What Do Your Views On Asylum Seekers Say About Your Values?
During the rise of Hitler in Germany people chose to ignore the plight of the Jews because they believed the rhetoric in his campaigns. They believed the fear campaign. They wanted to believe that the German people had been badly done by, in the Treaty of Versailles because of the Jews. Although on the whole a good people they were a Silent Majority. We say that we teach people history so that it may never be repeated. We lie to ourselves.
Australia’s Silent Majority
I made a comment on my Facebook page that drew a parallel between the convicts being held in hulks on the Thames river in 1776, who were transported to Australia to get rid of the problem, and the Asylum seekers being held on Manus and Nauru. Maybe we should let history repeat itself. Not a single agreement. A lot of silence, and one slightly abusive disagreement with my comment. Reading the statistics on the subject of Asylum seekers, 72% or higher believe that we should be treating them far more humanely then we currently are. They will answer a poll that is anonymous, that doesn’t compel them to actually do anything about it. They are the Silent Majority.
My Views on this Matter
A few years ago I was not in favour of letting random boat loads of people come to Australia to settle. My personal belief was if they didn’t like what was happening in their country then they should stay and fight. My views changed when I was a civilian on an army base. I hear guns on a regular basis. I hear the big guns and feel the percussion. Seeing men with weapons, their faces painted or blackened. Spending an hour in shutdown, not making a single noise or movement to alert anyone to your presence. All this as training only, not live fire. I started to understand the fear that Asylum Seekers fleeing war torn, or armed civil conflict felt.
My views changed further when the rhetoric surrounding the issue was changed. No longer Asylum seekers they were Illegal Immigrants. They were vilified as people who have committed crimes, a stance shown not to be the case in both Australian and International Courts of Law. The few who were economic refugees, or people fleeing justice in their own land became the reason to hate them all. The lessons of History, where thousands of refugees after WW2 sold or hocked everything they owned to get passage to America, Canada or Australia, were quietly ignored. They bought their passage, but people are condemned for buying passage now, as somehow that means they are not genuine refugees.
A United Nation View
After a discussion with a United Nations Official on the problems associated with Climate Change, and the plight of Environmental refugees my view solidified. No country wants them, especially if they want to maintain a sense of their own culture and independence. Their plight will only get worse, and will turn from a trickle to a deluge in the next 20yrs. Not many people want to know about it, or think about it or are maybe not even aware of it.
If we are going to be able to treat these people in a kind and humane way, we have to start changing how we think about these issues now.
Lessons from Nature and from History.
Many animals are territorial, they have a region, and they are territorial about it. They don’t move far out of it, and they will challenge another’s right to be in it, especially around mating time. Can you imagine, there has been a major bush fire. At the border of the bush-fire the land is green with grass, there is water and feed for all. The burnt area is black, not a speck of feed or clean water visible. Can you imagine the kangaroos from the unburnt section lining up to forbid passage for the kangaroos from the burnt out area. Or sending the biggest meanest one to forbid them entry because they have to protect their own food or water. And we call them the uncivilised animals.
Is there one single case in History, where a country was bought to economic ruin, or ceased to exist, or became the laughing stock of the world because it acted out of compassion? Switzerland was praised for it’s neutrality after the war, because it showed compassion to all who fled across the borders during the conflict. It didn’t seem to suffer too much from doing that.
Learning From Wisdom Literature
I am not a religious person but I certainly believe the Wisdom of the bible and all other Wisdom books. You reap what you sow. Love is the greatest force on Earth. Light is more effective than darkness. Honey is more effective than vinegar. If we do not treat all other people on Earth as our Neighbours, if we do not love them as we love ourselves, then we will reap the behaviour we have sown.
Will we become as feared, hated and as vilified as the people we currently fear, hate and vilify? Will we be shown no compassion by the rest of the world, when we ourselves are in need? You may scoff at the idea. We are the lucky country, a blessed country, we have lots of land and resources available and to spare. Climate Change will see an increase in bushfires, an increase in droughts, wilder cyclones and weather problems, loss of massive amounts of coastal land. Who are we to believe that we may be immune from requiring help one day?
Writing this article on my Blog may not reach many people, but it is a step. It is about being true to myself, my values and actually living with integrity. It raises one voice, that used to belong to the silent majority, and I hope it will be a catalyst for many more in that Silent Majority to speak out in louder and louder ways, so that History does not have to repeat itself again but welcome people in, to Love our Neighbours as Ourselves.
Love and Light