[The following is not aimed at upsetting anyone. I certainly do NOT support/advocate the concept of people smuggling, illegal boats or illegal immigration of ANY kind. And of course, yes that all has to stop. Just showing up a little bit of History's own sense of irony.] ...
Something just occurred to me today in relation to Australia's current immigration issues.
This country was first established and 'settled' by people arriving in Boats - an immigration event violently opposed by the occupants & citizens of that time. The 'Boat People' back then proceeded to bring their culture, religion, 'morality', weird CLOTHING (covering up), and their version of 'being civilised' to the inhabitants of Terra Australis. Anyone who resisted was ostracized, beaten, shot, jailed or worse.
Despite the fact that in the eyes of the native citizens this was their land, their Immigration Department chiefs of the day - aka the elders - failed to produce a plan to 'Stop The Boats'. Indeed, they were seemingly powerless to do so. The Boats just kept coming.
They were also unable to perform Criminal Record checks on the boat people. And even if the chiefs could have wanted to, they didn't have the capacity to stem the flow or arrest the Boat People. Even if they could, there was no holding centre facilities to place the illegal migrants until processed, as there were no suitable camp sites around.
Lo and behold, many many of the people arriving in boats had nasty criminal records - having stolen Food - yay verily, a Loaf of Bread no less!
Given the importance of food to the encumbant society, this must have been a frightening and very threatening turn of events. The elders represented a largely diverse and peaceful number of 'nations', cultures and languages within the land.
So consensus was difficult. Sadly, in the end, the nations could not overpower the Boat People.
Yet in a cruel twist of fate, it was the arriving Boat People who built detention centres and 'reservations' to 'contain' the 'uncivilised' indigenous nations!
Even worse, once any resistance to the settlers was broken by an excessive show of power. The displaced nations even found their very own children became part of a sinister 're-education' program - many of whom were removed permanently from their parents, families & communities. The children were then placed in excessive clothing to 'cover up', as they were told nakedness was evil, then forcebly 'converted' to the Boat People's own religion, language and way of life. ... i.e.. a form of genocide.
The Boat People were often documented by scholars as having travelled a great distance to Terra Australis all in the name of "God, Gold & Glory".
So, 200 years on ... ummmm?
Footnote: History records that a significant proportion of these Boat People arrived from a far off land, named England. A land where strange people known as 'Mad Dogs & Englishmen' run about a rectangular paddock, chasing and kicking a round piece of stitched pig skin in opposing groups as if they were at war. Their friends stood by shouting profanities at the opposing groups and each other. A land where drunkenness is a daily occupation.
Thank goodness the original English Boat People only had Muskets, Swords and Cannons back then. If English Soccer Hooligans are any genetic example of their forefathers, heaven knows what would have happened back then if those mad buggers had gotten it into their heads to strap bombs to their asses and mosey on down here! Ha ha!
March 1970 - A young 8 year old Boy from Scotland arrived in Brisbane (by plane, not boat) with his migrating Parents and 2 year old brother. Since he was adopted, there was no way of understanding how he had very dark olive skin, despite being born in Glasgow.
Within months, the boy started local schooling. He was an extremely shy boy but still eager to make friends, fit in and please others.
Unfortunately, far beyond this eight year old's scope of young understanding, 1970's Australia was a residual era of the Australian Government's official 'White Australia Policy', which was 'officially' abolished in 1966 but took over a decade to die out in society.
The boy was not only dark skinned, he also had a 'funny' (Scottish) accent foreign to the other school kids and to make matters worse his adopted family bears an Italian Surname.
The kids at school picked up on and reflected their own Parents' views on all things 'foreign'. The boy was teased, bullied and labelled in the venacular of the day as - 'an Abo', 'a Wog', 'A Pommie' and many other names. None of these names fitted the young Scottish boy, who did nothing to irk any local customs or culture.
He was often beaten, ridiculed and abused by school kids AND teachers as well, based on his 'unAustralian-ness'. So he soon learned how to fight.
All this induced a resentment for Australian attitudes that the boy certainly did not arrive with.
As life went on, he excelled in many things and became and Internationally respected businessman and an over-achiever in many many fields. He holds a degree in International Business as well as several other significant qualifications.
In October 2011, I will be competing in the XIII Australian Master's Games in Adelaide in the sport of Boxing. I will proudly march in the Opening Ceremony along side all Australian Athletes.
My early experiences as a new child-migrant to Australia were cruel and unprevoked. What 8 year old boy is a threat to any nation or its way of life? I am thankful for the abolition of the White Australia policy.
I fully support every country's the right to protect its borders, culture and way of life. I'm passionate about that!
Perhaps there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it?
"Out on the patio we'd sit,
And the humidity we'd breathe,
We'd watch the lightning crack over canefields. Laugh and think ...
THIS is Australia" (M.Callaghan)