Wednesday, 5 August 2009

We are being invaded today

by a harmless little troop of children and their mother. I have no problems with this invasion. It has occurred before. It is very different from the planned invasion of an army barracks that had to be stopped yesterday.
There is much more to this than the media is saying of course. There was a leak, a dangerous leak which may well have jeopardised the carefully planned operation of the law enforcement agencies involved in the raids. There was an underlying suggestion by some elements of the media that this was all a bit of beat up. Most people do not believe Australia is a terrorist target. It is. Anywhere can be a terrorist target. It just has to be somewhere harm can be done.
Now yes, the vast majority of refugees are glad to be here. They are not knowingly going to break the law or deliberately cause any trouble. They may or may not be hardworking. It will depend on where they come from, what their qualifications are and whether they speak enough English to mix. If they come from a culture where the men do not work regular hours and have no formal qualifications or English then they are going to have problems. It is not merely a matter of teaching them English and giving them work skills. It is an entire culture change - and that does not come quickly or easily. It often takes two or more generations. There will still be other cultural issues. And, for many refugees, Australia is merely seen as a temporary place of residence. They want to go 'home' - and cannot.
There are also others whom we label "refugee". These people, almost always young, single men, are the trouble makers, the fanatics, the fundamentalists and the law breakers in their own society. They have been sent off by family and community because they are not welcome at home. They will be those who will almost always arrive illegally by boat. They know they will not get in by legal means. They will have been carefully coached in the stories they tell. If they are desperate then it is often the sort of desperation that arises out of endeavouring to avoid the death penalty in their home country.
To suggest that these young men do not exist, and do not exist in considerable numbers, is nonsense. There may even be another purpose in sending them. They can eventually bring in family to Australia - if they stay long enough and behave while they are here. They may even show their 'loyalty' to Australia by becoming Australian citizens but their real loyalty will always lie elsewhere. They will become involved, and involve others, in the sort of plans which had to be stopped yesterday.
"But I know lots of refugees and they are nice people!" and "You can't say that. It's not true. Refugees are good people! They want to be here!" and "It's our fault if they do this sort of thing. It means we have not made them welcome. We haven't given them all the help they need."
Perhaps it is time to start looking at those who come as people rather than refugees?

1 comment:

Rachel Fenton said...

A very thought provoking read.