Scratch the surface

By | 2014/01/10

I love my grandmother. She’s 93 years old and now getting a bit dotty. It’s not unusual for people twenty years younger to start getting scatterbrained and it’s testament to her that she’s only started to suffer that in the last five years or so.

For as long as I remember, my grandmother was my only grandparent. Her husband died within a couple of years of my birth, and my other two grandparents had also died quite early in my life. My grandmother though was always a gentle soul who had only three passions: bingo, jam making and gardening, and she’d give freely of the rewards of all three to everyone and anyone.

A few days ago, it was reported that in a recent survey, 60% of Australians want to see asylum seekers treated more harshly. Successive Liberal and Labor governments for the past twenty years have achieved a remarkably dark victory on this front – they’ve dehumanised a tiny group of people for repeated political gain. Asylum seekers are seen by too many Australians as cheats, bludgers and potential terrorists.


My grandmother is a kind, sweet woman. Yet she’s bought the lies and the spin from successive governments, and almost a decade ago when the topic of asylum seekers came up in a crowded restaurant she vehemently exclaimed:

They should just shoot them all in the head and dump them at sea.

At times she practically raised me. She taught me to be giving and caring towards others.

…shoot them in the head and dump them at sea.

I’m not surprised at all that 60% of Australians want asylum seekers treated more harshly.

Maybe one day this country will find its lost soul.