Australia and refugees

Flanagan, R. (2017, November 24). Australia built a hell for refugees on Manus. The shame will outlive us all | Richard Flanagan. The Guardian. Retrieved from

On Wednesday the UNHCR described what was now unfolding on Manus as a humanitarian crisis that was entirely preventable and a “damning indictment of a policy meant to avoid Australia’s international obligations”.

On Thursday 12 Australians of the Year signed an open letter calling on the government to restore water, food supplies, electricity and medical services to the refugees, warning it was a “human disaster that was unfolding” and that “it was inevitable that people will become sick and die”.

We should not forget the plans in 2015 for Dutton’s newly militarised Border Force officials to patrol Melbourne streets checking people’s papers, abandoned only in the face of overwhelming public anger.

Mosul Iraq

After the liberation of Mosul, an orgy of killing

My note: what if one cannot even become a refugee? and is killed?

In the war against Isis, they found a cause, the camaraderie of a close-knit tribe, and something akin to patriotism. They saw themselves as the defenders of the nation, warriors of a just and pure cause against an absolute evil. The cause allowed them to feel they were above the state – they did not answer to a gang of corrupt politicians in Baghdad. They have stared death in the eye many times, and that gave them the right to decide what is right and wrong.

“Sometimes we do things and we know we are breaking the law,” the commander told me one afternoon as he sat sipping his tea. He lit a cigarette and continued: “My general tells me: ‘Don’t bring me any prisoners – if you know they are Daesh, then deal with them from your end.’ My soldiers call me and say: ‘We have found a man’, and I tell them: ‘Kill him.’ I ask myself sometimes: what am I doing? Who am I to end the life of a man? I tried to consult a cleric who fights with the security forces. He said that if the prisoner was not armed, it is better to be cautious and hand him over to the state. But then who are those who are going to pass judgment on him? What qualities does the judge have that I don’t? And who appointed the judge? You’ll tell me it was the state – but who gave the state the right to rule over people? It wasn’t given by God, so I have the right to end the life of a man as much as the state has. But then, we are openly breaking the law, and if they catch me I will be strung up.” When he finished, the cigarette in his hand had burned away, and he lit another.

Like many other frontline units, the commander’s battalion had suffered heavy losses. Many of his veteran officers had been killed, and those who replaced them were killed, too. Those who survived carried the scars of major injuries, and the mental scars of a decade of war.

The commander and his men knew that the silence of guns in this ruined country did not mean peace; it simply meant the end of one kind of war and the start of another. Like those trapped in a long, destructive relationship, they were tired of this war, but feared its end much more.


Sea Prayer

Sea Prayer, a new virtual reality experience

The night before a potentially fatal journey, a father reflects with his son on their life in Syria before the war – and their unknown future. Painted with Google Tilt Brush and written by Khaled Hosseini, award-winning author of ‘The Kite Runner’ and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

conference Istanbul Turkey

REFUGEES AND FORCED IMMIGRATION ’17 / II. International Interdisciplinary Conference on Refugee and Forced Immigration Studies in Social Sciences, Humanities and Art
SEPTEMBER 29-30, 2017
Istanbul, Turkey

All of the presented papers will be published in the proceedings e-book (with an ISBN number), which will be given to you in a DVD box and will be sent to be reviewed in the “Thomson & Reuters WOS’ Conference Proceedings Citation Index-CPCI”.