friday boat people reflection

Posted on October 30th, 2009

I’ve been talking a lot about the 78 boat people from Sri Lanka this week.

I was on 7pm Project on Monday, with George Negus firing off about how what Rudd and Co are doing is illegal.

Then on 2UE with Steve Price on Wednesday, where I got enraged about how these people are not illegal (until proven otherwise), are not flooding here (it’s a trickle), and just need to be processed. By a country that is signed to the UN charter.

And then I was on ABC 702′s journalist’s forum yesterday evening, where I pointed out that in the absence of true leadership from Rudd and Co, the lecturn – and blackboard – has been handed over to a goose like Wilson Tuckey to imflame things with talk of terrorists and army intervention and other mis-information.

But I take a deep breath now and share this Buddhist thought I flicked open to to in Jack Kornfield’s Book A Path With Heart when the sheer emotion of it all sent me looking for softness:

Compassion is the “quivering of the pure heart” when we have allowed ourselves to be touched by the pain of life.

I found it in the chapter titled Stopping The War. Of course.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/laura_valerie Laura

    THANK YOU Sarah. The ignorance and lack of compassion in our society continually astounds me.

    Did you know that 95% of asylum seekers are proven to be genuine refugees? That means that these people are fleeing for their lives. If they had stayed in their own country they would not be alive today. They are NOT queue jumpers. THERE ARE NO QUEUES in Afghanistan or Sri Lanka, especially for persecuted minorities! The reason that the people coming over are young men is being they are the strongest and are most likely to survive the extremely dangerous trip over here. And they are the most at risk of persecution. And no, they cannot fight in the army in Afghanistan! What army? I could go on…

    We have an international obligation to provide asylum for refugees. If more countries had done so during WWII then perhaps the Holocaust would not have caused as much devastation to the Jewish population as it did.

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  • http://www.sassisamblog.com Sam

    I agree with Laura, where has compassion gone? And wasn’t it reported earlier this week that we get more illegals through our airports than from the boats?

    I am sure there will be some people ie. as Laura points out above 5% are not real refugees, but you do have to look at the why people would risk such a dangerous and hazardous journey as they do to escape the atrocities they are experiencing.

    Times are tough for everyone and we need to band together as a global community and show more compassion for one another including in our own backyard.

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  • Lindy

    Yes, just yes.

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  • http://www.livingsavvy.com.au jo – livingsavvy

    We are talking to the converted. I watched last week as both Liberal and Labour MPs fought for the moral high ground on this issue…unbelievable considering that both major parties have nothing to be proud of when it comes to people seeking asylum in Australia. This is an issue where there is opportunity for real leadership to be shown. The best definition of leadership that I have come across is the ability to make up your own mind and take others with you. It is unrealistic to expect major policy change on the issue of asylum seekers in the first term of this government. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like this government stands that far from the previous government (shouldn’t be surprised as it was Kevin Rudd’s close stance with John Howard on these issues that was perceived as working in Kevin Rudd’s favour when seeking the role of PM). At the least I would like to see Kevin Rudd and the Labour government start to change the language to pave the way for a shift in perception, more informed and less emotive discussion and set the tone for a future change in policy

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    zkmade Reply:

    Unfortunately it doesn’t look like this government stands that far from the previous government (shouldn’t be surprised as it was Kevin Rudd’s close stance with John Howard on these issues that was perceived as working in Kevin Rudd’s favour when seeking the role of PM)

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  • TeddyBear

    love that quote on compassion Sarah! Thankyou and sooo true…:)

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  • http://www.twitter.com/laura_valerie Laura

    The problem with Australian government is that politicians are not kept personally accountable. Electors tend not to have a personal loyalty to their local member – and with good reason, because these local members, unless they are in cabinet, rarely have a chance to express or implement their individual views or stances in parliament. It is down to the party line. This means that nobody takes it upon themselves to DO anything, even if there are terrible injustices occurring that need to be rectified. In the case of asylum seekers, I hate to generalise but there are too many ignorant racists in our society for the government to be concerned that this is an election issue. The awful situation in Queensland regarding abortion is another example. Our system is too ineffectual and archaic for anything progressive to be done. God knows when we will legalise gay marriage, become a republic or implement a cohesive plan to improve the standards of living for indigenous communities.

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  • http://www.hubpages.com/profile/barryrutherford barry rutherford

    Well Said; It is clear these people from Sri Lanka & Iraq & Afghanistaon are escaping from war torn countries 7are worthy of Refugee status…

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