On 30 November 2015, six hundred men in Manus RPC (Regional Processing Centre), PNG, wrote the following letter to Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia and Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
The importance of this letter is that it sets a challenge for all of us who are preparing to celebrate Christmas.
Read the letter and then ask yourself: by treating people this way, are we being true to the Christian spirit, or are we betraying it?
Christmas is the time when, according to Christian tradition, Christ’s parents could not readily find shelter as they fled to escape persecution. If they did the same thing today and found themselves in Australia, they would be taken by force to another country where they would be locked up indefinitely in shocking conditions.
This Christmas, we should all face up to some uncomfortable facts:
- boat people are not “illegal”: they do not break any law by coming here to seek asylum;
- we take them by force to another country (PNG or Nauru);
- we imprison them and mistreat them;
- we vilify them as “illegal” and sanitise the whole exercise by calling it “border protection”
- every aspect of it: the cruelty and the dishonesty, contradicts the most fundamental aspects of Christan teaching;
- all of this has been implemented by people who conspicuously proclaim their Christianity, including Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison.
Any government which is willing to tolerate these things cannot possibly describe itself as adhering to the Christian tradition. Likewise any Opposition which does not oppose it. If your Federal MP is a member of the government and sends you a Christmas card this year, you can be pretty confident that he or she is a hypocrite.
Here is the transcribed text of the letter:
Hello Dear Mr Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton.
As the refugees and asylum seekers trapped in Manus Island detention we wold like to request you something different this time.
As previously we wrote and asked for help and there was no respond to our request to be freed out of detention we realized that there are no differences between us and rubbish but a bunch of slaves that helped to stop the boats by living in hellish condition. The only difference is that we are very costly for the Australian tax payers and the Politicians as our job to “stop the boats” is done.
We would like to give you some recommendations to stop the waste of this huge amount of money ruining Australian’s reputation and to keep the Australian boarders safe forever.
1. A navy ship that can put us all on board and dump us all in the ocean. (HMAS is always available)
2. A gas chamber (DECMIL will do it with a new contract)
3. Injection of a poison. (IHMS will help for this)
This is not a joke or a satire and please take it seriously.
We are dying in Manus gradually, every single day we are literally tortured and traumatized and there is no safe country to offer us protection as DIBP says.
Merry Christmas in advance
Manus refugees and asylum seekers.
This piece originally appeared on http://www.julianburnside.com.au/ and has been republished here with full permission.