life · political · Uncategorized

Small Communities

I may be biased, but country towns rock. I am so very fortunate and blessed to be part of a number of small country communities and this week I was inspired by another community to write about just how wonderful they are.

My Communities (in an attempted nutshell)

  • Family – immediate, extended and in-laws
  • Church Family – immediate, parish, state, country, world and heaven wide
  • Sporting community (for us football and cricket)
  • Town Community (state and country)
  • Various other small group/club communities
    • (think I may be pushing the definition of communities out a bit on this one)

Yesterday I attended a wedding for a beautiful couple from one of my communities. I love weddings and that feeling of looking around at your people and knowing just how blessed you are.

A seemingly common theme in my blog, death, is also a time for reflecting on those in your community and often it brings out and shows the strength of a community. From my cousins family…

“Thank you seems such a small word to say as we reflect on the enormous amount of love and support given to our family in the days that followed our beloved’s passing. We know as we write this letter that we are still not fully aware of all that was done for us during that time, as many of you acted anonymously or in a “behind the scenes” manner.
Your kindness, love, hugs, gifts of food, flowers, words of support and encouragement, warm presence and heartfelt sympathy embraced and comforted us. We were humbled by the magnitude of grace this amazing community possesses.
Your protective assistance with the unwelcome media attention was also very much appreciated.
His funeral service made us all incredibly proud of the man he was and the life he lived. Seeing thousands of people behind us, some of whom had travelled from all over the country, made us realise just how many lives he has touched. His larger than life personality stuck with every person he met and his memory lives on within each and every one of you.
The beauty of memory is that we hold it in our hearts forever. We will never forget the kindness and compassion you have shown us.”

 

A community is a place you belong, another family, a village for your children – in my experience a group of people you can rely on through thick and thin.

 

And lastly changing the tone a little and thinking about a community way out of my realm

To the Syrian regime,
Listen to the echo of my voice.
In my eyes this world has become lifeless.
In one moment I lost my country.
But these are your people too.
My heart’s broken because you’ve betrayed my country
And the life of this generation is destroyed.

 

To my people,
Be patient.
This crisis has shown you that your country is a treasure
But you see that it is only now that you have lost it.

 

(from The Lutheran vol. 50 no.2)
political · Uncategorized

It’s not the Australian way

Refugees have been in the news again this week in Australia. Our high court ruled that Australia’s policy of offshore detention is legal, meaning the probable transfer of more than 250 asylum seekers to detention centres in Nauru – including 54  children currently held in Australia’s detention centres and 37 babies born in Australia (1&5)

I am not altogether against off-shore detention. As previously mentioned (https://geejenmotw.wordpress.com/2015/07/19/not-good-enough-australia-i-am-a-political-activist/) I still do not know enough about this issue to speak on the policy itself but I am 100% against child abuse and given the accusations against workers at Nauru do not believe any child or their family should be returned there.

Peter Dutton (Australian Immigration Minister) has that said transfers would be made on a case-by-case basis. (2) “We are not going to put children into harm’s way…We are going to work individually through each of the cases,” he said. He MUST be held to account on these statements. The Government has also given the Human Rights Legal Centre a guarantee to that no-one will be sent to Nauru without being given 72 hours’ notice (4).

Dr Hasantha Gunasekera, one of the paediatricians who assessed adolescents held on Nauru, said the children were among the most traumatised he and his colleague had seen “in 50 years of combined professional experience” (2). He also said Australians would be shocked to learn what was happening in offshore detention (3) This truly horrifies me.

His colleague Professor Triggs has urged the Federal Government to rethink its plan to send children back to Nauru. “Detaining children was not an effective deterrent to people smugglers,” she said. Both recommended that under no circumstances should any child detained on the mainland be sent to Nauru. “Many of the children had palpable anticipatory trauma at mention of return to Nauru,” Professor Elliott said (4).

Another doctor (Dr. Francis) spoke out saying “One of the devastating things about living in detention in the current climate is they [the children] don’t have any hope….And we’re seeing children suffer significant mental health problems because of that lack of hope (4).” Shockingly he describes a 7 year old girl who has drawn pictures of her own funeral 😦

When Minister Peter Dutton says the Government will consider medical advice before deciding whether to deport a 5yo boy allegedly on Nauru you can’t help but feel doubtful (5). How could it even be considered a possibility to return him?? These allegations must be completely investigated before any such action is remotely considered.

There are some good people out there – churches have offered themselves as sanctuary (6) and the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has called on the Prime Minister to allow the refugees to settle in his state (7). In a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball he wrote,

“A sense of compassion is not only in the best interests of these children and their families. It is also in the best interests of our status as a fair and decent nation…sending them [infants] to Nauru will needlessly expose them to a life of physical and emotional trauma…It’s wrong. Medical professionals tell us this. Humanitarian agencies tell us this. Our values tell us this, too. Sending these children and their families to Nauru is not the Australian way.

So this has been my days research. I think I have a few more letters to write to my representatives…

 

 

ps another blogger has called on her readers to write to political leaders https://moiraneagle.wordpress.com/2015/12/27/choosing-not-to-be-helpless/ and also written poetry about Australia’s refugee situation.

 

 

1) Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/hundreds-protest-in-sydney-against-asylum-seeker-high-court-decision-20160204-gmlo3o.html#ixzz3zMeDgO3b

2) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-04/peter-dutton-under-pressure-to-allow-asylum-seekers-to-stay/7138518

3) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-02/dr-hasantha-gunasekera/7133276

4) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-04/probe-underway-alleged-child-sex-abuse-in-detention-doctors/7138702

5)http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-02/doctors-fears-alleged-nauru-5yo-rape-victim-considered-dutton/7135054

6) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-04/churches-offer-sanctuary-to-asylum-seekers/7138484

7) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-06/victoria-premier-says-returning-children-to-detention-wrong/7146030

 

Uncategorized

Not good enough Australia (I am a political activist)

The refugee situation in Australia has been on mind a bit lately.

I am absolutely horrified at the thought of children being abused whilst in the care of our government, in detention centres. Australia has in recent years apologised for the stolen generation, for abuse in children’s homes but it does not seem to be getting better!

I like to believe I am someone who stands up for what I believe, to this end I have written emails to a few of my political representatives regarding the border force protection act and signed two different related petitions. The honest truth though is I don’t know enough about this issue. I was reading lately from the words of a refugee on the website Behind the wire….

“It’s hard to see myself getting tired physically but lots of times I get tired mentally. Mentally means when I see the politics in Australia, it’s not working and it’s playing games with people, and I get really tired. Because I would love to see something nice after 30-something years working as a human rights activist. It’s really hard to see. Another thing also – the news in the world, the Gaza and Iraq situations. [ISIS] Civilians killed for nothing. Crazy people. It’s a broken heart, you know. Seeing those pictures on TV and also hear it everywhere, it stops me to be happy at all. But it does not stop me to be political activist. Still I’m happy to continue this until the end. – http://behindthewire.org.au/2015/06/ali/

The latest news I’m seeing is that there have been 67 child abuse allegations at Nauru (http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/child-asylum-seeker-alleges-rape-in-shower-and-253-nauru-detainees-attempt-selfharm-senate-inquiry-hears-20150717-gieja6.html). It’s not good enough Australia