What is the difference between these two children?
They are different colours on the outside sure. They were born in different countries.
They speak different languages.
What do they have in common?
They were both named after the same man.
The blankets they are wrapped in came from the same road side market
I held them both within 30 minutes of their births.
What else to they have in common?
They are both non-political, and non-threatening. They are both innocent little boys.
And….they are both deserving of the same opportunities.
They are both perfect creations whose worth should never be questioned or dismissed.
We seem to have this idea that because we don’t know someone, or because they don’t look like us or like our own kids that we have no responsibility towards them. We have allowed ourselves to believe that they are somehow worth less than us.
Now, let us talk about kids on Nauru…. How are they any different?
Common sense, tells us that other than a few variations in skin tone, and place of birth, all these kids are the same… yet somewhere along the line, common sense is abandoned and replaced with dismissive and divisive comments and thoughtless discrimination.
Shockingly, these poisonous comments are given the opportunity to take rout in the heart of our nation when our media publishes letters such as the following:
‘Please spare a thought for the thousands and thousands of Aussie children who are neglected, abused and even murdered, before we get too emotional about asylum seeker kids living in relative safety on Nauru. ‘
Paul Haege Darling Point
I am not for a moment suggesting that we ignore the needs of marginalised Australian children – I am simply questioning why it is that we find it necessary to differentiate between Australian and non-Australian children when we have the capacity and duty to assist all children?
Further to this – I wonder – what is the point of our media? Is it to share accurate information to promote public education, to ensure global and community development and to give a voice to the voiceless? Or is it to insight prejudice and fear within the hearts of the mainstream?
I would love to see the day when a newspaper receives a letter like the one above and instead of simply printing it – which in itself seems to be condoning its content – the newspaper might accurately address the content and respond. The paper might point out the dollars and resources spent and wasted within Australia and how these dollars could be better distributed for the benefit of both Australian children and the children of asylum seekers.
It seems to me, there is too much misinformation being accepted as fact in Australia, particularly when it comes to refugees and asylum seekers. Too many people believe that if we say yes to vulnerable refugees we are saying no to Australian children.
Too many people seem to think that we have no international obligation toward asylum seekers.
Too few people seem to understand the refugee convention.
Too few people seem to understand compassion.
Too many people seem to be willing to accuse “bleeding hearts” of caring too much for refugees and not enough for Australian children.
Too many of these same people appear to be unwilling to do anything themselves to assist the Australian child (who they believe to be more important than the refugee child).
Too many people seem to be ready to point the finger.
Too few people seem to be ready to roll up their sleeves and help.