Politics of Immigration

June 26, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Australia, discrimination, Immigration, Politics, War and Conflict | 34 Comments
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I am loth to write about political situations but, following the example of another writer-blogger,  I have finally gotten up the courage to speak out.

There is a lot of emotion being generated around the world by the Trump administration’s treatment of so-called illegal migrants in the U.S, especially the separation of children from their parents. These emotions – horror, disbelief, deep sympathy and compassion for the trauma these children are suffering – are well-founded and justified. What is being done there is appalling.

What many people don’t see, because it is hidden as much as possible by the govt here in Australia, is an equally appalling situation. This is what is being done to seekers of refuge who came to this country by boat. To seek asylum in another country is perfectly legal, and yet we have our govt happily locking up refugee kids (albeit with their parent/s) in prison camps on Manus Island in P-NG and on Nauru in the Pacific in terrible conditions. Most of these refugees, kids included, have been incarcerated for several years – up to 5 years at present.

Refugee Children On Nauru

Refugee children on Nauru

The men, women & children, having already been traumatised by the life they fled, are in a bad way – physically, mentally and emotionally. They are treated appallingly – not given decent treatment for illnesses, injuries childbirth issues, and psychiatric problems associated with their incarceration. Several have died because of that lack of treatment. Others have taken their own lives because they cannot cope any longer with the conditions, the brutality of the system and its administrators, their demonisation by the govt, their lack of hope and uncertainty about the future.

Both our major political parties – the Coalition Liberal-Nationals in government and Labor in Opposition – are happy to stir up fear and hatred of refugees within the populace in order to create and conduct a disgraceful policy of deterrence. They say it will prevent more “boat people” from seeking asylum. They say it’s a matter of national security, but any thinking person knows it is simply to shore up the support of fearful, unsympathetic and uncaring voters.

Manus refugees

Refugee men on Manus Island

I hate to think what the outcomes of their treatment will be for those refugees when they are finally freed – what they will have to come to terms with and what they will have to overcome to be capable of living again in society. How much these refugees could have contributed to Australian society if they had been allowed to stay, we will never know. Instead, their lives have become a political football, and they may never know the peace they yearn for.

It seems that extreme right wing policies are having their day in many parts of the world. I just hope that the indignation & horror of good people– along with their raised voices and action – will turn the tide. I hope we can get back to what made Australia known for its friendliness and mateship. But I am afraid it will be a difficult road to return to.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” – Hebrews 13:2

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The Old Year Ends – a look back at 2015

December 28, 2015 at 2:00 am | Posted in Australia, Making History, Migration, Politics, Psychology, Religion, Social Responsibility, Society, War and Conflict | 8 Comments
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2015 Behind the News ABC

Apart from my lovely family and friends, I must admit that I have not enjoyed 2015. Not on the state, national or international level. There hasn’t been very much to enjoy in the world of politics, religion, economics, international relations, terrorism, whatever.

With one of the defining images of the year being the body of a little refugee boy washed up on a beach, how could it have been a good year for anyone who looks beyond their own safe little bubble? I for one wouldn’t mind having another go at it to see if we could somehow change how it all went. Failing that, is the hope that last year was as bad as it will get.

TOPSHOTS Kurdish Syrian girls are pictur

Children among the destruction in Syria

I started to write a list of the nasties that happened through the year:

  • the terrorism in the name of religion that is not a religion;

  • the racism and violence in many countries across the globe;

  • the lack of support in many instances for the millions of people displaced by war;

  • the ineptitude, idiocy or corruption in too many governments in too many countries;

  • the failure to address global warming on a global scale;

  • the brain-dead far right-wingers who would prefer the whole world to collapse rather than help those less fortunate than themselves;

  • the destruction of our valuable, even precious, environments and wildlife, to feed the greed of multi-national corporations;

  • the extremes of weather – excessive cold and heat, floods, droughts, huge wildfires, hurricanes, typhoons and tornadoes, the melting of the polar ice caps;

  • the extreme polarisation in politics, race and religion, and the fear-mongering among our so-called leaders;

  • the overwhelming power of the arms industry, the far right press, and corporations in deciding national and international government policy.

Need I go on?

Of course there were good things happening too:

  • the rise of people power through social media, demonstrations and actions to show their displeasure at where the world is heading;

  • the rise of a pope who, against those Catholic extremists who would prevent him, speaks for the people, the environment, and the cessation of war;

  • the countries like Germany who have taken in tens of thousands of refugees;

  • the individuals who stand up for right when they see wrong.

not-in-my-name

We need the good so much, but it is demonstrated by individuals and small groups in small and seemingly insignificant actions and interactions, whereas the bad is overwhelming in its ability to create a sense of despair, depression and hopelessness.

However, I must concentrate on those small things and the ordinary people like me who do them, and hope they will add up to more than the bad stuff and overcome it. I must do what I can for my own sanity, but even more for the sake of my grandchildren. I don’t want them to live in the kind of hateful world that seems to be all too possible right now.

I must cling to the hope that springs eternal from the human heart. If it didn’t, I would end it now. So I hope with all my heart that, through good people standing up to corruption and violence, hatred and destruction, at least some of the horrendous problems we’ve had in 2015 will get better in 2016.

(c) Linda Visman

 

 

Looking Back; Looking Forward

January 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Posted in Destroying nature, Experiences, Making History, Politics, Social Responsibility, War and Conflict, Writing and Life | Leave a comment
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I have tried to look back at 2011 and identify the times that have been significant to me – in a world context; nationally; locally; and personally. Of course, there are just too many to list in every area, but here are a few:

International: 2011 has been, again, a year where events all over the world have impinged on lives locally. Unfortunately, most of them have been decidedly negative.

There have been storms and floods, earthquakes and tsunamis, war and terrorism, the beginnings of democracy in traditionally dictatorial countries, droughts and famines.

The European Economic Crisis affects even us here in Australia, who have been fortunate in mostly evading the worst of the economic woes of the U.S., Europe and other area.

The events that caused me the most concern personally were the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the subsequent nuclear emergency with the melt-down at the Fukishima plant. My son, his Japanese wife, and my beautiful granddaughter live in Japan, and concern for their welfare is foremost in my mind. Fortunately, they live to the west on a more southerly island, and so far all is well with them.

    National: I speak here of Australia (though the same attitudes seem to be endemic in other countries as well) where the most belligerent, blame-shifting, back-biting, spiteful and divisive parliament I can remember continues to create stress, anger and frustration for the populace, and no real policy commitment. The worst collisions have been on refugees and the carbon tax.

Instead of working together for the future good of the country, both major parties appear to be focused only on scoring points against the other and looking to destroy the other’s chances of re-election.

Local & State: Housing and industrial developments continue to spread across the best country all over the state of NSW. Land that was producing meat and dairy products, fruit and vegetables, and other natural products is now barren, covered with concrete and steel.

     In other areas, farmers continue to battle the gas companies that are determined to despoil even more food-producing land and the groundwater that is its lifeblood.

Here in Australia, we have much more low-fertility land and desert than food producing soil, and yet short-sighted governments and greedy developers seem bent on destroying much of what is left. It breaks my heart to see it every time I think about it.

 Family and Friends: Thank heavens for the people in my life –family and friends, near and far!

They give me hope for the world, pride in their endeavour, role models to look up to, young ones to help set on the road to a good and honest life, and an ocean of love in which to bathe.

They help me to see the positive that surrounds me, and to put the negative into some sort of perspective. I don’t know what I would do without them.   

 My Family: We are a multi-ethnic/cultural family. My husband and I have eight children between us, and six – in April it will be eight – grandchildren; the latest was born in April 2011. Some of them have faced huge difficulties and shown wonderful spirit in fighting through them. All of them have brought sunshine into our lives and the lives of others. We are very proud of them all.

    My Writing: I have had several poems and short stories published this year in magazines and anthologies.

  A major event was the self-publication in June of my novel Ben’s Challenge. The response to it, from all over the world, has been wonderful, and has given me encouragement to continue with my writing.

I have increased the frequency of my wordpress blog entries and have begun another blog with Writing Our Way Home, taking on their ‘small stones’ challenge, focusing on seeing the wonders of the natural world around us.

And So, to 2012:

My hope and intention is to write more: journaling, blogs, poems and short stories. I especially want to make more progress on my second novel, Ben’s Choice, and have the first draft completed  this year.

On the personal front, my husband and I hope to overcome health issues, so that we can do the travel we want to and to visit our far-flung family members more regularly.

I hope you all have a safe, healthy, happy and productive 2012.

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