Though this is not the Fiji news, it is relevant to Fiji because it's about a world problem of crossing borders, of people who are either refugees or opportunists.
While a karaoke singer lunges out with a song, the Tamil asylum seekers are placed in an Indonesian (but Australia funded) detention centre.
I am sailing, I am sailing home again cross the sea
I am sailing stomy waters to be near you to be free
I am flying, I am flying like a bird cross the sky
I am flying I am flying to be near you to be free
On the other hand, there are others waiting, waiting, waiting to move on from a detention centre, or others fill out fifty pages of forms and are patient in their preparation to move to places like Australia.
What about me? It isn't fair? Moving pictures
I've had enough and I want my share!
Can't you see? I wanna live!
But you just take more than you give.
Are they jumping the queue? Yes.
From the Australian newspaper today:
Detainees' plea: what about us?
• Stephen Fitzpatrick, Tanjung Pinang, and Matthew Franklin
• From: The Australian
• November 19, 2009 12:00AM
INDONESIA and Australian officials worked through the day yesterday transferring the 56 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers still on board the Oceanic Viking to the Tanjung Pinang detention centre. The Sri Lankans, along with 22 who disembarked on Friday, will be segregated from the more than 80 other detainees at the Australian-built centre.
Amongst these other inmates, however, there is growing anger at the special deal done to get the Tamils off the Oceanic Viking, including resettlement in Australia within a month for those who qualify as refugees. "We feel jealous because of what's going on," said one, a young Afghan man who asked to be identified only by the pseudonym "Zulfiqar" for fear of violent reprisals from the Australian-trained guards at the centre.
"We've been here seven months, and some of the boys have only now been registered (with the UNHCR), and half of the people have not been interviewed, but in less than one week (the Oceanic Viking Sri Lankans) have been interviewed and registration is going on. So everyone is feeling jealous."
The bitter criticism came even as Kevin Rudd denied the group would receive preferential treatment in the centre, insisting that after their claims for refugee status had been assessed by the UN the "normal procedures" would apply. Last night the Rudd government said five women and five children among the 56 would stay in an "adjacent" building "separate" to the detention centre. However their quarters remain inside the centre compound. Mr Rudd said the government had rejected a request by the asylum-seekers to have their claims for refugee status processed in Australia.
But Coalition justice spokeswoman Susan Ley asked whether an offer of housing assistance to those asylum-seekers granted resettlement in Australia meant they would be given preference over Australians already on public housing waiting lists.
And former Howard government immigration minister Philip Ruddock said Mr Rudd had caved in under duress from the asylum-seekers by agreeing to fast-track the resettlement of the 78.
In the detention centre, Zulfiqar asked why those already there could not receive the same treatment as the new arrivals. "Some of the Afghans have been accepted by the UNHCR for more than a month but they are still inside of detention -- what will happen to them?" he asked. "I want to request to the Australian government that please if you have a policy that you accept these refugees, so what about us? We are also refugees who want to go to Australia -- the only difference is that they were arrested a little nearer to Australia, and we were arrested a little bit farther from Australia."
Zulfiqar revealed that he was detained in Sumatra seven months ago after travelling from Kabul via Malaysia, having escaped death at the hands of the Taliban. He said the Taliban had insisted that, because of his good English, he work as a jihadi for them translating for US or other foreign organisations."If I go back to Afghanistan I will be killed," he said. "They said if you don't want to (work as a translator) we're going to kill you."
He said he escaped by convincing his Taliban captors they should let him take his mother to safety before beginning work with them -- and managed to flee Kabul with the help of a people-smuggler, who took $US6000 ($6440) to get him to Indonesia. Zulfiqar said the Afghans at the Tanjung Pinang centre, as well as 10 Sri Lankans who have also been there for several months, were confined to their dormitory rooms as the new arrivals were processed. CCTV cameras were used to monitor all activity.