apologise for sounding elitist – I definitely don’t feel that way. What I do feel is pity for the kids who start off on the wrong feet (so to speak); the kids who have no proper guidance, the kids who play up at school and who can’t wait to leave.
The kids who find that not going to school is not what it is cracked up to be and yet cannot admit it and so vent their bitterness by spraying obscenities on skate park walls.
In this photo is nine-year-old James. He has been playing the viola for two years and is quite accomplished. A great-grandfather of James played the violin, as did one of his great uncles. A great-grandmother played the piano very well and a second cousin is extremely musical. But neither of James’s parents is musically inclined which makes one wonder if musicality is a special and isolated genetic ‘gift’ or if it travels through the ‘blood line’, missing the occasional generation.
James’s maternal grandmother was so un-musical that, when she was a small school girl, the singing teacher would sometimes suggest a song be repeated but ‘don’t you sing this time, Fay’ was the request. Sad but true.
Is musical ability similar to athletic ability, where a young person that way inclined, with great practise, attains a high level of athletics or some sport?
Or is music something different; something more special?
It is obvious that there are musical people and non-musical people.
It’s a fascinating ‘condition’ that I think is far more complex than any ability for physical achievement.
Is it more akin to mathematical ability?
Musicianship must be connected more to brain activity than to physical mastery and yet there is also a sort of emotional connection to be seen in people with (advanced) musical skill.
Do mathematicians ‘lose themselves’ in a trance-like state as they work on a fascinating equation? Perhaps they do.
Or is the ability to master music simply a factor in one’s make-up, such as the characteristic of having curly or straight hair? But then hair type and body build are physical features that can be seen – and seen to have an origin.
Musical attributes are invisible.
But, fortunately for us all, they can lead to music that can be heard.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.