Monday, September 03, 2012

Compassionate Drownings

‎"Leaders from denominations including the Salvation Army and Anglican, Catholic and Uniting churches say they are concerned about the Government's new legislation to allow offshore processing.President of the Uniting Church, Reverend Andrew Dutney, says offshore processing can be traumatic for those involved."It's too late to change the legislation at this point and we accept that but there are other things to consider so we're very concerned that there be a genuine commitment to follow through on all of the recommendations of the Houston report including the increase of the numbers of asylum seekers and refugees to be accepted in the program," he said."

DDB Those leaders don't speak for me and neither do they speak for God. It is not compassionate to drown desperate people. It is also not compassionate to subject desperate people to piracy. The Pacific Solution was the fairest solution and those Christian leaders who opposed it have blood on their hands

RHG Not true, David. The policies of off-shore processing were not brought in to prevent drownings. They were done to make the politicians look tough on those they mislabelled as "illegal immigrants". The politicians you support (and their oppo
nents) don't care if these people drown trying to get somewhere else, just as long as they look like they're repelling "evil foreigners" from coming here. If any party was genuinely interested in saving lives, they would only be advocating off-shore processing in the one place that would prevent desperate people from making these dangerous trips: namely Indonesia. We could process them there and ship them here safely ourselves. But, no, that would mean some politicians would lose face. It is these politicians that have blood on their hands. You would do well to seriously reconsider the support you give them.

David Daniel Ball It isn't compassionate to drown people. Closing down Nauru and getting rid of the Pacific solution has resulted in the deaths of some 1000 known people and probably many more. The actual policy was tough to implement and worked. Those who have profited from the deaths were those who took down the policy.

RHG To say it "worked" is to claim it fulfilled an objective. Specifically, it means you are claiming that preventing drownings WAS the original objective. And that is a lie. It was NOT the objective of the original policy, nor of any that foll
owed. The fact that some politicians have recently started talking as if that were always the case does not make it so. Those of us who were paying attention at the time KNOW it was not so.
The original objectives of the policy of processing asylum seekers offshore were twofold: firstly to make it look to the xenophobic that the "foreigners" were being "repelled", and secondly to add a layer of "plausable deniablility" when these people were mistreated. It was becoming too embarrassing to have them mistreated here: as was highlighted when the UN Human Rights Commissioner was barred from inspecting the conditions they were being kept in.
So don't pretend these policy makers had any genuine concern for the plight of these people. It rings hollow even to those who don't remember what they were doing and saying when this all started.

DDB Except the words of those who formulated the policy at that time show you are wrong. Mr Howard increased the number of migrant positions and refugee positions Australia took. Prior to the solution being put in place it was estimated 1 in 3 died on the journey. But that had been when the boats were coming from places like Vietnam. Now the smugglers have a close embarkation point the death toll is more like 1 in 10. In stopping the boats and increasing the intake a solution was found that was fairer for all. But some grossly negligent highly politicised peoples, like Gillard and some church leaders and Greens seem to prefer the piracy of people smugglers and the deaths of the asylum seekers. They labelled it compassionate. It is rhetorical to say that Howard was right for the wrong reasons .. and people should drown to be more compassionate.

RHG I don't claim Howard to be right in any way at all. This is just another case of "plausible deniability". None of these policy makers cared if these people died on a longer journey seeking asylum somewhere else, such as NZ. Nor do or did th
ey care if they died in camps in Indonesia or elsewhere. They just don't want them to be seen dying coming HERE, for fear of the unpopularity that would arise.

From Howard onwards, every policy on asylum seekers has either sought to take advantage of the wave of xenophobia that rose in Howard's time, or been designed to help the policy makers save face as that wave appeared to decline. None of these policies are what one would arrive at if the genuine concern for the well-being of these people was one's true motivation.

The policies of both major parties are part of a legacy of the politics of hate. Both sides are now trying to retrospectively claim these policies were compassionate: helping the victims of people smugglers. Do you seriously think that locking up the victims of a crime is the approach one would take to deter crime if one had any genuine concern for the victim? Apply that reasoning to any other crime: you will quickly see that its absurdity is obvious.

Take mugging: would you lock up mugging victims to deter muggers? Impose a curfew? Scare innocent people from walking the streets? Yes, the muggings might go down, but let's face it: that would not be the real reason for a state imposing such a law. And when it is finally rescinded, would you then be an apologist for such a law, waiting for the first lethal mugging to take place and then announcing that those who opposed the draconian measures have "blood on their hands"?

That is what you are doing here, David. You are helping to excuse those who embraced the politics of hate. You are helping those who want to look tough and win votes at the expense of the lives of the vulnerable. There are people on both sides of politics who are appalled at the treatment by their parties of these people. Perhaps such people are more deserving of your support.
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