If there is one thing Prime Minister Tony Abbott will not stand for, it is attempts by the powerful to bully the weak.
Reports recently emerged that 10 mothers jailed indefinitely in the Christmas Island detention centre had attempted to take their own lives. With sick children, the women apparently believed the children might have greater chance of better treatment if they were unaccompanied.
But Abbott was not falling for that old trick. In response, the PM said: “This is not going to be a government which has our policy driven by people who are attempting to hold us over a moral barrel.”
Now, the casual observer might be a little perplexed by this comment. To the naive, unaware of the trickery of these wily women, it might appear that the suicide attempts were extreme acts of desperation driven by a sense of utter hopelessness in the face of being subjected to horrific abuses with no end in sight.
But Abbott knows better, and he simply won't tolerate such sheer thuggery. “No Australian government should be subjected to the spectacle” of people threatening self-harm, Abbott bravely responded, not hesitating to identify the true victim here.
However, it seems not all of his colleagues agree with the prime minister's assessment of the true scale of this assault on his government.
For his part, employment minister Eric Abetz dismissed the suicide attempts as “minor self-harm incidents”. He probably called Brazil's six goal thumping by Germany in the World Cup semi-final a “minor defeat”.
Christ only knows what Abetz considers a “major” self-harm incident, given that, by definition, there isn't really any greater self-harm than taking your own life.
Presumably, had any of the women succeeded in their suicide bids, Abetz would have dismissed it as a “minor” fatality. After all, the government has made it perfectly clear asylum seekers are only “minor” humans.
The Murdoch press, meanwhile, takes yet another angle, finding the true source of the self-harm incidents — refugee rights activists.
“A former offshore processing official says refugee advocates are encouraging asylum seekers in Australia's immigration detention centres to self harm so the advocates can use the incidents for their own political agenda,” said The Australian on its July 12 front page.
However, asides from questioning the intentions and morality of people who generally oppose the government's crimes on a entirely voluntary basis, in their spare time, for no reward at all, simply on the grounds they are not heartless bastards, this position does not even make logical sense.
It supposes that refugee activists would be somehow lacking evidence to highlight the government's cruelty to desperate people if not for desperate mothers committing acts of self-harm — as if more than 1000 children jailed indefinitely for no crime, murderous rampages against detainees on Manus Island, asylum seekers dying after being forced back to Indonesia, and holding asylum seekers captive on the water after handing dozens over to the murderous, genocidal regime they fled is not enough to utterly condemn this bunch of racist pricks.
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Now, I don't want to dis our PM's remarkable effort in playing the victim while abusing the rights of desperate people, but the world has once again been reminded that there remains no one better at stomping all over others while claiming victim status than Israel.
And so US President Barack Obama had no hesitation in defending Israel's latest murderous bombardment of Gaza. At least 90 people — including many children — have been killed in what Israel claims is a response to largely homemade rockets fired from the open-air prison that is Gaza, many of which are easily picked off by Israel's state-of-the-art Iron Dome air defence system and which, to date, have killed noone.
But defending Israel's actions, Obama insisted: “No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians ...”
No. No one could be expected to accept that. No one anywhere in the world could possibly be expected to simply put up with having bombs rain down on them without some sort of response ... no one at all, except, of course, Palestinians. That goes without saying.
Because it is surely obvious to anyone with the most basic sense of logic that if Palestinians respond to bombs killing civilians and destroying crucial infrastructure in an overcrowded, open-air prison subjected to a near total siege and with no means to protect itself from constant Israeli terror, then they deserve more bombs raining down on them. I mean, that is perfectly clear.
And, as much as anything else, the citizens of Gaza must surely be used to it by now.