We’ve caused the refugee crisis

Gary Woodman writes: Re. “‘There is no solidarity’: Tariq Ali on why migrants turn on each other” (Monday). People who walk from Syria to Europe must be “leg people”. Just as well they cannot walk to Australia, or we’d have to “stop the legs”.

Tariq Ali  is the first I’ve seen to point to the elephant in the room when he says “they are the ones who want to make wars and then when it has its effects in the form of refugees, they do not want to accept their responsibility.” There will never be an end to the flow of refugees while Western, notably U.S. foreign policy contributes so much to the destruction of whole countries — Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria. The death of one child, out of thousands, is a small sacrifice to defend the petrodollar or all the other noxious policy ambitions out of Washington.

Abbott out of touch

Judy Bamberger writes: Re. “The best weapon we have against IS” (yesterday). Syria’s experiencing civil war, terrorist killings, government-sponsored murders; Assad bombs and gasses his own; Daesh beats, bombs, and beheads, rapes and pillages anybody not their own; brothers take up arms against brothers.

Our vaunted Parliament equivocates over who are the most oppressed of the oppressed, argues strongly in favour of “Christians,” and asserts emphatically, “No more Muslim men.”  PM Abbott and his Government feed us lies about how Australia “shoulders its responsibilities [and] pulls its weight globally,” and “we take on a per capita basis more refugees than any other country on Earth through the UNHCR.”  Between 1975 and 1982, then-PM Fraser found a way to accept and integrate 56,000 Vietnamese refugees, including 2059 arriving without documents or official permission. Three years after Syria’s refugee crisis was well known, we’re still chest-beating about our greatness, arguing over who’s most in need, and minimising our overall refugee intake.

Since the day the Coalition took office [September 2013], our PM and government have chosen to support bombing in Syria and elsewhere, creating more death, destruction, and disaffection … and more refugees. If our PM were a true leader, he’d advocate policy versus being pressured by NGOs, states and territories, other parties, and members of his own party — both front and backbenchers.  Then we’d have results demonstrating we shoulder our responsibilities, pull our weight, lead the world in accepting Syrian refugees.  Instead, all we have is hot air and more dead bodies.

Peter Matters writes: Abbott’s severe limitations are best expressed by his total inability to understand — let alone respect – other people’s well founded views, even although in the 100:1 majority they are greatly better founded than his.

Mary Sinclair writes: I wonder why no one including the UNHCR is asking the wealthy Assad government and the Saudis et al. to contribute to funding the humanitarian response to the refugees. It would be an amazing gesture for the Middle Eastern oil countries to contribute to the disaster in their own sphere.

Peter Fray

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