This is now the well entrenched refrain echoing around Australia’s colour- bond fenced off and secluded suburbs. It took us years to get where we are. We are proud of having our own homes, own children, own wives, own Holdens, world’s largest T-bone steaks and we all love our sporting heroes. Never mind those millions displaced through wars or famine. We need security first and if people come here and expect a hand-out, they’ve got another thing coming.
We have forgotten that bit about being a nation of migrants who often came here also from wars and famine. The ‘reffo’of the forties and fifties was also vilified and denounced as knife pullers, garlic munchers, women pinchers and with hairy armpits to boot., but that was a long time ago and Australia was different. Our hearts have ossified since through the long and relentless ranting by politicians with a keen eye on voters. Shock jocks renting the airwaves; have put on the final touches, richly nourishing our dormant xenophobia of years long gone by.
We now have reached new levels of anti ‘illegal’ boat people opinions morphing into ‘facts’ after every bit of Murdoch’s publicity. Those strange looking people, wearing flowing white garments and whose men are bearded have the nerve to arrive unasked and uninvited at our shores. We will continue locking them up without trial for years on end. Deterrents are what we finally aim for. We massage our residents with messages of “all boat people are violent and terrorists, hell-bent on bombing our lovely brick veneer homes and life-styles.” They are also very rich and as a matter of course destroy their birth certificates and all identity papers.
Fortunately we also lock up dozens of children. We know they are not children by x-raying their wrists.
We don’t believe their Indonesian parents or other relatives who tell us that they are still children. They all lie and are all potential illegal future terrorists. Never mind that those children back in Indonesia are sorely missed by parents and siblings. They are also missed for not being there to help out. Often survival is a daily struggle. They do not have large T-Bones. That’s why some were lured on those dangerous ocean boat journeys. It would bring some food on the table, perhaps even an opportunity to give the children the chance to go to school, learn to read and write.
Our intelligence service is not answerable to anyone or anything either, above the law, taking a leaf from North Korea perhaps? People are escorted ‘back to where they came from’ with many questions asked by asylum seekers supporting lawyers, but remaining unanswered. ‘A murderous regime’ is always elsewhere but not here in the land of our dreams, with jailed children and locked away boat people, languishing and out of sight and miles from care or conscience.
The dangerous journey in rickety boats is a last resort for many of those that have already languished in many other camps, often in countries that are overrun by tens if not hundreds of thousands refugees. No one wants to leave home and hearth. As some of them have said; better to drown at least with trying. We have nothing more to lose.
Go back where you came from.