Despair on Nauru

During the last years, the Australian government implemented the “Pacific Solution”, a system of dumping unwanted refugees on cash-strapped islands in our region. Many people approved of this practice, as John Howard and his media supporters frequently suggested that terrorists or undesirables were arriving on leaky boats. Ludicrous and lacking in fact, Australia was involved in 21st century colonialism, shamed around the world, except of course in certain European countries and the UK, where governments saw the value of beating-up fears of asylum seekers.

Media access to Nauru has been restricted for years. Some journalists (such as Bronwyn Adcock of SBS Dateline) managed to report the situation, but few others. The government deliberately planned to keep refugee stories out of the public gaze, lest they gain widespread sympathy. And how hard did media organisations really try to break this impasse?

The Age’s Michael Gordon has travelled to Nauru and finds a group of 54 men, women and children that Australians have rarely heard. Discover their humanity. How often do we consider the cruel irony? Australia invades Afghanistan and Iraq for “liberation”, but when individuals from these countries come here seeking our assistance we turn them into criminals, then isolate and demonise them.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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