Humanity and the Refugee

I want you to imagine for a moment, every day you live in fear that you, your family,  your children, your parents, could be killed any second for really no reason. You have no power to stop it. Every day you wake up in fear, eventually that fear becomes just an over all numbness, every day could be your last, could be your child’s last day. Now… keep this fear and this want to keep your family and your children alive… Someone offers you an escape. They say you can be brought to Australia, a country you hear as one of the most open multicultural countries in the world. This place that seems like the garden of eden, a place where your children can grow up without fear, with healthcare and education, where they can have a future. Would you take it? Would you not take the opportunity to take your children out of a war zone, a place where they are at risk of dying every day, where they will get little to no education, where the longer they stay the shorter their future looks. Would you not try and save them?

The problem with Australia and Asylum Seekers is that we remove the humanity. We don’t see them as people like the rest of us. We are led to see them as just that.. “THEM” Tony Abbot and the terrible “news” programs such as A Current Affair, and Today Tonight (I use news in the same way McDonalds is called a restaurant) try and spark fear into the heart of the nation with an US verse THEM mentality, that they are coming for our jobs and our homes and our society will crash because all of a sudden vegemite is halal (heads up, it’s always been halal, it’s just been certified now).

People are concerned that we are taking in too many refugees, but the reality is we are taking in so few we may be in breach of international law.

We don’t get the full story, I have heard people say that the only reason the are coming to Australia is to improve their socioeconomic status. No one would risk their 3 year old drowning because they want to move from middle class to upper-middle class.

I’ve heard someone else get mad at a photographer who took a photo of a drowned three year old because he should have saved the child if he cared so much…. I would like to make this clear the child was dead before he washed ashore…

He drowned along side his 5 year old brother and mother. His father survived and travelled back to Syria to burry his family. He was given the opportunity to resettle in another country and he said “what does it matter, all that was precious to me is gone.”

We are losing our humanity. we are losing what it means to be human, our empathy, our sympathy, our compassion. And that terrifies me.

A friend of mine has written an article about a boy whose parents and brother were killed and he escaped the country with his 2 best friends. As they were running up a hill to escape, soldiers open fired, they were 16, soldiers open fired on children. his friend was gunned down, begging this boy not to leave him, not to let him die. His other friend pulled the boy away to the top of the hill. To this day he says he still sees his friend begging him not to leave and asking why he left him to die, he blames himself. He is 16.

While on the boat to his new life, it capsizes, half of the people on board drown, including his last friend in the world. He is now on his own, no family no friends.

He makes it to Brisbane, and he sees people dancing in the street in Southbank, music playing. And for the first time since he left his home country, he smiles. He knows that no matter what things will be better here. He now lives in a detention centre, only being allowed out to attend school. But still he is happy, because no one is gunning him, a child, down as he flees after his own family was killed. He still sees his friend in his dream asking him why he left him to die… but he believes that now he is here things will get better. He studies harder than almost any student I have met.

This is a real human. Just a boy who has no one, no friends no family, living in a detention centre, and who is happy to be in such an accommodating country….

We have lost our humanity.

Our compassion.

Our ability to feel anything for anyone but ourselves.

Tony Abbott and his media think fear mongering is the best solution. But it’s clear that the only thing that it’s doing is removing us from our fellow humans.

It shouldn’t be US vs THEM. We are all humans, and we need to realise that before we are too removed to come back.

So to Tony, Today Tonight, and anyone who believes that Asylum Seekers don’t have a right to be here, but yourself in the shoes of that boy. See things from their perspective. Find your humanity.

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