Since that morning we saw the toddler washed up on European shores nations around the world have had the reality of the crisis brought home. I echo the question of many that I have spoken to, as cynical as it sounds; Why did it take for this photo to be shown before we, as the developed nations, took notice of the inhumane death trap of a journey that asylum seekers are making from their war-torn countries?
The ‘reality’ of the asylum seeker crisis and why they’re turning up on our shores really hasn’t been brought home enough, though, has it? This article won’t even serve a tiny percent of justice either. This is just a start.
I can see that this ‘reality’ us wealthier nations are shown isn’t enough for us to take down our fences, or for the ignoramuses of society to stop posting racist Britain First photos about “foreigners having to pay for their medical treatment, because we have to when we go overseas”.
Firstly, let’s get our facts straight. When I landed fresh off the plane from Britain I paid the same to see the doctor, as the kiwis and the Australians, which is approximately $40NZD. The fact that it’s the same as the kiwis, then, means that it’s a 0% difference between them as the citizens, and me as the foreigner. Just like when I went to Vietnam and I had excruciating food poisoning and I paid a pathetic $1USD for some intestinal saving antibiotics. Isn’t there a standard price of around 7.45GBP (my NZ laptop does not have the sterling pound) for a prescription in Britain now? Cor, imagine if you were Vietnamese in need of some antibiotics! You would be paying a premium, wouldn’t you.
Secondly, I won’t even begin to waste my time on how “they’re all coming over to take our jobs.” As it must be really hard for these ignoramuses I speak of whose wife or husband, mother or father, children or babies have their health, their homes, and are without fear of their house being bombed with them inside of it. It must be hard not to have to cram your family on board a boat filled with terror because it is likely you or someone in your family will drown and are going to die on the way. How does that not scream desperation out to the ignoramuses?
We are one world. We should be doing more.
Since reading Tracey Barnett’s book, The Quiet War on Asylum (2014), I have fallen upon some astonishing facts that for some reason I must have missed when reading the international papers, or they didn’t find them politically beneficial, who knows.
So, I thought I would point them out for you.
- “According to international refugee law, officially asking for asylum is the legal way of entering a country to gain refuge and safety, no matter how you arrive.”
- “…spontaneous asylum arrival not only is legal but is a foundation of the protection drawn up in UN Refugee Convention.”
- “…those familiar with the process understand that the words ‘queue jumper’ and ‘illegals’ are an entirely political construct.”
- “Just try explaining the multi-headed complexities of international refugee settlement factors in one sound bite and asylum seekers immediately lose the war of words.”
- “…all refugees begin as ‘asylum seekers’ […]. One overriding factor needs to be established for a person to become a refugee: you must have been forced to flee persecution in your home country, most often due to war or conflict.”
- “It is rare for a refugee to give up the dream of returning home. For most of the 99 per cent of refugees who will never be resettled, their goal is to go back to their former lives.”
- “In a confounding flip of logic, Western countries today spend billions annually to protect their boarders from traffickers, yet they contribute a fraction of this amount to international refugee aid.
There are some baffling facts there, wouldn’t you agree? As it turns out these asylum seekers are likely to wish they had their house that hadn’t been bombed and also wish that they didn’t have to get on board a boat with hundreds if not thousands of others who are also fleeing as they have no house, food, water, or safety.
They’re not ‘illegal immigrants,’ they’re asylum seekers in need of refugee status while the war in their country ends before it’s too late and they’re killed. Surprisingly, they don’t actually want to be in Britain forever to take the jobs and ruin the perfection of Europe. They don’t want to die. They don’t want their children and husbands or wives to die, either. This is why we have to help them.
I will be interviewing Gulwali Passarlay very soon whose story will relate to this very well. He fled Afghanistan after his mother paid traffickers $8000 to get him and his brother out after nearly being recruited by the Taliban after his father and grandfather were shot dead by the US army. He lost his brother on the 12 month near-death journey and hasn’t seen his mum since.