By Hamma Mirwaisi and Alison Buckley
I am a former Iraqi Kurdish refugee, now US citizen and resident, who unknowingly fled Saddam Hussein's hit list during the 1970's. Here is my response to the "Record' article of July 24, 2013.
Kurdish, Persian and Arab refugees are everywhere, especially the Kurdish people who have been displaced by Turkey, Iran, Iraq and now Syria. There are hundreds of thousands of women, children and elderly people seeking refuge in Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon but not Israel because it does not take refugees.
At present the Kurdistan Regional Governments (KRG's) of Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani are treating Syrian Kurdish refugees worse than Turkey does. Barzani has closed the gate on Syrian Kurds for political reasons. He wants them to be his subordinates before letting them eat.
Barzani, now President of the KRG, seems to have forgotten that he was a refugee from 1975-1990. We were refugees in Iran together, but the Shah of Iran settled him and his father in castles close to Tehran while I and hundreds of thousands of other Kurds suffered in refugee camps throughout Iran. He has also forgotten about the millions of Kurds who fled to Iran and Turkey, prompting the installation of international help allowing him and his corrupt partners in the Kurdish Regional Government to seize Kurdish oil assets, and become millionaires and billionaires in a very short time.
We understand that Massoud Barzani has a heart like steel because he is a tribal leader without education and love for humanity, but why does it seem that the Australian Government's leadership is the same? Australia needs refugees to build the country; refugees are helping, not hurting the Australian population. No one wants to be a refugee but war and destruction by Middle Eastern dictators are forcing people to seek peace in other countries.
The author of the article wrote, "While traveling in Papua New Guinea this month, I met a PNG national who works in the Australian asylum detention camp on Manus Island (the camp is actually on Los Negros Island, which is joined by a bridge to Manus). He began by telling me that all those working at the camp are forced by the Australians running it to sign a document promising not to talk about what goes on there. To date, the Australian Government has not let a single journalist into the internment camp. This is, of course, a very bad sign. What is it that the Australian Government doesn't want the world to know about? A lot, it turns out' (1).
Indeed it looks like the Australian Government has built institutions for refugees perhaps similar to Germany's concentration camps, otherwise why, until motivated by the recent confessions of a contractor there, did they not let journalists see refugee life in their camps or send their representatives to inspect it? It is a shame for a civilized country to treat refugees like that (2).
There is a push and a pull factor in the worldwide refugee situation. The push factor is dire, and beyond many of us to influence. It takes international pressure and at the moment the interests of the big powers are not sufficiently threatened for them to take the necessary action. There is also too much fear of upsetting the powers behind the religious fundamentalism, racial nationalism and regional imperialism that force Middle Eastern people to flee their homes and homelands. But with the world economy unable to recover and the superpower balance threatened, a global shift could occur at any time, obligating the developed countries to address the issue more comprehensively, in order to maintain their security.
The pull factor for victims of all forms of persecution, displacement and discrimination is irresistible. They face greater risks in leaving than they do in staying, but the motivation to access everyday rights, freedoms and opportunities is worth it, even to gain a glimpse of that kind of life. Now thousands in or near Australia are staring at it from behind razor wire, or through the jungle.
We are calling on Massoud Barzani to open the border gate for Syrian refugees and use part of Kurdish stolen money to feed refugees. And we ask the Australian Government to erase the dark spot on Australian history by accepting true refugees immediately and allowing them to be integrated into the Australian community.
(1)Where and what is Manus Island?
(2) Fact Check: can children under seven be sent to Manus Island? hhtp://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/factcheck-can-children-under-seven-be-sent-to-manus-island-20130731-2qy3l.html
Hamma Mirwaisi (with Alison Buckley)