Do you think you are a compassionate person? Or do you practice selective compassion?
This week, we are discussing:

Show a little compassion

and get the facts.

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Another boat full of people crashes. 

On Thursday of last week a boat carrying about 200 people crashed off Christmas Island in Australia. About 110 people were rescued. If this had been a plane load full or tourists travelling somewhere in the world it would be reported as a tragedy. Some news reports did focus on how tragic this event is, but many reports hyped up the politics of boat loads of people crossing into Australian waters.  Because this boat was full of people seeking asylum in Australia the public backlash has been terrible. Many posts on facebook, in newspapers and on TV and radio talkback shows speak of people smugglers, illegal immigrants and the inability of the government to 'stop the boats'. I wonder when people became so skilled at not seeing those in these situations as people and started to see them as criminals. 

I think the media is responsible for much of the fear and misinformation and thought I would take this opportunity to point out a couple of things. 

Asylum Seekers or refugees. 

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14 -'Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries aslyum from persecution'.
Seeking asylum is not illegal and people who are seeking asylum are not criminals. There is no crime against seeking refuge in a safe place for you and your family. Source

Illegal Immigrants or Unlawful Citizens
Yes we do have some in Australia. The majority of them are people who came into the country legally and have overstayed their visas. As many as 53 900 of them may be in Australia at any one time. Source 

Refugee camps are set up in crisis zones to assist those who have been displaced from their homes. Many of these people have witnessed atrocities you would never want to imagine let alone live through. They have lost family, may have been beaten, raped, tortured and lost everything. Often refugee camps are under equipped and over populated. Of course if you had a chance to improve things for your family you would take it. People in developed countries try to improve their situation all the time, working to buy a nice house, car and little luxuries. Many in developed countries go on holidays and enjoy a nice life. And yet many of these same people are the one who get angry at the 'boat people'. We have witnessed the 'great aussie spirit' step in to help those who may have lost everything in a tsunami, earthquake or fire. Where is our compassion when people are so desperate they would get on a boat that is dangerous, with their family, and set off across the seas for a chance at a new and peaceful life. 

My challenge to you this week - simple. If you are going to comment on 'boat people', 'illegal immigrants' and asylum seekers, make sure you do some research and speak from a place of knowledge and compassion rather than speaking from a place of ignorance or fear. 

til next time


If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. 

Bob Hope

Men fight for freedom, then they begin to accumulate laws to take it away from themselves.  

~Author Unknown

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight.  Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.  Your life will never be the same again.  

~Og Mandino

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