In case you’ve missed the news a second refugee on Nauru has set themselves on fire at the Nauru Island Detention Centre in protest of their continued indefinite detention. It is reported a 21 year old woman from Somalia doused herself in petrol set herself alight. Her attempt at self-immolation comes after another refugee attempted to set himself alight on Saturday, but was stopped by friends
The Somalian Woman is currently receiving treatment in the hospital, but that doesn’t mean much. The 23 year old Iranian refugee who recently died, Omid was left in execrating agony for 10 hours before he was given a shot of morphine for the pain. Just imagine being left in agony for 10 hours, unable to receive proper pain relieve. He might have been given Endone or OxyContin tablets, but that medication can take anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes before the meds kick in and do not give immediate pain relief, which would have only added to the poor man’s agony!
With any burns it is important to cool the burns as quickly as possible with cold water and given effective pain relief, this is within minutes and not hours after the incident occurred. If required the person is placed into a self-induced coma to assist in pain management. It is obvious that none of this occurred to poor Omid. He did not receive proper pain-management, nor did it appear was any attempt made to cool his burns. He was left in agony, screaming agony for 10 hours, ten long burning hours!
The Australian Government has blood on its hands, or the burned skin of Omid on its hands. This is despite the Australian Federal Government reassuring the people of Australia that the refugees who have been sent to Nauru & Manus Islands have appropriate up to date modern medical facilities that can treat almost any medical emergency. So long as there are no serious life-threatening burns or women require abortions or need to give birth, then I suppose the medical facility can treat serious medical issues; but it can’t!
Omid, is the third refugee to have died in the off-shore detention facilities of either Manus or Nauru Islands and makes a mockery of the government’s claim when it introduced the policy of placing refugee boat arrivals in the camps in the first place! How many more refugees are going to die or attempt self-immolation in the hell-holes of Manu and Nauru Islands before this clearly failed policy is dumped?
Meanwhile, there was a rumour going around that the Turnbull Liberal Government is seriously looking at re-establishing the failed proposed ‘Malaysian solution’ of the Gillard Government. The same policy that Joe Hockey stood in the Australian Parliament and said, “Over my dead body”. So wheel Hockey back to Australia so his Liberal mates can walk – or stomp- over his cold dead body! Now, the same policy that Abbott and Hockey attacked and mocked is the same policy Turnbull intends on implementing as a last resort. This is despite the High Court of Australia ruling the proposed ‘Malaysian Solution’ as unconstitutional. But, hey since when has a high court ruling stopped a desperate federal government before in this country? The Howard Government was so desperate to stop asylum seekers from traveling to Australia by boat it excised the whole of Australia from the Migration Act and even that has not stopped the boats!
Australians should be proud of the fact that refugees and asylum seekers are prepared to risk life and limb to travel to this great southern land. We are a beckon of freedom and liberty, that respects human rights and individuals, is politically stable and has a fair law system. The majority of Australians are opposed to both major parties policies towards boat-arrivals. When they vote it is not the governments refugee/asylum seeker policy that determines their votes; it is bread and butter issues, not poor refugees. The ALP should also hang its head in shame for giving into the racist and xenophobes in the Liberal party, which has never really supported a multi-cultural Australia, in fact John Howard couldn’t even bring himself to saying the word. The only Liberals who have supported a multi-cultural Australia was the late Fraser and former Victorian Premier Jeff G. Kennett (Bloody Jeff!).
If we are to change the policy of off-shore detention (or indefinite detention) then it means continuing to put pressure on both major parties to change the inhumane treatment towards refugees and asylum seekers. How many more poor unfortunate refugees and asylum seekers have to die before the government/s finally realise it’s a failed discredited policy?
The policy has been designed sorely to crush the refugees hope of ever coming to Australia. The government hopes they’ll give up their attempt at trying to enter Australia and hopefully return to their country or origin. This is despite being persecuted or even facing the death penalty if returned to their home country. Iran is well known for carrying out public execution by hanging of gay men! We also know that there are two openly gay men stuck on Nauru who are persecuted by the local Nauruan people. Abortion is also against Nauru law as well, which is a real problem for women who have been raped by those lovely Nauruan men who don’t understand Australia’s ‘political correct’ ways.
The refugees on Nauru have printed tee-shirts with Omid’s face printed on the front to protest his unnecessary death. Omid, took the very brave step of using his own body to protest at his plight. Just as Bobby Sands and other IRA Hunger Strikers used their bodies to protest at their treatment in the Maze prison in Northern Ireland. The IRA Hunger Strikers wanted to be recognised as ‘Prisoners of War’ and not as common criminals. They eventually won, in fact the Thatcher Government was on the verge of pulling out of Northern Ireland all together. In Ireland the strongest form of protest is a hunger strike, which linked their cause with the Great Potato Famine in Ireland from 1845 – 52, in which over a million Irish died and a million emigrated from Ireland to flee the famine. The British Government did nothing to help the starving Irish.
The refugees have seen how powerful Omid’s death has been to their cause and if more of them decide to ‘self-immolate’, which I hope they don’t do, or go on a hunger strike, then the Australian Government would have a real problem on its hands. Just imagine how it would look for the government if a number of refugees either starve themselves to death or become extremely ill, or set themselves on fire as the woman did on Monday (2/5/16) .The reason for placing the refugees on the Islands would be in tatters, including the country’s international reputation. New Zealand has offered to take a large number of refugees off the Islands, but, Minister Dutton (Dutton-the-dud) has put the kybosh on that idea claiming it would allow refugees to come to Australia via the “backdoor”. If that is the case then perhaps the Australian Government should consider stopping all immigration from New Zealand!
The Turnbull Government has made a rod for its back by continuing to follow the failed Abbott Government policy of indefinite detention on the hell holes of Manus and Nauru Islands. And I’m going to make a prediction that by the end of the month half-a-dozen refugees will either attempt suicide setting themselves on fire, or accurately succeed in taking their lives. This is on top of the number of people who daily swallow detergents and other cleaning products in a desperate attempt to get off the rock of Nauru and Manus Islands. But, if the refugees are ‘desperate’ enough to get off the Islands – which they are – and organise themselves into a ‘lottery’ of protest and part of that is to use their bodies, then we will have a real problem.