This morning I was going to blog about Manly Matt cancelling yet another date due to work commitments. I’d even picked out a funny ecard for the post. But then I noticed a link on the facebook page of my favourite comedian (also has a strong moral compass) Wil Anderson. I jumped on to read the post written by comedienne/social commentator/bloody good moral compass too Meshel Laurie about the horrifying events that took place over the weekend and on Monday at the Australian refugee detention centre located on Manus Island. I’ve been travelling for work and must confess haven’t caught a lick of news about this and to be frank the media black out is terrifying.
A person has died in an Australian prison camp on Manus Island, scores are injured. They were allegedly set upon by PNG police and locals wielding knives,machetes and stones.
Normally a story this big should have been all over social media; at least 6-7 facebook friends would have commented on it, and despite the fact that I almost always miss the evening news somehow somewhere I would’ve heard about this by the end of the day on Monday. I didn’t. The first I heard of this horrible act of violence was yesterday when I caught the end of a conversation between 2 work colleagues. I was trying to settle my expenses from my recent sales trip #firstworldproblems to pay much attention. So when I saw Meshel’s post and realised that there has been a media blockout/lack of public interest about this story I was disgusted.
The topic of refugees is a sensitive one in Australia and something most politicians base their election campaigns around ‘how we’ll stop the boats and illegal immigrants into our country’. I am and will always be very supportive of refugees coming into Australia. I’m proud that we have a multi-cultural society; after all aside from the indigenous Australians, the bulk of the founders of Australia weren’t born in this country. They arrived as prisoners or as immigrants. I can’t conceive of a home life that is so bad that the only alternative is for you to leave your loved ones behind, pay all of your life savings to a criminal who will transport you to Australia where hopefully one day you’ll have a better life. We life in a beautiful country and I have a blessed life where I am loved, have a roof over my head, can support myself, and have basic general freedom to live my life as I see fit. Refugees do not. This is why they are fleeing their home countries. Now I know that there may be some refugees who don’t have the purest intentions when they attempt to enter Australia’s borders illegally but (and call me naive if you must) I choose to believe that the majority of them are genuine and seeking a better life.
I understand that processing must take place and I support this. I would like to see this take less time, and for the people waiting to be provided with better living conditions, and above all for them to be safe where they are living whilst waiting to be processed. This to me (and I suspect many others) is a basic human right and the least we can do for refugees. This has not occurred on Manus Island. Today I am ashamed to be Australian.