20 June 2018

Those other mothers (World Refugee Day)

The fact that it’s World Refugee Day and the US has pulled out of the UN Humans Rights Council is abominable.

The fact that when Australia ratified the UN’s anti-torture protocol last year they specifically excluded our off-shore detention centres is abominable.

The fact that our media gives more outraged coverage to the USA’s policy of putting children in concentration camps than they have to the fact that we’ve been doing it for years is abominable.

The fact that we have killed 12 people in four years in our off-shore detention camps is abominable.

Here they are. Source: The Guardian
 Abominable is defined as ‘causing moral revulsion’. And it’s not a big enough word to fully encapsulate all that it needs to in 2018.

What is also abominable is that refugees and asylum seekers are used as political pawns, denying the humanity of the great mass of individuals who have been displaced as the result of war, conflict, hatred and violence.

I’m a mother who loves her children which makes me like most mothers. Most parents in fact.

In fact, I love my children so much that I will do anything I need to do to keep them safe. Because they are lucky – they were born into a country where keeping them safe involves teaching them resilience in the face of bullying, looking both ways before they cross the road, wearing a helmet while riding a bike and other such life skills.

And believe me when I say that I think of the other mothers, the other parents all the time. Not just on World Refugee Day. Those other mothers who also love their children so much and will do anything to keep them safe.

Like moving them away from the city they live in so they don’t get bombed. 

Like selling everything they have to send their child to the other side of the world so they cannot be tortured or killed because of their religious or political leanings. 

Like offering their bodies to marauding soldiers to buy their children some time to escape.


Like getting into boats with them and hoping they reach safe lands. 
Alan Kurdi. Loved Son.
Like enduring detention in the hope their children will have a better life.

Like abandoning their wider families and communities to seek safety for their children.

Like carrying a child who had their leg blown off by a landmine while playing for days to get them medical attention.

The only reason that my love for my children is not tested in these ways is because of an accident of birth.

It was my good luck that I was born in a country that exists in relative safety.

It was my good luck to be born with a skin colour that doesn’t make me a target.

It was my good luck to be raised in a family whose religion was considered acceptable in the latter half of the twentieth century.

It was my good luck to live in a country where I can talk about religion or politics or sexuality without being tortured or even killed to silence me.

The only difference between me and those other mothers is geography.

When David Bowie sung that he hoped the Russians loved their children too, he wasn’t asking the right question.

What he really wanted to know is would the Russians put people before politics?

What I really want to know is when will Australia put people before politics?

When will we recognise that these other mothers, these other fathers, these other children – they are just like you and me.

Loved.

 If you want to see more of what goes on when I'm not writing this blog


follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram