So Angry About Asylum Seekers

15 February 2015
Cathy Wilcox

The National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention was released in parliament this week - four months after the government received it in November (and at the end of a week when the PM was looking for anything to distract from his own leadership). It contains extremely distressing accounts of the lives of children in detention; the physical, psychological and in some cases sexual abuse; the trauma, the self harm, the bed wetting and nightmares; children who cannot conceive of a world outside of wire and bars and armed guards; babies unable to learn to walk because they have no safe place to learn to crawl.

The nation from our leaders on down were horrified, and immediately united to find a bipartisan solution to end this suffering.

Well, I wish that were true. Instead, our Prime Minister, the proud head of the policy to keep asylum seeker children indefinitely locked up in detention centres, said that he felt no guilt whatsoever over the plight of children in detention, including ten year olds on suicide watch and seven year olds prescribed sleeping pills. Rather than refuting the allegations in the attack, Abbott and his cronies in the right wing media, in what is surely a low in this nation's political discourse, went on the attack, declaring that exposing the shameful treatment of children in detention was an exercise in smearing the government, and personally mauling president of the Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs and her decisions regarding the care of her profoundly disabled, and now deceased, daughter.

And whilst all decent Australians reacted with disgust, a vocal pack took to social media to declare this was Labor's fault for allowing the boats to start again, their parents fault for bringing them here, the kids are being fed and protected and not abused, who cares worry about Australians first, if we let them in we'll be overrun, it didn't matter because asylum seekers drowned under Labor - anything other than focussing on what any rational person would see is the real issue.

Can we forget about who is to "blame" for asylum seekers being in detention, who drowned in years past, who has blood on their hands, and focus on what is happening right now, and that it needs to stop?

If you hear of children being locked behind razor wire, committing self harm, being physically and sexually abused, and your first reaction is not we have to stop this - WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!

If you are justifying the sexual assault of children by blaming Labor, the Greens, their parents, or insisting that we can't let them all in, or for any other reason whatsoever - well then, I don't care if you coach netball or volunteer at the school or are always the first to help a mate - you are not a good person. If you think it's okay for kids to be abused for any reason, as long as they're not Australian kids, you're a racist anal polyp on the backside of the worst this nation as to offer and I'm ashamed to share a nationality with you and I wish you were locked up not the asylum seekers; not I don't, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Opponents of asylum seekers often demand "what do you suggest? We can't just let everyone in". No, we can't. I don't have the perfect solution to the issue of asylum seekers, but you no what is not an acceptable answer? Anything that involves the extended detention of children; anything that permits their abuse.

I don't care whether you think asylum seekers need our help and protection, or are queue jumping parasites. When it comes to protecting kids, no other considerations should take precedence. Worry about the blame later. Just fucking acknowledge the problem and stop making excuses for abuse. It's not okay. It's never okay.


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