I have recently moved to Mullumbimby after living overseas in Singapore and Kuwait for the past six years.
One of the reasons I chose to settle here is the community life that I knew existed in this area, and that I had been sorely missing in my time as an expat.
On Friday night, I got to experience this community spirit in all it’s glory at the Mullumbimby Loves Refugees Film Night, at St John’s Hall.
It was really wonderful to see so many people engaged and interested in the issue of refugees. Not a new issue of course, but one that has come up again recently thanks to fear mongering by our conservative government.
Having lived overseas in countries where it seems apparent that many people do not care, and are not willing to even discuss difficult and important humanitarian issues, I wanted to say that the people of Mullumbimby and the wider community should be proud of the simple fact of being interested enough, being engaged enough to actually go out and donate money, see a disturbing film, and stick around afterwards to listen to people at the coal face talk about their lives and their work.
As Bob Hawke said in an interview once, we should be shouting from the rooftops ‘aren’t we bloody marvellous!’
No one person or organisation can possibly fix the issue of refugees fleeing their home countries, it is complex, political and tragic, but we can talk about it, we can try to get information that is accurate, and we can, as some of the luckiest people in the world, demand that our government respond as responsibly and as humanely as possible.
We can reach out and let the world know that we want to know and that we care. That is a powerful act in itself.
We can take the opportunities being given to us by our current government to wake up and involve ourselves once again in the affairs of our beautiful country.
Janet Swain, Mullumbimby