Tag Archives: Kenya

Raquel is a bogan? So what’s that make the rest of us?

23 Jun

Go back to where you came from: Part Two

I don’t know if it was the confusion of the raid, but it looked to me last night as if two of the Australian men taken along with Malaysian immigration officials for the ride, actually joined in ferreting out those miserable refugees from the rat’s nests they called home, and in sending them into a legal system where they’ll be subject to a variety of possible punishments including caning. I don’t want to believe that, but it’s what it looked like.

Caught up in the excitement of the chase, perhaps. Can happen to anybody.

Young Raquel, who I hear has been subjected to torrents of Twitter abuse on account of being considered a “bogan,” positively reveled in the rounding up of women, children and men, declaring that’s it’s what we should be doing in Australia because these people have done the wrong thing. (Apparently racism is a bogan characteristic.I thought it was much more widespread than that.)

Raquel was later questioned about herself by a UN official at a refugee camp in Kenya where she’ll spend the next few days of her life trying not to go to the toilet. In response to his questions Raquel replied that she does nothing, she doesn’t work, and she stays at home with the dogs. The UN official looked bemused. Life is odd in Western democracies.

I don’t really approve of the Twitter crowd’s attack on Raquel. I’m a subscriber to the opinion that the bogan is a construct created by the middle classes to give themselves something to feel superior to. This indicates terrific insecurity on the part of the middle class, if they need to trash somebody else in order to feel like worthwhile human beings.

It strikes me as ironic that a participant in a program that demonstrates extraordinarily well how comfortable Australians construct a refugee other in order to feel morally superior, is herself subjected to this othering by her countrymen and women. It confirms my suspicion that one of the most common ways human beings reassure ourselves about our worth is to measure it against someone we think is in some way less than us. Boganing is but one example of this, as is the moral condemnation of asylum seekers.

Then there’s those of us who morally condemn those who morally condemn asylum seekers and bogans.

In truth, there’s a bogan in all of us.

As for the program – I find myself wondering what the refugees think of having six privileged white people plus camera crew and gear plonked down in their midst, in the interests of producing a spectacle for everybody back home. The middle class hungers for spectacle, and the miseries of others temporarily satiate that craving. Is this morally repugnant exploitation? Whose interests does this program serve? What difference will it make to those refugees?

Or in the end, is it all about us?

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