Asylum seeking in Australia

Issue 

Blood drenched dreams dangling
from the spikes of the razor wire —
so close to freedom.
Wild fearful eyes stare
into our collective consciousness
and sear our indifference.
Batoned discipline enforced
by Wackenhut guards —
Capitalism's storm troopers.

Shayan Bedraie starves himself
in a vain attempt to communicate
his family's need for asylum.
A Pakistani man immolates
in a vain attempt to communicate
his family's need for reunion.
Daily thousands sigh silently at the razor wire
in a vain attempt to communicate
their need for freedom.

But enough of those people's troubles,
let me tell you why I dislike Australia's
policy of locking up asylum seekers.
The other day I was flying to Sydney —
a Middle Eastern family was on the same flight,
they had recently been granted a temporary visa. One of the sons had a razor wire tattoo
engraved on his neck
a reminder of the Woomera concentration camp.
I can't forget that young man,
with his tattoo accusing me of being indifferent
to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers.
It is true I did nothing to help
him, his family, his fellow inmates
but why does he accuse me:
after all, you did nothing to help either.
We all just turned away.
So if I am accused
you are accused
we are all accused
so long as we do nothing.

John Tomlinson

Reading Green Left online is free but producing it isn't

Green Left aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. We rely on regular support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get Green Left in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the paper delivered to your door.