Game of Moans

By | 2013/06/05

AsylumOver the past 48 hours or so, there’s been an unbelievable amount of moaning and gnashing of teeth over the death of some fictional characters in the TV show, Game of Thrones.

Having read the books, I knew it was coming, but even so, found myself somewhat perplexed at the amount of consternation this engendered.

Particularly, in comparison to say, the harsh and real treatment of asylum seekers the Australian government locks up in squalid conditions overseas to satisfy the xenophobic demands of swing voters.

How is it that people can empathise so much with the lives of fictional characters – to the point of genuinely grieving over their deaths, when detainees – children, mothers and fathers – are going insane from monotonous, soul-destroying detention having not committed any crime can be blithely ignored?

Sadly, this is because there’s no media coverage. There’s no documentaries being produced by the ABC following the lives of a family in detention; there’s no reality TV show, “Who wants an Australian Visa?” broadcast on one of the commercial channels, SBS doesn’t broadcast a quirky alternative dramatisation of asylum seeker treatment called “Game of Moans”, and there’s no shock jock providing excruciating detail of the misery these people are living in.

So little information is commonly known about the state of the camps and the mental health of the people interred because the government is so tightly controlling the information flow. Even the type of information allowed out is controlled. Where is the unrestricted video footage of the internment camp in Nauru, or on Christmas Island?

If it were humane and everyone was happy, wouldn’t the government to be eager to show it?

There isn’t, because the government has interdicted that information. They’ve censored it. This isn’t information that’s critical to national security – it’s information that’s critical to political security. And I don’t just mean the current government – it applies to the government in general; the one before was just as guilty, and the one to follow will be equally as guilty.

People don’t complain because people don’t get to see and hear for themselves what is going on.

Show a cow shipped overseas as part of the live-beef export programme being tortured to death in an Indonesian abattoir, and the public whips itself into a frenzy. Show fictional characters being murdered in a TV show and people tear their hair out in despair.

Hide the misery and squalor of innocents … and the public blithely downloads the latest Game of Thrones episode to watch. We deserve better – we deserve to know what is being done on behalf of us in the name of our country.

They certainly deserve better.

One thought on “Game of Moans

  1. Darren W

    Thanks for that essential, serious commentary, Preston. I’m only slowly learning more about Australia and New Zealand, begun by online contacts, and noticing articles linked by those on Twitter, etc. But blogs by intelligent people there who’ve already sifted through much of the BS and done their own digging are invaluable.
    Being in the U.S., my learning about your region will remain less than speedy, due in part to the complexity and confounding nature of my own country, which is more than difficult enough to keep up with. But you and other sources are beginning to show me similarities (I mean in the so-called First World, especially) on the darker side, that occasionally make my hairs stand up on end.
    I still think that in sheer VOLUME of shady dealings and activities (and egregiousness of most), that my country is second to none: Said without the tiniest speck of pride of course. But humans are humans. Those who seek power seem, by that mere desire, to be lacking in certain qualities of decency. This is no excuse for media with greater integrity (or seeking same), and citizens with awareness to keep them in line.

    But the vast, Least Common Denominator among us (not referring merely to I.Q.), are seemingly hedonistically amplified by material prosperity itself, as well as the “evolution” of societal/governmental policies affecting them BY those in power, withholding information being just one; Unfortunately, they almost seem to revel in their own ignorance, media coverage or not.
    Like you, however, I still believe more sincere and better media coverage would help. Although more accurate and compelling information, and “secrets,” have always it seems had to be dug for with more effort by braver, smarter people. All too often they are then ignored as biased and radical, or merely boring, scoffed at by that same (broad sense) LCD, including the bulk of the media, by those who simply want their entertainment, or ratings.
    I think there may actually be cures for stupidity, and certainly complacency, but they sadly usually involve personal suffering that will not arrive for this presently vast audience. Or when it does it will be far too late within a greater downfall. Please pardon the cynicism.

    What you wrote was far more specific and open-ended for the reader, regarding the asylum camps, and greatly valuable for that reason, for that highly important issue, as well as the integrity of Australia itself.

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