Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Business Of Cruelty

"Since off shore processing began in August last year, 15,543 people have arrived in 259 boats. Seven hundred are on Manus or Nauru and the cost is heading into the billions."

"I want to die. I don't want to live more, because we don't have anything to do here. Your questions doesn't have answer, your fate is not clear, what will happen to you?"

"You see many guys here do suicide or hurt themselves, just because they don't want to harm the others. They just harm themselves because of bad situation, or because they show - they want to show their feelings"

"By last November there'd been reports of mass hunger strikes and at least eight attempted suicides. And a 35 year old Iranian man, near death after a 50 day hunger strike, had to be evacuated to Australia"

"There are temperatures in the 40s and humidity around 100 per cent. Heavy rain, no air conditioning and ah, insufferably hot. Um muddy tracks, um and when it rained a faecal smell of inadequately you know drained sewage effluent."

"There are now thirty children in the Manus camp. Most have been there more than four months"

"Journalists, cameras, and even photos are banned from the Manus camp"

"the minister's refusal to front up for an interview for this story with no reason given, other than we could turn up for one of his doorstops if we liked"

None of this is news, not really. Four Corners this week was really letting us in on the secret we all knew - that Australia's government is now in the business of cruelty. And this isn't a partisan thing. It's not Labor versus Liberal. The business of cruelty is a thriving joint venture in which both major parties are enthusiastically involved.

This business is allowed because these brave servants of the public interest which we elect have successfully entrenched the Big Lie that the government's responsibility lies with preventing desperate people in other countries from deciding how best to improve their lives, rather than with taking care of the desperate people that find themselves in this country. The government has decided its jurisdiction extends all around the world when it comes to deterrence, but doesn't even include its own territory when it comes to caring.

We've accepted that and other Big Lies, such as the one that tells us that our leaders are striving to represent the acme of compassion, with these policies designed to ensure that when refugees die, they have the decency to do it far away from us, in foreign camps, or on boats heading anywhere but here. Designed to ensure that the world is in no doubt that if, when you've got nowhere else to turn, you turn to Australia, you will be imprisoned, and isolated, and brutalised, and driven right over the brink of madness by a government determined, at any cost, to make itself monstrous enough that people stuck in the worst places on earth would rather stay put than risk coming here.

The hellholes created by our fearless leaders are not unfortunate unintended consequences of sensible policy: they are the entire point of the policy. They are not locking up children by accident. They are not causing people to hurt themselves, starve themselves, and kill themselves in spite of their best intentions. This is exactly what the policy is supposed to achieve. The government is deliberately causing suffering, because they have decided that causing suffering is the best way to achieve their aims.

Because their aims are to avoid criticism, to avoid protest, to avoid electoral punishment, from that great mass of Australians who become outraged whenever they sense that the government is being too kind to people who didn't have the good sense to be born into first-world privilege. Their aims are to neutralise "excessive humanity" as an electoral negative.

So please, when we discuss politics; when we thrash out the respective merits of the different parties; when we laud the prime minister's unwillingness to be lectured on misogyny by that man; when we proclaim one side's virtue over the other's:

Never forget that no matter how much better one side is than the other, both sides are in the business of cruelty. The lesser of two evils remains evil, and its evil is deliberate, ongoing, and vicious.

This government, this prime minister, this Labor Party is engaged in wilful and knowing savagery against its fellow human beings. This Opposition protests this savagery only inasmuch as it is insufficiently savage.

In the unlikely event that any members of either government or opposition end up reading this, please know, you are reprehensible. If you sleep at night, it speaks only to the humanity that you jettisoned long ago. If you can look at your own deeds without being blinded by burning tears of shame, you are lost, and so are we who have somehow allowed you putrid beasts to rule over us.

May you all go to Hell.


sarah toa said...


Paul Young said...

"The Business of Cruelty" hits the spot. Compassion has become a dirty word in a dirty (political) world.

And Congrats on the Blog (Humour) award Ben, much deserved. Love your style.

Dan said...

May they not all go to hell, but also burn painfully for all eternity. Scum.

Felix. said...

There's an easy solution to all this horrible and ghastly business. Send all these fine people back to their Muslim places of origin. Easy!