‘les Miserables’…What if they were Jews?

boatImagine for a moment that a bunch of 49 or so wretched Jews managed by hook and by crook to steal away from Nazi Germany late one night on a ricketty, unseaworthy fishing boat they managed to procure from an unscrupulous black-marketeer for an exhorbitant fee. No matter the cost. They were desperate.  And they were even willing to take the enormous risk of getting across the treacherous English Channel in the slim hope that the English would be civilized enough to take them in.

It was either that, or the gas chambers. They had nothing to lose.

Not far from the English coast, they were intercepted by a British Navy ship. They had heard tales that some of the English were so opposed to letting any more Jews into their country that they had ordered their Navy to turn refugee boats back to Europe. They had even heard that some people claimed that “drowning was too good for asylum seekers”.

What to do?

Surely if they scuttled their little boat quickly, the English sailors would have no choice but to pick them up and escort them to safety.

One of ‘les miserables’ found a can of fuel and knew at that moment that his life had been reduced by cruelty and aggression to this one potentially fatal option…

A parable.

Good to see that every effort is being made to provide assistance to the surviving asylum seekers. Now their claims can be properly processed and anyone trying to get into the country on false pretences can be sent home.

And by the way, I wish the media and the politicians making hay out of these ‘poor suffering ones’ would stop referring to them as ‘illegals’. There is no law against arriving unannounced on someone’s shores seeking safety when your life is threatened. To stay in the country after being found not to have a reasonable fear of persecution is illegal. To arrive seeking help is not.

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~ by Garry on April 17, 2009.

6 Responses to “‘les Miserables’…What if they were Jews?”

  1. If only they would not start to hate us and call us infidels after they live here for a while, that would help these people a lot and make us more willing to help them.

  2. I have a strong suspicion that it wouldn’t make the slightest difference in the world what “they” call us. A large section of our population are completely closed off to offering help at all, despite the overwhelming evidence that refugees who are granted citizenship work hard, obey the law, contribute to society equally as well as anyone born here – often more so.

    The boat people I have met and come to know give the lie to your premise.

    I have stood on street corners and been abused and had to listen to filthy lies about “them” and hateful attitudes about drowning, incarcerating, deporting, rotting “them” and “their” children. Fortunately most Australians, when thinking straight, are still willing to accept the notion that everyone is entitled to a fair go.

    I remember businessman John Singleton once saying something like: “Any bloke who can scrape together the cash to get his family our of mortal danger, then risk life and limb on a little boat to get to a free country and ask for help, and then endure the slights and taunts of ignorant people and still want to become a responsible member of society…I want that bloke working for me!”

    Jerry Harvey (of Harvey Norman) disagreed with Singleton, as do many.

  3. Thanks for that perspective Garry.

  4. thanks Jules. Do you blog btw? I’d be interested in your perspectives on life, the universe and eveything!

    Yeah, it really astounds me how hysterical Australians get about a few thousand asylum seekers. That deep seated white-fella fear that we are about to be swamped at any moment seems to persist. And I haven’t heard Malcolm Turnbull sounding more feeble than of late. (Although, to his credit, I agree with his call to PM Rudd to work together on some kind of bi-partisan border policies. Goodness knows what they could possibly agree on, though!

    Let me know if you have a blog site.

    🙂

  5. No blog for me … yet. I spend too much time on the internet as it is … Facebook and a cloth nappy forum mostly!! One day I think I’d like to blog but I know I would spend far too long rewriting entries and being concerned about sounding silly or offending people. I’ll let you know if I ever get around to it. In the meantime I just enjoying having a look at yours and a few others every now and then.

    • fair enough too, Julie. I know what you mean. I’m also concerned about sounding silly and offensive – I rarely just dash off a blog entry. Each one is re-written several times and then there is a crunch moment just before hitting the ‘publish’ button. And the irony is, there’s only about 6 people I know who actually read it!
      You should see the great pile of ‘drafts’ on various topics that I just never got around to publishing at all. And then there is the 99% of what I’m thinking and feeling that never gets anywhere near a blog entry.
      Still, blogging has its place for me and I have found it mostly enjoyable as well as useful for keeping family and friends up on some of the things that go on around here.
      Yeah, please let me know when you take the plunge. I’d love to return the favour and drop in on your site from time to time.

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