Alwyn McNamara is an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher at St Mary’s Primary School, Warners Bay. She recently felt compelled to voice her concerns about the asylum seeker debate by writing a poem. We present the poem during Migrant and Refugee Week (19 - 25 August).
You can read her submission below:
We took a boat across the sea
To claim this land for you and me
We ‘turned’ it into holy ground
And so we build a fence around
This land we ‘own’,
This holy ground.
To keep it safe from others’ harm
To keep it ours, to keep it calm.
But now they come across the sea
In their boats, to take it from me.
They’ll take our jobs, our way of life
They’ll take our homes, they’ll take our wives.
Our media tells us everyday
They are no good, send them away
Those people from across the sea,
Looking for love, humanity.
Our government says we’re a secular nation
With Christian values as our core station.
We show them as we work and play,
in fact we show them every day.
But those values are for you and me
They do not extend across the sea
To those who need our humanity.
But what would Jesus really do?
Show more compassion than me and you?
He’d take in the sick, the lost, the poor…but
Would he really then ignore
Those people from across the sea
Who need our love, humanity?
Who aren’t that different from you and me?
Who love their God, pray and give charitably?
Would he accept them into our society?
Or would he turn his back and say
“You are too different, go away!
We do not want your problems here.
We don’t want your hate and fear.
We have our own, too much you see.
And you can’t take our way of life from me.
To have you here is not the Aussie way
So find another place to stay”.
But they can’t go home,
These people who came across the sea,
They have no place to go, you see.
They have no home, their own is gone.
Taken away like the breeze takes a song.
No safe place to go to sleep at night
Because of drought, poverty and fight.
Yet here they come in boats, risking lives
With their children and their wives.
Looking for a home, you see
Filled with love and humanity.
But Australia has closed the door
And said “We don’t want anymore”.
Our politicians, our people scared
“What it is, we’ve got, we don’t want it shared”.
These people who come across the sea,
Looking for love and humanity.
Should we really send them to PNG?