An Open Letter about Manus

I’ve been struggling to come up with things to write about since my last post. This blog was supposed to be a blog of passion but it has been breaking my heart to do more and more research into the atrocities that are occurring in Australia and all over the world.

However I cannot sit idly by and continue to watch the suffering that my own Government is putting 600 men through on Manus island. Seeking asylum is a human right, not a crime. Illegally detaining someone is a crime, but here we are. The Australian Government portrays their ability to have strong borders and a stop the boat policy more important than the quality of human life. We cannot forget these men, we cannot abandon them and we can never forget what the Australian Government has done to these 600 men but also every other man, woman and child in illegal detention.

This tweet is what sparked my need to finally write a new post. A man trapped in the Manus island detention centre who is suffering conditions not suitable for animals. This man is suffering because My Government, My Prime Minister and My Country fails to accept these refugees. We are country built on boat people and refugees, yet we deny these men for what reason?

I have a friend who is in her late 70s, she is in an aged care facility and grew up in rural country Queensland, whenever I see her she always reminds me how important it is that this country continues to accept migrants, refugees and asylum seekers because they make Australia so vibrant and wonderful. This woman spent 40 years in the same job from 1960 to 2000. She worked in the same job for two of my lifetimes, building up Australia through her work in her own little way. She is so wise and has seen so much of the world, that I feel like Our Prime Minister could learn a lot from her, that Our Government could learn so much from its Australians Young and Old.

Then again, in a way I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by the way this Government is behaving; between having to have a $122million postal survey on whether or not two consenting adults who love each other should be able to get married, tightening laws on Medicare and Tertiary education grants, and to lowering taxes for the rich. Is it a real surprise that this Liberal Government struggles to see right from wrong? Is it really a surprise that all they see is the bottom line and the money that lines their pockets?

The responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers in Australia has fallen to private organisations all over Australia; refugee centres, asylum seeker centres, pro bono lawyers, legal aids, food banks, and so many organisations have been forced to pick up the slack and do the right thing. Many of these organisations are run by volunteers or purely by donations because the Government does not support them. Thus is shown in a cartoon by Golding

The harsh sad truth is that this cartoon is so real and so true that it hurts. The right thing to do has fallen into the hands of the people because our representatives and our Government has fallen well short of their responsibilities.

In saying all of this, there is so many things that we as the people of Australia and the world can do; for the people of Australia contact your local member – send letters, emails, make phone calls, do whatever you can so that they can hear you. If you are from anywhere around the world and have money to spare; donate it to organisations like the Asylum Seeking Resource Centre and help them to make a difference. If you have time – volunteer your time to an organisation that needs it, help the people of this world and make it a brighter place. If you have a loud voice – attend a protest, they’re all over Australia (and the world) and maybe if we all unite as one we will be heard.

In the end it comes down to two things;

1. These men on Manus and all the people locked up in detention centres are suffering, how long can we continue to allow human beings to suffer at our own hand?

2. What side of history do you want to be on? The side that stood by and silently allowed Our Government, the Australian Government to cause in-human suffering and illegally detained them? Or the side that did as much as they could to stop this suffering, the side that did the right thing.

Do you want Your Grandchildren to ask you why You didn’t help and why You allowed innocent people to suffer or do you want them to ask what You did to help?

The choice is Yours.

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