Sunday, February 23, 2014

When the evil chickens come home to roost

As much as it makes sense to be proud of your country by and large I'm proud of mine, Australia.  However, there are some dark stains on our national soul.  The largest is our historical disregard for the original inhabitants of our land, the Aboriginals and Torres Strait islanders.  Having said that, while our behavior towards our first people has been (and still is in some areas) reprehensible I think in judging our forebears perhaps we should remember that they were the products of their times.  In judging ourselves now I think its at least true to say that we are trying to do the right thing.  The Aboriginals and Torres Strait islanders are still enormously disadvantaged and white Australia certainly hasnt found the answer to closing the gap but we are trying.

However, when it comes to the treatment of asylum seekers today there is no defense of our actions and no mitigation of our sin.  Here we sit in one of the safest, richest and emptiest countries on the planet and virtually alone amongst 'peer' nations we are uniquely evil in our treatment of those escaping the worst nations on earth.  We close our borders to those trying to get here, if we catch them we put them in lifeboats and tow them out to sea, if they make it here we deport them to third world nations to linger for years in virtual exile and if by some chance they do stay on our shores they are still kept in a legal limbo where their long term status is unknown and me ensure they are locked in desperate poverty.

In short, our treatment of those seeking to find safety on our shores is evil, and those who support it sinners.  It is that simple.