Last night, my local branch of the Australian Greens had a guest speaker: journalist Iain Gillespie, who spoke with passion about asylum seekers. Some years ago, The Age gave him the task of reporting on the activities of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, incidentally, one of the charities I support. He requested an interview with a particular person, so he could bring the issues to life.
He was put in touch with a 17-year-old boy: a Hazara, the most persecuted ethnic group in Afghanistan. The Taliban murdered his father and older brother, and he was to be next. So, he took to the refugee trail, and arrived in Australia weeks before the infamous, cruel decision to keep boat people forever out.
Despite being on a “Temporary Protection Visa” (meaning, “We might deport you back to guaranteed death at any time”), despite starting with almost no knowledge of English, he got an education thanks to the generosity of many people, and was International Student of the Year in New South Wales one year. He managed to get a variation of his visa to allow employment “in a country town,” and worked for some years at a university (but the conditions of his visa forbid him from studying there).
Here is a jewel who within a few years has already contributed to Australia in several ways.
Persecution allows the cream to rise to the top. People who succeed when so many fail are necessarily highly intelligent, creative, resilient, resourceful — and lucky.
Germany let in 1.2 million refugees. This article draws on several sources to report that they have been of huge overall benefit to their new country.
“Do onto others as you would have done onto you,” and you will be rewarded, even in this life.