Well, of course, if we play the refugees off against each other:
…Rajab bears no ill will to those who take boats to Australia. He knows families who have done just that, and he would do it himself if he had the money and the opportunity.
But he would be happy if the Australian government stopped the boats, if it meant more places were opened up for long-term refugees like him and his family.
”Everybody has their own perspective,” he says. ”If you take people from the boats, that means other people will not be accepted … shut the door completely and you will discourage these people and encourage more people through the UNHCR.
“That means other people will not be accepted” – why? Only because we let our government link the two programs, instead of treating the two intakes as completely separate.
We let the government punish refugees waiting in camps for those who arrive by boat or overstay visas.
Why do we insist on doing that? There aren’t so many people arriving by boat or overstaying visas that they’re “flooding” the country or something and we need to make up the numbers by taking it out on the most vulnerable. The policy that punishes refugee A for the actions of refugee B is – well, it’s collective punishment. It’s wrong. It is unnecessary, and it is cruel.
And then to tell refugee A not to blame us, blame the other people as desperate as they are, go take it up with them – it’s utterly repugnant.
The story above, in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, sickens me.