Governments have made sure we never witness the horrors of its war - TopicsExpress


Governments have made sure we never witness the horrors of its war on asylum directly, but we hear of them so often they’ve become normal. One victim of the war, though, goes easily unnoticed: Australian society. This country is the walking wounded of the government’s campaigns against refugees. The poison of Australia’s asylum policy is slowly seeping through the veins and arteries of this society, just as it made its way through Hamid’s. Australians aren’t, of course, subject to the same kinds of war-crimes as asylum seekers. We’re not risking death on the murderous and disease-ridden nightmares of Nauru or Manus, where untreated sewage covers the ground. We’re not stitching our own lips together. We’re not being tortured by the corrosive despair of bridging visas, or driven to hunger-strike or to set ourselves on fire by the futility and hopelessness of our situation. We’re spared all this, but still, our society is collateral damage of the war on asylum. We bear the scars in the racist attacks that are on the rise - no wonder, when all we hear from federal politicians is that we have to stop dark-skinned refugees from getting here, whatever the price. And we bear them in the budget attacks on ordinary people that the government has been emboldened to make. In brutalizing refugees, governments have established the principle that no matter how weak and in need of help someone is, the state owes them precisely nothing. And, at the same time as it tries to remove one social protection after another, it will use taxpayers’ money, that should be being spent on schools and hospitals, to write cheques to the companies who run the sickening detention camps like the one where Hamid spent this last year. All the while, it will try to distract us from these acts with decoy catchwords like “border protection”, “terrorism” and “economic migrants”. Can people do anything about this? In a war, we have to fight. It’s not enough to just express outrage. There’s only one real option for people who care about what their government is doing to refugees: help build a social movement that can force refugee rights to the centre of the national agenda, and not back down until those rights are honoured. What that means is not just acting oneself; it means continually encouraging new people to act as well, so that the voices calling for justice for refugees grow so loud and insistent that they’re impossible to ignore. If that doesn’t happen, one thing IS clear: slowly but surely, complacency will poison this society, just as Hamid’s blood was poisoned. Read more: https://newmatilda/2014/09/09/price-australias-war-asylum#comment-form-wrapper
Posted on: Tue, 09 Sep 2014 05:56:22 +0000

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