It’s enough, Mr Abbott. Please stop Stopping The Boats – we can’t take it. We are sick of this boring masochistic game you play called boat stopping. Like you are some sort of boat-stopping superhero. You use the phrase ‘Stop The Boats’ like it’s a bumper sticker. It’s a catchy slogan that tells the nation that you are powerful. You are in control. That you will protect us… from whom exactly I wonder.
Stopping boats basically means you are complicit in the death of vulnerable and desperate people. If you are such a hero then you’d stop the boats and then open our front door and let the refugees in that way. You’d send our boats to pick them up. Or our planes. You’d see the suffering and realise that these people don’t need processing, they need compassion.
To ‘Stop The Boats’ and to put a dent in human trafficking the obvious solution is for more countries to offer more people sanctuary. If the world properly looked after its refugees there would be no need to Stop The Boats because there wouldn’t be a market in people smuggling.
We’ve reached boat-stopping breaking point. We can’t take seeing the image of a drowned child without realising that it’s an actual child. A tiny three-year-old who knew nothing of country or borders or politics or policies of stopping the boats. A dead child is a dead child, and there comes a point when you have to ask, how many dead children have to wash up on the beach before we reach our compassion tipping point?
How can you drive your car and hear a story about more than 70 people suffocating to death in the back of a lorry without needing to pull over and vomit in revulsion. That is our horror, our heart of darkness. Because somehow we manage to keep driving, we finish the coffee, or worse, we turn off the radio so we don’t have to hear any more. The world has become a place full of vulnerable people seeking sanctuary and we continue to turn away.
Australia is like the person who lives next door to the domestic-violence house. We hear screaming, someone shouting ‘help’, and instead of intervening we lock the door and turn up the music. We deny the humanity of people who aren’t us. Maybe they are Somalian, or Syrian, or Afghan. In Tony Abbott’s Australia, a refugee is someone to be feared, a potential risk, and perhaps even a terrorist!
The reality is, refugees are ordinary people escaping war and persecution. Wouldn’t you do that? If you thought your children were going to be killed, wouldn’t you risk everything to leave? To find sanctuary? Families risk the lives of their children, not because they are reckless, but because that risk is less risky than staying where they were.
This bullshit about people smugglers, like they’re the enemy. They are the ones causing the problem. Oscar Schindler was a people smuggler – and we made a movie about him. You can stop the boats but you don’t stop people dying. People still die, they just don’t die in your waters. I guess then those bloated women and children who wash to shore aren’t your problem. And maybe Tony should feel happy about that, he should go home and congratulate himself that he stopped the boats so people can die somewhere else.
There are lots of us who would welcome refugees into our communities. For god’s sake, we have so much space half of us are renting the excess on Air BnB.
Maybe it’s time this so-called Christian country had another look at its primary religious text, and started living the ethos expressed in the parable about the Good Samaritan. And let’s not forget that as a baby Jesus’s parents had to flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s toddler-killing spree. I guess that made Jesus a refugee. If Tony were around he would have had a whole new slogan: ‘Stop The Donkeys’. Avoiding our compassionate responsibility has become incredibly complicated. But in the end it’s simple: We need to let more people in. It’s all well and good to say you feel terrible about the humanitarian crisis, but you can’t open your heart unless you open your borders.