8 months ago
The last time I was in Sri Lanka, I was shown around the Internally Displaced People refugee camps. There was a village elder minding his own business hammering away at a wooden base building a fence. With the little Tamil that I spoke, I asked him if he wouldn’t mind sharing his personal experiences about the final war in 2010 (the Sri Lankan government went on a ‘win at all cost’ offensive against the Tamil Tigers resulting in the deaths of countless civilians) and asked if he was directly affected by the conflict himself.
He told me that in the very spot that we were conversing, a ‘shell’ attack blew his eldest son into unrecognisable bits of flesh a metre from him. Two weeks later, his wife and youngest son disappeared never to be found again.
I couldn’t help but be rage filled and desperately strained to keep from crying in front of him. I managed one last string of questioning. ‘Doesn’t it make you mad? Don’t you feel like you want to do something about it?’ He looked at me through his weathered wrinkles with a glint in his eye and the most genuine of smiles and said, ‘I have cried all the tears I could possibly cry. Anger doesn’t solve anything. I just want to spend the rest of my days being kind and help where I can. To me, that’s enough’. Ignorance is one feature never afforded to an IMMIGRANT. We never take for granted the privilege of living in a safe and beautiful community.
We will never be able to fathom the kinds of suffering they have endured. These are the calibre of humans we are potentially turning away and imprisoning in Manus and Nauru. And to add insult to injury, we’re about to let them off into a community where their lives will be once again put in harms way.
What good is it to live in the most liveable country in the world if we don’t have the decency to open our doors and take in those who are needing our help? Australia is a young country. Our culture is still forming, and those ideologues who are so desperate to preserve the Australian way are intrinsically aware of the futility of their fickle traditions. Identity is transient and evolves with time. That’s the beauty of our cultural melting pot. #bringthemhere