We must find the courage to speak

One hundred and eighteen children in detention
in Australian concentration camps.
Eighty-seven children in detention
on the hell-hole of Nauru.
This highlight’s Australia’s humanity
because these kids have committed no crime,
they didn’t ask to have to risk their lives
in leaky boats on raging seas.
It was not their fault their parents had to flee
from injustice, persecution and inhumanity.
Both major political parties support
their imprisonment, their incarceration,
this is an indecency.
Government and opposition say
they are inflicting this pain on families
to stop others risking their lives by
trying to come to Australia by boat.
This is not justice.
This is not fair.
This is collective punishment
of all refugees
of all displaced persons
of all sans papers
of all who flee war, injustice and persecution.
This is not justice – it is retribution
for not waiting for Australia to
understand their need to escape
the unbearable conditions in their homeland
and harassment  in the neighbouring countries
to which they first escaped.
This is collective punishment
for shining a light on our inhumanity.
And for good measure we let guards
prey on the vulnerable
to demand sexual favours from children
to drive people mad
all in a calculated effort
to convince them to abandon claims for asylum
to return to persecution or death
because it is more bearable
than living in an Australian run camp.
This is what Team Australia is all about.
It is time we stopped averting our eyes
some might even concentrate their minds
long enough to realise that our politicians
are committing crimes against humanity,
crimes against humanity in our name.
They don’t speak for me
I can’t believe they speak for you.
It is time we found our voice
to speak for ourselves.
We might even have the impertinence
to speak for our politicians
because what they are saying to asylum seekers
is not worth listening to.

written in 2011 not published