Waleed Aly writes for the New York Times to shit-can Australia
Australia’s Poisonous Wahhabi Aly
Australia doesn’t execute
people Muslims for not being like us. Islam does. As a paid Islamist PR you’d reckon Waleed Aly might open up a bit about that central tenet of the system he pushes.
We couldn’t give a rat’s about other people’s religion as long as they don’t want to hurt us.
And we don’t decide who’s in or kept out of our country on race, gender, sexual orientation or how they say their prayers.
In our democracy what goes on here is what we the people of Australia want to go on here. Not Muhammad. Not Buddha. And certainly not the views of Sunni Islam’s head office, Saudi Arabia spouted through slick PRs like Waleed Aly.
We don’t like it when people get killed because of something we did.
We are revolted when it’s children who have no say in getting on board leaky boats only to drown at sea while en route to claim a prize for mum and dad.
We’re more Hippocrates than Muhammad. First do no harm. We want to know a bit about who’s coming here and their intentions. We don’t want them dead on arrival. And self-selection or queue-jumping isn’t on.
Residency or citizenship in Australia is a glittering prize. Many want it. Let it rip and ruthless people smugglers will quickly fill the leaky boats again. That’s what happenned last time Wahabbi Aly’s preferred system was running. And thousands drowned.
Australians could see that our system was killing people. Mohameddan fatalist culture might cop that sweet as the will of a vengeful creator. But just like we do in most things – or overdo at work – it’s Safety First here and decent Australians won’t be a party to industrial scale killing.
I won’t cop two-faced criticism of our caring culture from a paid promoter of its opposite. The least worst option is the stable one we have now.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s strong border protection and denial of the prize of residency to those who try to buck our system by arriving illegally by boat is working. Lives are being saved.
We can’t offer refuge to everyone on earth from those who’d attack or persecute them. But we can manage Australia and remove further unacceptable temptations and risks to life from our system.
Here’s the pretend proud Australian Waleed Aly using the pages of the New York Times to attack Australia and most of our population:
Read it and weep!
So on one level, when Amnesty International reported last week that Australia’s system of offshore detention — in which asylum seekers heading to Australia by boat are intercepted and sent to camps in Nauru or Papua New Guinea indefinitely — “essentially amounts to torture,” the Australian government’s response was entirely predictable.
“I personally find that to be offensive,” said the head of the immigration department, Michael Pezzullo.
“I reject that claim totally,” declared Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “It is absolutely false.”
But that’s largely where the defense ended. Mr. Turnbull wasn’t about to engage in a legal argument on Amnesty’s claim. There was no need because he knows that ultimately not all that many Australians care all that much.
That’s been true for at least 15 years, when former Prime Minister John Howard prospered so handsomely from his asylum-seeker policies, from which the current program is derived. Repeated polling since 2013 shows that whatever those policies seem to be, somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of Australians think they should be even more severe. Around another 35 to 40 percent think the policy is about right. The view that our policy is too harsh tops out at around 27 percent.
These figures scarcely change, no matter how many reports come out from Human Rights Watch, the United Nations or Australia’s own Human Rights Commission.
You see, we’ve “stopped the boats.” That quote doesn’t come from anyone in particular. It’s everyone’s. Mr. Turnbull’s predecessor, Tony Abbott, most relentlessly repeated it, but it’s on high rotation in every government official’s playlist. Whatever the scandal, whatever the latest account of refugee children attempting suicide or detainees setting themselves on fire, it’s all anyone need say.
This is the great sedative of Australian politics: dulling our attention, rendering all else some indecipherable white noise we only vaguely register before we fall asleep. Then we can snooze through any bombshell. Even Amnesty’s language isn’t arresting anymore. Merely a year and a half ago a United Nations special rapporteur found systematic violations of the Convention Against Torture. None of it registers because as long as boats carrying asylum seekers aren’t making it to Australia, all is justified.
So Australia’s detention regime becomes virtuous, brutality repackaged as compassion. Those languishing in detention centers, even the people who die there thanks to violence or woefully inadequate medical care for simple afflictions, they’re just a warning to others who might be tempted onto a boat. It’s true the journey is deadly, but it’s also true that Australia is using the more than 1,200 other people stuck in limbo in Nauru and Papua New Guinea as a deterrent. These are the starkly utilitarian terms of the policy: We sacrifice the lives of innocent people to dissuade others from risking theirs.
This rhetoric masks an enormous problem. While Australia was adamant that anyone arriving by boat would be turned away forever, it has never had any idea where these people would ultimately go. Paying other countries to detain them could be only a stopgap measure. Eventually their refugee claims would be processed, and eventually they would need to be resettled somewhere.
And while we were sleeping, that moment arrived. Papua New Guinea’s highest court in April found the detention center there to be illegal, meaning the detainees must be sent elsewhere. Australia has paid Cambodia $42 million to resettle refugees — only two have been successfully resettled. Otherwise, Australia resorts to persuading people to return home to the lands they’re fleeing — war-torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, among other menacing places.
We have traded a boat problem for a resettlement one. And in the meantime, lives are still being destroyed, just slowly.
It’s here we confront Amnesty’s most arresting finding: Australia’s policy is a kind of contagion, lowering global standards on refugee policy, shifting the boundaries of what nations now find acceptable.
The most direct example is Indonesia, which, partly at Australia’s urging, has sharply increased its own use of detention centers, criminalized the act of providing accommodations for anyone without a visa, and attempted to return boats headed for Indonesia back to the countries they had left.
But we’re also seeing a procession of European far-right nationalist parties — the U.K. Independence Party in Britain, the National Democratic Party of Germany and the Danish People’s Party — expressly hold Australia up as an inspiration. There are even individual voices of support from within mainstream conservative parties, like Britain’s Tories. It’s clear that Australia would like its policy to be adopted more broadly.
Successive prime ministers — most recently Mr. Turnbull in his September address to the United Nations — have encouraged the world to follow Australia’s lead. It’s the kind of thing you can say when you’re an island nation far removed from the theaters of human misery producing the current refugee crisis. But it’s not the kind of thing to which the world can afford to listen.
The human displacement is too deep, the numbers too large. And with a global problem this urgent, the very worst you could do right now is reach for a sedative.