Refugees – our national shame

By   /   September 4, 2015  /   37 Comments

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I wouldn’t be here today if the government had closed their doors to refugees after WWII. And here we are now, being absolute bastards to the most vulnerable people in the world.

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In 1945, a ‘comfort woman’ in Indonesia was freed from her daily life of imprisonment, rape, torture and hopelessness by Australian and Kiwi soldiers. She, her mother, sisters and father (who was a captain in the Dutch Army) were captured a couple of years before. First they were forced to watch the Japanese torture her father to death, then separated into different camps. Because she was beautiful and in her teens, she was taken by the Japanese Army to be a sex slave. After she was freed, she was brought to NZ to settle, as were many thousands of fellow war refugees. Families took them in. The government scrambled to provide assistance. And they became an asset to our country.

She was my grandmother.

Today I, her proud granddaughter, am overwhelmed with sadness, shame and disgust.

I wouldn’t be here today if the government had closed their doors to refugees after WWII. And here we are now, being absolute bastards to the most vulnerable people in the world.

LOOK – National – LOOK at the kids. Take your dollar-sign sunglasses off. Look at their faces. Hear their terror. Look at the little boy, dead on the beach. He’s only one of hundreds of thousands killed in the conflict they are running from. A conflict they had no choice to be born into. A conflict where they are the victims of terrorists. Would you say yes if they were Western victims of terrorism?

With everything I have within me I plead – listen to the UN and other governments. Listen to the kind https://www.facebook.com/events/1627768584139099/ , caring citizens you lead, who are begging you to allow us to open our homes and our communities to these precious human beings of Earth. Our government is nowhere near as impotent and helpless and up against the wall as they like to pretend and sell to us all. Like drinking during the RWC (and other trivial & worryingly serious policy shoved through Parliament under urgency), all it takes is our Government putting the same urgency and commitment into saving lives.

It’s that simple.

They are so good at making everything thing look too difficult, but it is not. They just need to present a Bill, and sign off on legislation to support these refugees. A comprehensive plan and budget takes a few days. The UN and other international organisations are ready and waiting to provide the details on how to draft it. They can find the money. It’s there, being wasted on bullshit.

When I think of what my grandmother survived to get to NZ, I am overwhelmed both by her ability to survive, her courage, and by the generosity of this country back then. New Zealand of the 1940’s – thank you, for my existence.

I can’t say I am proud today. I am profoundly ashamed.

We, the New Zealanders who are ashamed of our Government call on the leaders of the UN, the ‘developed world’ and international relief organisations to hold our government to account.

Please shame our Government. Please call them out on their hardened, money-driven inhumanity. Please understand that we, the citizens who care, do not agree. We want refugees to come here. We want them to be safe. We would open our homes, our hearts, our empty houses, our bedrooms, our clothes, and our love.

We’ve done it once. We can do it again. There’s no conscionable excuse to say no.

If you would provide for refugees, please join us here . You can write the Office of the Prime Minister here: j.key@ministers.govt.nz , and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse here: m.woodhouse@ministers.govt.nz . I particularly encourage you to do so if you are a National supporter who disagrees with the Government’s stance on the issue.

As I walked home to write this blog, Shihad’s Wait and See came on my mp3, and the lyrics hit home.

Shihad – Wait and See

When my respect for man

has taken all it can

the purchase of your soul

placate and we have lost control.

And is there space for every boy and girl

in a competitive, material world

I guess we’ll have to wait

and see and I’m trying too hard to believe.

(Used with permission)

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About the author

Rachael Goldsmith (B.App.Med.Arts – Journalism, Nat.Dip – Human Resources, Nat.Cert – Social Services) is a writer & social justice activist from Invercargill, Southland.

37 Comments

  1. Mike the Lefty says:

    You couldn’t have said it better Rachael. Let’s hope we get the government moving on this.

  2. countryboy says:

    Jonky’s Zionist hoards are on their way and from here, they’ll rule the world . So no point making things harder for themselves by inviting in the beastly neighbours of their making.
    After all .
    Ask most any Kiwi living in Australia. People love being ripped out of their homelands by circumstances seemingly beyond their control. To leave their old people, friends, pets, their work, homes and surroundings. Served them right aye? And it serves them Syrian kids right, drowing in front of their mums and dads . That’ll learn em.

    Good Post @ Rachel Goldsmith. Shihad’s fabulous. ( Had to go through a name change to be able to tour USA though. )

    While the lyrics are a bit odd the energy’s here .

    Rage against the machine
    https://youtu.be/bWXazVhlyxQ

  3. Chooky says:

    +100 Rachel…Great Post

    We should be taking in lots of these refugees from the Middle East ….from Syria , Iraq , Libya, Afgnistan…how about 20,000 ?…(and many women and children)

    …At the same time we should be putting United Nations pressure on the Western countries who created this Middle East destabilisation, refugee crisis, holocaust, in the first place

    …to take responsiblitiy for what they have done and to take in most of the refugees

  4. Anthony Blomfield says:

    So so so true! Increase refugees now !! As many as UN needs us to.

    • Blake says:

      The UN has a hidden agenda and it is called Agenda 21.
      Most are completely unaware of any of this or they would not continue to believe that the UN is totally altruistic and well intentioned.

      Please check out the links that I posted below. It will shock most of you as well as give you further information about the true nature of the UN and Helen Clark and the hypocrite turn coat that she turned out to me.

    • Blake says:

      The UN and Helen Clark need further research. They are not as well intended and ethical as most think. Please check out the below links I put up below and get informed.

      Your article is a good one and I applaud your honesty and integrity and agree with most you state. I feel though that you and most need to get better educated about the hidden truths behind the UN and our turn coat hypocrite Helen Clark.

    • Blake says:

      Please check out the links I put up below here.
      Most are completely unaware of the true and hidden agenda behind the UN.

      My links are rarely being put up now. For every four I submit, I am luck if one gets through and I am wondering why ?

      Thanks for your article and I appreciate your honesty and integrity to come forth with such person information.

      The previous two comments I put up had info in it about Helen Clark and the UN and I am wondering if there is some kind of a filter that rejects certain comments with certain names or words in it.

    • Andrew says:

      Are you paying?

  5. Anon says:

    Considering nearly half of all refugees are children under the age of 18, it is repugnant that this government is unwilling to do anything at all to help. Why should kids coming out of areas of violence and war continue to pay for the crime of being born in a country and into conflict they didn’t create?

  6. rogermorris says:

    Trying not to labor the point, but certain of the need to try make it;
    The crises is clearly, patently, disgustingly, and ‘alienably’ the result of aggressive US global war policy unleashed on the back of and justified by the great 911 deception; the canker ‘casus-belli’ Lie at core of present Geo-instability (strategy of Tension).
    Aggressive Militarism centering around the pre 2001 Pentagon PNAC “Full Spectrum Dominance” war planning ‘To reshape the Middle East’, has done so! Metastasized into the dreadful scenes in the Med. right now. And ‘we’, the other 4 of the 5-eyes, have backed them. blowing our little whistles. soon to be waving our fish skeletal flag. Very appropriate.
    And the EU has backed them. Blowing theirs. IRAQ was an illegal war. Afghanistan, was a premeditated and therefore illegal war. Libya a NATO slaughter. Manufactured by covert western interests. And we have backed them. The French. The German. Turkey. Israel. Saudi Arabia.
    (“The PNAC program: America’s military must rule out even the possibility of a serious global or regional challenger anywhere in the world. Saddam Hussein must be toppled immediately, by U.S. force if necessary. And the entire Middle East must be reordered according to an American plan. PNAC’s most important study, notes that ‘selling this plan to the American people will likely take a long time, “absent some catastrophic catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” (PNAC, Rebuilding America’s Defenses (1997), p.51)”)

    So. The PNACneocons actually wrote about the need to do this terrible slaughter, have DONE IT. This is it.
    John Key/National are so totally complicit/incompetent toward this disgusting aggressive US War practice, that to consider it possible they, as a Government, have any intention to confront those at base of the illegalities causing the ‘refugee crises’ (are we not UNSC?) is a hopeless – baseless – wish. There appears to be no intention of the ‘other4-eyes ‘ or Europe to face the USillegalities causing this abysmal carnage. Because they, and we, our Governments, are part of it.
    In war, the civilian populations are the second casualty, after truth.

  7. J S Bark J S Bark says:

    There isn’t a single person here whose forebears did not come from over the seas.
    We have all been saved by these islands.
    Let these desperate people find sanctuary here as well.
    Unlock the door.
    It doesn’t need to be locked.

  8. Blake says:

    I support your article but need to state the following. Please get informed about the UN and Agenda 21. Most are unaware of any of this and your article shows that you also need to learn about the hidden agendas and misinformation about the UN. Helen Clark and the UN are not what most think and their agendas are not as pure and clean as we once thought.

    PLEASE QUESTION ALL AUTHORITY, ESPECIALLY THE UN.

    http://educate-yourself.org/cn/agenda21explained18may14.shtml

    http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/

    http://www.democracynow.org/appearances/naomi_klein

  9. Nick J says:

    Top post Rachel. Let us not forget Keys own mother was a refugee Viennese jew. I cringed a few years back when Key was approached be asylum seekers in Sri Lanka. These people in fear of their lifes asked him for help. Be trotted out the official line platitudes. How hard would it be gor him to just bravely do the right thing?

  10. Born In A Barn says:

    We are not being ‘absolute bastards’ at all, and your entire piece is based on serious naievety. We are not talking about European refugees, we are talking about refugees who hold an ideology that is anathema to the west; an ideology that is repressive, mysoginistic and homophobic, and whose proponents wish to exert over the entire world. Why are Syria’s wealthy Islamic neighbours not taking more of these people? How do we ensure they do not bring their violent ideology to NZ?

    • We are not talking about European refugees, we are talking about refugees who hold an ideology that is anathema to the west; an ideology that is repressive, mysoginistic and homophobic, and whose proponents wish to exert over the entire world.

      Ah, so because they’re not ‘European’, they’re foreign devils not to be trusted, eh? Now, what’s the word that I’m thinking of that describes your views… Starts with ‘r’. Ends with a ‘t’.

      Why are Syria’s wealthy Islamic neighbours not taking more of these people?

      Jordan, Turkey, Eqypt, and Lebanon have taken in over a million refugees.

      Would you like some links to go with those facts, BIAB?

      • Oh bugger it, here are the stats, BIAB;

        COUNTRY – No OF REFUGEES

        Egypt – 230,086

        Iran – 857,354

        Jordan – 2,712,888

        Lebanon – 447,328

        Turkey – 609,938

        Source: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SM.POP.REFG

        • BornInABarn says:

          Your cite includes the years 2010 through 2013, and makes no distinction as to where the refugees came from or whether they were part of the Syrian crisis. You would have more credibility if your data was in any way relevant. Many of Syria’s Islamic neighbours want no part of her refugees, for the simple reason that they know that many will be radicalised.

      • Aaron says:

        Would that be “R igh T”?

      • BornInABarn says:

        Not Devils, just not a good fit for our culture. They hold to a religion that poisons democracy. Have you ever asked yourself why they are leaving Muslim countries and flocking to the west?

        • Andrew says:

          The amusing part is how the left has tied itself into a knot over this topic.

          They’ve been pushing an agenda of multiculturalism for decades whilst at the same time hating Israel. So now they find themselves supporting a religion which is essentially fascist and anti-feminist in nature. Just how did that come about?

          • Born In A Barn says:

            It gets worse. The author of this particular post is an advocate for a raft of policies (abortion rights, gay rights, sex workers right) that would see her in deep trouble with her new found muslim ‘friends’. The outright hypocrisy is what gets posters like this tied up.

            • BIAB, I think you’re engaging in a bizarre mix of sophistry, straw-man politics, tinged with a hint of racism.

              And even if, by some perverse chance, you were right – can you blame the children of refugees for their parents’ beliefs?

              By the way, when my parents came to New Zealand (from Europe) in 1957, this country was hardly a paragon of tolerance; civilised drinking; culture; etc. For example, compare Europe’s wine culture with our 6 o’clock swill; their cuisine with our 1950s meat-and-three-boiled-veg, and you soon get the idea. Europe had their thousand-year old viticulture – we had ‘Cold Duck’ and ‘Marque Vue’.

              In fact, as a nation, we still seem to have a problem (I refuse to call it an “issue”) with the booze…

        • Have you ever asked yourself why they are leaving Muslim countries and flocking to the west?

          For the same reason that thousands of Kiwis flock to Australia (and other countries) – for better paying jobs?

  11. Andrew says:

    As I see it there are two problems here:

    1/ It’s a numbers game. We’re not talking about a handful of people here. Long term we’re talking MILLIONS. What you’re seeing on the TV at the moment is just the start. Just for starters, given the chance most of Indonesia would like to come here (population ~ 350 million).

    2/ Secondly, if we felt they would fit in then maybe we’d be more accommodating, but the evidence in Europe is that they bring their failed cultural values with them. If you’re a conspiracy theorist you might even consider them an Islamic 5th column. Europe is swinging to the right for a reason. If you want a resurgence in fascism and the pogroms of old, bring in more Muslims.

    • Really, Andrew? Now it’s paranoia?

      Consider this; when Eastern European refugees came to New Zealand after 1945, many of them held trenchant anti-communist views. So much for the “fifth column” fantasy you’re espousing.

      • BornInABarn says:

        Even if you are right, there is a vast difference. Historically immigrants have integrated into NZ society and culture very well. Muslims simply don’t. If you want proof, visit the Somalian enclave in Mt Roskill.

        • I doubt if any such “enclave” exists, BIAB, unless you’re referring to people living in State houses.

          In which case, it’s hardly their fault where HNZ allocates housing for them.

          Many Greeks and Italians settled in Island Bay, Wellington, which was convenient for mooring their fishing boats.

          Was Island Bay an “enclave”?

          Of course not.

          You are indulging in a xenophobic fantasy.

    • Question says:

      Most Indonesians seem to have a much more liberal view of Islam than the Arab countries. Those I know tended to integrate well.

      • Andrew says:

        I’ve worked in Indonesia for 4 years and they cover the complete spectrum of belief.

        The point I was making was not about Indonesia, but about numbers. The small provincial town near where I worked had a population greater than New Zealand. Trust me, they’d all love to move here because to them a NZ beneficiary is a wealthy person.

  12. Question says:

    As I understand it we would tend not take Syrian refugees anyway. We would take the Rohingya or Naruans or something. And even if we did take Syrian refugees we would probably try to take them from the camps (via the UN system).

    In the end probably neither the current crisis or the suitability of Syrians are relevant to raising the refugee quota.

  13. Sandi says:

    One of my children just said to me;
    “Isn’t John Key Jewish and aren’t these people Muslim? He wont let them in”
    ….out of the mouths of babes.

  14. M Scott says:

    Here’s another generalisation for you. I would take all the Kurds and Yazidis. I greatly admire both groups for their courage and resourcefulness and they are genuine refugees. The former are hated by the Turks and the latter despised by Sunni and Shia alike in most surrounding countries. The Kurds are independent minded, colourful people and so are the Yazidis, they would be great assets to NZ. We could also take a few of the charming, gentle Syrian Christians, who, like the ‘enclave’ I met once at the church where they worship in Paris, sing like angels – a byzantine sort of chanting, both men and women in the choir. Magical.
    I do remember reading a report that ISIS put out last year about flooding Europe with ME refugees with lots if jihadis dispersed among them, but I don’t believe that is any excuse to reject the genuine refugees, who, would probably ‘out’ them anyway.
    Council of Rome prognostications back in the early 1980s talked about vast people movements caused by war, economic and environmental disasters. This panel foresaw a time when under populated countries like NZ would not be given a chioice eventually, but would be forced to take ‘immigrants’. We need to face up to our responsibilities, or else.