By Georgie Abbott
(Image: Mahmoud Salameh, Palestinian-Syrian refugee & friend of RAC)
Dear Minister Dutton,
I'm sure you are well aware of the growing tension on Nauru and Manus Islands. I am certain you have heard the tragedies surrounding Omid Masoumali and Hadon. Catastrophic stories of desperate people.
Tell me, Minister Dutton, hypothetically, what would you do if you had to flee your home country or face certain death? How would you feel if you had no other option but to make a perilous journey across the world? How would you act locked up in a detention centre? What would you do when it seemed all hope was lost?
Would you feel alone, Minister Dutton? Would you think no one cared what happened to you? Would you think this beautiful land in which you had hoped to find refuge was rejecting you in your time of need? Would you believe that not a single person cared for the outcome of your life?
Well, I am writing to tell you, still hypothetically of course... that if you were seeking refuge, desperate for a safe life... I would care. I would fight for your rights; I would tell you that you were not alone. I would give you hope and try my best to get you through it.
Why? Because in another life you could be my brother, my father, my friend, a man. I have and will always have compassion for my fellow man and woman.
This is why so many Australians are outraged by Nauru and Manus Islands. Human Rights are being neglected and our compassion for the people in these centres makes us weep. What has become of our country? How can we let such atrocities go unnoticed?
How would you feel if Hadon were your daughter? What would it mean to you if Omid were your brother?
Please, Minister Dutton, I implore you to have compassion and see what the people in detention really are... humans ... like you and me. Humans searching for lives better than the ones they have escaped. They are searching for something we are already lucky enough to have.
It could be you or me on these Islands, within these centres. It could be you or me taking our lives in desperation. You and I have family and friends who would mourn us deeply. Just like Omid and Hadon.
A fellow human