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The Intrinsic Value of Humanity
This is the first headline contribution from Webdiarist Daemon Singer. Thanks Daemon.
by Daemon Singer
“Humanity” per sé is an extraordinarily broad brush to use, when looking for a descriptor of a Nation. It seems on first glance to be an immeasurable, something that has no volume, area, weight or mass, but in reality, it is an accepted way of thinking about the worth of a person in terms of their being.
Frequently one hears commentary about how “good” a person is. They are valued by what they have done, are doing can do or plan to do. When one hears such comments, we seem to glow inwardly just because that person “is”. Simply because that person lives and breathes and is doing what we are lauding them for.
Among Catholics and Hindus for example, one thinks of the Blessed Theresa of Calcutta. Let’s examine her approximate “value” in terms of her humanity.
So when we look at the government “excising” pieces of the country as part of “The
Do we add value to our lives as a Nation and as individuals by not making our shores a safe refuge from the repression of Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Burma and any other country with a mind to manage its Nationals by the gun? Do we improve our status in the eyes of the rest of the world (except the gun-toting country these PEOPLE are running and hiding from), by rejecting out of hand, the upturned face of a frightened child, running to escape his own countries guns?
My view is we make ourselves poorer, by not reaching out to these people. We devalue their existence by saying “No, we can’t help you, because if we do, Indonesia will not trade with us”. The trade with Indonesia or whoever, is given a measurable value, in dollars, coming into the governments coffers as taxes, and into the boardrooms of the big end of town in terms of sales.
When we see John Howard, Alexander Downer, Mark Vaile and so on, in the streets, we see a media scrum asking the supposed “hard questions” about our policies as a Nation on such issues as Globalisation (another word for unencumbered international sales), The war in Iraq (a gold mine for Halliburton), the AWB Wheat for Weapons scandal (an opportunity to see how many times you can say “I don’t remember”).
What we don’t see in our 30 second news byte on Ten before Sale of the Century or whatever the current fools’ music is, is the same “representatives” of the whole of the Electorate, sitting on the veranda with the CEO’s of the major contributors, telling Howard et al, exactly what they want for their undisclosed donations.
The problem is, because we don’t see it, we forget it’s there, and they get away with it, every time, because Australians are being de-educated, so the hard questions don’t get asked, and if they are, the answers, (or lack of them) are soon forgotten. This de-education goes on under our noses by means of pricing most people out of a University Education, by the simple expedient of “User Pays”. I wonder how much Howard and Nelson paid for their University Education.
Howard’s appearance before Cole was an example of such deliciously wicked timing, as to leave thinking people breathless. By Tuesday, the next real news day after Easter, will the broadsheets and tabloids be rabbitting on about Howard? I seriously doubt it. They will be talking about the road kill, the rapes, the kids beating up on each other, the homosexuals wanting equal rights, and what the current flavour of “pop icon” is wearing out to the clubs. They won’t be offering a view on the government, as it bends the nation over a barrel, greases its’ hand, and proceeds to give us the fucking we deserve, for not being in the streets shouting about the vile deeds these people carry on, in our names. They won’t be exposing it because the media owners group, all three of them, won’t have it.
I was looking in the Sydney Morning Herald, as I write this, and see four or five churches making a stand against this government’s “moral abandonment”, as the Uniting Church calls it, including one church where one of the Papuan survivors was invited into the pulpit to tell of his treatment in West Papua. I know not a lot of folks go to church these days, but Abbott and Costello surely do, as does Howard, as we see ad-nauseum, on the newsbytes, usually with a proper head of state, as opposed to his diplomatic equal. I wonder whether they will pick up on the disillusionment talked about in those pulpits, covered in the press. (The sneaky “PK” side of me wonders if the vicars addressing the Liberal party churches have the balls to even speak about it).
This is an issue that may make people think about what it really entails, being this new “Mean Country”. The only thing that counts under this government is your dollar value. If you are a net cost, you’re out of here, onto an Island as far away as possible, becoming part of The
I work with people from the big end of town, and I have never yet heard one of them muttering about “bastard reffos”, coming here etc. They may see the financial side of it as a burden, but what about when these folks get jobs, pay taxes etc.
Surely there has to be a balance somewhere along the line, where a person comes to Australia, is helped for the first 12-18 months, to get on their feet, and then they find a job, because someone is asked, or someone is recruiting and can’t see why this former refugee shouldn’t be able to do the job. Spend 10 years in a job paying tax, and surely, somewhere, a balance of cost is achieved?
Contribution to the Economy (From– A Just Australia)
A short run estimate of the potential economic impact of allowing a cohort of 211 asylum seekers the right to enter paid employment reveals the granting or work rights to this group as a positive step. The cohort consists of asylum seekers who live throughout Victoria and NSW and who did not have the right to work as at 5 August 2005 (Asylum Seeker Skills Audit 2005). In what follows, we estimate potential gains to the Australian economy of having let these asylum seekers enter the labour force during the period they were disallowed the right to work...
The cohort of the 211 asylum seekers who undertook the skills audit would have potentially added up to would have potentially added up to $26 million to the Australian GDP over a 3 year period.
In Liberal ideology alone, with our well known declining birth rate (the government rents your womb now for $3000 remember), there is a business case to be made, for allowing a few thousand refugees in every year. I think from memory that Amanda dusts off her ample bosom telling the world that the least populated country on the face of the planet took 13,000 refugees last year.
Well that will be a fillip to our population woes won’t it? There are 22 million Australians. Approximately 6% of who are originally from parts of Asia.
The demographic impact (from – The Parliamentary Library)
Australia's population has been changed by immigration more than that of any comparable country: 23 per cent of Australia's population is overseas-born, compared with 15 per cent of Canada's and 9 per cent of the USA's. Forty per cent of the Australian population are migrants or have parents who were migrants. As at June 1995, 4.8 per cent of the estimated resident population was born in an Asian country, and with their Australian-born children, first and second generation 'Asians' comprised about 6 per cent of the population.
Has anyone told the government about the cost on the economy of those refugees who came from Viet Nam after Americas last Australian Liberal Government supported Asian adventure? The refugees who now have a business employing staff, paying taxes, getting off the dole etc, then as the company gets bigger starting to export products overseas and assist the Balance of Trade?
Suddenly the anti-refugee ideology, (and it is an ideology it isn’t a policy per sé), actually stops making sense at home, in terms of trade, and yet, we can send these new victims back to West Papua, based on the assurances of the Indonesians that they won’t be harmed, no matter the shades of East Timor, still very, very fresh in our minds.
In 2005, in a letter Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand, (our only non-visa Pacific Partner), The Indonesian Human Rights Committee urged her to call for:
Free and unfettered access to West Papua by journalists, international agencies, parliamentarians, UN representatives and diplomats”.
Why that is required? Are there too many secrets between Indonesia and Australia perhaps? The truth is if the Indonesians have nothing to hide they would open the place up. I wonder how much truth there is, in the denials from Djakarta of more human rights abuses under Indonesia’s guardianship. Abuses meted out in the name of Howard and Yudoyhono’s shared Gods; money and trade, perhaps?
As a community we are all geared to being aware of the trade deficit and we are I suppose thoughtful of the impact of trade on our own economy. But is it a personal impact? I venture to suggest that whilst we all suffer for it, we really aren’t responsible for it, and it never really falls in our laps.
Trade imbalance is the result of government and big business spending money overseas. You and I don’t buy Jumbo jets, but they are a large portion of the deficit. When we come into contact with them, it is usually our arses firmly strapped into a seat we paid for. Maybe this is a bit of double dipping from us. Tax and interest rate increases social welfare program decreases, spending reductions on education and health. That is where we come into contact with what is essentially the big end of town buying overseas, then charging us to use what they have bought, after we had already paid extra social capital money out, to enable the purchase.
I don’t want to sound completely negative about the big end of town however. They do what they must to satisfy their shareholders, as is their responsibility, but we should not be happy about it or accepting of it, without very good reasons being put before us by our elected leaders. Neither do I pretend to understand why we have to be responsible for this largesse, handed out on our behalf.
Where I really have a problem is that my value as a person is reduced, because I don’t have the opportunity to reach out to someone in need and offer assistance. In terms of The
Casting my mind back to the Tsunami of 15 months ago, I remember how Howard on our behalf gave the Indonesians a billion dollars. I don’t have an issue with that in and of itself but I do ask “why”. What was the reason? How was it given? Was it cash or was it trade credits?
Meanwhile, you and I reached into our never very deep pockets, and sent another $375,290,816.48, via Aid Agency donations. That was definitely cash. Of that sum $21,728,312.00 was Government (Read “Taxpayer”) Cash Donations. (See Here for information).
Who profited from the 1 billion? I know I felt rather pleased with myself over sending 3 hours pay. It was an off-pay week. It was what I could afford, and still keep food on my own table. I wonder whether the trade credits ever actually seep down to the person in the street.
Let me pose a series of questions:
Each of these things is a measure of our Humanity. You see the value of adding a little positive to your own existence in the simple knowledge that you did something for someone else, with no strings attached.
We as a country are presented by Howard and Co as being mean, and not reaching out, in spite of the 13,000 refugees settled last year. People coming here, in a life-threatening emergency, as (based on the East Timor experience) is the case in the Papuan situation, are being sent on “to a third country” and depending on who you believe, Howard or Vanstone, that may include Australia, which is a third country by virtue of the fact that the excised area isn’t Australia.
I personally don’t think I am mean, and I don’t mind reaching out. I have a sneaking suspicion that my fellow Webdiarists, likewise, are not mean-spirited, and I am yet to talk to someone who agrees with what is being done, in our name, in The
Why then is it being done? As a population, we don’t appear to fit Howard’s mould for us at all, yet here he is telling the world that we are the America of the South Pacific. We are just a deputy to Dick Cheney’s Sheriff. I don’t believe that’s true. I believe a small number of accountants have been trapped into justifying what is being done on our behalf, and in so doing, making us targets for anyone who disagrees with America.
It really isn’t as black and white as “You’re with us or you’re against us”. The proof of how effective standing up for America really is was clearly demonstrated in the Bali Bombings. The value Djakarta place on the lives of our nationals was never made clearer, than by the sentences handed to most of the bombers.
What all of our leaders seem to forget, is the simple value we all, each and every one of us, places on humanity, and specifically, our individual humanity.
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