Type
Article

all honorable men

Sometimes, you almost find yourself wishing for the utter collapse of Western civilisation, if only because it might mean that Philip Ruddock and others of his ilk might have themselves to seek asylum.

Here’s the old vampire in the Oz this morning.

The government then argues that the worldwide security situation has deteriorated. This is also not true. Indeed, in some places it has improved. The situation has always been difficult in source countries such as Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, and it is arguable that Afghanistan was significantly less safe under the Taliban than it is now. Likewise, Sri Lanka was long beset with a Tamil insurgency that now appears to have been defeated militarily.

You see, there’s nothing to flee from in Sri Lanka. Everything’s just peachy. Never mind that there’s currently a quarter of a million people interned in camps. Never mind that those camps are off limits to human rights organisations and the media. Never mind that, insofar as we know anything about the situation there, it seems that the detainees lack adequate food, housing and medical attention.

That’s why a boatload of asylum seekers are threatening to blow themselves up rather than be returned to Indonesia. Here’s the testimony of one of them.

If the authorities in Sri Lanka know this is me on this boat, they will hunt down my wife and children in Jaffna and kill them. I have been waiting for my wife and children to follow me here. As soon as possible, we need to get to Australia. [...]

We are civilians, not Tamil Tigers. Every day there are Tamils being killed and raped in the refugee camps. Men are blindfolded and shot in the back of the head.

“In Sri Lanka if you are Tamil there is no opportunity – the government can detain you without cause, and take you to trial without evidence. [...]

[W]e had to flee somewhere.

Ah, but Philip Ruddock says that the situation has improved and Ruddock is an honorable man. So are they all, all honorable men, our politicians, staunching a flow, a flood, a tide or whatever organic metaphor you prefer.  What, then, could that man on the boat be talking about, with his wild rhetoric about killings and rapes?

Well, perhaps something like this (be warned: it’s utterly ghastly).

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Jeff Sparrow is the former editor of Overland. He is the co-author (with Jill Sparrow) of Radical Melbourne: A Secret History and Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, the editor (with Antony Loewenstein) of Left Turn: Essays for the New Left and the author of Communism: a love story, Killing: Misadventures in violence, and Money Shot: A Journey into Censorship and Porn.  On Twitter, he's @Jeff_Sparrow.

More by

Comments

  1. I have so missed the wisdom of Ruddock and his insipid, serpentine face on the TV. I like his justification, Afghanistan was more dangerous under the Taliban so now there is no need to flee? All the Ruddocks, and the Pauline Hansons and the John Howards, these are our leaders? I’d feel safer with a second hand car dealer ‘here is your Australian citizenship, go on take her for a spin, see how she feels, no commitment, she’s got a good warranty, my verbal guarantee!’

  2. Let’s not forget the Papuans attempting to leave the oppressive Indonesian rule in what is now called Irian Jaya.
    It seems we want to put diplomacy with our neighbours above providing safety and aid to those who are not allowed to practice their own culture or wave their own flag on their own home land.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>