I managed to write an entire novel without resorting to an exclamation mark, so it’s an indication of my indignation that I’ve used them with such extravagance in the above title.
On this week’s 4 Corners programme, which provides the best investigative journalism in the country, they uncovered the extraordinary damage our government does to refugees in the name of border protection.
Former Australian of the Year, Patrick McGorry, called our detention centres ‘mental-illness factories’ and the 4 Corners programme demonstrated that beyond contention. Meanwhile, other media outlets in Australia, continue to feed the Australian public’s paranoia that refugees get a free ride at our expense. The truth is that we treat refugees, who have committed no crime, worse than the worst criminals in the country.
And this is because politicians from both of our major parties believe it’s necessary to win the xenophobic vote. Fear is always a good vote winner, which is why capital punishment in the US has the history it does. And the media also know that fear sells air-space on television and radio and print-space in newspapers, so they are more than happy to jump on the bandwagon and help the politicians manipulate public opinion.
The height of the politicians’ hypocrisy (on both sides) is that they claim they are creating a ‘deterrent’ which will stop refugees from endangering their lives by crossing the Indian Ocean in ‘leaky boats’. They don’t acknowledge the fact that people only risk their lives in such circumstances because the risk of losing one’s life by staying where they are is even greater. Many of the refugees questioned have lost close relatives to political violence, so it is not safe for them to stay in their country of origin.
The most interesting aspect of all this is that it’s only refugees who arrive by boat who are put in detention. Those who arrive by aeroplane are treated entirely differently. Why is this so? You may well ask. It’s because those who arrive by plane attract no media attention whatsoever, whereas those who arrive by boat get all the media attention and therefore must be vilified by our politicians to show how ‘tough’ they are.
It’s unbelievable that our politicians can be so morally bankrupt, but the desire to win office, and stay in office, corrupts moral principles to the worst degree. As long as the public are unaware or unempathetic to our treatment of refugees, then politicians will do nothing to uphold their charter to treat them humanely. In fact, they will do the opposite because it will win them votes.
Addendum: It’s been demonstrated by neurological investigation that when people experience emotional pain it affects the exact same part of the brain, and to the same degree, as if they experience physical pain. This is why people self-harm when they are exposed to long term emotional stress, because the physical pain becomes a substitute for the emotional pain. This seems perverse, yet it’s been known to occur with animals as well (kept in captivity in stressful conditions).
When refugees self-harm, the idiot commentators, amongst others, tell us that they are seeking attention. Mental-health professionals know better: these people are at the extremity of their sanity and our government’s polices keep pushing them over the edge. This is arguably the most shameful behaviour one can witness in a 21st Century liberal democracy.