#1086 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 14 June 2015
In a speech at a graduation ceremony at the University of NSW on Wednesday night, author Thomas Keneally took aim at the way words are used to portray asylum seekers as less than human. He said:
using language to position our more baleful instincts is not the answer. We have reacted to a genuine world crisis with verbal meanness and subsequent cruelty…
History warns us to be suspicious of politicians of any party who try to concentrate our passion upon a small minority, and depict them as a bigger threat than they are.
Instead of using the English language to support cruel policies and scapegoat victims, Dr Keneally said we should seek an international solution to the refugee puzzle.
Such a solution may prove elusive, and costly, but surely not as costly as the loss of our honour, values and humanity if we continue down the road our politicians are leading us.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.