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Description: brisbane Speech to the Asylum Seekers Wednesday 28th May, 2014
THE WORLD IS TIRED OF WAR
In October 2001 as part of the Coalition of Willing and after what has become known as Sept 11, Australia became involved in Afghanistan.
In 2003, again as part of the Coalition of the Willing we became involved in what was to become the invasion of Iraq on the pretext of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. None have ever been found.
Up to July 2012 the database Iraq Body Count had documented upwards of 117,000 Iraqi civilian deaths from violence since the start of that war. It has left a legacy of shattered bodies, minds, human misery, environmental degradation and a deeply fractured society with much of its infrastructure badly damaged. The UN High Commissioner estimates that there have been 4.7 million displaced Iraqis since the invasion.
The following statement was posted on Facebook late last year. I have the authorâ€™s permission to read this out to you all today.
Nearing the end of my first five months on this island, Iâ€™ve taken some time today to reflect on my experiences here. I have never used Facebook as a sounding board, but today feels like the day.
So sit back, put your feet up and enjoy the read.
This place, this island, this remote little world has provoked me. Provoked me in such a way that I ask myself constantly, what does it even mean to be human? I always think about two words. The first is the word human. The second is the word detention.Do they even sound right in the same sentence?
What does it mean to someone that has left everything they know behind and venture into the unknown? I have spoken to young boys who have pulled corpses out of the rubble after a car bombing in Pakistan. I have spoken with men, women and children who bare the shrapnel scars from bomb blasts. There are those who have lost limbs and have had loved ones die in their arms. A sea of faces, stories, scars and despite their pasts, they can still envision some form of a future for themselves and their families.
There have been days that I have witnessed men, women and children cry uncontrollably. Blank faces who look to me for answers. There have been days that I am too overwhelmed by the lengths people will go to, to survive; their resolve, their sacrifices.Something that the likes of you or I will never understand or ever have to endure.
I know this much. This work has shaped me, it has changed me. A lot of you will not understand the work I do or why I feel so strongly for these people. Bare this in mind though. We will never have to make that decision for ourselves or our children; to step onto a leaky, wooden boat in the middle of the night and venture into dark and treacherous waters not knowing if you will make it to the other side.
I know this much. I am a person; A person who has been born into a fortunate world where I am not targeted for my beliefs or race. A person who grew up understanding what it means to be loved, to be listened to and to have a freedom to explore my own life free of persecution. Take all that away from someone and at the core of it is a very lost soul indeed.
I am not here to incite debate. I did not come here and work in this role to express my opinion and beliefs. I came here to seek a better understanding of others and support those who from the second they arrive, are thrown into an environment that given enough time, would make anyone go crazy. From day one, I felt my role was to remind them that a better world does and can exist.
I suppose if anything,I just want you all to think and remember what you were born into. The liberties you have grown up with before you make a passing comment about refugees in our country. Educate yourself, or better yet, go and have a conversation with someone that has lost everything and has come here for an opportunity to start all over again.
Whether you think that this political â€œhot potatoâ€ is right or wrong, that is not why I write. These are merely my thoughts; Thoughts that I have collected and processed for the past five months. This is the end result of five months of listening and learning from people from across the globe and I wish to share them with you all.
Finally, the next time I hear a comment like, â€œGo back to your own countryâ€. I will not bite at your uneducated remark. I will not give it the time of day. But ask yourself this - would you go back?"
Prior to the last election when Kevin Rudd was the Prime Minister the so called PNG solution was devised. Considerable $ were given to the PNG government, a government which has a past history of corruption and which has a poorly developed infrastructure and one which is barely able to look after its own people. Add to this mix a country where many are not at all tolerant of anyone who is not christian, then you have another recipe for disaster. And now we have the current proposal of the Cambodian solution; an equally corrupt country, second only to North Korea.
Minister Morrison, why the secrecy with Manus Island? We know from past experience that anytime where secrecy abounds, human rights violations and abuse will without a doubt flourish.
How can you or anyone else justify sending someone who has already experienced torture in any form to a place such as Manus Island?
Just imagine Mr Morrison what it must be like for anyone living there in those conditions;already struggling and their terror amplified because those who are guarding them could turn on them at any time, as they did in the riot in February where many were injured, some very seriously and a young Iranian man, Reza Berati was brutally murdered.
Australia has a national and global moral obligation to help anyone who genuinely requests asylum and more so where we have been directly involved in creating the chaos as to why people sought asylum in the first place.
In 2009 in your maiden speech to Parliament you said â€“
â€œFrom my faith I derive the values of loving-kindness,justice and righteousness, to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of othersâ€.
Please tell me Minister Morrison, How can you or any politician justify sending someone eg. who pulled corpses out of the rubble after a car bombing, to a place such as Manus Island; to Deliberately and without compulsion or conscience compound and magnify the harm that has already been done to them. Where is your so called compassion Mr Morrison?????
Isnâ€™t one of the core tenets of your religion that you should do onto others as you would wish done onto you? What you said in Parliament and what you do are not the same thing are they? That makes you a Liar and a Hypocrite Mr Morrison and as far as I am concerned not at all a fit and proper person for the position that you hold.
* We are here today to a knowledge that it is 100 days since the murder of Izra Berati and the riot of Manus Isalnd on 17th February this year..
*Let not his death or the injuries others have suffered be in vain.
* Today we call for an Independent Inquiry into what happened on Manus Island.
* We call for the sacking of minister Morrison.
* And we call for the closing of the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.
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A lack of denial is a terrifying thing to encounter by those still immersed in hiding from their own failings.
Hegemony: The authority, dominance, and influence of one group, nation, or society over another group, nation, or society; typically through cultural, economic, or political means..
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