A little more than a year ago two members of BMRSG met with Aasha (not her real name) who had escaped a horrific situation in India with the help of friends. Once she arrived in Australia she applied for asylum. Aasha was being supported by a STARTTS counsellor, her rent was mostly being paid by a leading charity which aids refugees, so BMRSG agreed to pay her $60 per week towards the rent plus $20 for her ongoing medications and fares. A few months later the charity said they were no longer able to pay Aasha’s rent. So, it appeared Aasha would be on the streets.
Latha and Bobbi arrived in 2013 and since that time they have established their new life by working, education and training and created a vegetable with two small children. This is a story of how one couple has managed to survive and thrive despite the difficulties that Australia places in front of those seeking asylum. Refugees do contribute.
Standing up for human rights is about picking the battles that are long and exhausting precisely because they are the ones that matter the most. Even after five years of misery and oppression, Behrouz Boochani hasn’t given up. So how on earth can any of us? As he said in his keynote address via video from Manus island last night at the Annual Human Rights Dinner in Sydney: “Our advocacy will be acknowledged as truly valuable and worthwhile only when we can secure the release and safety of the refugees imprisoned on these islands.” Never give up. We won’t.
Did you know the Tamils fought alongside the ANZAC’s at Gallipoli? I attended my first Tamil ANZAC service a few years ago and was very moved by the spirit of ANZAC being so richly acknowledged in the Tamil community. This year I once again had the privilege to attend this function. It embraced the Christian, Islamic and Hindu religion. The reading of Psalm 23 by a young Tamil man was breathtaking and the Australian Anthem was sung beautifully (including the second verse) . Siva, a member of Ocean 12 Cricket Team lay a wreath alongside various dignitaries. There were about 300 people at the service. This was followed by the cricket game between Ocean 12 and the Navy.