Posts Tagged ‘Manus’

The Spiritual Famine in Australia

March 31, 2017

It wasn’t always like that, but now it is, and so well entrenched too. One hardly dares to put on the TV. Night after night we get these terrible pictures and images of war. Anxious faces of children not even knowing if the person taking the footage is friend or foe. And yet, Australia imprisons those victims of terrible wars. I know of no better way to describe of what Australia has turned into than to quote a foreword by well-known Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas on a book, “They cannot take to the Sky.” It is written by several authors concerned how Australia is treating refugees

The foreword was published by The Guardian.

“In Australia in 2017, They Cannot Take the Sky is also necessary. For nearly two decades now, Australian politics has been corrupted by a toxic and destructive national debate about asylum seekers and refugees. Unfortunately, fought out as much across media – traditional and digital – as it has in our parliament, the issue of asylum has become inexorably entwined with our security and existential fears arising from the threats of international terrorism.

Our leaders, across the political spectrum, have failed in the democratic imperative to ensure a cogent and humane approach to the issue. In fanning the hysteria of partisanship they have betrayed our trust. That great leveller, history, will ultimately judge us on what kind of country we created for ourselves at the beginning of the 21st century. This isn’t the place for political analysis. All I want to suggest is that in all the screaming across the parliament floor or on social media, we forget that the asylum seeker and the refugee is a real person, with a real body and a real consciousness, that they are as human as we are.

We know that the detention centres we have built on our continent, on Nauru and on Manus Island, are not places we would ever countenance imprisoning Australians. We know what we have done. We don’t need history to instruct us on that.

The stories in this book – these accounts, these testaments – they are all a form of witnessing to what occurred during our watch over the last twenty years. There are moments of brutality and incomprehension; how can it be else? But there are also moments of great humour, of inspiration and of almost heartbreaking generosity. Time and time again, a voice will offer thanks to the individual kindness of an Australian that dared to visit a refugee in prison, that offered assistance as the newcomer tried to navigate their way in a foreign and perplexing country.

These stories also act to break down the cumulative and dangerous stereotyping of refugees as having always the identical and same experience. These storytellers are not only Muslim or Afghani or Tamil; they are also, and just as importantly, mothers or fathers, brothers or sisters, artists or students, workers or scientists, lovers both straight and gay. Some of them embody the rawness and fury of youth and some the wisdom and caution of age. The cumulative effect is one of a great and powerful chorus that sings the possibility of a hope that Australia has been denying itself, the enrichment that comes from openness and charity.

Hani writes, “I realised that freedom is not walking free. It means to be free mentally and physically.” Chained to policies that we all know in our hearts to be destructive and inhuman, can it be said that we Australians are truly free?

Many years ago now, I was having a drink with a cousin in Athens. We were talking and drinking late into the night and as it will always be with a Greek, we were furiously discussing politics and history. She was reflecting on the White Australia Policy and arguing that if we had not had such a racist attitude to the immigrant in the late 1930s, there would have been a generation of Jewish artists, scientists and intellectuals who might have made Australia their home. “Think of it,” she said, grabbing my hand and holding it tight, “Think of what your country could be if you had not had such stupid laws.”  

They Cannot Take the Sky is full of great writing. I hope that in the future that many of the narrators will be the writers of a great new wave of Australian literature. Their experiences as refugees cannot be forgotten, that will always inform the work that they do. But I can’t wait to hear their stories of Australia and their stories of the world. I wish my country were not beholden to stupid and wicked laws that gutless men and women created out of fear and ignorance; and yes, out of venality and the lust for power.”

 

This Australia country is Crook as Rookwood

March 22, 2017

IMG_1087Milo 2017

There we go again. It seems that the refugee swap with the US is under some cloud. Australia claims it needs to cut back on spending. It could save billions by just finally accepting the refugees held on Manus and Nauru  on Australian soil. What seems more logical? The oft repeated mantra of keeping control of our borders is just ludicrous. Can someone point out which country borders us?

Our minister, Mr Dutton, for Torture and Unlawful Detention (TUD) should brush up on his geography. We are girthed by sea and in any case Facebook, Twitter etc. doesn’t respect national borders and makes a mockery of land borders. As it is, the world is becoming borderless. We are supposed to revel in being Australian and associate ourselves with ‘true Australian values’ but what are those values if not the same as those of most civilised countries?  What are Australian values that are so unique?

Treating asylum seekers as sub-human is a festering sore that will keep Australia on the international shame list while it lasts. I can’t possibly dance around a national Australian pride pole while refugees whose refugee status has been accepted are kept detained. They are not illegal and no charge has been levied against even a single person.  They are in their fourth year of unlawful detention.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-22/us-refugee-deal-architect-says-based-on-australia-doing-more/8375250

It seems  likely that the  trade in refugees between the US and Australia will at best limit itself to just a few of the seventeen hundred that are still locked on Nauru and Manus in exchange for perhaps fifty or so refugees from Central America. There are rumours that the refugees on Manus and Nauru have been fingerprinted by US officials. Heaven only knows what must go through those tormented souls? Fingerprinted once again!  The indignity of it all.

Many of the refugees are well educated and sometimes seem to have a better commend of English than their torturing privately funded interrogators. How could we have got it so wrong? I know the answer. We lack leaders that are decisive not divisive. There is our PM Turnbull, grandiosely  slapping himself on the back saying that Australia is the most tolerant, the most successful multi-cultural country in the world. Yes, but what about all that what happened within our child support detention camps. The people employed to look after the welfare of those children asking sexual favours. Suck my dick video has just turned up at the Royal Commission.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-20/don-dale-officer-filmed-himself-asking-children-for-oral-sex/8369284

How could things go so off the rail?

 

Milo seems to have an answer. Just look into his all-seeing eyes.

 

 

 

Go and figure this one out!

February 5, 2017

 

Most of the world knows about  refugees. Italy alone took in 180 000 during 2016. More than three years ago anyone trying to reach Australia by boat would from then on be locked up. Manus and Nauru were the places agreeing to house refugees. Australia vowed never to let those into Australia.There are  more than 1200 refugees still on those Islands. Most have been granted refugee status.

The cost in housing refugees has been in the billions. Private contractors are the main beneficiaries as well as New Guinea  and Nauru. The idea in not letting the refugees ever into Australia was that letting them in would result in an armada of refugees coming to Australia, clamber over our dunes, take our jobs or bludge of welfare! They would covet our  women and make cliterectomy compulsory for all.

The idea of locking the refugees up had to be seen as harsh enough to deter the so called ‘people smugglers.’ At present refugees trying to flee to either Europe or elsewhere in primitive boats have a chance of 1-100 in drowning. We know that many are desperate enough to take that gamble. The Australian Government knew that risk of drowning wasn’t enough a deterrent. The idea was born that the punishment for not drowning had to be far more severe. Teach the survivors a lesson they won’t forget. More importantly, the message would go out. “Don’t think of coming to Australia.”

That’s why the conditions for refugees locked up  indefinitely had to be far more stringent and better thought out. The refugees were not charged with any crimes. They just had to be kept locked and deprived of the most essential need of all. A future to look forward to. For children not to grow up in freedom and get an education. Teach them a lesson.  After several suicides and many incidents of self harm, even by children, the Government rejoiced and proudly stated that no boat had arrived. The prime minister Turnbull was jubilant; “We are the envy of the world dealing with refugees,.” he announced proudly.

It was decided that after the UNHCR, the UN, and Amnesty International had become vocal in condemnation that Australia tried to fop off the refugees elsewhere. Forty million dollars was spent to bribe Cambodia in taking just three refugees. Two have since left.

Now Trump and Turnbull ( Trumble) have locked themselves into horse -trading over allowing 1200 refugees from Manus and Nauru  into America. The vetting will be extreme. Americans are justly asking why Australia can’t take them in. It must be a mystery. Per capita Australia has far more space than the USA. So what about that deterrent?

If you dare to come to Australia you might go to America?

More importantly, what about those people? You know the people on Manus and Nauru?

Go and figure!

Post Christmas Blues. You are a swine Mr Dutton!

December 27, 2016

With more than seventy Christmases behind us, we of ‘Oosterman Treats’ are enormously qualified to speak and deal with Post Christmas stress, or PCS in medical or psychiatric parlance. It comes from huge unreal expectations. You can just imagine those poor sods having lined up outside the department shops for hours hoping to buy yet again another unwanted and unneeded item. Boxing day ‘specials’ with discounts so big, many items are almost free. Did you see those contorted shoppers’ faces on TV being interviewed? One girl proudly stated that shopping is her only aim in life.

Of course, the Christmas revellers stomachs are just as churned up. Huge loads of sugars and fats having to be regurgitated with cuds re-chewed and worked through. It generally hits most people about a day after Boxing day. The money is gone and the new hand-bag or T-shirt are just that, a bag and T-shirt. The pavlova has melted and made a mess at the bottom of the fridge. The ham is souring and so are the kids. ‘We are bored’, is now a common refrain uttered by thousands of kids and echoing above waves and sand throughout the country. Spare a thought for mums having to cope with that! Dads can go back to work after nursing a head-ache from too much Pinot Gris.

Pardon this serious reflection but believe me, it will pass. The answer is to do nothing. Life goes back to normal and the passing of this Christmas will be seen by many as a relief . Normality is to be preferred after all. We have to gather strength to do the vacuum, chuck out the wrapping paper, scrape the plates clean and heroically face the next few days. New-Year’s Eve is still to be wrestled with, but that is just a few hours and doesn’t generally include anywhere near the pandemonium that Christmas holds. At least we won’t have to hear those supermarkets jingles over and over again.

What took the gloss of this Christmas was the death of yet another refugee on Manus island. The poor man had begged to be treated for months. It was ignored and the medical nurse told him to stop faking. He can’t fake now. He died. He spent over three years on Manus and had his refugee status approved.The Government will not commend on his death and his family wasn’t even notified. How could we have a Christmas with that happening?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/12/24/27-year-old-sudanese-refugee-held-on-manus-island-has-died/

I tell you now, if we ever move again, it will be away from Australia. This government has reached the bottom for compassion and humanity. They punish and kill refugees for not having drowned in the first place.

You are a swine Mr Minister Dutton for killing refugees, and so is your boss, our PM Turnbull.

The running of the Shoppers.

December 14, 2016
Grand dad Oosterman design of church window

Grand dad Oosterman design of church window

It has been written by others that Christmas period is often highly charged. It would be wise to remain in control. The police are never so busy as during the Christmas and New Year period. While we are glowing with joy, shaking hands, giving presents and baking the dinner, others often feel less convivial. Whatever we might feel, both the good and bad reach fever-pitch in the lead-up to Christmas. It is a period of great expectations for happiness but we would be wise to remain wary and wise to the images of commerce and tinkling cash registers that want to sweep all before it. A tsunami of reckless spending and gluttony is threatening all. This is the opposite of happiness. The nail in the coffin for what Christmas used to have, is the almost demonic commercialism of it all. Joseph and Mary would turn in their graves. Baby Jesus would weep, I am sure.

Many shoppers even at this early stage are already running around nervously. They confer by iPhone for advice on whether the pavlova is better or cheaper at Woollies or Aldi. Should they get the double smoked ham now? Yet, was it only last year they promised not to ever get ham again. Or has it been forgotten that the pavlova ended up in the recycle bin with rotten mangoes and the over-ripe prawns? The trolleys are already being filled as if expecting a Russian bombardment. Calm down. The shops will only be closed for one day. Remember, last year how the David Jones’s crowd on boxing day slept overnight outside in order to get T-shirts at a fantastic discount on Boxing day? Yet, a cursory look inside their wardrobes might well indicate a huge surplus of T-shirts. How can commerce have such grip on us?
Still, let’s not get too churlish. The ones that ought to be allowed to enjoy the magic of a happy Christmas are the children.

But, dear Lord; what about Aleppo? What about the Syrian Christmas? I am afraid that we shall just continue to keep our eyes closed and switch of the telly or change over to the cricket score instead. The shouting about war crimes being committed are now just that, shouts.

I noticed that the Johny O’keefe song ‘ You wanna make me shout’ is now being used in a commercial without even a hint of an acknowledgement to the long dead pop-star. The patent on his music score must have run out and is now blatantly being used to sell stuff. Nothing is spared to make a buck, especially not a dead pop star.

Of course, if we want to revive the true spirit of Christmas we should just ignore the lure of the shopping and spending. Remembering it is a time for friendship, sharing and giving. Spare a thought for the refugees on Manus and Nauru detention. Hopefully, they will be finally allowed out of those torture camps and welcomed in the US. After three years, surely they deserve a good outcome.

What did they ever do wrong?

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE CHILDREN IN NAURU:

December 6, 2016

Nauru , Human Dumping Ground for Asylum Seekers

I HAVE JUST RECEIVED AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE CHILDREN IN NAURU:“We are 53 underage kids in detention and feeling we have been forgotten in Nauru so we decided to take some photo of ourselves. We are between 16 and youngest is 3 and there is 5 baby that they was born in Nauru. pls if you could, spread them . Thanks”

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Protesters stand firm on Nauru and Manus refugees cruelty.

November 30, 2016
Asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Asylum seekers on Manus Island.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-01/politics-live-december-1/8081808

Politics live: Protesters target Parliament House for second day, abseil down front

By political reporter Stephanie Anderson

Related Story: Question Time protesters should be punished, MP says

Map: Australia

Protesters have again breached security at Parliament House, abseiling down the front of the building to unfurl a banner.

It comes a day after Question Time in the House of Representatives was interrupted by a group rallying against Australia’s offshore detention centres

Australian designed Burkini taking the world by storm.(Haute couture)

August 26, 2016

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-25/australian-designed-burkini-at-centre-of-national/7786732

“18th Century:

Although sea bathing was fashionable in the 18th century, it was considered proper to keep the skin white and untouched by the sun. This 1797 Gallery of Fashion print shows two ladies protected by face-shading bonnets, shawls and gloves as they approach a group of bathing machines, a sort of cabana on wheels. Ladies were known to sew weights into the hem of their smock-like bathing gowns to prevent the garment from floating up and showing their legs. Modesty ruled over fashion.”

 

 

What a lucky break for our country. Our economy is being saved by the Burkini. Who would have thought?
Now that the stupid ban has been overturned in France, the world wide interest in this garment is now promising to turn things around. Let’s hope the refugees on Manus and Nauru will now be released as well. You cannot imprison people that have done no wrong.

Almost There

Almost There

Senior moments of Australia steeped in political morass.

July 5, 2016

photoThe eight weeks of electioneering in Australia had finally come to an end. The voting had finished at 6pm on the second of July. The counting had started right on cue at all the scrutineering posts. Helvi and I had settled down on the claret coloured settee. Milo had been fed. The wine decanted and breathing heavily. It was all-ready-set-and-go. The TV was switched on soon followed by the sound bar. It is one of those electrifying evenings that one might still talk about for years to come. Forget about Dr Who or God of Thrones. Election night hasn’t been missed for at least thirty years.

The Government funded advertisement free TV station, the ABC, has always been our favoured channel to watch. As the early figures started to come in we were heartened by a swing towards the left. We are left of the centre but not so left as to drop into the stormwater drain of rioting unions or brick throwing bakers. That might be so because of our age. Our brick throwing days are over. If anything could still be thrown it would be a marsh-mellow. We do believe that the rich get smoked salmon and the poor mainly Salvation Army soup. The gap is increasing and the people getting restless.

As the evening wore on and with the wine taking its effect, the two person party in our household was swinging. All caution to the wind. The power of our multi millionaire Prime Minister was drooping. Seat by seat Labor was winning at the expense of the Liberal & Nationals. At the same time it also became clear that the Duopoly of both major parties was being curtailed. Both parties were losing out on the primary vote which went to a bewildering number of smaller parties. Pauline Hanson’s ‘One Nation Party’ did a Lazarus after almost twenty years in the never never wilderness. She sucked in the anti-immigration, anti Muslim, and anti halal certification vote. She made sure that at the election barbeques around her area, all her admiring xenophobes were provided with non-halal sausages. Her prime attraction for voters was to pass a law that would insist on CCTV cameras be installed in all mosques.

At the end of the evening ( and it was now 1.30am) the experts on elections announced the most likely scenario would be another ‘hung government.’ This election was supposed to be to strengthen the Government of the LNP PM’s Malcolm Turnbull grip on the future of Australia. It might take days if not weeks to get a final result. It is likely, another election will be held before Christmas. The reflections by Mr and Mrs Oosterman are, that our PM just did not follow up on the image that we had of an innovative progressive leader. He did not pass legislation on the SSM that the nation overwhelmingly wanted, and instead went for a $150 million plebiscite at the end of this year. The other promise of lowering taxation for businesses at the expense of health and education was also seen as a hand out to the ‘big-end’ of town.

Australia is now faced with uncertainty, yet life goes on. We had a terrific evening. The sun came up, darkness lifted. At least, the LNP are now in a downward spiral. Exciting times ahead. I do hope that the prospects for the refugees on Nauru and Manus Islands will get resolved soon.

The world’s best advertisement.

November 12, 2015

Just imagine, what we could be missing out on by locking up refugees indefinitely on Nauru and Manus island.