We won’t even give them water

Have to refer you to this utterly disturbing first-hand report in today’s Crikey regarding the Darwin detention centre breakout last week:

The protestors would not have been heartened by the threats and abuse from some locals as they drove by. Radio ran hot with calls for shooting, tasers and tear gas as well as calls for compassion and generosity.

At 9am as I walked past the men sitting on the ground, one man raised his cupped empty hand to his mouth in a drinking motion. I could see that he was wordlessly asking for water. I asked to see the senior officer on duty explaining that the men needed water. It was about 35 degrees with high humidity and they were sitting in the sun with cloths on their heads for protection. The police were passing bottles of water to each other in front of the Afghan men…

Sandi Logan, national communications manager for immigration, who happened to be up from Canberra, had explained to journalists that the men were being denied water as a “negotiating tactic”.

Logan tried to move away from this statement later, telling journalists that many of the protesters were fasting for the holy month of Ramadan. “Many of them refused the offer of water,” he said.

But too many journalists had already recorded the “negotiating tactic” quote in their notebooks.

Ultimately 15 or so of them required hospitalisation for dehydration. And we were just getting started punishing them:

So it was that a peaceful protest initiated by misinformation and mistrust ends up with 15 men going to hospital and another 80 carted off, first to the Darwin watchhouse, then in a convoy of caged vans to a specially chartered plane to Curtin Detention Centre. These men were taken without their medications and their few personal affects. Some of these men have been tortured back in their homeland and are in the middle of treatment plans with counsellors, which are now suspended.

There are no mental health facilities in Curtin as yet. Most importantly for immigration, the men have no access to phones and communication so if they are charged with writing on their bed sheets (wilful destruction of immigration property) or escaping from lawful custody (sitting 50 metres from their prison fences), who will defend them?

I’m very, very glad I voted for neither of the big parties. This race to the bottom in how we treat refugees continues to do real harm.

It’s worth reading the whole article, which also outlines what actually prompted the walkout in the first place.

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35 responses to “We won’t even give them water

  1. Jeremy
    All of these protesters are individuals who have been found not to be refugees and they face deportation which is why they pulled this stunt. So perhaps you need to amend your argument just a bit here.

  2. (a) No they haven’t, and (b) it’s irrelevant to the point here which is the unnecessarily cruel treatment that resulted in 15 people being hospitalised.

  3. Wisdom Like Silence

    Towards the end, a policeman was observed walking away, leaving four bottles of water lying on the ground as the temperature rose, whether by design or accident is not known. An Afghan man picked them up and passed them around.

    It’s a fucking shame that they had to pretend to accidentally leave full bottles of PUMP lying around to keep these guys out of hospital.

    Iain, whatever the issue, they needed a drink. It gets so humid up here that sweat doesn’t dry, because the air is already saturated. You need to drink at least 2 litres an hour for ever hour in the sun, even if you’re just sitting down. I’m frankly surprised more didn’t end up in hospital.

  4. Jeremy
    They always had the option of going back inside the fence where there was plentiful water its not as if the police were holding them hostage,
    All of the reports that I read say that they had been refused “refugee status” they may have one final avenue for appeal but if they lose that one as well should they be allowed to stay?
    But your source has a very big axe to grind so you can hardly expect that what they say is with out an agenda.

    WLS
    I think that having insufficient water and courting dehydration during this “protest” is more than likely a deliberate strategy by the protesters because it suits their “victim-hood narrative” and it enables them to garner sympathy.

  5. “All of the reports that I read say that they had been refused “refugee status” they may have one final avenue for appeal but if they lose that one as well should they be allowed to stay?”

    You might re-read these reports, perhaps more carefully this time.

    And if they are found not to be genuine refugees of course they’ll have to leave. Of course, up to now it’s only been a very, very tiny proportion of them who haven’t been genuine.

  6. Reactions like Iains mke me wonder when it was that Australians started to become a bunch of conformists lining up to support authority.

  7. How many times should they be able to argue the toss about being rejected as Refugees Jeremy?

    I’m guessing that you would support them being able to do so endlessly until they get the right to stay.

  8. That’s because you’re an idiot and can’t be bothered learning how appeals work.

  9. Wisdom Like Silence

    They still needed a drink.

  10. Wisdom Like Silence

    Actually Iain might have a point about the martyr thing.

    Unfortunately, disgustingly, shamefully, they over-estimated Australia’s humanity.

  11. weewillywinkee

    I believe this was torture. I also believe that torture is illegal in this country.

  12. “I think that having insufficient water and courting dehydration during this “protest” is more than likely a deliberate strategy by the protesters because it suits their “victim-hood narrative” and it enables them to garner sympathy.” – IH

    You might think that, but its been alleged thats it actually a negotiating tactic.

    Thats a pretty unreasonable negotiating tactic given the situation.

    If that had been the protesters tactic then making water available would have been a great way to defuse it. The cops could have offered it and if they refused then it would have been obvious they were playing games and having water available in the sun would have weakened their resolve.

  13. Splatterbottom

    It seems wrong to leave them out there without any water. Could they have gotten water if they had walked back inside their camp?

  14. So now they want logistic support for something they weren’t supposed to do? Perhaps they should have planned better. They were doing something that they were not supposed to be doing and they wanted support from the authorities they were defying? Cake and eat it too comes to mind.

  15. Jeremy You still have not answered my question , how may times should they be allowed to appeal the decision?
    Come on you should be able to answer that without too much trouble 😉

  16. How many do you think they have now?

  17. I’ve got every sympathy for these asylum seekers, they’re from Afghanistan FFS! A nation that we are waging war in whilst propping up an utterly corrupt government who have legislated that a man may starve his wife if she fails to put out! What a sick regime we are supporting with our money and the blood of our soldiers.

    Being from Afghanistan to me is a very compelling case for seeking asylum.

    Those of you that lack compassion are pricks, I wish (not demand, don’t get excited) you’d fuck off, you give Australia a bad name, we are so rich but so many of us are so selfish.

  18. “They always had the option of going back inside the fence where there was plentiful water its not as if the police were holding them hostage”

    So you support the police’s denial of basic necessities of life to these asylum seekers? You are a sick piece of work, Hall. But you will take this as a compliment; like all of the far Right, you’re proud of your total lack of compassion for asylum seekers, aren’t you?

  19. Jeremy
    Its is my understanding* that at present any claimant has three chances to argue for their claim of asylum. Is that enough in your view?
    Come on you must have an opinion on how much is enough when it comes to this issue so how a bout you pin your colours to the mast rather than trying to dodge the question.

    buns3000
    In all of the protests that I have ever seen the police have never been expected to provide any sustenance to those who are protesting. As I suggested earlier These men were trying to play on the sympathies of the Australian public and frankly I think that there is very little sympathy actually gained by such stunts these days .
    But to you specific suggestions about the “denial of basic necessities” I would argue that as long as the protesters had the option of peacefully returning to the detention centre where there were plenty of the “necessities” that the only people denying anyone water were the failed claimants themselves.

  20. “Its is my understanding* that at present any claimant has three chances to argue for their claim of asylum. Is that enough in your view?”

    As long as they have a reasonable chance to have legitimate arguments heard, I’m happy with the status quo – so far as appeals are concerned.

    I’m NOT happy with the idea of the Commonwealth arguing that people held in certain Australian-controlled locations have fewer rights before the Courts than those on mainland Australia.

  21. you give Australia a bad name
    Actually, people like Iain gives humanity a bad name.

    I think people like Iain and Baldfuck should lead by example and show these asylum seekers how good life can be in Afghanistan at the moment – really prove to everybody there is no reason to flee the place.
    If it’s good enough for the goose it’s good for the gander Iain – so fuck off and go live in a war zone.

    Although – based on Iain’s views on women he’d probably fit right in with Ismail Khan, Sayyaf, Doud and Dostrum etc…

  22. So protesting is now a “stunt”? It’s NOT a valid means of expression when other avenues for dialogue have been closed off? So if you don’t get what you want, shut up and stop complaining? Is that how you see it, Iain?

  23. Jeremy

    As long as they have a reasonable chance to have legitimate arguments heard, I’m happy with the status quo – so far as appeals are concerned.

    I’m NOT happy with the idea of the Commonwealth arguing that people held in certain Australian-controlled locations have fewer rights before the Courts than those on mainland Australia.

    Well lets make the lowest number of avenues for appeal the standard then having argued their case several times it is just cruel to hold out false hope of multitudinous appeals.
    #Blast Tyrant

    you give Australia a bad name
    Actually, people like Iain gives humanity a bad name.

    Yawn!!!
    The reality is that the people of this country are entitled to put the welfare of this country and its citizens ahead of those of any other country, sometimes it means taking tough decisions and drawing a line in the sand about how generous to those who make a call upon our largess.

    I think people like Iain and Baldfuck should lead by example and show these asylum seekers how good life can be in Afghanistan at the moment – really prove to everybody there is no reason to flee the place.

    Oh my what petulance! But you misunderstand (or you are just ignorant) just what our obligations are under the UN charter. It is not to provide a home to everyone who comes from a country that is dysfunctional as you seem to think it is.

    If it’s good enough for the goose it’s good for the gander Iain – so fuck off and go live in a war zone.

    No why don’t you stop trying to create a war zone in this country by attempting to bully anyone who has a different set of political beliefs to your self?

    Although – based on Iain’s views on women he’d probably fit right in with Ismail Khan, Sayyaf, Doud and Dostrum etc…

    I have no Idea what you think my” views on women” are but you are entirely wrong if you think that it is anything like any Islamic extremist.

  24. “Well lets make the lowest number of avenues for appeal the standard then having argued their case several times it is just cruel to hold out false hope of multitudinous appeals.”

    I can’t even be bothered arguing with the staggering ignorance implicit in this comment.

  25. Are you suggesting that appeals should go all the way to the high court then Jeremy?

  26. Wisdom Like Silence

    It’s not baseball Iain, it’s law. If you think you have lawful grounds for appeal, then give it as many spins as you can.

    It’s a couple dozen bottles of water, not a foreign ops bill.

  27. Returned Man
    “protest” by its very nature is a stunt, or at least a piece of street theatre what else can it be?

  28. Wisdom Like Silence

    FFS.

    The reality is that the people of this country are entitled to put the welfare of this country and its citizens ahead of those of any other country, sometimes it means taking tough decisions and drawing a line in the sand about how generous to those who make a call upon our largess.

    Goes above the water bottles/foreign ops SHUTUP

  29. As far as the police denying them water … I’d be interested to know whether or not Pamela Curr, the author of the article in Jeremy’s post, actually tried to bring the guy she mentions in the article a drink. If someone in that position made that sign to me, that they wanted water, I’d go get them some, in her position especially.

    I hope its just one of those things where she did, and assumes its so obvious she doesn’t mention it again.

    Or perhaps the police prevented her delivering some.

    Which is in itself appalling.

    Protests can be more than “street theatre” too. Some are expressions of real power. Some topple governments. Even this one is more than street theatre. Its an appeal for some help and some basic respect.

    Interesting the response it generates.

  30. Or perhaps the police prevented her delivering some
    Correct, the police wouldn’t let her near the refugees.

    The reality is that the people of this country are entitled to put the welfare of this country and its citizens ahead of those of any other country, sometimes it means taking tough decisions and drawing a line in the sand about how generous to those who make a call upon our largess.

    I have no Idea what you think my” views on women” are but you are entirely wrong if you think that it is anything like any Islamic extremist.

    So you think it’s ok for our country, and the US, to support a government in Afghanistan, which you clearly acknowledge is extremist in nature?

    AND, when said extremists make life unbearably for the other citizens of Afghanistan, i.e. when our own government (both including both major parties) has actively contributed to causing the problems that create refugees – you don’t think that maybe we owe them a safe haven?

    That’s not drawing a line in the sand.
    That’s saying “Hey Afghanistan, you know how the west (and Russia for a bit) have been raping your country for over a century? Well we’re gonna get in on that too. We’re gonna keep fucking you – but don’t you dare leave and try living a decent life, you stay there and keep getting fucked by us and you bloody well better smile while we’re doing it!”

    I stand by my earlier comments Iain – you give humanity a bad name.

  31. So you think it’s ok for our country, and the US, to support a government in Afghanistan, which you clearly acknowledge is extremist in nature?

    This is also supposed to be in italics in the above post. I’m just in such awe at Iain’s complete dickbaggery that I messed it up.

  32. zaratoothbrush

    the people of this country are entitled to put the welfare of this country and its citizens ahead of those of any other country

    So, Iain, I take it you would have offered more aid and comfort to Martin Bryant than you would to Anne Frank, no?

    All in the name of tribalism, right?

  33. “The reality is that the people of this country are entitled to put the welfare of this country and its citizens ahead of those of any other country, sometimes it means taking tough decisions and drawing a line in the sand about how generous to those who make a call upon our largess.”

    Allowing people nearby to give water to these folks isn’t really all that “generous” though, nor is it “largesse”. But I suppose in the black hearts of asylum seeker haters, any amount of inhumanity towards asylum seekers is excusable on the basis that it (supposedly) deters further claims to asylum in this country. Because we need to deter all aslum seekers. Even those with genuine claims to refugee status. For some reason not involving racism.

  34. Hey, is it “racism” to exclusively object to the form of travel that no white refugees use?

    Oh, yeah. It is.

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