A possie in Aussie

October 16, 2009

The unbearable heaviness of being: Asylum seekers on our conscience

“What they really don’t want is to go through the normal process. They’re fully aware that if they get off the boat and end up in an immigration detention centre they will be there for up to 10 years. That’s what happens. They’ve got 16 million asylum seekers around the world, that’s the queue that they’re trying to jump, it’s a long one and that’s something that they’re trying to avoid through this sort of desperate performance they have on the boat at the moment.”  Geoff Thompson speaks with Mark Colvin on PM about the Sri Lankan’s refusing to leave their boat in Indonesia.   Asylum seekers keeping tabs on their fate

I have been feeling a sense of gloom and despair that has been building in intensity as the number of boat arrivals increase.

I thought that it was worry about a return to the inhuman anti-asylum seeker measures of the Howard era. I supported Hazaras on Temporary Protection Visas then, and their suffering nearly broke my heart.

But after watching the SBS video yesterday  – Malaysia’s Crackdown’ – of the suffering of asylum seekers in Malaysia, I realised that the return of the boats means return to an inescapable awareness of the tragedy of the large majority of human kind.

It is an unbearable heaviness of being.

(Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to embed the video here, but please click on http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/watch/id/600182/n/Malaysia-s-Crackdown)


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