I say: shame
NEED TO KNOW:
A lot has been written in recent weeks about the Rohingya. And with good reason. They are among the most persecuted people in the world.
A Muslim ethnic minority living in Myanmar for generations, they aren’t allowed passports or citizenship. Their movements are restricted. They can’t marry. Thousands have been forcibly moved to militarized ghettos in Myanmar. Of those who escape, many die at sea of thirst and hunger as country after country refuses to let them land. Some make it to Thailand where they are tortured and extorted by human smugglers or left for dead in jungle camps. It can’t get worse.
But all the media attention is finally leading to some action. Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to let boats full of thousands of Rohingya land on their shores. They will give them temporary shelter, but only for a year. Then they have to find a third country to resettle in.
That country could be the United States, reports GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Patrick Winn. It has offered to take the lead on a multi-country effort, organized by the United Nations, to resettle the most desperate of the Rohingya. Meanwhile, it says it will put pressure on Myanmar to end the apartheid-like conditions.
Australia won’t be part of that multi-country effort. Prime Minister Tony Abbott — who designed the groundbreaking strategy of towing boats full of starving refugees back out to sea to fend for themselves — responded to the suggestion with, “Nope, nope nope.” He added: “If you want to start a new life, you come through the front door, not through the back door.”
Abbott seems to think that the Rohingya should amble on down to the Australian embassy in Yangon, present all the necessary IDs and fill out all the correct paperwork to begin the process of obtaining some kind of visa to legally enter Australia. Then they should board a plane and fly to whatever Australian city they choose. Once there, they can freely start the fairy-tale life they’ve so viciously been denied for so many decades.