Sunday, 11 July 2010

Behind bars


I was taken aback this week by one of the responses to the refugee debate. When invited to choose between waiting in a refugee camp for however long it takes, or getting their family out by boat, of the 4,800 respondents, 82% opted for the latter.

26 comments:

lewi14 said...

What an impressive shot. Well photographed. I like the clear lines and the colour of the facade. For what is this constuction?

Luis Gomez said...

Love the composition of this image.

Tash said...

Powerful image.
I guess for refugees the hope with getting out wins out over the risk.

altadenahiker said...

But for the luck of where your seed is planted. And of course, one has nothing to do with that.

Rinkly Rimes said...

It's almost impossible to judge the boat people. (I was a boat person of a sort back in '74 when I came on a liner from S Africa!) I know fear of the open sea in a small boat would probably have kept me grounded!

Jayne said...

What a strong image!
Some have waited in refugee camps for 10+ years, I can understand the appeal of risking it all on a boat.

brattcat said...

Unless we've lived it, it is hard for any of us to fully imagine what such a life would be like. This excellent image of yours conveys an unsettling sense of confinement. I'm reading Tracy Kidder's Strength in What Remains right now, Julie. You might find it interesting.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

I wonder where you found this building. It looks good, but heaven for a cat burglar. I think I could become a burglar too.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Fascinating building. But if they come out by boat they end up in a camp anyway if caught. I wonder do they know this? These poor people are being exploited. It's a complex problem.

Julie said...

Indeed, a massively complex problem. My reaction was to the internal tight rope that we are walking as a community. The majority of us seem to be saying that we are against existing 'displaced persons' opting to pay a people-smuggler to jump the queue, yet, the vast majority of us would do exactly that if in the same situation. We cannot maintain this tension.

J Bar said...

These people are exploited in many ways, not just by the people-smugglers, but by the media and politicians now. It seems the issue is becoming even more complex.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

As I understand it, a refugee is one who fears for his life and according to international law, should go to the first country he comes upon. Not choose to travel the world until he gets to where the dole is better.

Julie said...

Refugees are those who fear for their life, I agree. By international law, do you mean the UNHCR Convention? There is no requirement in either of these that those seeking refuge must apply in the country of first landfall. Transiting is permissible.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

I don't know whose "law" it was. I was only quoting someone, I forget who, but who I thought at the time should know what they were talking about. Probably some talk back radio host.

Julie said...

Most displaced people do go to the first available landfall - mainly Asia and Africa. But they are not obliged to stay there by any law. They can move on to another country where they think they have a greater chance of a 'happy' life. Usually a country that is a signatory of the 1951 Convention.

Julie said...

The poll I saw mid-week, indicated that Australians would take to a leaky boat rather than wait for 10 years in a queue. I think I would, too. There is no guarantee either way.

What would you do?

Q Smith said...

Very strong image!

Bruce Caspersonn said...

I am sure you are right Julie. But I wonder why if someone leaves a safe country, they are still refugees. Surely they are then economic refugees.

Julie said...

Ah, I see what you mean. I think it depends upon the 'status' of that safe country. Not all counties are signatories of the convention, meaning willing to meet the obligationso of resettlement, eg Australia is, Indonesia is not. However, ALL countries all obliged not to send asylum-seekers back to their country of origin (called 'refoulement'). Hence, in Indonesia A-S can stay in the camps for a very long time before being resettled in a willing signatory country.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

How would you like the US problem, where they just walk in?

Julie said...

The USA certainly has a problem to solve with Mexicans walking across and Cubans making landfall wherever they like. We don't have the 'walk in' problem but, like with many countries, we do have the problem of people who overstay their visa and just 'melt' into the community. I gather there are about 60,000 such illegals at any one time, the vast majority being from the UK and NZ.

Obama has to deal with the consequences of the Arizona state laws. This will not be easy.

Vicki said...

Your photo is very appropriate for the refugee debate. I wonder if we will ever get it right?

Julie said...

'Right' is very dependent upon facts, point-of-view,and keeping tempers down. From my PoV, I don't think we will ever get it right.

jabblog said...

It is certainly a vexed problem for many countries and exacerbates xenophobia. Your photograph is very striking but slightly menacing.

Julie said...

Ah, now what I need to tell you all is that this is a photograph of the 'Mantra on the Esplanade' in Darwin. I took it late in the afternoon. It is less foreboding from further away.

Clytie said...

I think it looks a little foreboding as well. And empty.

As for the other ... I could never judge another person - it is impossible to know what agonies and terrors another person is facing that makes them make the decisions they must make. I value all life, and feel that in God's eyes, we are ALL of the same importance - and therefore deserve the same chance to live our lives without someone else telling us how, or judging us for our decisions.