A possie in Aussie

February 11, 2009

Refugee or migrant?

Filed under: Immigrant workers,refugee — Nayano @ 10:50 am
Tags: , , , ,

A young woman is reading a story she has written in honour of her mother. She tells of hunger so intense that it drove her and her little sister to steal a cucumber to devour. She tells the story of the small piece of gristly meat that was the first protein that the family had had for twelve months. When she and her sister carried the boiling pot they dropped it in the dirt – and their mother washed the precious pieces so they could still be eaten.

She tells about ‘police’ throwing the family out of their house and their village, and banishing them to wander through the snow.

Sounds like many other stories from refugees, doesn’t it?

But this is not the story of a ‘refugee’ – it was told by a woman from China who managed to ‘escape’ through marriage to an Australian man. Many other Chinese I know have ‘escaped’ through the 457 (Temporary Regional Skilled Work) visa.

There are millions of displaced people who could never qualify as ‘Convention refugees’ but whose stories are almost identical to those who do.

And there are those like these Chinese who are not ‘fortunate’ enough to be displaced, or to suffer the narrowly defined persecution of the Convention.

Read more on this issue here.

How can we allot places in Australia with compassion? Give your ideas in the ‘comments’

Coincidentally, Brian Hennessy also blogged today on Online Opinion about the ‘Qiongren’ – the poor people in China.

To quote Brian, they are “stoic and tough survivors of both communist and capitalist economic policies and promises; natural disasters (usually drought and flood, but last year an earthquake also), and life itself. Look at their faces: no emotion. Look into their eyes: no light. Look into their hearts: no hope. Just survival … that is enough.”


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