Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

I tried – I really did

with 6 comments

When Villawood went up in flames I tried to stay quiet.  I posted a comment to a friend on Facebook and that was the extent of my activism.

Today I read some comments in The Age that just make me despair of any hope for mankind.

Four Detainees still on Villawood roof screams the headline.  I do have to commend The Age for presenting far more balanced reporting than the HeraldSun.  I read articles in both papers earlier in the week.

The bit that forced me to break my silence was this:

Meanwhile, acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan today condemned a rally outside the centre, planned for Monday by the Refugee Rights Action Network.

Mr Swan said the rioters’ actions could not be defended and the rally would be inappropriate.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily appropriate at all. There has been unacceptable behaviour by people inside the facility,” he told reporters in Cairns.

“We cannot, in any way, condone the sorts of acts and behaviour we have seen at that facility in recent days.”

Mr Swan refused to be drawn on the police’s decision to deny food to the four protesters still on the centre’s roof.

No, I do not condone the specific behavior either, but I sure as hell understand it.  Just because we do not condone something does not mean we cannot understand it and fight for change when WE are the ones causing the behaviour in the first place.  The Refugee Rights Action Network has every right to protest to highlight the inhumane treatment of these poor people.  Unacceptable behaviour inside the facility?  Only AFTER unacceptable behaviour on our behalf outside the facility.  Let’s be real about the chicken or the egg here!

These people have an INTERNATIONAL RIGHT to seek asylum, to seek safe refuge.  They get here and, despite what much of the media might like us to believe, we treat them badly.  We have been criticised,  rightly so, for our policies.  But we treat them so well, you say?  Really?  Remember the sanitary products?

What makes US so damn special that we can treat our fellow humans this way?  You, yes, you reading this: you think this can never happen to YOU?  Think again, for what will YOU do if Australia gets invaded (or similar) by a regime you are terrified of?  Will you seek asylum somewhere?  But you are special, aren’t you, so you wouldn’t think of you ever being in the shoes of these poor people in Villawood.  Think again.


Written by Robyn Dunphy

April 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I’m not Australian but we have the same issues in the US. Immigration is one of the most contentious issues of the day. While there’s no easy solution, I can’t help but think of what’s written on the tablet in Lady Liberty’s hands:

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

    Australia and the U.S. are countries of immigrants and we’d be wise to remember that.


    April 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    • We would be wise to remember it, but oh how quickly we forget.

      Here though, the issue isn’t even about immigration. This is about refugees, which is a whole different area of consideration.

      I think part of the problem is that people do see the two issues as intertwined, when they cannot and must not be.

      Immigration is a question of policy, asylum seekers are a question of international humanitarianism.

      Team Oyeniyi

      April 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      • I am guilty of using the terms interchangeably, but I get what you’re saying. Immigration involves paperwork and communication between governments. If fleeing from a regime or hostile government, this is impossible. Essentially, asylum seekers have no country and no choice. Am I at all close?

        The words on the Statue of Liberty still apply, I think.


        April 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm

        • Oh definitely Momfog. I was more thinking aloud than anything else.

          I’ve often said “The Sound of Music” is about asylum seekers. We all love “the Sound of Music” don’t we? 🙂

          Team Oyeniyi

          April 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm

        • In my Top Five. 🙂


          April 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm

        • Exactly!!

          Team Oyeniyi

          April 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm

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