Australia Should Help Refugees To Escape Safely

Christmas Island Drownings As Refugee Boat Sank As It Neared Australia on 21st June, 2012. Why are these drownings still happening? Why is the Australian government not rescuing these boat-people refugees in time? Why is the New Zealand government not offering to help these refugees?

We open our doors here to the rich from China, America, South Africa, the UK – but turn a blind eye to those desperately in need, when really, if financial resources are managed more equitably, there should be enough food to feed everybody, and a place for each to live in safety.

Forgetting capitalistic principles, governments could pool their resources and allocate land for communities of refugees, where they could grow crops to supply the basics for the community, with some left over to sell or exchange for other goods. One would imagine that the large continent of Australia might have room to facilitate such a humanitarian scheme.

People all over the world, and especially the politicians, should be reminded of the need for charity and compassion. We all need to open our hearts to the needy people of the world. Of course, charity begins at home – our own people should be taken care of first. But there is always room for another mouth to be fed. These refugees trying to reach Australia should most certainly be helped.

Pope Paul VI’s message on August 6th, 1966 is as relevant today as it was back in 1966:

“Because of great changes, this world is in need of a shining light, and longs for the supernatural flame of charity”.

Early this morning, 17th July, 2012, I saw a BBC Interview with Australian Benjamin Solah. Benjamin Solah is a leading spokesman for the humanitarian movement to help refugees internationally, and especially in Australia. He is part of a movement which is striving to keep that supernatural flame of charity alive, in my opinion.

Many people have died in their capsized boats as they tried to reach the shores of Australia, where they expected to find safety after escaping death or torture in their own country.

And then, if they are lucky enough to make the crossing from Indonesia to Australia, ‘the lucky country’, a new kind of hell has to be endured for most of these people. Because the ones who are lucky enough to make the journey safely to Australia are likely to be kept in a detention centre, where conditions are very harsh. Sometimes they remain there for several years, before a decision is made to let them get on and live a decent life as an Australian citizen. Cases of suicides during this time of detention are not uncommon.

There have been several tragedies at sea recently, where many refugees have drowned in the waters as they neared the Australian coast. Australian authorities could possibly have rescued these people before their boats capsized in rough seas, but failed to do so. The result was that over 100 people died in one incident only several weeks ago, on the 21st June, 2012, off Christmas Island.

The reason for many of the ocean disasters is quite simple: Benjamin Solah says that the Australian government ‘scuttle’ the refugee boats as they arrive on the shores of Australia. That means that they get destroyed. And the fact that the refugee boats get destroyed on arrival means that only cheap, small boats are used to take the refugees across the ocean – Boats which are on their last legs – boats which are not valuable, and, very often, boats which are not safe.

All boat people fleeing injustice and death from torturous regimes should be helped, said Benjamin Solah, when he was interviewed by BBC at around 1 AM NZ time this morning. He said that Australia takes only a very small proportion of refugees compared to other countries. Less than .01% find refuge in Australia, said Benjamin on BBC television. This is a sorry state of affairs, since Australia is one of the richest nations, with one of the most robust economies in the world.

We should be helping people to leave their situations in their birth countries, if these people are being oppressed to the point of torture or death. We should be helping them to get air tickets, so that they can travel safely to Australia and other places of refuge, rather than let them risk their lives in unseaworthy and over-loaded small boats. Many of these boats do not make it. We probably will never know just how many people have died trying to make the crossing to Australia.


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