POPE Francis called it a “disgrace”. But the real disgrace is such reckless sanctimony when boat people drown.
A fortnight ago we got it from the Greens, who demanded an inquiry when scores of boat people – many from Lebanon – drowned just 50m off an Indonesian beach.
The guilt is ours because, the Greens complain, “there are no safe or ‘regular’ pathways available” for Third World people to migrate here even when we don’t want them.
The Pope, alas, is no less irresponsible.
Last Thursday some 300 Africans died while trying to smuggle themselves into Italy, and the Pope, hands seeming to shake with anger, railed: “The word disgrace comes to me.”
He added: ”Let us unite our efforts so that similar tragedies do not happen again. Only a decided collaboration among all can help to stop them.”
The drownings were a great tragedy, yes. But a “disgrace” to Italians or the West?
In fact, the boat had tipped over because the 500 passengers, mainly from Eritrea and Somalia, reportedly lit a small fire on board while just off the Italian coast to get the attention of the coast guard, and then all fled to one side when it spread.
And what “decided collaboration” is needed to end such drownings? The Pope did not explain, but the European Council for Refugees and Exiles did.
It was as the Greens demand here: to give such migrants “an alternative to resorting to illegal means of entry through dangerous routes”.
That means tearing down our borders. It means letting thousands of uninvited migrants come today – and inevitably millions tomorrow – to help themselves to what others have created.
It means to risk letting in so many strangers that they destroy the culture producing the wealth that attracted them. Has the Pope not seen already the fires of immigrant rage in France, Britain and Sweden?
And does he think the native populations of Western countries will just shrug their shoulders as uninvited strangers fill their cities and welfare queues? Think Cronulla.
Many people are so keen to seem good that they do not want the choices and challenges laid out this starkly. They do not want to seem as mean as I do in being blunt.
But wanting to seem good does not excuse the evil you unleash by being wilfully blind to the consequences.
Populations from Africa and the Middle East are on the move and every rich country will have to ask: how many will we take? How will we stop the rest?
The more we simply let come illegally, the more will try their luck. Just three years ago “human rights” lawyer Julian Burnside scoffed that we got too few boat people to worry about – just 400 a month. By early this year it was 2000 a month.
There are plenty more where they came from, with 40 million displaced people and even more sitting in failed states such as Syria, Egypt, Somalia and Libya, watching our welfare paradise on their TV screens.
Even now, many in the media class like to pretend money isn’t driving many “asylum seekers” and “refugees” to the boats.
But the truth is seeping out.
SBS interviewed relatives of passengers on the boat which sank off Indonesia, and was told one family paid $80,000 to get smuggled into Australia and escape “poverty”.
Lebanese government officials last week flew to Indonesia and announced most of the Lebanese survivors would be flying home with them.
So much for needing “asylum”.
Also last week Ling Yoong, former director of medical health services for our offshore asylum processing, said boat people had asked doctors for breast enlargements, IVF treatment and Botox.
Welcome to welfare heaven.
I suspect the penny is now dropping even at the ABC, which is finally calling this illegal immigration for what it is – provided it is not too close to home.
Sure, all ABC reports on the sinking off Indonesia still referred to the dead as “asylum seekers”.
But most ABC reports on the sinking off Italy days later referred to those dead as “migrants”. For example: “Italy has declared a national day of mourning after a boat packed with African migrants caught fire and sank …”
Why the different language? Why the more misleading “asylum seekers” when describing migrants trying to come illegally to Australia?
The language is important, because it conditions our response.
Should we stop the drownings simply by offering safer entry to however many “asylum seekers” who knock?
Or do we slam shut the door against these illegal “migrants”?
Either way, the fundamental question remains: What are our borders worth? What our culture?