What does it take to care about asylum?

The only horror most of us are prepared to watch is via our movie screens. If we took the time to put ourselves in an asylum seeker’s shoes with one droplet of empathy and a tiny bit of imagination, we’d be mimicking Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

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Meanwhile, asylum seekers are taking extreme measures to protest their incarceration. A hunger strike is no small thing.

Yesterday I received word from a friend on the ground. She said the temporary protection visas, the ever-present threat of being rendered stateless or deported back to certain torture and death was so horrendous, case workers and volunteers were in despair.

How much resilience can we expect of people?

For how long do we expect such cruelty to go on?

Every day I read harrowing reports from those in detention centres. I read as well the anguish and desperation in the hearts of those front-line volunteers who visit asylum seekers regularly.

I hear too, the frustration voiced by so many that we as a society are not doing enough. We are failing in the eyes of the world, and we are failing in the eyes of our own people.

Stand up Australia! Pledge support! Do something, anything to let the asylum seekers and their supporters know you care.

Why? Why bother? Because doing nothing makes us little better than those who turned their backs on the concentration camps and pretended they were not there.

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