I wish I were more capable of introversion. The extroverts, I feel, know the pains of loneliness better.
humans are so cute, when we say goodbye we put our arms around each other and to show we love someone we bring them flowers. we say hello by holding each other’s hand, and sometimes tiny little dewdrops form in our eyes. for pleasure we listen to arrangements of sounds, press our lips together, smoke dried leaves, get drunk off of old fruit. we’re all just little animals, falling in love and having breakfast beneath billions of stars :~)
Why must so many men become bruised, accusatory and defensive when the reality of entrenched misogyny is discussed in the public arena? Instead, why do we not get angry, incensed and mobilised against this evil that is well and truly below the standard we should set for ourselves? #notallmen? Shut the fuck up until you can say #nomen.
Some recommended reading and viewing on this, especially for the guys out there who might need to inform themselves about why they’re part of the problem:
“When something like #YesAllWomen occurs in our cultural conversation and women the world over are out there sharing their experiences, their trauma, their stories and their personal views, as men, we don’t need to enter that conversation. In that moment, all we need to do is listen, and reflect, and let their words change our perspective. Our job is to ask ourselves how we can do better.”
Support us to build trust and tolerance through Myanmar’s first food truck!
The only thing more beautiful than Myanmar is the people that live there. And they’re in an extremely challenging phase in the nation’s history. Join me in getting behind Meg & Dave and their inspirational idea to bring communities together through food.
"Harmoneat believes in conflict transformation. That is, we understand that conflict is perpetuated by individual actions, perceptions and behaviours. We think that food offers a non-confrontational way to challenge individual perceptions and begin to build new trust between different communities."
When I first travelled, I was naive, sloppy, wide-eyed, and nothing happened to me. That’s probably where the dumb luck came in. Then I began to read the guidebooks, the State Department warnings, the endless elucidation of national norms, cultural cues and insults and regional dangers, and I became wary, careful, savvy. I kept my money taped inside my shoe, or strapped to my stomach. I took any kind of precaution, believing that the people of this area did this, and the people of that province did that. But then, finally, I realised no one of any region did anything I have ever expected them to do, much less anything the guidebooks said they would. Instead, they behaved as everyone behaves, which is to say they behave as individuals of damnably infinite possibility. Anyone could do anything, in theory, but most of the time everyone everywhere acts with plain bedrock decency, helping where help is needed, guiding where guidance is necessary. It’s almost weird.
Changing the conversation about asylum seekers. (Notes from “Julian Burnside AO QC Comes out West: A Discussion About Australian Asylum Seeker Policy”)
Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to an inspirational and informative talk hosted by the VU Greens Group. The keynote speaker was none other than Julian Burnside AO QC. Perhaps it was his passion for advocating the inalienable right to seek asylum; it may have been his courage in embracing our need to reflect inwardly at who we are being in the world; or it could well have been his astuteness, the way his rounded glasses sat on his face, his well-tailored suit, the straight, parted hair that only an esteemed lawyer could sport - but something about this man reminded me of the Atticus Finch character made famous by Gregory Peck’s portrayal in the film To Kill A Mockingbird. Julian Burnside speaks with authority directly to our conscience. And it listens.
For many, Mr Burnside needs little introduction, but if you’re not yet familiar with his background, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Julian William Kennedy Burnside AO QC (born 9 June 1949) is an Australian barrister, human rights and refugee advocate, and author. He practises principally in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law. He is known for his staunch opposition to the mandatory detention of asylum seekers, and has provided legal counsel in a wide variety of high-profile cases.
He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2009, “for service as a human rights advocate, particularly for refugees and asylum seekers, to the arts as a patron and fundraiser, and to the law.”
Mr Burnside was kind enough to travel to the Victoria University Footscray Park Campus to share facts, opinions, insight and information about current policies regarding asylum seekers and refugees in Australia.
My dear friend Ben Townsend (you might remember him from this) was fortunate enough to attend a previous talk by Mr Burnside at Melbourne University, taking away the core point that real change would come if we started a conversation. It was Ben who contacted Mr Burnside to plan last night, asking him to continue the conversation in Footscray.
I acknowledge that anyone that might read this will probably already be aligned to my, and Mr Burnside’s, views on the immoral and inhumane current policies of the Australian Government regarding the treatment of asylum seekers. I may well be “preaching to the converted”. More important, however, is that you might start your own conversations. If you are like me, there are many people in your world with uninformed and unchallenged views on issues such as this. In fact, one of the facts shared by Mr Burnside was this:
A nationwide opinion poll by UMR Research shows that 59 per cent of people think most boat arrivals are not genuine refugees.
A strong majority of Australians, 60 per cent, also want the Abbott government to “increase the severity of the treatment of asylum seekers.”
It is not much of a stretch to conclude, shockingly, that the majority of Australians are in support of our Government enacting cruelty to other human beings.
Arming yourselves with facts and information, especially from the esteemed likes of Mr Burnside, will certainly help you change the conversation.
Here are some of the important, shocking, enlightening or clarifying points I took away from Mr Burnside’s talk:
The basic facts:
- We currently have about 3,000 asylum seekers in onshore detention - including about 1,100 children.
- The average stay for an asylum seeker in onshore detention is 275 days.
- We currently have about 1,000 asylum seekers in offshore detention (Christmas Island, Manus Island and Nauru).
- In any given year, around 5 million people enter Australia holding visas.
- Australia receives approximately 200,000 permanent migrants per year.
- Our peak in maritime asylum seeker arrivals was in 2012-2013, totalling approximately 25,000. At its highest, asylum seeker arrivals represent just 0.005% of all international arrivals to Australia, and just 0.125% of permanently settling arrivals. Source for asylum seeker figures: http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/r/stat-as.php
- We have increased the population of Nauru by approximately 10% in asking them to detain asylum seekers that are our responsibility.
- Nauru recently expelled its only supreme court magistrate, Peter Law - an Australian, and then barred its Chief Justice Geoffrey Eams - also an Australian, when both were seen to be defying the wishes of the Nauruan Government. This has effectively triggered a collapse in the rule of law in Nauru.
- Without the Nauruan Supreme Court able to function, there is no capacity for the review of rejections on refugee applications for Nauru-based asylum seekers.
- The Australian Government has remained silent on the above issue.
Regarding the death of Reza Berati:
- Mr Burnside has received information detailing the recent death of asylum seeker Reza Berati on Manus Island. It is alleged that Reza Berati was removed by force from his compound by men armed with a long pole with nails embedded in one end. He was then beaten with this weapon multiple times before being smashed over the head with a rock. Witness reports have detailed that they realised the assault had been fatal because the attackers had resumed beating Berati with the initial weapon, but Berati had stopped flinching from the blows.
- The man tasked with reviewing the above is a former head of the Department of the Attorney General when Phillip Ruddock was in office. (Ruddock oversaw the Tampa affair as Immigration Minister). Eight weeks later, there has been no arrest or conviction on Reza Berati’s murder.
Regarding the indefinite detention of “stateless” asylum seekers:
- According to Australian law, detention of asylum seekers is mandatory and indefinite until such time as a refugee applicant is either granted a visa, or removed from Australia. There is no allowance in this law for an asylum seeker who is both denied a visa and defined as “stateless”, which results in permanent detention of the asylum seeker. This interpretation of the law has been found as constitutional by our own High Court. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Kateb_v_Godwin
Regarding “adverse assessments” by ASIO:
- Approximately 50 to 60 asylum seekers currently in immigration detention have been successfully assessed as refugees but have received an adverse assessment by ASIO. The exact function of adverse assessments is not known due to the secretive nature of ASIO, but it is understood that a refugee need not be determined a threat to Australia’s interests, as long as they may be seen as a threat to another government which Australia shares a relationship with for an adverse assessment to occur. The result of an adverse assessment is indefinite detention and no refugee rights in Australia. You can read more about a particular case here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-05/sri-lanka-refugee-launches-high-court-challenge-against-detentio/4802750
Regarding the language, sound bytes, terminologies and policy platforms currently used in the asylum seeker debate:
- SEEKING ASYLUM IS NOT ILLEGAL.
- The language of the “illegality” of asylum seeking began with John Howard and is being continued by our current Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.
- To label an asylum seeker as an “illegal” is a calculated ploy to induce in the mind of the average person that these are dangerous criminals.
- As we associate a group of people with illegal behaviour, we increase our capacity to support cruelty enacted towards that group.
- The very word “illegal” is supposed to be an adjective. It was first used as a noun (i.e. to label individuals or groups) in 1933 by the Nazi Party to describe Jews.
- In effect, it may be subjectively seen that the last federal election was the first ever in Australia where both major parties were trying to outdo each other in promising the Australian people that they would treat people cruelly.
Regarding the instances of asylum seekers being found to be genuine refugees:
- More than 90% of maritime arrivals have been assessed as genuine refugees in the last 15 years.
Regarding our current “policy of deterrence”, the excuse of “avoiding drownings” and temporary protection visa measures:
- Our policy of deterrence, i.e. our attempts to make it seem undesirable to seek asylum in Australia, is blatantly using punishment on innocent humans in order to discourage the attempts of others.
- About 2% of all maritime asylum seekers trying to enter Australia have drowned.
- Temporary Protection Visas offer two major restrictions: refugee status is granted for only three years initially, and family reunion rights are denied.
- The only real means for family reunion in instances of TPVs being issued, is by soliciting people smugglers.
- In 2001, 353 people drowned in the tragic SIEVX disaster while travelling by boat to Australia. Most of the 288 women and children onboard were family members of TPV holders. Read more: http://www.asrc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Temporary_Protection_Visas_sept13.pdf
If you’ve gotten this far, like me, I’m sure you’ve learned something. Julian Burnside is a fantastic speaker, and a courageous advocate armed with articulate, researched and thorough knowledge of the asylum seeker issue. I hope that some of his knowledge, that I’ve done my best to convey here, helps you to change the conversation about asylum seekers in Australia.
Because the world is starting to take notice, and if we are to be judged by our character, than we will be judged by our conduct. And our current conduct is not good. Not good at all.
I’m glad there are fathers like this in the world
…I hope to be one, one day.
Recently, your mother and I were searching for an answer on Google. Halfway through entering the question, Google returned a list of the most popular searches in the world. Perched at the top of the list was “How to keep him interested.”
It startled me. I scanned several of the countless articles about how to be sexy and sexual, when to bring him a beer versus a sandwich, and the ways to make him feel smart and superior.
And I got angry.
Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to “keep him interested.”
Little One, your only task is to know deeply in your soul—in that unshakeable place that isn’t rattled by rejection and loss and ego—that you are worthy of interest. (If you can remember that everyone else is worthy of interest also, the battle of your life will be mostly won. But that is a letter for another day.)
If you can trust your worth in this way, you will be attractive in the most important sense of the word: you will attract a boy who is both capable of interest and who wants to spend his one life investing all of his interest in you.
Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn’t need to be kept interested, because he knows you are interesting:
I don’t care if he puts his elbows on the dinner table—as long as he puts his eyes on the way your nose scrunches when you smile. And then can’t stop looking.
I don’t care if he can’t play a bit of golf with me—as long as he can play with the children you give him and revel in all the glorious and frustrating ways they are just like you.
I don’t care if he doesn’t follow his wallet—as long as he follows his heart and it always leads him back to you.
I don’t care if he is strong—as long as he gives you the space to exercise the strength that is in your heart.
I couldn’t care less how he votes—as long as he wakes up every morning and daily elects you to a place of honor in your home and a place of reverence in his heart.
I don’t care about the color of his skin—as long as he paints the canvas of your lives with brushstrokes of patience, and sacrifice, and vulnerability, and tenderness.
I don’t care if he was raised in this religion or that religion or no religion—as long as he was raised to value the sacred and to know every moment of life, and every moment of life with you, is deeply sacred.
In the end, Little One, if you stumble across a man like that and he and I have nothing else in common, we will have the most important thing in common:
Because in the end, Little One, the only thing you should have to do to “keep him interested” is to be you.
Your eternally interested guy,
This post is, of course, dedicated to my daughter, my Cutie-Pie. But I also want to dedicate it beyond her.
I wrote it for my wife, who has courageously held on to her sense of worth and has always held me accountable to being that kind of “boy.”
I wrote it for every grown woman I have met inside and outside of my therapy office—the women who have never known this voice of a Daddy.
And I wrote it for the generation of boys-becoming-men who need to be reminded of what is really important—my little girl finding a loving, lifelong companion is dependent upon at least one of you figuring this out. I’m praying for you.”From: http://drkellyflanagan.com/2013/04/17/a-daddys-letter-to-his-little-girl-about-her-future-husband/
I miss the gloriously satisfying discomfort of it. The smell of it. I miss the separateness without and the togetherness within. I miss the magical losing and finding but at once and simultaneously. I miss the rawness of it. The danger of it. The faith held in it and within yourself. I miss the utter foreignness of it. The unexpectedness and the awkwardness. The smiles found when you need the most, and the isolation ushered your way when you’re ok with your own company. I miss the unity found in it. The inner voice that murmurs the truth with a smile, that “there really isn’t that much that makes us different”. I miss the feeling it consumes you with, equally distinguishable as love and lust. I miss how beautiful it all is. All of the mud and the dirt and the days without washing and the beardedness and the ego removal in it. I miss the fast forwardedness of it; the feeling of life lived at the right speed. I miss the trust and the surrender and the openness of it; the voice, not whispering nor shouting, that it will all be ok. I miss its lessons and poetry and wisdom. I miss, more than anything, the serendipity of it all.
I miss myself in travel.
It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days…Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me…to throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling…