Dr Venturni has an impressive legal bio. He has started a new series of articles on Independent Australia looking at “the history and reasons for Australia’s current unfair and illegal refugee policy”. I invite you to click on the picture below and read Dr Venturini’s excellent article.
I’m really not ready to write about the 4 Corners program which so graphically revealed the conditions on Manus Island and Nauru, the concentration camp conditions we are sending asylum seekers into, including children.
However, as I watched the Twitter feed later in the week, I spotted this tweet:
I have no reason to question the truth of the tweet, but that day I also signed a petition to close Manus Island and notice as of today there are over 35,000 signatures. If you haven’t signed, why not do so now?
So back to the question of the Federal MP and the lack of letters about asylum seekers compared to the flood after 4 Corners did a program about the live export of animals. Why? Clearly at least 35,000 people care enough to sign the petition and I know social media sites were thundering disapproval, disappointment and shame.
It is that we have given up writing to our elected representatives over the issue of asylum seekers because we see the vast majority of them aren’t listening? Why do we think they will listen about animals before they will listen about PEOPLE? I’m certainly against cruelty to animals, but I DO think we should be at least as concerned about the welfare of our fellow humans! Or was it the sight of blood in the animal program engendered more horror? I don’t have an answer. Perhaps someone who actually wrote to an MP about the animals, but not the people, may comment here and explain their logic.
I am heartened by the number of signatures on the petition!
Jane Fynes-Clinton has written a terrific article as a follow-up to the 4 Corners program, The real story of asylum seekers is drowned out by fear and bigotry, and politicians like it that way. I have previously expressed very similar sentiments on this website.
All this reminded me of an exchange I had a while ago on Twitter. I once stupidly engaged with one of the “we must stop the boats to save their lives” brigade, trying to point out the motivations of asylum seekers are not exactly how he sees them. It got to the point where I suggested he read my book, to gain a perspective of asylum seekers as PEOPLE, rather than a political topic to be bandied about. Initially, he agreed, until he found out what my book was actually about. O. M. G. I had married an asylum seeker.
What do you think happened then?
Wait for it…….
Andrew Zammit is a Research Fellow at the Global Terrorism Research Centre (Monash University). Today he published an article, What do ASIO’s adverse security assessments of refugees actually mean? about the adverse ASIO security assessments that currently lead to indefinite detention of asylum seekers/refugees. I have written about one such refugee, Ranjini, on this site previously. Earlier this year she gave birth: an Australian citizen born in detention. Oh, yes, they took Ranjini to a hospital to actually give birth, but to all intents and purposes, this is a child of this nation being raised in detention.
In another earlier article I highlighted detention centres are dysfunctional. Since then the situation has worsened, as the numbers of displaced people globally have continued to grow. I was shocked, as were many others, when off-shore processing was re-implemented.
I am simply the wife of someone who experienced mandatory detention. I live with the aftermath but I don’t have the academic background Andrew has to debate these issues.
You are reading this, you must have an interest in these difficult issues. On that basis, I implore you to read Andrew’s article.
Andrew quotes Director-General of ASIO David Irvine as saying:
“ASIO does not have a view, and certainly not a public view, on whether people who receive adverse assessments generically should be held in detention or not. There are other ways, and other solutions, to that problem, and is up to the government to examine all the possibilities and make its decision.”
A couple of days ago it was reported on the ABC that the ASIO findings being released are too short. It is definitely worth reading the words of The University of Sydney’s Professor Ben Saul in the same report.
Refugee advocate Ian Rintoul says the results are less than illuminating.
IAN RINTOUL: They are very, very general statements. There is no specific allegations or evidence given for those allegations. I mean they are literally, you know, six or seven lines long.
Scott Morrison proudly, it seems, made his major contribution to heightening the levels of moral panic in the community in relation to asylum seekers. While I have read many articles today, which I will share below, I am taking the words from his press release on his web site, http://www.scottmorrison.com.au/info/pressrelease.aspx?id=1083
A requirement to consult and notify police in advance of the release of boat arrivals on bridging visas or into community detention in their jurisdiction
Why this requirement, Scott? Why are you not suggesting we do the same with all Australian criminals released from prisons? After all, I do not want a convicted rapist living next to me given I have two daughters and last year we had at least two women raped and killed within a 20 mile radius of my home. They have paid their debt to society for their crime, you say? Let me tell you something, Scott: asylum seekers have NO debt to society to pay.
Letters for Ranjini has initiated a campaign to establish where each of our representatives stand on the question of indefinite detention of asylum seekers receiving an adverse security assessment from ASIO.
As this is an election year, let’s find out the thoughts of those who wish to represent us. Do we agree with them?
You will find all the details you need on The House page. Click the link! Do it!
On Twitter you can contact @RanjiniLetters.
- Born into detention: the plight of Ranjini and Paari (abc.net.au)
- Baby born into immigration limbo (abc.net.au)
- Open Letter to ASIO (teamoyeniyi.com)
- Refugee lawyers challenge indefinite detention rule (smh.com.au)
I think Mr O is suffering survivor’s guilt. I must stress, I am not a psychologist. I am a wife. Mr O’s wife. While this is intensely personal, we are sharing it to help others understand the life of a refugee. Maybe help other refugees, feeling alone and sad, why they may be feeling that way. Yes, Mr O arrived in Australia, the second time, on a partner visa. The first time he arrived on a false passport as an asylum seeker. Just because we got married does not stop Mr O being a refugee. All it means is he has a partner visa rather than a protection visa. Reality isn’t changed by the type of visa.
We were talking this evening and I could see the the emotional pain he was suffering. We talked about the possibility he is suffering survivor’s guilt as I have read quite a bit about it over the years. I explained survivor’s guilt to him in terms of a plane crash. Four hundred people are killed in the crash and the fifty who survive feel guilty for surviving. Sadly, even if this label is correct, it doesn’t help him deal with it any more easily than if there were no label. It is what it is.
I turned to my old friend Google and searched “survivor guilt refugees”. Sure enough the results scrolled up on the screen – lots of results, over 22 million results. Clearly survivor’s guilt is a recognised problem for many refugees.
One result in particular caught my eye.
Survivor’s guilt has been identified as a problem common to many refugees that negatively impacts a healthy psychosocial adjustment (Brown, 1982; Lin et al., 1982; Tobin and Friedman, 1983). Successfully fleeing from dangerous conditions, many refugees left behind family members and friends who did not or could not escape. After reaching safety, refugees reported being haunted by feelings of guilt, especially knowing the danger still facing those who were left behind. The awareness that people who remained at home are alive, possibly suffering, and living in unpleasant conditions may heighten survivor’s guilt and contribute to emotional stress. … Survivor’s guilt can continue in a spiral of pain, sadness and guilt that causes barriers to enjoying the safety, success and sense of well-being in the resettlement country.
Counseling Refugees: A Psychosocial Approach to Innovative Multicultural Interventions
By Fred Bemak, Rita Chi-Ying Chung, Paul Pedersen
The book goes on to talk about the process of healing.
Imogen Bailey is a woman on a mission. Imogen participated in Go Back Where You Came From Series II and aside from being a very busy woman working on her career, she is passionate about the question of children in mandatory detention and dedicates her time to campaigning to try to get the message to our politicians that the majority of Australians DO NOT want so see children in detention.
There is a Facebook page for you to like: http://www.facebook.com/pages/MAKE-the-CALL/304182263021396
There is a web site which provides more information, found at http://www.makethecall.info/, from which I stole Imogen’s video.
John and I love our children. These are the children of an asylum seeker detained for two years in Australia. While these children were NOT detained, because they were not here, they could well have been.
There is also a Twitter campaign started by Jessica Rowe with the hash tag #kidslikemine. You can check out that campaign here: http://www.mamamia.com.au/parenting/refugees-children-are-just-like-mine/
Please support Imogen’s campaign. Go to the website, call YOUR local MP. Like the Facebook page.