Wednesday, 21 December 2011

As I Please: On The Wisdom Of Drowning Children Fleeing Adaminejab To Show That We Mean Business When It Comes To Border Protection

It is wrong, it seems, and wickedly wrong, for persecuted families to flee Iran, and if they die in the Arafura Sea it serves them right. It is wicked of them to want to live in Australia instead, and raise their children here. If they drown, well, we warned them, we told them not to come. They shouldn't have come. We told them to risk the vile rule of Adaminejab but not the sea voyage here. And we were right to do so.
This is the moral stance we are now defending, the moral stance the Australian Labor Party, long an ally of human rights, is now defending: don't flee persecution, stay persecuted, risk your children's lives under persecution, because some of the boats you plan to escape in, well, the boats might sink. We won't send you back to Iran, but the boats might sink. So stay in Iran. Risk being tortured. Risk the coming nuclear war with Israel. The boats might sink. So stay in Iran. Stay in Iraq, where fifty people are blown up every week. You know it makes sense.
How feeble-minded all this is. It's like telling British soldiers on Dunkirk Beach not to risk the voyage to Dover in frail fishing boats through stormy seas because they might drown on the way. Better stay and take your chances under the Third Reich. Better seek work in Occupied France in your British Army uniform. You know it makes sense.
And it's worse because we burn the boats they come in. Families fleeing Adaminejab are drowning because we burned the better boats they might have come in, years ago. Every boat that comes is seized by uniformed Australian pirates and either given to a local white person or burned on the beach.
No protest has ever been made against this policy, which is essentially the same as the Vikings raiding England in the seventh century. By what moral right do we steal a man's boat and burn it? Is it a lethal weapon? No. It's a boat. Why burn it? Why not invite the owner to pick it up and sail it home?
We do not burn the Qantas planes on which most illegals come. Why not? The logic is the same. These unwelcome refugees from persecution are being assisted by Qantas pilots to come here, so we are gaoling the Qantas pilots -- of course we are -- and we're burning the 747s on the tarmac as well.
It's a measure of how racist, how otherist, how heathenist we are that none of us has yet protested this kidnapping, piracy and arson by our duly elected government. Our victims are brown and Muslim, and their travel arrangements unwelcome to us, so we kidnap them on the high seas and traumatise their infant children, and burn the boats they come in. Which causes worse and worse boats to come, expendable boats, overcrowded because so many good boats have been burnt, and on these rickety, rotting, splintered craft children drown.
And all this unwanted migration can be stopped, we reckon, and Ba'Hai and Sunnis and Christians and educated secular women persuaded to stay in Ademinejab's Iran, the desired outcome, by telling them the voyage is dangerous and we'll send you to Malaysia if you come here.
Only a racist would believe this is rational policy, only the kind of racist that thinks 'these people' throw their children overboard or can be daunted from seeking a better life by the threat of Nauru, Malaysia, Woomera, Baxter, Villawood or Curtin.
And that sounds pretty much like all of us.
Or perhaps you disagree.


At 21 December 2011 at 14:56 , Blogger Doug Quixote said...

Surprisingly enough I do disagree. Most of the boats that arrive in our waters are thoroughly unseaworthy; that is why a number of them sink. Some of the unfortunates aboard are rescued if they make it far enough to attract our navy's attention.

Destroying the boats after seizure ensures that those particular boats do not go back for another boatload, one which might be less fortunate.

However, I do agree with the tenor of your sentiments expressed in the first paragraph; I just wish that there was some reasonable solution. I fear that there is not.

At 21 December 2011 at 15:52 , Blogger J.G.Cole said...

Bob - a Sisyphean question, of that there is no argument.

First, the given:
The Labor Party needs out a point of new referentiality regarding asylum seekers. Howard's Tampa/SievX strategy has transformed this otherwise indolent nation beyond anyone's reckoning. This successful manipulation of a nation's prejudices are now what haunt this issue.
Gillard is in the grip of this political/moral nightmare....a nightmare 11 years in the dreaming and brought to life by Cronulla and Boat drownings, Bolt's soap-boxing and Australian Rednecks reinvigorated by Howard's sanction.

Second, my thoughts:
Gillard needs to secure an election win in 2013 at ALL costs.
All POLITICAL means toward that singular end.
Not only does she need to win, she will need to win comfortably and WITHOUT the electoral life raft of the Greens.
Once this is achieved she can then begin the slow but deliberate transformation of the Australian psyche (a la Howard) in the opposite direction; where compassion and sensitivity are the ruling motifs, where morality and political sense combine to inform both policy and our national discourse.

It is a monstrous "If" that I rest my argument on.
But I see no other.
I have heard or read of no other.
If the Conservatives win then they solidify the prejudice for POLITICAL purchase.....and all is lost.

Our goal as members of the Left is to ensure a Labor victory......and any ethical tap-dancing Gillard does now to ensure that end is fine by me.
I do understand that that final thought will raise the Dull against me.....
So be it.
I am a poster on the Drum. I am well used to dealing with the Dull ;)

Excuse the short post....I need to be somewhere.

One last thing Bob, I am a great admirer of your style. I just don't believe that it is appropriate in all cases. You expose yourself to the charge of provocateur and contrarian....when the charge, on subjects like this should be, I believe, gravitas and expostulation; forceful argumentation and a blunt reasoning.

But, as always, a thought provoking piece.

At 22 December 2011 at 13:43 , Blogger Bob Ellis said...

To G J Cole:

The 'contrarian' adminition I will take on board.

I address your attention to my Festival of Ideas talk, The Big Lie, in which I argue that we have room here to take and settle all the Hazaras and all the Iranian dissidents without even troubling our ecosystem, and, in a country two thirds the size of China, ample fertile room for eighty or ninety million immigrants tomorrow. The Western District of Victoria alone is the size of England, Katter's electorate the size of Britain, Crook's the size of Scandinavia, Tasmania the size of Ireland, and so on.

I may in fact offer it to Unleashed.

Good to talk to you.

Do you know how I can find out how many readers this blog has?

It may be as few as ten, or as many as five hundred, and it would be nice to know.

At 22 December 2011 at 14:49 , Blogger J.G.Cole said...

Hello Bob,
I have heard your "Big Lie" arguments Bob.
You need not convince me.
You need to convince those Dull conservative muttonhead Coalition staffers that are paid to astroturf the Drum forums with their disgraceful xenophobia....a xenophobia which they no longer even try and temper!
Brazen buffoons!!

The task before you.
Are you up to it?
Or do you see the continued attacks on Labor as assisting the cause of your beloved "Hazaras and all the Iranian dissidents"?

I do not.
And whilst I have read nearly every word you have written on the subject I remain unconvinced by such a strategy.

Regarding your other concerns:
I do believe you have already submitted a similar piece on the Drum. I'm certain of it.

No, I'm afraid I do not. I am still a pen and paper kinda person. What I can tell you is this: if this blog, this domain, is yours, you can have access to all sorts of information; how many hits, what time of day, which part of the country....that sort of thing. Address you questions to the chap you spoke to when setting up this blog. He should be able to reveal all.

And it is good to talk to you also.

At 22 December 2011 at 15:00 , Blogger J.G.Cole said...

Try these sorts of places.

At 22 December 2011 at 16:51 , Blogger Doug Quixote said...

Does it really matter how many read it? Think of the quality of the readership instead!

I've seen what I call your empty spaces proposal; I'd like to reserve the Big Lie for Abbott and his henchmen, that "this is an incompetent government". That lie defies all logic, sense and evidence. And it has acquired traction in the MSM.

The 'empty spaces' deserves to be looked at, but Australia has old fragile soils and "just add water" probably won't work, beyond the well adapted native flora and fauna.

Also, what if City State A (Sunni) takes exception to City State B (Shiite) and decides to attack through City State C (Hazaras) and then nuke City State D (orthodox jews) whilst the rest of us look on? Or who should we attack or defend?

At 22 December 2011 at 20:53 , Blogger Bob Ellis said...

I'm told I'm averaging 200 hits a day and rising, more on the days when an Unleashed piece goes up. So that's good. Though I suppose 50 of those could be us three.

I may put my filthy Strauss-Kahn poems up, and see if the numbers rise.

At 22 December 2011 at 22:17 , Blogger J.G.Cole said...

Bob, hi.
Who told you?
And did you try the site I mentioned?

From my end I can say that I visit at least twice a day - either for a read or comment.

At 22 December 2011 at 23:18 , Blogger Bob Ellis said...

Joel Hill, who co-stars in my diary books, I call him 'my giant Nubian servant', is a computer whiz who set the site up and found out somehow it audience numbers, many in foreign countries.

A good, only half-mad young man.

At 31 December 2011 at 18:07 , Blogger Bruce Beresford said...

Don McAlpine is certainly one of the greatest movie cameramen but he didn't photograph "Driving Miss Daisy". It was shot by another outstanding Australian, Peter James.
I understood that Robyn Nevin's objection to "Nothing Personal" was that the theme deviated from the idea she originally discussed with David. She hasn't yet seen the Ensemble production. When she does I think she would have to agree its an effective,incisive and touching work.
Bruce Beresford

At 31 December 2011 at 22:47 , Blogger Bob Ellis said...

Hmm. I stand corrected, and regret, of course the inaccuracy. It us a good, incisive production and I said so in my review.

Sorry, ifvthat is appropriate.

Really good party.

At 31 December 2011 at 23:28 , Blogger Bob Ellis said...

Sorry, 'it is', and 'if that'.

At 1 January 2012 at 20:39 , Blogger Ryan Starr said...

I wonder how many asylum seekers cite the "coming nuclear war with Israel" among their reasons for fleeing.

At 2 January 2012 at 02:08 , Blogger Bob Ellis said...

It would be hard for them not to. America is huffing and puffing about Iran's uranium, and Israel threatening an air strike on it's 'nuclear facilities' and Israel has had atomic bombs it won't admit to for forty years, and imprisons anyone who talks about them.

Would Israel, of all nations, not use them in a war with the Holocaust-denying Shi-ite Ayatollahs they so detest?

Don't think so.

At 2 January 2012 at 13:27 , Blogger Bob Ellis said...

Sorry, 'its nuclear facilities'.

Can't believe I did that.

At 2 January 2012 at 15:49 , Blogger Doug Quixote said...

I share your disquiet over Israel's possible actions or reactions over Iran. The world stood at 5 minutes to midnight for decades as the USA and the Soviet Union glared at each other, 'one frightened and the other not game' as the saying goes. We do not need the risk of nuclear strikes to spice up our 'interesting times'.

Surely the use of nukes would be a last resort, the last shot in the locker from one facing imminent annihilation, for the rest of the world would be obliged to act against such a pariah with overwhelming force. And even if that were not an issue, a limited arsenal can only be used once, and it had better be totally effective; I cannot see how that could apply against Iran, as diffuse a country as they come. Any strike against Israel would throw out the baby with the bathwater, as millions of Palestinians died with the Israelis, and Palestine became radioactive.

Only the truly insane would seriously consider the option, much less carry it out. Unfortunately, there is still room for disquiet.


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