GetUp, Stand Up

Palm   Thursday 28 June 2012

I kept something I found on The Guardian web site a week or two ago:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.
It was contributed by a Guardian reader in the UK.  I don’t know the origins or who wrote it, but I find it poignant and meaningful. Maybe it’s adapted from some other writing – I don’t know.
What I think it means is that there are times when we see injustices and count ourselves lucky we’re not involved. We can stand back and watch, thankful that we don’t have to show courage.
But eventually, it may be our turn to show courage. We should think about that.
We have an easy life in Australia.  We rarely, if ever, have to show courage.
One of my “friends” sent this to me a few days ago:
I for one also classified these people as illegal migrants and I agree with Andrew [Bolt] on his views here.
I am not being racist here as these people are actually what they are.
By definition, refugees are people who flee a war torn country or a country of savage killings of ethnic people.
These people want a cut short into entry into Australia.
There are official and legal methods for entry which they chose not to follow as they know they will not qualify.
This  person is a Malaysian Chinese (or is that Chinese Malaysian?). He already lives very comfortably in Perth on a permanent residency and he wants to keep the boat people out.

From GetUp:
Currently, Australia makes available a very small number of humanitarian visas through official channels in our region. In the 10 months to April this year, Australia granted only 97 refugee visas out of Indonesia. A further 1126 were made available through Malaysia, but 95% of those went to Burmese refugees. So for those fleeing other troubled countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, their chances of receiving refuge are slim. Many are left with little choice but to risk their lives on leaky boats.
Another quote from the Malaysian Chinese “friend”:

Who knows what diseases they bring into the country?
People like me have to subject to points test for qualification for entry.
Then my family has to pass a medical examination to qualify.
I have to meet 70 out of 80 points to qualify for entry and that’s not easy.
The government is weak.
They gave these illegal migrants housing and feed them well.
You would think why won’t they gather more to come here.
I don’t claim any special courage but I’m finding I’m surrounded by xenophobic racists and I’m fed up to the back teeth with it.
I’m faced with a dilemma. Do I take a stand and fight these “friends” or do I take the easy way out and stay quiet and polite? Another friend said, “Hey, take it easy Pete, he’s a mate.”
He’s not my mate, not after this. All this has happened in the past 7 days.