In her post last week, Handbag Mafia wrote "The UN says that more people have been forcibly displaced around the world now than at any other time since WWII. It’s in the ballpark of 60 million people around the world." I'm not an expert with figures, but excluding the countries they're fleeing, and those in abject poverty and civil war, I figure the Australian share of that is at least 600,000, though possibly more. I believe we are nowhere near that figure, nor are we actively trying to help.
I understand there is a cost and our economy and government funding would be strained. I also understand that infrastructure and housing are issues not easily or quickly fixed.
My question is, do we have the right to turn our backs on them? Can we ignore their plight? Do we not have a responsibility to look after those in dire need? Wasn't that what made the Australian spirit in yesteryear? Doing what is right, rather than what is easy?
Nothing is insurmountable if people put their minds to it. Aka Ra has taught me that.
There's a story that I've been reminded of recently, about people working together at great cost to themselves, to help others, In 1943, when the Danes got wind that the Germans were going to round up their Jews, they set in to action a chain of events. In two days only, they managed to save the lives of almost all the Danish Jews. In two days, they managed to get 7000 Jews to safety in Sweden - many were rowed across the ocean in row boats by local fishermen. A simple yet monumental plan but extraordinarily dangerous for the Danish people involved.
Only 481 Jews were sent to a camp, and most of them managed to survive that, again thanks to the Danish people who gave them food and clothes and other necessities so they wouldn't succumb to the otherwise harsh conditions. This at a time when no one had much to spare. (As an aside, when the people returned from Sweden, they found their houses, pets and even gardens had been looked after by their neighbours).
If all that could be planned and enacted in two days, imagine what we could do if we tried?
I guess it comes down to the Australian people. Are we the kind of people who say 'it's not my problem'? Or are we the people who stand up and say to our Government, 'We no longer have a choice. We are ready to shoulder the burden. We will save these people and we order you to do it, as our representative.'
Is there still nobility in the Australian Spirit?