11 June, 2016

Out of Sight, out of mind.

I'm an immigrant.

I came to Australia in 1989 and became a citizen in 1992. I'm grateful to have been accepted here, and proud to be an Australian.

I am disappointed, however, by Australia's current policy regarding our fellow human beings seeking asylum — those men, women and children often called, "boat people."

We have closed our doors to the "boat people" who came seeking our protection.

We have incarcerated men, women and children guilty of no crimes, save to escape persecution. And we have stripped them of all hope — seemingly as an example to others who might seek our shelter.

We have used the law to prevent the doctors, nurses and other professionals who have toiled in our camps from speaking out about what they have witnessed.

We have forced genuine asylum seekers (who will die or be persecuted if they return to their "home" countries) onto even more perilous paths.

We say that by 'stopping the boats,' we've stopped the deaths at sea; we've only stopped the deaths on our sea.

There's a story, perhaps apocryphal, that in testing early language translation programs, the designers experimented with colloquial phrases. One of the phases was, "Out of sight, out of mind." As the story goes, it was translated from English into Russian, and then back again. It was returned as, "Blind and insane."

—Bill Danby