Fed up with defending my position after an article I wrote for On Line Opinion last week about asylum seekers was greeted with the usual scorn, disparagement, ridicule and personal abuse , I spat the dummy.
I addressed the dummy spit to a particular poster, who, unlike me, remains anonymous and therefore free to say anything at no personal risk. Very brave.
But my break out was aimed at all the like-minded.
No Shadow Minister, you’re wrong.
The “single defining weakness of my argument” is that it is based on my visceral and moral objection to causing suffering and death to asylum seekers who are doing nothing more than accepting the invitation we have extended to seek refuge here.
My argument doesn’t have, in your terms, just one “single defining weakness.” It has many: (and here I listed as many of my “weaknesses as I could think of in a state of rage)
1. It’s based in observing the spirit, as well as the black letter (as you recommend) of domestic law and the UNHCR Convention.
2. It is based on my abhorrence for the deceitful duplicity that leads my country to spend unacceptable amounts of money finding its way around laws it has voluntarily implemented, rather than having the courage and the honesty to admit these laws apparently no longer work for the country, and start addressing them.
3. It’s based on my profound disgust at my country’s willingness to use the death of asylum seekers, and the suffering of survivors incarcerated indefinitely in detention centres, as an example to other asylum seekers not to come here. (Definite “weakness.”)
4. It is based in my belief that people of the world share a common humanity, and asylum seekers who arrive by boat (at our invitation) are as entitled to humane treatment as is any body else. And we all know how “weak” it’s considered to hold that belief.
5. It’s based on my belief that to cause suffering in one person in order to teach another person a lesson is a very dubious moral position, and is abhorrent to me. (How “weak” is that?)
In my world, the governing maxim is “ First, do no harm.”
I probably hardly ever achieve that goal, but it is my goal.
I understand that you consider that position, and all my other positions, to be “weakness.”
Because of suffering in my own life, I’m not able to advocate inflicting it on anyone else. This reluctance is often interpreted as a weakness.
We live by our values. If mine are considered “weak” by some, I can’t say that either surprises or upsets me.
Shadow Minister replied that I am being “emotional” and that an emotional position on refugees will end up like the pink batts did.
Oooo-eeer! Emotion! How scary is that!!!
Shadow Minister also said that my do no harm philosophy is what drowned people at Christmas Island.
And I thought it was a storm.
This exchange at On Line Opinion has sorely tempted me to ditch my personal philosophy for a while.
- How many asylum seekers have you met? (thepunch.com.au)
- Big ideas: a sensible policy solution on asylum seekers (thepunch.com.au)
- Cold-hearted approach to asylum seekers (thepunch.com.au)