My Blog is my Soapbox

This week I’ve been reflecting on why I post on my blog. I originally began this blog because I’m now a published author, and all of the best information sites suggested that it was important to blog “and get your writing out there in the world of social media.”

Obviously that’s quite a self serving reason for blogging, if done in isolation. And, in all honesty, (and if you check out the artwork on my page) that’s precisely why I began.

This post is called “My Blog is My Soapbox” for a good reason. As I look back through my posts, I can see a pattern. Yes, I do blog about my writing, and I post snippets of it as well, along with the odd poem, and updates on current projects, but more than anything else, I blog about what’s going on in my mind, and what I’m passionate about.

Sometimes it’s a way to work through my thoughts, and like many writers, I love to, almost have to, put them down on paper. It seems to be a common theme.

More and more in recent months, I’ve had the issue of refugees and asylum seekers on my mind. For many refugees, Australia must seem like a paradise – freedom of religion, the ability to earn a living, good healthcare, and a prosperity that must be the dream of the majority of the world. Currently, I am ashamed. Ashamed of my government and ashamed of some of my fellow Australians.

There are many myths about asylum seekers who come by boat to Australia, myths that many Australians believe as fact, and consequently demonise them. They often forget that they are human beings just like the rest of us. Human beings who have in many cases escaped horrific situations.

The coalition government has now, in my opinion, stepped well beyond the bounds of humanity and is treating these people appallingly. Last week a man died on Manus Island. The circumstances are not yet completely clear, but we do know that there were riots and violence during that time period. Here is a transcript of some of the messages that came from the detention centre, and here is the latest media release from the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre.

Up until now, I’ve been proud to be known as an Australian, proud to be acknowledged as a member of a society that truly believed in equality of all human beings, and a nation built on multiculturalism.

This is a clip of the Seekers singing a song called “I Am Australian” which has always struck a chord with me. It’s a song inclusive of all Australians, despite our sometimes checkered history and rocky moments. Its refrain says “We are one, yet we are many, and from all the lands on earth we come, we’ll share a dream and sing with one voice, I am, you are, we are Australian.”

Currently, there’s a section of our population, and most sadly, our own government, who seem to have forgotten that our nation as we now know it, has a history of inclusiveness. Although we’ve had moments of paranoia, not until now has our official policy demonised and mistreated those who have come here seeking a better life in such an appalling fashion.

I’ve met some of our newest Australians, through friends who have worked on Christmas Island amongst the refugees in the detention centre there. Our friends have described the situations those same refugees have come from, and I am more and more horrified every day that our policy is to send them offshore and lock them up in appalling conditions, while actively pursuing a policy to destroy their hopes of finally living a free life.

I hope and pray that our government will see sense and discover compassion. Apparently our current PM has a devout faith. Well, tonight I’d like to remind him of some of the words of the prophet Isaiah. 

“Wash and make yourselves clean.
    Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
    stop doing wrong.
 Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.”

And be just and humane to those seeking asylum for they are the oppressed.

 

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