i was going to post about something else entirely today, but i've just been stewing over this report in the dom today about the cost of AIDS treatments for zimbabwean refugees. it just made me so angry. the article had no other purpose but for us to feel angry at the amount of taxpayer's money these foreigners were soaking up. it's screaming "dogwhistle" so loudly, i practically have to put my hands over my ears.
for a start, i just don't see the purpose of measuring one particular health issue for just one community. it is targetting, of the worst possible kind and gives no useful information.
second, if we are going to take on refugees, then we take them on as they are, with all the physical and mental health problems they bring with them. these people are suffering, that is why they are refugees. if we care enough about them to bring them here, then we should care enough about them to feed them, house them, educate them and heal them. these costs will be more than for other groups, because refugees are severely disadvantaged.
third, the worst form of charity is the one that keeps reminding the recipient of how grateful they should be for our generosity. it puts the donee in a continual position of subservience, and is humiliating. better not to give at all than to do so grudgingly and carpingly.
fourth, when do these people get to shed the label of "refugee"? how many days, weeks, months or years does it take for them to be called zimbawean new zealanders, and for it to be acceptable for them to enjoy all the rights and facilities enjoyed by other new zealanders? as the article does point out, many of these people are taxpayers, so why should we grudge them the use of taxpayer funded services?
finally, when are our papers going to stop trying to teach us how to hate, how to set up one group against the others? what makes this kind of thing so despicable is that the target group is usually one that has the least ability to fight back. they already feel vulnerable and unwelcome, how can they possibly respond to an attack like this?
it is up to you and i to provide the voice that they don't have and can't have. as i've said in previous posts, we must complain to our news media that we just don't find this kind of reporting acceptable.