Warning: the following post is heartfelt, and a bit political, and very different from my usual poetry posts.
It’s Poetry Friday, and this week the thing that has been on my mind is the Syrian Refugee crisis. There are 11 million (yes ELEVEN MILLION) displaced Syrians, either displaced within their former country, or having fled. And, governments and individuals from around the world, spurred to action at last, have been opening their hearts and their borders to help these people, many of them children.
Australia’s government was slow to act, though has finally agreed to take in 12,000 refugees. This is wonderful news, though it should be said that 12,000 out of 11 Million is just a tiny drop. And it doesn’t change the fact that Australia also has many other legitimate refugees (from Syria and other countries) in detention centres both offshore and within Australia, treated like criminals for seeking help.
Anyway, I wanted to respond to my strong feelings about this subject but every time I tried to write, nothing came out. The only words that came to my mind are the words of our national anthem, which I have been unable to sing proudly since we started mistreating refugees on Manus on Nauru. The anthem speaks of welcoming “those who’ve come across the seas”, yet our Prime Minister talks, quite proudly of ‘stopping the boats’ and that those who have come that way will never have homes in Australia. And our so-called Opposition supports this stance.
So, for today’s Poetry Friday I give you the words of our National Anthem. A poem which once stirred me to feel proud and hopeful. May we be able to sing it, not just for the 12, 000 who we are about to welcome, but for the thousands who are currently being held in detention.
Because my post is political, I have not added to to this week’s Poetry Friday roundup. But please, if you have time, head over to the roundup which is today hosted today by Robyn at The Deckle Edge.