NEXT week is my daughter’s birthday. I spent an hour yesterday wrapping her birthday gifts: paints and crafts, a Minnie Mouse toy and a few Frozen trinkets that will make her squeal in delight.
But while that makes me unendingly happy, to see her experience joy, it also makes me incredibly sad.
I’m sad because I know there are hundreds of children all over the Gold Coast (thousands throughout Australia, and perhaps millions throughout the world) who are celebrating birthdays next week, but who won’t enjoy the day quite like my little girl will.
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Perhaps they are neglected, and they don’t have loving parents who will bake them a homemade cake or spend an afternoon constructing their new bike. Children like this little boy in Adelaide, who is now with a foster family, but whose biological ‘parents’ have inflicted such damage on his poor little soul that he will be battling his demons for the rest of his life.
Or perhaps they are sick? Children with cancer just shouldn’t even be a ‘thing’. The amount of times I’ve shed tears in recent weeks for terminally ill children I’ve read about online is utterly heart breaking.
Or perhaps they are fleeing a horrific life of poverty and abuse. Maybe they are with their mum and dad and brothers and sisters as they seek a new and safer life in a new country.
I struggle with all of these scenarios as they make me want to scream at the injustice and unfairness of it all.
My daughter was fortunate enough to be born into her family: a white, middle-class, close-knit tribe living on the beautiful Gold Coast. She is afforded every opportunity to thrive and knows only an environment of love, security and comfort.
Other little girls her age have already lived through unimaginable horrors, some served up at the hands of our government. I am ashamed about our refugee policy in this country and although I don’t have all the answers, I do know how I feel about Scott Morrison’s present approach: it’s cruel and heartless and most importantly, ineffective.
In Italy, they could no longer stand idly by and watch people die in pursuit of freedom. They have saved more than 100,000 people from treacherous seas in the last 12 months and although that program is soon due to wind up, the humanity and compassion they have displayed is awe-inspiring.
As journalist Sophie McNeill, who jumped on board one of the Italian navy ships to report on their rescue missions, said: “I kept thinking of my own two little boys, safely at home in Sydney. How unfair the world is that one three-year-old is preoccupied with Spiderman and Lego, while the other has just experienced a terrifying journey after fleeing a horrific civil war at home.”
The world can truly be a horribly unfair place.
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