Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting All Political on Yo' Ass

Yes, i’m getting all political on you. And by political, I mean I’m going to have a whinge about a socio-political issue so for anyone who a) doesn’t care or b) isn’t interested, feel free to click on over to Facebook right about now.

I’m sure anyone north of the equator is completely unaware, but for the past four weeks now there have been a bunch of Sri Lankan “ refugees “ sitting on an Australian customs boat, moored off the Indonesian coast. That’s quite a few nations to wrap your head around, but long story short we’re talking about Sri Lankan nationals trying to make their way into Australian territory. Thing is they didn’t quite make it – they got busted just beyond our waters and had their boat hauled off to Indonesia ( apparently Australia and Indonesia have some agreement in place in regards to “ boat people”, the details off which I am not clear on ). So there you have it – four weeks ago a boatful of refugees got caught trying to slip into our country and have been sitting on an Australian government boat ever since. Why you ask ? Because they refuse to get off.

This is where my rant comes in – how have they been allowed to just refuse to get off? Since when do illegal immigrants, refugee or not, get to dictate the terms of their status, effectively telling the government where to shove it ? Those who know me know that I’m quite the humanitarian ( or hippy, depending on your view ) but even I’m drawing a line here. You cant just float your way from one country to another with the intention of illegally sneaking in, and then stomp your foot and refuse to co-operate when your caught out.

Here’s the latest scenario – after 3 and half weeks of sitting on an official Australian vessel, using mobile phones to communicate with media outlets and having well spoken children cry on TV, begging to be let in, the Sri Lankans have been offered a place in Australia…. As long as they are processed in Indonesia, which could take up to a year. This offer was greeted with a big fat “ Uh…. Nuh “ from our Sri Lankan friends, who are still refusing to disembark in Indonesia and are threatening to drown themselves if they are taken straight to Australia. What reaction does this illicit from me ? “ How freaking rude”.

It’s not that I have no compassion. I don’t doubt the existence of refugees and there may even be some of them on this particular boat ( even though they speak wonderful English, have mobile phones on board and allegedly flew themselves to Indonesia before boarding their leaky refugee boat ). However, I find this whole refusal to co-operate thing hard to swallow. I would imagine that if the situation in your homeland was so abhorrent, your women were being raped and your men were disappearing, you had nothing to eat and no future for your children, so terrible that you fear living there any longer – well I would imagine that an offer of safety and freedom in a good country, inside of a year, would be a godsend. I’d imagine that you would take any safe home you could get, whether it be in Australia or Indonesia or – god forbid – even New Zealand.

But no, not these “ refugees “. Nope, for them only the best will do, even though they have no legal right to obtain it. And yet, for some reason, our government is putting up with it. I find it hard to believe other Western countries would do the same.

Lets just put it like this - can you see a whole bunch of Mexicans parking themselves on a barge in the middle of the Rio Grande and refusing to get off on their own side ? Un-bloody-likely….

1 comment:

  1. It does seem a bit out of order and I can understand why you feel so strongly about it for sure. Like you say, if their situation in their own country is so bad, they should be grateful for passage ANYWHERE.