Refugees denied human face.
April 17, 2002 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Refugees denied human face. 'Taking photographs that could "humanise or personalise" asylum seekers was banned by former defence minister Peter Reith's office, the Senate inquiry into children-overboard claims was told yesterday.'
posted by kv (27 comments total)
Say all you want about the Inquisition and Spanish Conquistadores. There are still plenty of natives in South America and most of the population of the ex-Spanish colonies is mixed. The former British Empire retains its inherently racist and pitiless character. Whites on top. No local aborigines, no letting in surrounding neighbours. Fucking criminals.
posted by magullo at 8:45 AM on April 17, 2002

I'm so glad this has been revealed and put on front page news. But it's creepy to think how many 'official' government/army/etc things like this haven't been uncovered.
posted by kv at 9:31 AM on April 17, 2002

Insulting the citizenry. Absolutely absurd. A complete denial of reality. Humanizing images do not lie.

Are photographs of their corpses allowed? How about if they just photograph their asses?

The British Empire, for all it has done, which is quite a lot, does retain a truly outdated and disgusting attitude towards peoples based less on skin color than on their perception of cultural worth. Magullo is right to note that in Mexico especially the races have mixed into scores of little groups, to the extent that race doesn't matter much if at all. It makes me wretch to see Australians, the lazy descendants of British criminals, having been given land and wool and an economy, turning their backs on people who need them.
posted by Settle at 9:42 AM on April 17, 2002

the lazy descendants of British criminals

Isn't that printed on their money?
posted by jpoulos at 10:15 AM on April 17, 2002

Why is anyone *obligated* to help anyone who's never done anything for them, doesn't share a whole hell of alot in common- and indeed, may prove to have inimical interests and to be a competitor for resources and space?

More power to the Australians. The first duty of a government is to protect its citizenry and promote their interests, not to play at being a philanthropist.
posted by dissent at 10:20 AM on April 17, 2002

Uh, actually I'm offended that some of you seem to believe that the Australian public had much of a choice about this issue. It's not "Australians" that are to be congratulated or blamed. It's their government.
posted by kv at 11:38 AM on April 17, 2002

Uh, sig heil dissent. Thanks for the input. When the Australians are slaughtered and forced onto boats will you feel the same way about them wanting to return? Not like they'd been there for long. How about when your people are slaughtered and forced onto boats? Think it won't happen? You may be as American as I am, but I think a life lesson could do us all some good.

Dissent, the rule of the world is this: if you want people to give a shit about you, ever, you have to give a shit about them when they need help. So unless you are absolutely sure you'll never have anything but good luck, I'd suggest you start being more open to people who need a place to go.

Although I agree that the first role of a government is protecting its citizenry and promoting its interests, this can sometimes mean making sacrifices for other peoples to set an example you'll need when the tables are turned. This can be justified strategically and practically, and besides, all this is doing is bringing the Australians a little closer to the reality of the human situation. Good fortune is little insurance against severe misfortune.

And kv is right, the Australians are far too drunk to know what their government is doing.

(I don't like Australia, but not talking about the I/P conflict is quite refreshing in and of itself)
posted by Settle at 2:07 PM on April 17, 2002

Settle, I disagree. Counting the the goodwill of others is a ludicrous idea... there's no guarantee, even if you as a nation deserve it, that you'll get it. Better to make sure you never need help. Best way to make sure you don't need help is not to take unnecessary risks, and not to allow people who have interests counter to your citizenry's own, onto your land.

I'll take the risk on being slaughtered, because I won't be forced into a boat. I'll die first. Best way to make sure I have space and resources and don't get forced on a boat is to tell other people to just stay the hell where they are, and keep national defenses strong.

Send these people food, equipment, teachers... whatever we can reasonably spare... as long as they stay in place.
posted by dissent at 2:48 PM on April 17, 2002

You may be as American as I am, but I think a life lesson could do us all some good.

Oh- and may I say especial "BULLSHIT" to this... my approach is to be wise and strong enough to avoid disaster, not to court it out of misplaced guilt.

Go join the Peace Corps, if you want to help people... but don't make sacrifices for me. You've no right.
posted by dissent at 2:59 PM on April 17, 2002

Isn't that printed on their money?

And tattooed on the backs of their necks.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:35 PM on April 17, 2002

I kid because I love.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:35 PM on April 17, 2002

1. How are the interests of these people counter to those of the Australian citizenry?

2. Fine. Send them what you can spare. I concur.

3. That was an opinion, dissent, all opinions are bullshit by definition. And what makes you think you are both wiser and stronger than every individual ever forced off of their land and into a boat if you've never been faced with that situation?

I just ask you to consider. Your strategy for preventing harm to yourself and for helping other people is reasonable. But why can't the Australians spare space for these people?

And for the record, I still believe America could use a big fat taste of suffering, vulnerability and desperation. We are not invincible, and if we don't know what it's like to suffer a little and be both a bit desperate and a bit vulnerable, we will be shit-lost when we are faced with a situation when we are totally desperate, completely vulnerable and suffering endlessly.

Of course, dissent, I must admit that your solution of just doing the best you can has its appeal, and frankly that's the solution we all seem to prefer anyway. Which is why our days are numbered, IMHO.
posted by Settle at 5:03 PM on April 17, 2002

And actually dissent, I do have the right to make sacrifices on your behalf, just so long as I find one more person who agrees with me. Tyranny of the majority I think they call it. Let's not get in a shouting match.
posted by Settle at 5:05 PM on April 17, 2002

settle, you sound a bit racist mate.
kv, you are right.
posted by Tarrama at 5:59 PM on April 17, 2002

That's cold shit.

kv: Lets not forget that this happened during an election to garner support for the current leaders. This what the AUers want, it's what they're voting for.
posted by delmoi at 6:06 PM on April 17, 2002

Racist? What race??

Are the Australians a race??
posted by Settle at 6:17 PM on April 17, 2002

Bah. You lot are as much the descendants of British criminals as we are, ie the practitioners of illegal and antisocial religions, many of whom had spent time in jail in Britain and rightly so. You took about a hundred years longer to give up slavery, and you still have brown people mowing your lawns, taking out your garbage and making your tasteless shirts and trousers for just-above-slave wages. You and your whole damn country-full of ignorant-and-proud-of it, whining, selfish, ridiculously ligitious, fat-assed, sugar-chugging, unilateral-minded, treaty-breaking, idiot-electing dumbos help yourselves to more than half of the world's resources despite having less than 10% of the population. Frankly the highest point and truest reflection of American culture so far is the Jerry Springer show. Your movies suck, your TV shows suck, and your national religion of Jesus, Flag and Dollar sucks so hard it's amazing you all haven't fallen into a great big hole in the middle of Utah.

Case of the coal mine calling the kettle black, I think. :-)

Australians learn invective at our mothers' knees. Watch out. :-)


(I am mostly joking, and in NO way defending that @#$% Peter Reith. You want him, you can have him.)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:34 PM on April 17, 2002

settle, you are right ofcourse, I used the word incorrectly. Would bigot seem more appropriate to you cobber ?
posted by Tarrama at 6:47 PM on April 17, 2002

I agree with you,

I have dual citizenship US/UK
posted by Settle at 6:48 PM on April 17, 2002

Anyway, on the issue: the usual reply to the 'why can't you spare space' question goes along the line of 'Australia is mostly inhospitable'. I've been to some of the inhospitable bits, and while it's pretty miserable, it wouldn't be much worse than what I've seen of Afghanistan etc on TV.

While it's practically feasible, and even moral, to set up a UN-governed Refugeeland somewhere presently uninhabited in Australia, feeding the millions on solar-powered hydroponics, it's politically unpalatable because (just like the Woomera reffo's prison) it won't stay that way. Refugees stuck here want to live here, and have actual lives and raise their kids etc. By the third generation there would be people who have only ever lived in Refugeeland, and what's their citizenship status and national identity?

I suppose it could be made to work though, a non-state for the stateless, and here's the obvious place for it. Comments?

posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:00 PM on April 17, 2002

Just as long as you don't need to drive any people out of that land...we've had bad experiences with that....
posted by Settle at 7:24 PM on April 17, 2002

delmoi: I didn't vote for them.
posted by kv at 8:03 PM on April 17, 2002

Lets not forget that this happened during an election to garner support for the current leaders. This what the AUers want, it's what they're voting for.


Clearly, the government was worried that if the humanity of the asylum seekers was seen by the public, then the so-called "Pacific Solution" would not be supported.

The Government acted in this way to deny true democracy. The voting public had available only a carefully constructed version of the facts, so it is reasonable to assume that their will was distorted.

This was a racist propaganda campaign. Just as the Germans were not necessarily racist until the Nazis forced propaganda upon them, neither are Australians.

One more thing, and pardon me for putting it so bluntly, but I think it needs to be said -- fuck you, Dissent. You make me sick.
posted by robcorr at 8:35 PM on April 17, 2002

I like dissent. I don't like dissent.
posted by Settle at 8:57 PM on April 17, 2002

Yeah and how am I a bigot?? I still don't get it...?

I hate all peoples of the world. They are cut from the same cloth.
posted by Settle at 8:58 PM on April 17, 2002

it's no wonder that jerkcity is your favourite cartoon.
posted by kv at 10:03 PM on April 17, 2002

robcrook, squattle... if you mattered to me, I might care.

Simply, robcrat, why should anyone have the support of another forced upon them? The American Indians accepted refugees- look where it got them. I've no desire to wind up walking along that same path.

And supple, as to tyranny of the majority- I believe the founders of the United States did more than a little to limit that. That's why we're a republic, not a democracy.

robcrite, you don't make me sick, you simply register upon me as a philosophical threat, one that would supress the ability of myself to defend what I care about from long term threats.
posted by dissent at 12:26 PM on April 19, 2002

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