Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

No Guts

MV Tampa













This article by David Day is one of the more common sensed contributions to this debate.

Day advocates a “solution” to the refugee problem that is so obvious that I’m led to wonder why no Australian pollie has had the guts to propose it.

The answer sticks out like the proverbial canine cojones, but I’ll go all naive and pretend, for a moment that I don’t understand.

He talks about an incident in 1990 when a boat with 26 Cambodian refugees landed on the Kimberley coast, and how they were welcomed. No politicians got their knickers in a knot, no shock-jocks were foaming at the mouth, and there was a push from the Broome locals to give them jobs in the tourist industry.

Compare that reaction with the crap that occurs now. There is a whole outrage industry that feeds of unauthorised arrivals. It is headed up by the sycophantic pollies (of both sides of the spectrum) and supercharged by shock jocks in the radio and blogosphere.

The result is enormous damage to the unfortunates concerned (they are banged up in sterile “detention centres” and slowly go mad), and deep wounds are cut in our national psyche. We have created detention Gulags all over the country. We have gone from the nation of the Fair Go to the nation of the Piss-Off. Paranoia is the new national characteristic. The bronzed ANZAC hides in his bedroom.

It's very sad. It makes me ashamed to call myself Australian. These are not my values - nor are they Australian values. These are the values that Stalin and Hitler applied.  I may have been a Nasho back in 1970, but the Australia I was fighting for back then is not the Australia I see now.

How did this come about?

You can draw a line from Tampa through 9/11 to the “Pacific Solution” and now the “Malaysian Solution”. The word “solution” is quite happily used. The fact that it recalls the “Jewish Solution” without apparently troubling Australians is a fair indication of how hysterical our national debate on this issue has become.

John Howard cynically exploited the 9/11 hysteria and Kim Beasley, to his eternal shame, went along with it. Since then, it’s been a chronicle of pissweak populism.

If we’re going to use the word “solution” - try this for size.

Bulldoze the detention centres.
Introduce an Australia card.
Employ Australian processing officers in Indonesia.
Set up a series of “Immigration Zones” in underpopulated regional Australia.
Set up reception centres where refugees can be processed, before being moved quickly into the regional centres.
The security checks can proceed as this happens. The new arrivals would be expected to remain in the reception zones. The Australia card would simplify the process.

This would be cheaper, more humane, and there would be a real benefit to rural Australia. We would be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

It would also eliminate the development of immigration ghettos in our metropolitan cities. Nobody who knows Australia would want to live there - these places breed intolerance, violence, and ultimately terrorism. Their existence also contributes to the national paranoia.

If you think this is pie in the sky, I suggest you take a run out to Charleville, where a community of Vietnamese on 457 visas are keeping a large local business viable at the same time as they improve the quality of local life.

Last time I had a meal at the Charleville RSL there were quite a few Viets doing the same. Their demeanour was indistinguishable from the locals. The state (and Catholic) schools in town have improved out of sight on the backs of the courteous hard-working Vietnamese kids. I’ve been visiting them since 2005, and the improvement is tangible.

You can get a top Asian meal in Charleville these days. It's advertised as a Thai resturant - but hey, who cares? The locals love the tucker.

And I bet this would “stop the boats”. It would be worth doing just to get rid of the insane sloganism which is kids' stuff - yet we fall for it over and over again.

We won’t see it until we have a pollie with guts. There seem to be very few of these around – Bob Katter maybe?

3 comments:

cav said...

You often talk of the elephant in the room and I feel you forgot about it by writing your piece.

The word is Muslim.

Can you correct any of these facts if they are wrong.

The boat people are mostly Muslim.
They destroy their identification papers.
They demand their satisfaction and they use violence so that their needs are met even while in detention.
They send children on life threatening voyagers if it means greater success in acceptance in Australia.
They do not assimilate into Australian society as others migrants have, especially the second generation.
They do not call themselves Australian.
They want special privileges for their religion and their sharia laws.
They are intolerant of our ways, our cultures, our dress and our food while at the same time demanding that we tolerate their special needs because of their religion.
I am of Chinese descent. I call myself Australian. I embrace Australia's culture. I respect Australia's laws. I subscribe to the motto of live and let live.
If the boat people did the same there would be no problems from the Australian community and Australia would embrace them indeed as it does embrace people from all lands.
It is not racist for everyone to be treated the same. It is racist though to give some sections of the community different treatment than that afforded to others.

1735099 said...

Cav
"The boat people are mostly Muslim".
It’s difficult to get statistics on this, but I did some checking on the Immigration Department’s website. They do a breakdown on country of origin, not on religion, but you can make some assumptions. Using their stats, If you assume that every single person off a boat from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq is a Muslim, you end up with a breakdown of 4770 Muslim and 2084 non-Muslim, so it’s about half, which is just about “most”. You can check my maths here - http://www.immi.gov.au/managing-australias-borders/detention/_pdf/immigration-detention-statistics-20110513.pdf
Having said that, Christians have been fleeing Iraq at a great rate since the war was “won”. Half the Christian population has fled, (about 330,000). I’d reckon a fair slice of those coming here from Iraq are Christian. We have a Christian family in our local parish from Iraq. He was a doctor in Iraq, but is doing factory work here because he can’t get his qualifications recognised. Most of his family back home have been killed since the war. You may remember Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam Hussein’s top aides. He is a Christian, under death sentence in Iraq. Mind you, he probably deserves it – other Iraqi Christians don’t.
"They destroy their identification papers".
The only thing that is fact about this statement is that they don’t have papers. I wonder why? There may be a range of reasons for this. In some parts of Afghanistan, to be identified means death if you’re a Hazara, for example. That’s probably a pretty good incentive to destroy ID. In Iraq and Iran, your ID shows what sect you belong to. If you’re identified as Christian in Iraq or BahaĆ­, Sunni or Sufi in Iran in some situations, you’re dead.
"They demand their satisfaction and they use violence so that their needs are met even while in detention".
When you consider that about six thousand people are banged up right now without any clear understanding of when or if they’re going to be released, that’s hardly surprising. It’s amazing there’s not more violence. A fair whack of these people are kids (1083 as of 13th May this year). If my kids were locked up for no reason other than they were displaced, I’d be pretty cranky.
"They send children on life threatening voyagers if it means greater success in acceptance in Australia".
This is a myth generated by the “Children Overboard” incident. It is bullshit, just as “Children Overboard” was. From this distance you and I would have no real idea of why they take their children with them, but if it was me, and I my kids were threatened, I’d do everything in my power to keep them safe – even if it meant gambling the risks of a sea voyage in a leaky boat against the certainty of death in my home country.
"They do not assimilate into Australian society as others migrants have, especially the second generation".
You’re right, if you mean middle-Eastern families in minority ghettos in Sydney and Melbourne. These people have a poor history of assimilation. That’s why I’ve suggested compulsorily settling these people in regional areas.

1735099 said...

"They do not call themselves Australian".
I can speak only of the refugees I come in contact with. Generally in Toowoomba (and Charleville) they’re Vietnamese, Sudanese and Indian. The ones I know have proudly taken citizenship and would be insulted if you didn’t call them Australian. I tend to take people as I find them, rather than listen to those with an axe to grind.
"They want special privileges for their religion and their sharia laws".
I’d listen to what these people (Muslims) actually say about Sharia. If you visit the website of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils - http://www.afic.com.au/this is what they state as their role –
“The mission of AFIC is to provide service to the community in a manner that is in accordance with the teachings of Islam and within the framework of Australian law”.
Australian Law is not Sharia.
"They are intolerant of our ways, our cultures, our dress and our food while at the same time demanding that we tolerate their special needs because of their religion".
Because I’m an old codger I have a long memory. I can remember as a young teacher staying in a boarding house in Goondiwindi in 1968 being abused up hill and down dale because I asked for fish on Friday. Religious intolerance is not confined to Muslims. People have said that about every immigrant minority group since white settlement in Australia began, from the Micks to the Chinese, to Jewish Greeks, Italians and Maltese refugees after WW2, and the Vietnamese boat people. In the wash-up they settled successfully in Australia. It hasn’t always been easy, but generally it’s worked. You and I are prime examples – a Mick and a bloke of Chinese extraction. My mum’s youngest sister married a Chinese bloke who taught my mother a thing or two about cooking. We still use his recipes, and I have seven very attractive Eurasian cousins.
Remember the Afghan Cameleers? They were Muslims – they’ve assimilated pretty well. They have lived in Australia for over a century, and played an important role in the opening up of transport routes through this country’s most remote areas. Marie Bashir and Nick Shehadie are examples of migrants of Middle-Eastern descent (Lebanon).
"I am of Chinese descent. I call myself Australian. I embrace Australia's culture. I respect Australia's laws. I subscribe to the motto of live and let live".
Me too, but replace Chinese with Irish.
"If the boat people did the same there would be no problems from the Australian community and Australia would embrace them indeed as it does embrace people from all lands.
It is not racist for everyone to be treated the same. It is racist though to give some sections of the community different treatment than that afforded to others".
I made no mention of racism in my post, and as someone famous once said “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.
I think it was Karl Marx. He was a German Jew.
This - http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/07/06/boat-people-this-is-what-you-are-anxious-about/
puts the numbers in perspective.

Cav, my rifle section in Vietnam had in it at one time a Murri, a Sri Lankan, a Polish bloke, a West Indian and a Pom. By any definition all were “boat people” looking for a better life. All the others (including me) had ancestors who were. The only difference was the timing. Mine came over in 1856. The other blokes were more recent.

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