I’m a bit late this year, but I still wanted to jot down a couple of disconnected thoughts. As with last year’s post, my views may change in the morning!
Our asylum seeker policy is a national shame, and we all own it
Hundreds of innocent people are locked up in our name. At least two have died, but we don’t count them.
We routinely send refugees back to face torture and persecution in the countries they have fled.
We pay foreign governments to help them prevent refugees from leaving in the first place. This is the direct, no-exaggeration-required equivalent of paying the Soviets to put another layer of bricks on the Berlin Wall.
We are one of the richest countries in the world. We are collectively some of the richest people in the entire history of the world. Yet we have more important things to care about. Going to the beach. Buying those new shoes. Getting trashed with the boys. Making dogs chase mechanical rabbits.
I had written something about the hand of friendship we extend to the people fleeing the very same wars we are fighting. I take it back. There is no hand of friendship. We offer nothing.
We all need to own this one, because we do all own it, whether or not we care.
Our society neglects the traditional owners of ‘its’ land
Where are the indigenous voices in our society? I have come across strong, powerful indigenous voices on a few occasions this year and each time I have been blown away. Unfortunately those experiences have been a long way from the mainstream, where indigenous representation seems limited to Adam Goodes and Noel Pearson, at least when the latter praises an old white man friend of his or goes in to bat for a (typically failed) government policy. I have nothing against Adam Goodes, but I wish our society would pay more attention to the grassroots voices and stories of people like Amy McQuire, Barb Shaw and Chris Tamwoy. Hell, even reading Bringing them Home would be a start.
Abbott’s citizenship almost matters
It doesn’t really. He’s doing an awful job whether or not he’s in there legitimately, and he is theoretically capable of doing a good job whether or not he’s in there legitimately. If our MPs are allowed to give confidential information to the intelligence services of foreign nations without even a slap on the wrist, I fail to see what difference a passport should make.
At the same time the whole issue raises some interesting questions. Why have the law at all, if we don’t actually care whether the PM (or any other MP) has dual citizenship? If that’s the case then why was the law written in the first place? Would we let a foreigner born in Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan or Brazil into the top job without asking for some proof of their legitimacy?
Would we let them continue in the job unchallenged if they then knighted one of their former-countrymen for absolutely no apparent reason? Somehow I don’t think so.
Muslims are people, and like all people, most of them are our friends
This one should be obvious, but we all need to fight the fight, no matter how obvious it may appear. I have no religious inclinations whatsoever but I also have no desire to see any group singled out for possessing shared beliefs and practices that go no further (okay, maybe a tiny bit further, if you want to get technical) than reading a book, avoiding some foods, touching one’s head to the ground a few times a day and trying to live a good life and be a decent human being. Anything else – good or bad – is up to the individual, not the religion.
The Asian Cup has been a fabulous tournament, and more people should be aware of it
A slightly more lighthearted thought, which I’m about to ruin with seriousness, for the tournament has been a great advertisement for the point I made above. Sadly I don’t think many rusted on Islamophobes would have seen Omar Abdulrahman’s magic over the past three weeks, or have been in the stands for Iraq v Iran.
It’s real, it’s here, it’s not going away. At least not while we all live the same lives we lived last year, and the year before, and the year before that, and wait for Tony fucking Abbott to do something about it.