Monday, March 3, 2014

Political radical or just humanitarian?

Why would a upper middle-class middle-aged couple ever go to a public protest?
One had never been to such a protest; the other not since university days.

Last friday my wife and I went to a public demonstration in Brisbane about the Australian government's treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, organised by the Refugee Action Collective.
It was encouraging to see some of our friends there too.
I would estimate there were several hundred people there. However, I can't find any coverage in the news media.

What prompted this "radical" political activity?

The more I learn the more shocked I am at the incredibly violent and ruthless manner that this (and the previous) government have taken towards refugees and asylum seekers.
Here are a couple of recent newspaper articles that highlight just how problematic this issue has become.

Welcome back to White Australia

Manus Island's $3.5 million kitchen in a tent
[The government is currently paying private contractors $900 per day per detainee in Papua New Guinea.]

It is interesting to contrast Australia's shameful performance to that of Turkey's treatment of Syrian refugees, as described in the fascinating New York Times article, How to build a perfect refugee camp.

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