Earlier today I was reading “Stasiland” by Anna Funder and the absurdity of our politicians hit me harder than usual. I use the word absurdity deliberately because it literally means “devoid of meaning”, but before I start talking about that, I’d like you to imagine you read this somewhere:
Earlier today I had a rather nasty incident. A toddler had just wandered off while she was distracted so I picked him up and placed in my hot car and locked the door, informing the mother that I’d let him out when I’d checked all her documents and ensured that she was, in fact, a bona fide parent. Rather than cooperate, she started to yell at abuse at me, which just proved to me that my swift action was correct because, if that’s the way she spoke to a total stranger, imagine how she spoke at home.
A crowd gathered round and tried to insist that I release the child, but I explained that there had been a number of road deaths from children running on the road and it was only by making an example of this child that we could discourage parents from letting their children walk around unsupervised.
One idiot wanted to know how other people would be aware of this deterrent and I said that I was sure that word would get around, and I intended to film the child in the car and post it on YouTube as a warning to others.
At this point, someone threatened to call the police to which I replied that I was sure that the police would back me up. While they were starting to resemble an unruly mob, I’m a respectable person who’s only doing this in the best interests of the child. Well, perhaps not this child who was getting rather hot and bothered and screaming, but in the interests of the children who don’t get hit by cars thanks to my strong action.
For some reason, the crowd turned violent, pushed me to the ground and stole my keys. As they released the child, I pointed out that I wasn’t the only one who thought that providing strong deterrents justified this sort of action because both Turnbull and Abbott and Shorten and Marles all agree with me, and if another person agrees with you, then you can’t possibly be wrong.
You’re right – using that as an allegory for what’s happening with asylum seekers in Australia is wrong.
In Australia, the crowd gathering round consists of some people demanding that the child be let out of the hot car, while others are saying that the mother needs to be put in there too and then I can drive them somewhere else and push them out of the car and that’ll be a lesson to everyone.
While the mother in the little story didn’t actually break the law, it needs to be pointed out for the 4,237,003,998th time that nobody coming to Australia seeking asylum has actually broken the law. If anyone wants to argue that they have, then I’m more than happy to ask why the government has never actually charged any of them with the crime they’ve supposedly committed. We all know that it’s because once they ended up in the court system there’s no way that children would be held in detention and that the government would be forced to actually live up to its obligations under the UNHCR conventions.
Anyway, back to Anna Funder’s wonderful book. In “Stasiland”, Anna Funder describes her experience interviewing various people who lived in East Germany prior to the fall of the Wall, as well as a few people who helped some of them try to escape. You know, “people smugglers”!
Of course, of course, they did it to try and help their fellow countrymen whereas the people smugglers we’re referring to in today’s Australia are those horrible people who are prepared to do it for money and they’re so reprehensible that they’ll even take money from the Australian government to take the asylum seekers back. I don’t know that for sure, of course; I only know that the Australian government and its representatives refuse to answer questions on whether it does or doesn’t happen. I’m just working on the theory that there are times when a refusal to deny pretty much means that it’s happening or else it’d be denied in a second.
Ok, but let’s ignore today’s Australia and go back to the days where people trying to escape from East Germany. Apart from other dire consequences if they failed and were taken back, some of them were shot trying to cross the Wall.
Using the logic of the major parties in our current Parliament, those who actually made it should have been told that they’ll never be settled in Germany (or anywhere else in Europe, or even New Zealand) and taken to a centre where they could be held behind barbed wire. I believe Germany had a bit of experience with that sort of thing, so there were probably places where these people fleeing the East could have been held. After all, the East had made laws that were breaking, so it’s not like they hadn’t done anything wrong.
Yep, it seems that West Germany got it wrong … They should have joined in with the East in shooting at those trying to cross.
Just as a deterrent … for humanitarian reasons, of course!
I am hurt.
A plague a’ both your houses