I recently saw an article “When did we get so cruel?” When I clicked on it, it turned out to be about Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers on Manus island who are more afraid of being released onto the island than of staying in detention.
A tiny part of me was disappointed that this article turned out to be about fit young men, not sick old women. Of course, cruelty is cruelty, but there is so much of it in this country, where do we start with fixing it?
Our cruelty epidemic
Isn’t allowing house prices to inflate beyond the reach of ALL the old, poor, disabled and in any way challenged Australians also cruelty? Isn’t forcing people who are already in pain to sleep in their cars also cruelty? Isn’t failing to protect women who run away from violent men also cruelty? Isn’t failing to protect children from paedophiles also cruelty? Isn’t forcing people onto a desperately unsustainable Newstart allowance when there is no new start to be had, also cruelty. Isn’t hounding the unemployed to look for work when there are no jobs also cruelty? Isn’t promising help for the disabled then failing to deliver it also cruelty?
But no-one is calling it that.
We are living in a cruel country, and I wonder if we would continue to allow it if we became aware of just how cruel we have become?
We are happy to blame our privileged class for institutionalising cruelty, or blame our disadvantaged for their fate, but in reality, we are all to blame. We are allowing this cruelty to happen. We have allowed “the lucky country” to turn into “the cruel country” on our watch!
When are we going to demand the truth?
At the same time as I saw that headline on how cruel we have become, I read an article by Gerry Georgatos, We are being lied to about poverty – it’s grim.
It is a powerful article that exposes many of the lies we are being told.
We have been conned by lies, damned lies and statistics. Statistics are used quite deliberately by our governments to bamboozle us.
So we do have some excuses. But at what point do we take responsibility for allowing ourselves to be lied to without protest?
We all know we are being lied to – we even joke about it – but we fail to work out the truth for ourselves and we do nothing to hold the liars accountable for their lies.
When are we going to make that truth hit home?
We are living in a dreadfully cruel country.
How do we engage the hearts and compassion of those who avoid the truth? How do we lead the Australian population to the outrage they should be feeling at the destruction of Australian values and all we hold dear?