Time for the second round of what I’m reading. This is already becoming difficult as I started this post on Tuesday, the day after posting the first in this series, and I already had four articles to share. I will try to limit the number of articles posted here, those who want to see more of what I’m reading can follow me on Twitter, where I frequently share the articles I enjoy. This past week has included…
- This has been quite a busy week, so I’m still on the same book as last week, ‘The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla’. It’s getting to that exciting part where I have to force myself to put it down so I can get some sleep.
- My flatmate alerted me to this beautiful article from Poetry Magazine about the Island of Lampedusa, which many African asylum seekers travel to, by boat, as a way into Europe. The author manages to represent the perspectives and positions of all involved in a very honest and respectful manner. Also, the author references The Leopard, one of my favourite books, several times, as well as Dr Who, one of my favourite shows! It is quite a long article, but I strongly encourage you to read to the end.
- This is an interesting post by author Jennifer Weiner on whether or not the New York Times book reviewers are sexist. Here is a response on Salon.com.
- Can you be feminist and care about fashion? Ms Magazine explores.
- Beautiful illustrations of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale on The Guardian (sample shown above).
- Add some spice to your cooking with some help from Monica Bhide. I have tried any of these yet, but have every intention of doing so some time in the next year.
- And here is an article from last year by my favourite Guardian angry man, Charlie Brooker, on aspect ratio. As he says ‘There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who don’t have any problem with watching things that are randomly stretched or squashed, and decent human beings who still have standards’.
Blog/site of the week
- A little while ago I discovered the work of photographer Joel Robison. It’s a lot of fun and very creative. Check out his work on Flickr.
- Downtown from behind is a tumblr with a fabulous photographic series of cyclists from behind on various New York streets.
There is a lot to be said on this topic and my family have often been subjected to my rants on the issue. I may write more later, but I’m super busy with work stuff, so I’ll just post this video for now. What do you think?
To learn more about the film and to sign the pledge to ‘use [your] voice to spread the message of Miss Representation and challenge the media’s limiting portrayal of women and girls” go to the Miss Representation website.
I love visual representations about how stupidly paranoid we all are when it comes to asylum seekers. I stole this from a friend who posted this on Facebook via this link.
I saw this movie last night. It was so powerful. It will be available to buy on DVD from 10 October and I think everyone should see it. At the moment I think it’s only shown at one location in Phnom Penh and at some universities in the US.
The director was available for questions and answers following the film. He lost three family members to the Khmer Rouge, but all he talked about was finding the truth and forgiveness. Only then could such a thing be prevented in the future. He didn’t want revenge, he just wanted to understand.
The website is http://enemiesofthepeoplemovie.com/ if anyone wants to learn more.
I am so excited that SBS has done this and I can’t wait to see it! One of the reasons, in my opinion, behind the fear and distrust of asylum seekers in Australia is a lack of the human element in the story. I hope that after watching this show many people will think about and see the story of asylum seekers a little differently. I by no means expect people to change their minds completely and call for an increase in our numbers, but I hope it will decrease the hysteria and xenophobia directed towards one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Perhaps it may also lead to some more considered and intelligent discussion about asylum seekers in government, the media, the workplace, and around the dinner table.
Now, how to get it onto the commercial stations…
UNHCR have recently released their latest figures on international asylum seeker trends in industrialised countries. The report includes 44 industrialised countries. I will keep saying the words industrialised countries as this is highly significant. I have very briefly summarised the report and focused on the Australian figures for those who may be interested.
By the way, did I mention that these figures are for industrialised countries only? If the rest of the world were included the percentages would be very different (i.e. much much much lower).
- Australia ranked 15th in the asylum seeker receiving countries, the US ranked first (most were Chinese and Mexican)
- In 2009 and 2010 Australian received only 2% (that’s right, 2%!) of asylum seeker applications. This is up from 1% in 2006, 2007, and 2008
- The top five destination countries (industrialised countries) are the US (15%), France (13%), Germany (12%), Sweden (9%), and Canada (6%)
- When the number of arrivals is viewed as a percentage of national population the top five are Cyrpus, Malta, Sweden, Lichtenstein, and Norway
- When viewed in terms of GDP per capita the top five are the US, France, the UK, Sweden, and Canada
- In 2009 the top nine countries of origin were (in order) Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Russian Federation, China, Serbia, Nigeria, Iran, and Pakistan
- In 2010 the top ten countries of origine were (in order) Serbia, Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Russian Federation, Somalia, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka (which ranked 13th in 2009)
So we panic about our 2% and lock up asylum seekers so they can’t hurt us. Here is what UNHCR have to say about that:
“The relatively small number of people coming to Australia – coming largely from the most troubled and conflict-ridden regions of the world – again demonstrates the vital importance and relevance of the Refugee Convention and asylum as the principal means of protecting people who are fleeing persecution and serious human rights violations” UNHCR Regional Representative Richard Towle said today.
“In Australia, the challenge is to maintain fair, humane and expeditious processing of all asylum claimants, irrespective of their method of entry. The current approach to mandatory detention – which involves often long periods in isolated locations and crowded conditions – is a challenge that needs particular attention.”
“Experience shows that people held in such conditions frequently experience high levels of personal stress, including self-harm.”
“UNHCR believes there are ways of managing the legitimate security concerns of States while, at the same time, providing more flexible, community-based arrangements for people in Australia while their asylum claims are being processed.”
Those who would like to read the report can find it here: http://www.unhcr.org/4d8c5b109.html
Here is the article about Australia’s intake http://unhcr.org.au/unhcr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=202&catid=46&Itemid=92