Australia's persecution of asylum seekers continues with the news that an Iranian year 12 student, Mojgan Shamsalipoor, was dragged from her classroom to be returned to detention while the government continues negotiating with Iran to take her and others back.
In this case, 21 year old Mojgan had already spent two years living in the community and had married. Yet the federal government has seen fit to bust up her family for political purposes and return her to detention. To make it even worse, as a means of punishment, she was transferred from the Brisbane detention centre to Darwin after speaking to the ABC about her plight, without even having the opportunity to say goodbye to her husband (1).
|Mojgan Shamsalipoor and her husband, Milad Jafari. (Brisbane Times) (2)|
What sort of perverted minds decide to do this to innocent people fleeing persecution?
The LNP government isn't just morally bankrupt, it is evil. indefinitely jailing people who've been charged with no crime, who are escaping rape, murder and war. All the while, the government is either returning them to their persecutors (as in the case or Iraq and Afghanistan) or attempting to (as in the case of Iran). Abbott, Dutton, Morrison et al have blood on their hands, as do those who support them.
If Australians are so concerned about the legality of asylum seeking then they should be concerned about their own government breaking international laws on refugees, refoulement and torture. But when the populace is manipulated by fear, xenophobia and bigotry they give power to fascism and gross human rights abuses such as we are witnessing today.
We need a government with the guts and the moral fortitude to stand up for the weak and the persecuted. For that matter we need an opposition with the guts to challenge the racist rhetoric being spewed forth by the LNP in their quest for votes and power.
It's only the left wing that is standing up for human rights. And that isn't the Labor Party. It is only the Greens and socialist politicians who are willing to take a stand for refugee rights. Those on the right are happy to condone and commit abuse, torture and send people to their deaths at the hands of groups that we're fighting against, such as ISIS in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Or to return them to governments which are known abusers such as Iran and Sri Lanka.
When people are led by fear they can be convinced to do anything. Convolute the message of fear with issues that appeal to those who think they're taking a stand for morality, such as same sex marriage and abortion, and the government has the perfect recipe for controlling much of the population. For instance, those opposed to same sex marriage and abortion will criticise any attempt to change the laws in these areas as being a display of moral bankruptcy, while they happily support the government's abuse and torture of innocent people.
On marriage equality, Prime Minister Tony Abbott claims that the government has more important things to worry about. This is true, so why even bother debating the legislation. Just pass it and get on to the real issues, such as the government's attack on workers, on pensioners, on health and education and of course on refugees. Those are the big issues. Stop faking moral outrage on marriage. Stop pretending that same sex marriage will undermine the family unit while breaking up families as they have done with asylum seekers. As they have done with Mojgan Shamsalipoor.
Abortion? The hypocrisy of the argument against this reeks to high heaven when its opponents support a government that jails pregnant refugees and leaves them so traumatised they would prefer abortion than bringing a child into Abbott's Australia (3). For those who do give birth, the government jails their babies. Those who vote LNP because of its stand on abortion are supporting a government that opposes workers' rights, that opposes welfare, that has cut spending in education and health. The biggest cause of abortion is poverty and yet the government is hell-bent on making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Abbott's first budget targeted the poor and low paid. If you're opposed to abortion, then also be opposed to programs that cut income to the poorest in society. Be opposed to the human rights abuses that see women chose abortion over life.
The morals of the right wing are so twisted that they honestly believe they are doing the right thing by busting up refugee families, by detaining and torturing them in gulags such Manus Island and Nauru. The government will argue it is saving lives, that no-one is drowning at sea. Maybe they aren't drowning in the Indian Ocean, but certainly many more are drowning in the Mediterranean. It is highly likely that some of these refugees have chosen Europe rather than Australia because of our harsh and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers.
The Labor Party has not had the guts to stand up against the LNP's human rights abuses and instead tags along on LNP policy like a lost puppy hoping someone will chuck it a bone and rub it's tummy for being such a sycophant to xenophobia.
Asylum seekers are real people with real lives. They've come to Australia seeking help and protection. Yet they're treated with contempt and hatred, while being subject to the government's lies about the legality of their arrival.
Those who support these policies cannot claim the moral high ground.
Australia's actions are unconscionable and illegal.
These policies drive people to desperation, to self-harm, to suicide. Mojgan summed up the feelings of many asylum seekers when she said:
'Die in peace is better than die with torture'.
1. ABC News, Eric Tlozek, 'Asylum seeker school student 'dragged on ground', put in detention in lieu of deal to return Iranian citizens, husband says', http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-08/iranian-asylum-seekers-devastated-by-return-to-detention/6682210. Accessed 9 August 2015.
2. Brisbane Times, Amy Remeikis, 'Brisbane student 'dragged on ground', sent to Darwin detention centre', http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbane-student-dragged-on-ground-sent-to-darwin-detention-centre-20150808-giuqdx.html. Accessed 9 August 2015.
3. ABC News, Matt Wordsworth, 'Asylum seekers Salima and Mamun Motiur say they opted for abortion in face of conditions in Nauru detention centre', http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-24/asylum-seekers-opt-for-abortion-in-face-of-nauru-conditions/5280826. Accessed 9 August 2015.