A possie in Aussie

March 25, 2010

Concern that Afghan asylum seekers may stop coming to Australia

Filed under: asylum,asylum seeker,boat people,refugee — Nayano @ 7:48 am
Tags: , , ,

Afghan asylum seekers may stop coming to Australia because the United Nations is set to downgrade its refugee guidelines for Afghanistan (see Don’t worry about the boats: UNHCR will stop them).

That will mean a loss for both them and for us.

The Afghan Hazaras who began to arrive here from 1999 onwards have settled well in Australia. They are good neighbours, and such good workers that unemployment is almost unheard of among them, and indeed along the Murray, where many workers are being laid off because of water restrictions, the Afghans are being kept on. You don’t find such good workers easily.

The arrival of asylum seekers is a badge of honour. One of the main ways asylum seekers choose their destinations is the state of human rights and democracy in those nations. (See What really deters asylum claims: a REAL change of government)

The Afghans have strengthened our values as a nation. One of the unforeseen consequences of the Howard government’s anti-asylum seeker legislation was that many Australians were so outraged that they rose up in one of the largest spontaneous public actions this country has ever seen. The asylum seekers caused people to rediscover what they believed to be the real Australia: fairness and mateship.

The Afghans helped to regenerate country areas. Afghan Hazaras settled in regional areas that were desperate for residents and workers, and revitalised many centres.

Australia can also be inspired by Riace, a poor rural centre in Italy, which until recently was rapidly becoming a ghost town. Then they began welcoming refugees from around the world. The immigrants get free room and board and are expected to work and learn Italian in return.

The project is proving highly successful, so much so that Wim Wenders has made a film ‘Il Volo’ (‘The Flight’) about it.

When Wenders gave a speech in Berlin, where celebrations to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall had just ended, he said

“The true utopia is not the fall of the Wall, but what has been achieved in Calabria, in Riace”.  (From Der Speigel: Italian Village Welcomes Refugees with Open Arms, with thanks for the heads up to Pamela Curr)

(The following video is in Italian, but shows both Wenders and Riace. If you can find a clip in English, please let me know)

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