Posts Tagged ‘crisis’

How Other Countries Treat Refugees

September 4, 2015

Now that the tragedy of death at sea has circled the world in an unsettling photo, the Aussie government is determined not to let this happen in our backyard.

Let it happen in someone else’s.

If traffickers want to beat Arabs and lock them in the hull while their boat sinks, then they’re doing the government’s job for them. Italian politicians planning to sink boats that have smugglers on them? Great. Are a few still getting in? Do what your two year old kid would do for a drowning bug, put ’em in a box far away with just enough food to make it look like you’re feeding them and guard them with carnivorous termites. IF YOU CAN’T SEE THEM THEY DON’T EXIST.


The Italian government tends to pile up its boat people and drop them in Libya, which is a family friendly place with many cheerful communities who’ve been in close contact since ousting Gaddafi. Well, ousting gives an image of Libya kicking his backside over the Tunisian border with a “Aaand stay out!” A more accurate word would be face-shooting. There’s also ISIS, who’ve been absent from the recent peace talks and have had minor success in grabbing Libyan land since the former dictatorship’s face-shooting.

But at least they’ve signed a peace treaty, so it should be fine to drop them there. Looks like Libya is safe for those wartorn families. Right, The Guardian?

The factions have yet to agree on details.

Diplomats say both governments face pressure from hardliners who favour a military solution.

Anyway …

Italy is doing God’s (Australia’s) work. Libya even helps return boatloads of war refugees to the war. This is called Operation Mare Nostrum, or Our Sea translated from Latin. It’s much like Australia’s habit of either sending them away or putting them on volcanic rocks on the equator to become proud citizens of Mordor. So when the Aussie PM told Europe to solve the “terrible problem” of refugees in boats his way, Italy must’ve agreed. Right?

Italian navy chief sceptical of Australian asylum seeker solution to Mediterranean migrant crisis

Even the people who dump their refugees in war zones are against Aussie-style turnbacks? The nerve.

In 2014 we launched a campaign to inform refugees that people would never be settled in Australia. If it was safe, we’d toss them back home. People like the Afghani Hazaras. That year, close combat increased in Afghanistan and both sides bombed civilian areas with no regard for what got destroyed. 22% more civilians died in 2014.


But Italy has it all. While they turn back boats, more than 800 refugees died when their Italy-bound ship capsized off the Libyan coast in April. This was when Abbott urged Europe to turn back their refugees, which is like asking someone whose computer is on fire “Have you tried smacking it? That works with my Xbox sometimes. Hit it bro.”

Italy’s PM had to comment on the 800 deaths and the world news reports tied up Italy in the issue, while Italian coastguards rescued the survivors. If a boat aims for Australia, sinks near its own country and no one is around to hear it, then we’ve stopped the boats.

But wait! Hungary can dehumanise too.

Refugee protesters threw themselves on train tracks and went on hunger strike yesterday because Hungary wanted to send them to camps with notoriously bad conditions. The refugees begged to be reunited with their families in Germany, while chanting “Media, media, don’t leave!” knowing that the police would bundle them onto trains bound for camps when the press went home.

Refugees begging to be sent to Germany so that authorities don’t shove them in trains and send them to deadly camps. The real news story is that we’re living in an alternate universe.

That brings us to today, the queasy image of the Turkish guard looking down at a toddler on the tide. They were bound for Greece, which has been flooded by 205,000 refugees this year. 18% of those are Afghani. Greece is preparing for disease to spread through its squalid camps.

It’s a good time to reread the government’s You Will Never Call Australia Home comic aimed at war refugees.

If places like Australia were willing and able to do more for foreigners, those numbers might lighten. She could live up to those bits of paper she signed for the UN or try something outrageous like both rescuing refugees and treating them humanely. More Afghanis might be encouraged to leave, knowing that they won’t be assaulted in every way by security guards and hostile Papua New Guineans. Those hostile locals have a strange prison on their land where all the inmates are punished for escaping war, something that wiped out a third of Papua New Guineans not long ago. The nations of Europe might not be, as bogans like to call our country, full – and still taking more. Life might be liveable for millions. Others might still have their lives.

When the Italian coastguard salvaged a dozen bodies from April’s shipwreck that killed 800, they sailed into Malta. For a while they considered where the dead should go, who they might belong to. In the end, they buried the bodies right there.