I trust very few, if any, of your readers agreed with Lester Brien’s ‘worldview’ of the asylum-seeker issue as expressed in Letters of April 16. Put simply, Lester believes the ends justify the means and he’s not in the least concerned about the means, ie how we deal with ‘the rough end of the immigration trade’.
I found Lester’s piece so narrow and self-serving, so devoid of any moral or humanitarian considerations that it might well have been intended as satire, but it is the case that recent governments of both sides have so preyed on our traditional fear of ‘invasion’ from the north (particularly by people of a different skin colour) and have been so effective in their propaganda that we have accepted their story that the policies are all about preventing deaths at sea – and so have a moral base.
In fact this is nonsense. What it overlooks is that it is the asylum seekers who make the decisions to take the risks of boarding the boats and, while we may deplore these decisions, we are not responsible – but we are responsible for what happens at this end. Our current failure to live up to our international obligations, our lack of humanity and even deliberate cruelty in the way we are dealing with these people – and they are people – is unforgiveable. And for the pragmatists, I’d add so is the enormous cost.
There are honourable and humane ways to address the problem and the sooner we realise how we’ve been conned and insist on our governments living up to their responsibilities, the sooner we’ll be able to regain some self-respect as a country.
Jenny Coman, Bangalow