I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic
Characteristically wise and horrible words from Ghassan Hage:
You chose the wrong place to douse yourself in petrol and set yourself alight Janarthanan,
Don’t even expect to make the front page of a newspaper.
In this country, we go to bed with the tortured indigenous bodies we have created. Every night. We just turn our back to them and blissfully go to sleep.
If you had been allowed to settle here you would have known. You would have learnt to do it too.
The more conventional news story, from the Tamil Guardian, is this:
A Tamil asylum seeker in Sydney set himself on fire and is in a critical condition, after the Australian government decided to deport him back to Sri Lanka, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.
The man, only named by his first name Janarthanan, is in his late 20s and had been living in Australia for 18 months, according to Trevor Grant from the Tamil Refugee Council.
Grant said that Janarthan suffered 98% burns to his body and was unlikely to survive. [Quite frankly, with that extent of burns the last thing he is likely to want to do is live]
A suicide note left by Janarthan said he would rather die in Australia than in Sri Lanka, Grant added.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said [with stomach-churning hypocrisy] it was a “deeply distressing incident”.
“The government’s focus is to ensure for the proper care and support of this young man, in partnership with the Sri Lankan High Commission,” a spokesperson for the minister said [with even more stomach-churning, vile, repugnant, morally defunct hypocrisy].
The Australian government confirmed that the young man “was found not to be owed protection and this decision was affirmed on appeal by the Refugee Review Tribunal earlier this month.”
It’s easy, of course, to criticise the Australian government for its current racist, often illegal, utterly hypocritical campaign of attacks on refugees and asylum seekers. The British version is little better (if at all). The fear and hatred engendered by austerity and the politics of the right shames us all.
Well said, Sarah.