Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Random Thoughts on Refugees

I am fortunate enough to be able to interact with different kinds of migrants here in Australia including refugees. They openly share with me their experiences and thoughts of their new lives in this country.
One time, I told one Sudanese that I do not like celebrating my birthday. She said that I should be happy and I should spend it with my same-sex partner. Then I found out that many refugees do not even know when they were born. The immigration department assign them their birthdates.
I have encountered a lot of Australian-born kids here and they are mostly concerned about getting a car or the latest phone model. On the other hand, the young Sri Lankans I know are very very excited going to school and learning more about this adoptive country. They are very hungry for stimulation because they were practically born and were raised in refugee camps.

Many white Aussies believe that refugees are only taking the former's tax money through Centrelink payments. These pompous people have not even talked to one of these refugees. They do not know how hard refugees work on to get their skills recognised and how racist Australian employers are. Refugees work so hard for their education and when they reach that goal, it is much much harder for them to get employment than their white counterparts.

Very recently, dozens of asylum seekers (including babies and women) perished as their boat smashed against jagged rocks at Christmas Island. Online, many Australians say that these people deserve to die for queue jumping---death for the desire to have a life with dignity.

Afghans tell me there are no queues to jump but there are literally people to run from. Yes, they run to cross borders and not many make it. Only the young make it and that is why most Afghans in Australia are teenagers without their siblings and parents.
Many Aussies do not know that refugees spend not only a few years in refugee camps but decades. Some of them even die in refugee camps where conditions are far from humane. It takes the United Nations years to declare them as genuine refugees and it takes Australia years to accept them.

There are no queues to jump but their own lives to save.

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