Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Welcoming asylum seekers

Boat people--that is like a bad word in Australian Labor and Liberal politics. It is like these politicians do not even want to touch them. It is like if they could handle their application with a thousand-kilometer pole, they would.

I thought signing the Refugee Convention means welcoming asylum seekers and shielding them from persecution and yet here we are--trying to ship them to a place as far away from the continent as our conscience (or the lack of) will allow us.

This level of debate makes us forget how the white settlers came to this country. The Aboriginals did not ship them to an island that geographically looks like it is already part of Malaysia or Indonesia. The Aboriginals did not even ask for identity papers.

And yet here we are--looking for a place to dump people who are looking for protection.

Back when I was still living in the Philippines, border protection meant warding off foreign fisher folk who are robbing us of corals, fish and other forms of marine life. I guess nowadays that definition has changed.

I know all Australians know this--asylum seekers are not here to invade us. They are not here to destroy this beautiful country. They are here because they want to live a full life and being in a detention centre will not offer this.

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