A couple of things he said made me think:
- refugee children in Darwin haven't been to school in 5 months. What the? I thought every kid in detention got an education. I know places in WA where kids are sent to the local primary school. If kids aren't getting an education then how come this isn't being publicized?
- "what would you do if it's your child that was in detention?". Well I would be heartbroken for my bubba. I have never thought that extended detention for anyone is a good thing. Folks should be in detention for 6 months maximum. Then either send them home (non genuine) or let them be part of society. Keeping folks in limbo is not on.
Anyway this did make me think so thanks.
As mentioned before what we need is
More 'refugee stories' in the media (to help the public understand) and also harsh punishments for any frauds.
I had a 14 yo student who had fled her homeland with her mother and siblings.
Her father had been killed in the war. Her mother was a soldier, to protect their village against the enemy.
One night her mother went out to fight against raiders. But they got through.
She watched her 12 yo sister, 9yo brother and 7yo sister be raped (thankfully not mutilated, so they were lucky) and was raped herself.
She had also killed in defence of her family.
At 14 I was horse mad, and spent my time reading Terry Pratchett novels.
Id be happy to have 100 'illegal' refugees arrive, to save the 1 'legal' refugee.
We really have no idea how lucky we are here!
I once did a performance piece called 'Transit Camp' for, and sponsored by, the Big West Festival. It was on a deserted piece of land next to a park adjacent the Maribyrnong (however you spell that) River. The piece went for 9 days and we did 2 performances a day, and spent weeks setting it up, performing, 6hrs on site every day. It was a makeshift refugee camp that could have been anywhere, and there were about 25-30 inhabitants, a dozen or so tents, and over 50 graves we built (in scorching sun). The amount of graves seemed quite overwhelming compared to the number of living souls in the camp. The whole thing covered maybe 3-4 acres.
It was designed to have a real effect on people and often did. First the audience group were allowed to roam the camp and interact with the inhabitants. I was a sick woman who had been left to die in a pathetically equipped First Aid tent. I was instructed not to interact much with crowd, and many people became quite distressed trying to give me water and help; as though the line between reality and theatre had blurred.
The crowd then wandered through the graveyard (they were gently led there in ways that did not seem obvious), and were then collected by a real estate agent character and female assistant who took them to the serene scene of a beautiful green lawn with a massive tree strung with white foam houses; whereby it became apparent they were really part of a tour of a new housing estate. Given brochures 'picture your life here,' etc. Invited up onto a giant raised walkway with picture frames framing the views of the river, and given the 'hard sell.' Many of the audience wanted to return to the camp, and were quite upset by the juxtaposition. As they were directed back to the carpark while the RE agent spoke to his assistant of hurrying them so the next tour could start, we'd all crept out from the tent and our places in the camp for a funeral procession to the graveyard. The carpark overlooked the graveyard, and the crowd stood transfixed as a bell tolled and we all stood looking bereft around a grave (I played a second character here, and had speedily changed into new costume while the crowd had their RE tour). Eventually we all melted back into the camp, and the audience disappeared into their cars.
It was extremely well written and designed, and had a major effect upon me as well as the community. It got rave reviews but not huge audiences. All the tents, supplies and props were donated to the AS resource centre afterwards, I seem to remember. It was an amazing piece of theatre, something I'll never forget.
I agree with you extended detention sucks and there do need to be more stories in the media. The problem is that the issue of asylum seekers has become a political game - every time there is an election on it becomes a hot issue. When really it should not be a cheap grab for votes based on scare mongering.
We hardly take any asylum seekers at all - .23% of the worlds refugees.
Here are some quick statistics regarding asylum seekers in Australia: (they're from Kon's website, same guy in the video)
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