Bobbi Allan, Mullumbimby
Thank you for last week’s excellent article about Angus MacDonald’s portrait of Behrouz Boochani. Behrouz’ book No Friend but the Mountains opened our eyes to the injustices and cruelties of offshore detention of refugees and asylum seekers.
I just finished reading another book, which reveals even more depths of cruelty and injustice to a refugee – this time perpetrated personally by Scott Morrison against a 16 year old Afghan Hazara boy who made the perilous journey to Australia all alone, after his father was murdered by the Taliban.
Emma Adams’ book is Unbreakable Threads: the true story of an Australian mother, a refugee boy and what it really means to be a family, published by Allen & Unwin, 2018. As a refugee advocate, I thought I knew most things about Australia’s deplorable treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. No, I didn’t. I thought I was beyond shock on this issue. Emma’s story shocked me.
Emma and her family offered their home to Abdul who was in Immigration Detention in Darwin. Eventually they succeeded in their bid to have Abdul released into their care, as ‘community custodians’. Abdul is now an integral part of their family, and this is a heart-warming story with a happy ending – at least for now.
Emma’s story exposes Morrison’s direct and personal cruelty to Abdul when he was Minister for Immigration in the Howard government years. He was aided and abetted by many bureaucrats in the toxic cultural sludge inside the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Thankfully there were a handful of staff who still retained their humanity.
Scott Morrison had other workable options for ‘stopping the boats’. He chose to do it through cruelty and wrecking lives. So far, he hasn’t succeeded in wrecking Abdul’s life, but he gave it his best shot.
Subsequent prime ministers and ministers for immigration – both Coalition and ALP – have also been personally complicit in serious cruelties and injustices to refugees and asylum seekers every day since [Morrison’s time in that portfolio]. These will continue unless we all raise our voices even louder. Abdul is still vulnerable to deportation.
Every Australian should read this excellent book. I found it in our local library.