Refugee roulette

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Tony French.

afghan refugee kids resized
‘Afghan refugee kids in Munda camp, Pakistan, December 1987’
by Erwin Franzen
flickr cc

Abdul is dishing up the kebabs, breads, and dips. There is a lot of food. The tiny city serviced office is becoming a kitchen, and there a five of us, jostling not just for workspace, but now for food. The food is Abdul’s contribution. The rest of us are contributing our combined ‘migration agent’ expertise. Our task is to bring Abdul’s mother and his three young siblings to Australia. Jokingly, we call ourselves the ‘expert panel’.

Abdul is 22, and a Hazara. His father was the local village headman in a very small village in a very remote part of Afghanistan. Being semi-literate meant that he was the community prayer leader. He was murdered for the twin offences of being Hazara (a long persecuted minority) and Shia (the wrong brand of Islam in a dominantly Sunni district). Abdul explains the religious differences – arms crossed during prayer rather than down your side, praying directly to Allah or through an intermediary saint. Stunned, we say “and people are killed because of that?”.

To read Tony’s article in full, click HERE.

 

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