Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mavis Clarke: a monologue on asylum seekers


YOU know what? I am sick of hearing this nonsense that goes on all the time in the Australian media about asylum seekers. It’s been going on for years. I know that people say, ‘oh, just tune out, and ignore it’ but it’s not always possible. I like to read the papers. The Herald Sun’s ok, it just puts stuff in when something big happens, like when that boat crashed onto the rocks near Christmas Island years ago.  But The Age really gets my blood boiling. Why do I buy The Age then? Well I don’t, my husband Laurie buys it. I do the crossword and there it is on page one sometimes, or on page three, the big headlines, ‘Manus Island Crisis’, and ‘Morrison Changes His Tune’, and crap like that. You know, I wouldn’t tell this to everybody, but I was secretly glad that boat crashed into those rocks years ago. I thought ‘serve you lot bloody right for trying to push your way to the front of the queue.’

How did I get to first come to Australia? Well I came by boat, didn’t I? Was that the answer you were expecting? I was a ten pound Pom. But people like you don’t get the difference. I was invited. And I was invited for a reason. Australia needed us. The average Aussie wasn’t having enough kids. It’s as simple as that. And we had the right character. The difference between my situation, and the situation of these interlopers from places like Afghanistan and Indonesia and Africa and what not, is that we had a lot to offer. We spoke English, we were skilled, we looked like your average Aussie, we were Christian’s for God’s sake and we had a lot to offer the community and didn’t fight with other people and looked and felt the same.

What do you mean ‘why is looking the same important?’  How comfortable do you feel, if you want to be totally honest with yourself, with those women in Broadmeadows who wear those spooky clothes and cover their faces and hair and eyes? That’s not the Australian way. I remember all of us Poms arriving on a hot day back in 1956. That was the year Melbourne got the Olympics, when people with names like mine, and ‘Cuthbert’ and ‘’Norman’ were running around, and there were hot days when we pulled our arm sleeves up and worked bloody hard, and had Christmas trees in our living rooms, and had a drink at the pub until six o’clock close, and had a blue heeler for a dog, and went to our Catholic or Protestant churches, and there were lazy BBQ’s under our Hill’s Hoist and the bloody flag meant something, and blonde haired kids played with sandcastles at Portsea and Cronulla, and the kids’ hair whitened and you could see each other’s blue eyes and everyone said ‘strewth’ when the storm clouds came up over the bay and we danced to Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers in our church halls, and every young girl I know had a picture of Errol Flynn or Alan Ladd on their mirror at home…

My parents, Alan and Diane Lane, came to visit us in our Glenroy home in 1962. They couldn’t believe how big our back yard was, and how quiet the streets were, and they loved the English names like ‘Essex Street’ and ‘Sussex Street’ in the next suburb. They realised we had bought a little patch of paradise. Yes, ‘paradise’, I’m not exaggerating. My parents are dead now, but my God, if you could see the looks on their faces if they could come and visit me and Laurie now. We have these little woggy kids next door who go to some fancy temple on weekends, and there’s Paki’s across the road who are the rudest people you would ever meet…yes, rude. I call it rude when you still speak your own language even though you’ve been here for five years, and then there’s a funny looking Chinese or Japanese lass a few doors down, with white boyfriend and all (you’ve gotta laugh), with all these cats and a mangy looking brother who drives up in his old bomb of a car with Buddha hanging from the rear view mirror… if I had my way I’d put ‘em all on Manus Island where they can get their hands burnt.

Yes I am making reference to that story in The Age about those illegals who allegedly had burnt hands because the RAN did it to them, you know, oh we are so cruel aren’t we? Now who would you believe, the Royal Australia Navy or these suspicious looking illegal arrivals who try and sneak in and expect to be given Royal status on the Australian mainland? Gee, news sure does travel fast. My sister in Bristol, back in England, tells me that on Channel 4 last night there was some special about the so-called ‘hardline policies’ of the Abbot Government. Well let me tell you, life on Manus Island could be a lot worse, you know. If these people really did have such shocking lives under their corrupt governments, why should they be complaining now that they are given food three times a day, a comfortable bed to sleep on, as much freedom to walk around  with their boat friends as they like, and if the stories you hear are true, access to books and education and children’s games on top of all this, and no bombs or guns or hand grenades in sight.

What’s that you say? Manus Island is a dangerous place? It’s no island paradise? Don’t tell me that these people haven’t brought it upon themselves. There is such a thing, believe it or not, as an orderly process where genuine asylum seekers, and I stress genuine asylum seekers, can be patient and one day go to a place like Australia if they must, and wait until their pathetic excuse of a country sorts themselves out, and go back again later on and run around with their ridiculous clothing, and chant their songs, and go to their temples and pray to their Buddha or Allah and practise their Muslim religion and eat their third world food. We can’t take them all, we take thousands already, and if we’re not careful little ghettoes like they have in parts of England will spring up and we’ll have chemical warfare in the streets.

John Howard was called a racist years ago when he said ‘we will decide who comes into this country.’ I still watch that speech on you tube sometimes. What gets my goat is that there are bleeding heart do gooders from places like Carlton and Fitzroy who think there’s something wrong with that! What, are we supposed to just open up our borders? Let all these black African’s in, who come from a country where killing someone is like buying bread? Oh, great, I really think Glenroy needs more black kids in gangs marauding around Safeway and the local library. Before you know it, they will start up another branch of the so-called ‘Asylum Centre Resource Centre’ in the northern suburbs as well. My friends Gail and I ripped a sticker from off the library window: ‘Glenroy welcomes Asylum Seekers.’ Well I’ve got news for you, matey, whatever Sudanese or Afghani or Iraqi stuck that there, it’s not true. There is such a thing as a silent majority, and one day the silent majority won’t be so silent, and if Scott Morrison closes Manus Island down, or that stupid bitch from the Greens- whose name I can’t remember- is on TV too many more times, and if Bill Shorten becomes weak like I suspect will happen, well I can tell you there will be a lot more people like Reza Berati being flown back home, coffin and all. Enough’s enough I say, and people will wake up but sometimes it takes a very long time. That little kid the other day, killed by his own dad, now that’s the real tragedy, that’s the stuff that tears at your heart strings, and that’s who we should be all talking about. Well I’m glad to see you agree with me on that one, at least. Don’t worry, I’ll turn you away from your lefty do gooder bleeding heart attitude one day. You’re not some little naïve university kid just out of mummy’s arms now, you know.
                                                                      REZA BERATI

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