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Disrespect, Dismissal And The Diminishment Of Hope

Betrayal, Disrespect, Dismissal And The Diminishment Of Hope

Matt Hamon

As one of many people in Australia drawn to assisting refugees and asylum seekers for the want of humanity of our government I have experienced the overwhelming drain and the beginning of burnout as have others. Although I would add I seem to be getting better at recovery in the face of disappointment, maintaining my equilibrium in the face of authoritarian rule and continue to efficiently strive to do my bit for human rights without expectation of acknowledgement but in the hope of eventual success.

What is this new syndrome so many of us are suffering? Is it new? Is it even a syndrome?

It is not compassion fatigue because more and more people are becoming compassionate. It is not burnout because it is so much more frightening than burnout and if we were burnt out we would not still be at our computers.

A friend trying to describe the effects it's having on us said something to the effect, "it's like the opposite of the Stockholm syndrome".

"Stockholm Syndrome describes the behaviour of kidnap victims who, over time, become sympathetic to their captors. The name derives from a 1973 hostage incident in Stockholm, Sweden. At the end of six days of captivity in a bank, several kidnap victims actually resisted rescue attempts, and afterwards refused to testify against their captors."

But what is the opposite of the Stockholm syndrome? Well...when said out aloud the automatic response is "common decency".

That's right people, those that would take time out of their busy lives to help a person in need like the many thousands of refugees displaced around the world is just exercising "common decency".

We as Australian people are trying to help refugees and asylum seekers and our government who claims to represent us are their very captors. We feel the guilt as the Howard Government imprisons them and we feel we are responsible for their further pain and suffering endured in our detention centres and remote island gulags. We are perplexed by the naked enjoyment our leaders seem to take in the betrayal of all we believed this country stood for and all the international agreements signed on our behalf. We are quite simply like those we seek to help becoming secondary victims to the governmental bullies.

But are those of you who disagree with our efforts bullies and do you really consider us the enemy, or "are you suffering Stockholm syndrome?"

I pity Howard, Vanstone and Downer, strange how quickly the Reith and Ruddock and the part they played in creating this monstrous tragedy is forgotten. When the government shove the Navy and the SAS to rush out to push away people from our shores seeking our help without even attempting to find out if they are genuine refugees is because the Coalition is past the point of no return and dare not admit they are wrong. Are they frightened they will be exposed that they may have to explain themselves to the international Criminal Court?

Yes I pity them because they will have to live with their consciences and the history of these times will be more brutally accurate than ever before.

But the Australians I pity more are those frightened people in our society who once happy to be led and believed they were being told the truth are now held captive to our government's inhumanity. And then they empathise with them and echo the meaningless lies that have now become the predictable mantra of this oppressive Government. Those people are the most frightened of all for in their tiny worlds where 'what will people think' rules their lives the biggest fear is to be thought a fool.

And that is the saddest thing of all the poor, poor fools who are beginning to realise the government cares even less about them than about refugees. Once they could simply take it all on trust. But when the lies outnumber and outweigh the truth even the most simple soul can trust no more.

Yes we are all in our different ways suffering, suffering from betrayal, disrespect, dismissal and the diminishment of hope.

© Scoop Media

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