Imagine if you were in their shoes

Can you imagine yourself living through this?

With apologies to John Lennon, I would like you to imagine — just once — that Tasmania has been invaded. How would that make you feel? Or would you not feel anything?

White Australia has never been invaded. We have been involved in invading other countries — some of which we had never heard of let alone had any idea of where they were having been deliberately dumbed down over the last 20-30 years. But that didn’t deter us. No, the mother country called in 1914 and again in 1939. Then Uncle Sam called on numerous occasions and away we went to join an invasion. We even call our invasion of Gallipoli the birth of Australia, when in fact it was the death of countless Australians who had no idea how the war started or why they were stranded and strafed in hell holes far from home.

Nobody listens to old soldiers. Australians should listen to the men who have learned from their experiences and to the women who have been left to deal with their damaged and often unrepairable men.

Then came the refugees from all these wars. Many Australians have never welcomed people from other lands and had specific nick-names for all of them over the years. These refugees and immigrants were never derided and abused by politicians or by the media like they are now. Australians were a relatively decent lot then and did not harbour hate in their hearts. It was certainly not encouraged as it has been towards Muslims for the last 20 years or more.

Back to Tasmania.

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Imagine it has been invaded by a superior force. The capital city has been blown away, and there are many naval ships in the harbour. The airports have been taken over as well. Bombs have been dropped and the invading army is now going from house to house arresting all the males aged 15 and over. They have been taken off to Port Arthur. Some of the women have been raped and beaten in front of their children. How are you feeling now?

We sit and watch the unfolding devastation on our TVs in our comfortable lounge rooms. We see people who look like us fighting with each other as they wait for food drops, or to see a doctor at some of the camps that have been set up by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). You think you recognise your cousin’s wife and a couple of their kids, but where is the youngest girl, Louise? There are military vehicles everywhere and armed soldiers who do not speak English. We see them yelling in some foreign language to people in a car they have stopped. The passengers look terrified and are yelling at the driver, “go go go!”. The driver plants his foot on the accelerator and the car takes off. Before it goes 50 metres it is blown up. The magnificent Moana Art Gallery has been bombed and all the art works destroyed.

How are you feeling now? Any desire to go and help these Tasmanians and fight to get the invaders out? Would you ask friends to join you? Would you think of yourself as a terrorist five or 15 years later?

So you’re still just sitting there and Tasmania has gone from bad to worse, but we’re actually just sick of hearing about it. Most of the people want to leave and secretly search out people with boats or anything that can float to take them across Bass Strait to somewhere peaceful. Some people want to help and some efforts end badly — lots of people drown. Do you imagine that they should just join the queue — yeah, you know, ‘the queue’. Well of course you don’t know where it is, but there’s gotta be a queue somewhere — yeah, well get on the end of that.

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Do you agree with Jan’s sentiments here? What are your thoughts on refugees coming to Australia over the years?

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