Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Lotos-Eaters

Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind,
In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined
On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind.
For they lie beside their nectar, and the bolts are hurl'd
Far below them in the valleys, and the clouds are lightly curl'd
Round their golden houses, girdled with the gleaming world;
Where they smile in secret, looking over wasted lands,
Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery sands,
Clanging fights, and flaming towns, and sinking ships, and praying hands.

(From The Lotos-Eaters, Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

No doubt you've heard of the SBS series Go Back to Where You Came From?

The Australian's TV reviewer, Graeme Blundell, in his introduction to the second series, screening tonight, had this to say of the first in today's issue:

"Six Australians risked their lives to trace in reverse the journeys that refugees have taken to leave Australia. They travelled to some of the most desperate corners of the world with no idea of what was in store for them along the way. Even if it didn't change a single attitude either way, the series challengingly exposed the refugee reality of arbitrary arrest, harassment, despair, extortion and imprisonment." (Twists & turns in this social experiment, 28/8/12)

Is it just me or are you too prompted to ask such questions as these:

Is direct experience of the push side of the refugee problem the only way to open Anglo-Australian eyes and minds to the reality of asylum-seeking?

Are we really so retarded that we can't even imagine what it's like to be at the pointy end of war and persecution? To be dodging bullets or machetes? To be faced with the impossible choice: stay and die, or get out, somehow, anyhow? Do we really need to be in the thick of it for the penny to drop? Are we that cushioned from the real world?

God help us!

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