‘Australia’s offshore cruelty‘, New York Times, 23 May 2016
Cohen is visiting Australia. He writes on international affairs and diplomacy. This article had more than 100 comments by early on 24 May 2016 AEST.
The Australian treatment of refugees trying to reach this vast, thinly populated country by boat follows textbook rules for the administering of cruelty. It begins with the anodyne name for the procedures — “offshore processing” — as if these desperate human beings were just an accumulation of data.
Then there is secrecy, dehumanisation, demeaning. Cohen looks at the asylum seeker issue against the current context of the election campaign and against the historical context.
This country’s history includes the long and unhappy chapter of its White Australia policy under which a vast land mass was portrayed as under threat of invasion by uncivilized “natives” from across Asia. Politicians like Dutton are playing scurrilously on similar fears.