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Ye of no sin, cast the first stone

07/06/2011

So it’s on again. The continuous feeling of filth that we can not shake off. We blame others for it. We seldom blame ourselves.

The asylum seeker debate, the product of 9/11, has been the chain around our necks since the moment we chose to wrap ourselves in it to protect us from the evil of terrorism by asylum seeker.

In a reaction to people seeking assistance, we built bunkers and cast them deep inside. When their cries began to deafen us, we built the bunkers on distant isles and notably forgot about them as we could no longer hear them.

In a bizarre twist of art meeting life, Australia buried its pride in a policy out of the mind of Philip K Dick. Minority Report in all it’s glory.

If you are not familiar with the story, it centred on a way to stop crime and therefore the trauma of crime on society. Sound’s great huh? Without going into the mechanics, it worked like this.

Using three ‘sensitives’ – people with psychic powers hooked up to a computer – the police of the day could look into the future and see someone that will commit a crime and then the police would arrest them before they actually did.

The story is a deeper tale and I refer you to finding and reading this lovely short piece.

I use it to make the analogy of mandatory detention. A policy designed to  punish someone before they got a chance to actually commit a crime. All in the name of protecting our tall buildings from planes and our trains from suicide bombers.

In the story, it turned out that some people were falsely arrested and punished for crimes they did not commit. It is the same with what happened to asylum seekers.

Last week Scott Morrison had the utter gall or  ignorance to use the term ‘illegal immigrants’ when referring to asylum seekers and how terrible the ALP so called Malaysian solution. In reality, I would suggest Mr Morrison would be upset with any solution period. But all the ALP is proposing here is a shifting of the guilt.

Mr Morrison keeps mixing up illegal immigration with asylum seeking. Or maybe he wants the two to be synonymous in the hearts of Australians.

“It is the law under the Malaysian migration act that illegal immigrants can be caned, so this is an arrangement where the Coalition has repeatedly raised our concerns about this deal, which has not been thought through,” Mr Morrison said.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national/immigration-minister-chris-bowen-says-malaysian-solution-will-include-children/story-e6frfkvr-1226068331197#ixzz1OXygCcDv

The Nauru deterrent is no more. Lets be honest. All those sent to Nauru that were found to be genuine refugees found new homes within 3 years. Most in Australia. While Nauru was a place of asylum limbo, it was a deterrent and one that marked the innocent with the crime of wanting to seek a better life. The smugglers continued to life a full life outside imprisonment.

But as I said, now that any regional processing centre will be seen as nothing more then a 3 year Australian paid vacation before fast tracking into safe countries, it will not stop the boats as it will be preferable then some refugee camps.

The Malaysian Solution we are told will not hurt the asylum seekers as much and seeks to end the reward. This wont be know till, not only we see the policy, but watch it in action. By not hurt the asylum seekers as much, we are told that the asylum seeker is not put into limbo nor will them coming by boat be a reward. It will be back to another refugee centre.

That is the way the ALP attempts to wipe the spot on the hands of us all since the Coalition heralded us into this policy of meting guilt before meting compassion.

A policy that puts people behind bars without a trial or even a crime.

A policy that encourages those that do not know better to assume that since they are behind bars, they must be guilty of something.

A policy that now allows Scott Morrison to claim the act of seeking asylum is illegal.

Having said that. There is equal guilt by all here. When 9/11 happened we were terrorised. When subsequent acts of terror occurred to others and to us, we took out our terror on people fleeing from terror themselves.

We locked them up for our ‘safety’ claiming it was for theirs.

We stripped them of their rights claiming it was the right thing to do for us.

And now we desperately seek a solution to cleanse ourselves from the horror we allowed to be committed on others by blaming those we asked to do it.

This is a complex issue.

Maybe this Malaysian solution will stop the boats. Especially if the deal struck with Malaysia and the UNHCR can then be used as a template for similar agreements in the region. Maybe it will also have increased refugee intakes from those governments and maybe those in the camps can actually see them as real hope and the boats not necessary.

Or maybe it wont.

What ever the outcome, those who are truly untainted by our nations Mandatory Detention policy and only those, can cast the stones at the government and coalition for their parts. The truth of it was they were reacting to public sentiment. The horror of it now is some people are trying to incite it.

And the guilt will be borne by us and our children to come.

You can stop the boats, but you cant stop the memories. Or the guilt.

A. Ghebranious 2011 (All Rights Reserved)

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3 Comments
  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    Well said.

  2. NormanK permalink

    Ash
    I love your blog but I must point out two inaccuracies (if my recollection is correct).
    Under Malaysian law irregular arrivals are regarded as ‘illegal immigrants’ so Morrison is correct within the context of the quote you cited. This doesn’t absolve Morrison’s and Abbott’s frequent use of the term in the Australian context, as they frequently do.
    One of the necessary provisions of any deal with Malaysia is that anyone we send there not be regarded as an ‘illegal immigrant’ under their laws and as such subject to imprisonment, fines and caning.

    Paul Keating instigated mandatory detention when it was shown that something like 10% of asylum seekers were disappearing into the community and not meeting their obligations to report to authorities. This creates the possibility of an unregistered underclass.
    Don’t mistake my remark as being in favour of mandatory detention. I don’t know what the solution is to that particular problem.
    I am following the Malaysia deal as closely as a humble citizen can and I remain optimistic that a humane deal can be struck whereby people stop getting into boats but Australia continues to take in and welcome our fair share of asylum seekers.

    While I’ve got the microphone may I offer words of encouragement for the continuance of your fine blog.

    • Thanks for the extra detail and your kind words Norman.

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