In this speech, I use the word ‘they’ inappropriately. Refugees are not ‘they’. Refugees are people. Faces. Friends. Family. When I say ‘they’ think about Omid Masoumali, an Iranian refugee, placed in a detention centre, who could no longer find a reason to live in his pursuit for a better life.
I love refugees.
Ok, wait a minute Simeon,
Are you really understanding the extent of what you are saying?
They are going to take your jobs, your money, your housing, right?
They came to this country just because the opportunities are better, right?
Well, I’m sorry, but you couldn’t be more wrong
And it’s sad that this is what I have to say,
Just because the media have portrayed refugees a certain way
So listen clearly to what I’m about to say,
Because it might just blow you away,
NO refugee wants to come to your country.
NO person steps onto a wooden, old, overcrowded boat with the thought of taking your jobs in their mind,
Do you know what is in their mind?
And not the type of fear such as spiders which may give you a fright,
But the fear of death haunting them and creating restless nights.
I promise if you ask any refugee where they would love to be, they would say home.
Not your home, their home.
The home they were forced to leave due to persecution.
The home they were forced to leave to stay alive.
So instead of turning back the boats, let’s take in the boats
Instead of investing in rejection, lets invest in integration
Instead of dealing with the issue through incapacitation, lets deal with it through rehabilitation
There are 68.5 million displaced people in our world,
25.4 million of them are refugees
The entire population of Australia do not have a home
But who is willing to open their doors to these people?
Surely the developed countries with the resources available?
Uganda, intake of 1.4 million refugees, one doctor per 25,000 people
Pakistan, intake of 1.4 million refugees, corruption, political instability, malnutrition and illiteracy
Australia, 12,000 South Sudanese refugees, strong economy and resources, however, these people are targeted and vilified by the media like a pinata
Blindly swinging their bats not aware of the extent and widespread nature of the damage they are creating
Have you ever wondered why we never sing the second verse of the national anthem?
“For those who’ve come across the seas we’ve boundless plains to share”
Our national song, is it wrong? Is it false? Or do we just not want to hear it
Because we care about us
We care about me
We care about I
Why should I care about these people so distant from me?
Well just like a child who runs to his mother when he’s scared, who provides him with love and care
I too will love refugees when they are running away from uncomprehend able fear
And open my arms and say, you are welcome here.
Do not let this speech be the end of the conversation, but the start. Because although refugees may not have a choice, you do