“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Thinking about refugees, women, and freedom

I recently finished the book Infidel, which I was the first to read, from the Waitakere City Library. This biography is shocking and sad, but really opened my eyes. To a degree I knew what to expect, but to hear her tell of surviving what she did, and what she accomplished, is really inspiring. The book got me thinking about freedom, and what it means to women in countries where they get treated no better than, sometimes worse, than animals. Consider the practice of footbinding girls in China- causing lifelong deformity and pain. Then there's the child brides, who get traded like a sheep to settle debts or earn eternal salvation for the family (Mormons). For the most part, I like to ignore current events in far away places like Somalia, Chechnya, Rwanda, etc. Human rights violations are a way of life in these places, and what can I do about it? Easiest thing for me is to ignore it. But now that I live in a country full of immigrants from all over the world, it's worth considering what this country means to people less fortunate than myself. Here is a link to refugees in New Zealand. I was interested to learn about the refugees refused entry to Australia, being quietly accepted in New Zealand. This excerpt is from www.migrationinformation.org

Another significant policy difference between New Zealand and Australia that
emerged in 2001 was the response to the resettlement of a group of asylum
seekers from the Middle East and Afghanistan. These asylum seekers were picked
up (at the Australian government's request) by the Norwegian freighter, the
Tampa, while trying to reach Australia from Indonesia. The New Zealand
government accepted 150 of the Tampa refugees who had been temporarily housed on the central Pacific coral island of Nauru while their refugee status was
assessed by UNHCR. The Australian government was determined that none of these
"boat people" would be allowed to land in Australia.

Also, New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote. Good on ya, NZ!

I still have a lot to learn. Creating this blog has been helpful, and distracting. Other things I've been thinking about, and researching lately: the pet food recall and thousands of dead cats and dogs in the US, human food supply safety (next book to read: Diet for a Dead Planet), and the root of many of humanity's ills, overpopulation (though no one wants to talk about it).

OK, enough of this darkside stuff- time for Happy Tree Friends!