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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Open Letter to the Australian Leadership OR Bowls and Boats

This is a fruit bowl.
I call it a fruit bowl because I put fruit in it.
For example, at the moment there are apples and pears in there.
I happen to be also rather fond of avocados, but their fruit status is rather more complex.
By botanical definition, they are a fruit. 
But my tastebuds protest that they are vegetable.
So should they be allowed to reside in the fruit bowl or not?
I tend to put them in there.
After all, it’s only called a fruit bowl because I usually put fruit in it.
But it’s really just a bowl.
And I could put anything in if I wanted to, if it wasn’t too big.

There are only ever two arguments made against taking in refugees and asylum seekers that ever seem to stand with people.
The first is against the people themselves; fears surrounding their reasons for coming here, whether they are actually terrorists, and if they’re actually genuine.
The second is that the country can’t sustain the influx of that number of people; there isn’t the infrastructure, or the economy, or the space, or something similar.

In regards to the first; we can be wary of putting avocados in with apples and pears.
But really, we just need to see that it is just a bowl, and it is we who have defined it as solely a fruit bowl.
Refugees and asylum seekers are first, human.
As are we.
Could there be terrorists among them?
There could also be terrorists among us.
But if we let that fear control what we do, then they have actually succeeded in their purpose.
That doesn’t mean that we do nothing; but we have other means of finding terrorists and other threats than just stopping people coming in.
This is a brute force method, rather than a targeted strategy.
And it’s not helpful.
Particularly not for these mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters that come to us.
Hurting, and in pain, and asking for help.
If we respond by turning away, then this just shows the world who we truly are.
We are working against humanity.

In regards to the second; yes, the bowl is only so big.
And yes, if you try and fit an elephant into that bowl, it will not work.
The bowl will probably break.
But we are one of the biggest bowls there is.
We have “boundless plains to share,” and yet we seem to be worried about running out of space.
This seems rather strange.
Yes, it will be hard.
But people are willing to make it work.
People are clamouring to be able to help.
Volunteering their time, their homes, their money, their energy and resources.
It might involve more of an investment than you would like.
But this is an investment into humanity.
And into our country.
And into the future.
I think that’s worth it.
And so do rather a lot of others.
Why don’t you?

*NB: I’m sorry if anyone is offended by the analogy used, or at being compared to an apple, pear, or avocado. I happen to be rather fond of each of them. And no, I don’t think we are as different as apples and avocados. But from some of the talk, you’d think that other people do.

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