TWO TRUE STORIES
- Our Uber driver a few nights ago travelled to Australia on a boat, the last leg of his journey from Afghanistan where his opposition to the Taliban meant he had no choice but to escape. He was put on Christmas Island immediately – where he learned of the birth of his second child. He was moved to detention in Nauru for years. Now, after seven years in Australia, he is still being ‘processed‘ while he works two jobs every day “for my family“, all of whom remain in Afghanistan. Working two jobs is hard but it’s better than being at home by himself. The only chance that his two daughters will get any kind of education is if they can come to Australia. And if, one day, his family can join him, he will open a restaurant to use his cooking skills to make Asian/Indian food and give jobs to people who need it.
- Two weeks ago at a community event, a man with the most generous smile became sad at the mention of the Minister for Immigration’s recent suggestion that white South African farmers should get special assistance to emigrate to Australia for humanitarian reasons. ‘This hurts me … do you know why?‘ I thought I did. But I discovered that listening is so often better than thinking … ‘I have South African friends – white friends. Things are difficult for those people there and people who need help should get it. But he [Peter Dutton] said that they should come to Australia because they would integrate well. That they shared the same values … This says to me that there are people who do not integrate … people like me. … I am from Egypt. My skin isn’t white. I’m a Muslim. … So many times they say that we don’t share values, we don’t integrate. I carry this wherever I go. Every day. Every moment. Is what I said in that shop showing Australian values? Does my face now show I have Australian values? If I am sad or unwell, I cannot show this in my face, in the way that I talk to my wife – People will think I’m not a good person, that I have wrong values. I look at my little girl and wish for her that when she is older she doesn’t carry this the way that I do. … I have values. I do SO MUCH to integrate. To be part of the community. Every day. Every minute …’
THINGS TO ASK YOURSELF IF YOU’RE YET TO QUESTION AUSTRALIA’S APPROACH TO IMMIGRATION
- How does it feel to be angry and afraid about people I don’t know? Does it make my life better?
- What if we all just lived every day with HUMAN values? Just taking care of our families and friends, working, asking for help if we need it, giving help if we can. And if there is ever any time in between, what if we just take a breather and do something that might make us (or someone we care about) feel good? At least not wasting time on anger or mistrust or worry. It can’t hurt.
If you think this post – or any part of it – is worth sharing, please do. If you don’t, just live your life. And be as happy as you’re able. For most of us, isn’t that really what it’s all about?