Continued from Disordered reflections on the special QandA on Leaky Boat.
The last post concluded with some stats and graphics. Here’s another:
Click that for more 2011 UNHCR data.
You can see again in that one how small our “problem” continues to be. If you go back to the last graphic on the previous entry which compares 2008 boat arrivals in Oz with the pool of actually recognised refugees I guess all you can say about now is that we may have coloured in one more tiny square. But we continue to panic. Or some do.
However, there is no doubt that enforced migration, displacement, asylum seeking and so on is a major world issue. It’s not likely to get much better, especially if you factor in over the rest of this century such matters as climate change. And one thing I found myself thinking is that there does have to be a fairer process. Just about everyone agrees with that. Knowing what it is – that’s another matter. I even agreed with Scott Morrison when he used the phrase “Hobson’s Choice”. It is that.
One of the more interesting panellists on the Q&A was Raye:
RAYE COLBEY: Because it’s making the system unfair because all the places that you take and our limit is 13,700 whatever. That is taking away places for the African people that have got no opportunity.
NAJEEBA WAZEFADOST: But how about a country that don’t have those camps. We constantly talk about Africa, that has those camps. Country like Afghanistan…
RAYE COLBEY: But have you ever been into those camps? Those camps…
NAJEEBA WAZEFADOST: I have been in a country in Afghanistan which has been maybe worse. I’m not saying – I totally agree with you that every asylum seeker, every refugee should have the right to seek that refugee in Australia.
RAYE COLBEY: No, but it’s got to be a fair system. It can’t be…
NAJEEBA WAZEFADOST: There is a country in Afghanistan that does not have UNHCR, that does not have those camps, just because…
RAYE COLBEY: The boat people are not the most needy.
NAJEEBA WAZEFADOST: So this is what you are stating?
RAYE COLBEY: I am saying that the boat people are not the most needy.
She had been briefly an object of derision courtesy of SBS:
But by the end of that social experiment she was a changed woman with a particular burden for Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Hers is a great story of heart and experience annihilating xenophobia and prejudice.
And that’s where I will leave these disordered thoughts.
As this tweet says: “#qanda Majority of Australians are happy to take refugees. Majority just want better a solution & policy!! tamzy888” Let’s stop the political gamesmanship and get really serious about a bipartisan and fair solution that maximises our contribution to this major world issue!