We are no longer who we think we are…..

Not sure if anyone saw Q & A on Monday night but it was a powerful show. The subject was human rights (or should I say, the lack thereof). The panelists raised significant issues within Australia and across the world. The atrocities of the human rights abuses relating to Asylum seekers, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Somalia were all debated and discussed, but what struck me most of all were the comments which came from two of the international guests which expressed their dismay at the insular Australian attitudes a stark contrast to the somewhat rosy way in which we Australians like to think of ourselves.

Thank god we live in “the land of the free” was the comment being tweeted vigorously across the screen in response to the descriptions of the ruthless military rule and merciless killings in Egypt and Somalia, no doubt expressing joy at the fact that we live in a well ordered, democratic society with due separation of political, judicial and executive powers. The question that feeling hides is “at what cost?”. At what cost do we live in our well ordered and comfortable society? Is it at the cost of secluding ourselves from the extreme and dire situations which many others, including some of our closest neighbours find themselves in? We barricade ourselves  away from the cries of help, our sandy beaches, blue skies and happy go lucky natures providing a fortress against the evils which ravage the less fortunate. We hide the reality of our policies on asylum seekers and indigenous australians between our vegemite sandwiches and aussie rules broadcasts. We are even now prepared to toy with the idea that we can tolerate bigotry. Do we consider ourselves so immune from the dark side of human nature that we are prepared to dispense with the idea that humans have basic rights which must be protected and encouraged at all cost. 

Australians we should no longer rejoice, for we are no longer young nor free. Our nation’s history has shadows and these are growing longer by the day. A nation that does not stand up for people’s rights, no matter where they come from, is not free. We are no longer who we think we are……

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About mumurings

mother, lawyer, philosopher, feminist, writer, artist
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