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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Downer, Burma, refugees and guano

Photo: The Age

Hands up if you think Alexander Downer is charismatic - with or without the fishnet tights? hands up people and you are looking puzzled. Miss Eagle is not sure if he has great intellectual capacity either.

We know the Howard Government has great difficulty with refugees - actually the Howard Government has great difficulty with people, particularly people who are not Anglo, not rich, not powerful. But Downer has put his foot in his mouth this time. He reckons that we can't take all the refugees in the world (duh!) but we should focus on Burma and take refugees from there.

What a difference a headline makes! No, local headlines won't do. They have to be international - and preferrably supported by George W. Bush and Condi Rice. So Burma and the Burmese become the flavour of the month.

Meanwhile, in the real world - where people other than Alexander Downer live - the words Burmese and refugee are lived out experiences for some people - not mealy-mouthed words in the face of a sanctimonious Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs. You see, dear Reader, there are Burmese refugees left to rot in that very strange place where no shit actually describes its landscape, Nauru.

So this Foreign Minister who speaks loud and long of "experience" and the need for it as an echo of His Master's Voice, John Howard, clearly cannot hold two consequential thoughts in his mind to make some sort of sense: refugees Burma.

  • They're here already, Alexander Downer.
  • You ignore them already, Alexander Downer.
  • You are full of guano, Alexander Downer.
  • Suggest you take up residence on Nauru, Alexander Downer.
  • You clearly have the capacity, Alexander Downer, to make renewable deposits of guano such that the economy of Nauru could be easily revived.