What’s the price of freedom?

Mum and Dad don’t care, why should I stay…I remember as if it was bYyesterday. I packed a jumper and a few bits and pieces in a bag, I’d decided to runaway. My situation had become so desperate, I chose a life on the street over that at home.

I was 10 years old so my level of desperation may have been influenced by a severe dose of oblivion.

As I sit and write this post another boat load of asylum seekers are being rescued by Australian vessels. On board, 130 desperate individuals.

Their level of desperation shocks me. They have run away from home. Some are alone but there is also many children on board. They boarded a boat. Not a cruise ship by any stretch of the imagination, a boat. A small fishing vessel, rusted on every corner and powered only, by a small diesel engine. The first few families rush on board and more follow quickly. The main deck of the boat fills, but more people flood onto the boat.

As the boat rocks across the open seas, they’re pressed shoulder to shoulder, standing room only. Babies cry out in hunger but there’s little that can be done to help them. The crew continues on their course, a glassy stare hides their fear of an uncertain future.

Their planned destination, Australia. A country born of immigration and open to their plight. 

Seeing as though the occupants of this boat are largely Afghans, it’s assumed the boat has originated from there. They would’ve exited the Arabian Sea and crossed the equator but it’s during the final leg of their journey they’ve come unstuck.

They’ve run away from home. Looking for safety they have found the cool waters of the Indian Ocean.

Thankfully, Australian merchant ships are there now, pulling people out of the water, the Australian Navy is on its way. They have reached Australia but this isn’t the end of their journey.

In the past 12 months alone, 89 boats, and 4,700 people have made the same trip and they are in Australia but not yet free. They are being held in detention centres whilst their requests for residency is assessed.

I don’t wish to comment on Australian political decisions or the dramatic increase of asylum attempts since the change of governments, I wish to open your eyes to the desperation this group of people must have felt.

They turned their backs on their homes, history and community to roll the dice, on an over crowded fishing boat.

Please put your political opinions aside and think of the people. The common way in which they are referred in the media is “boat people” but they shouldn’t defined simply by their means of transportation. They were travelling by boat but more importantly they are people.

Yes, many of them may have queue jumped in their homeland and threw away any identification once they arrived but they did it all in desperation. Desperation by nature encourages drastic actions, in this case, illegal actions but we cannot judge them without experiencing what they have.

If your family faced death or at least a lifetime of suffering, would you risk a criminal record,  hand over your annual salary and risk your life on a sub standard vessel for a chance at freedom?

Freedom has no price.

SENSE

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