(This was originally posted on Facebook and Instagram on 19th of July 2020)
Today is the seventh anniversary of Kevin Rudd’s declaration that any asylum seeker attempting to arrive by boat to Australia would never be resettled there. Since that day, the nation of my birth has seen hundreds of people unjustly imprisoned, dehumanized, killed in some cases, slandered by a misanthropic and cynical political and pundit class as trojan horses for pernicious, yet intentionally opaque agendas (while also disingenuously claiming they want to save their lives at the same time) and stripped of their future, self esteem and hope. The heartbreak this has caused me and many across Australia has been long, excruciating and, at times, disorienting as we have seen the nation’s conscience torn asunder and it’s soul heinously scarred. However, there is a basic fact we should keep close to our hearts.
If you look out your window tonight, it’s likely that you’ll see a blanket of lights glowing from the households in your neighborhood. Those you see in the far distance may even resemble this candle’s flame. Inhabiting those homes are fellow human beings that perform the role of neighbor, colleague, family member, friend, parent, child. Many as well may be front line workers in the battle against COVID-19. Despite what the demagogues, nativists, sophists and obscurantists try to convince us, asylum seekers and refugees are those people too, and once did/do those jobs. Fate intervened and forced them to seek a safer location and a place where they could do so much of what we take for granted. In fact, refugees have played a significant role as front line workers in the current global outbreak, which is an altruism that we all would like to aspire to.
So tonight, with a wave of consciousness flooding the world for human rights and restorative justice, and with a human bulwark of hope against the forces of nihilism, misanthropy and expediency on our side, I #lightthedark and say… #7yearstoolong #Iwelcomerefugees and that it’s definitely #gameover for offshore detention.