This morning while fumbling around my hard drive for an article I lost, I stumbled across a reminder of why internet arguments are usually bad ideas.
Last year, for the first (and hopefully last) time in my life I got embroiled in one such argument. The debate took place over a number of days, so for the sake of convenience I’ve dramatically trimmed the discussion, retaining the general argument and a few highlights.
I’ve also changed everyone’s names except mine. Although it’s all in the public domain (the avid reader could hunt down the original thread), but I saw no need to mention names on my own blog.
In any case, the pseudonyms I’ve endowed the other participants with seem perfectly appropriate.
Anyway, it all started with this newsworthy announcement from AdelaideNow:
AdelaideNow:The PM will announce today that Australian troops will be brought home from Afghanistan almost a year ahead of schedule.
So readers don’t get an (arguably accurate) impression that Adelaide is overwhelmingly infested with stupid, I should point out that there were plenty of reasonable comments, such as these:
Mr Reasonable citizen: About time shouldn’t of been there in first place.
Ms Reasonable: Bout time. Pity it’s not for the right reasons but political pull. Thank you troops for your work. Let’s get them home away from where they should never been
Ms Makes-Sense: That’s great news for Many Australian Families Thanks Diggers
Then, as the day wore on, stupid attacked.
Bozo: Good, now we can send the ‘asylum’ seekers back…
Snorkle: Pity she won’t announce the return of all illegal immigrants.
Giggles: .If it is now ok to withdraw our troops because it is safe, does this mean we can send the illegals alreadt here back, and turn the boats around ?…Saving billions of $$$$$ and use that money for her stupid carbon tax, instead of squeezing the hell out of the battlers and sending them to the wall ?…..Still won’t get my vote ranga….Your done and dusted ranga!
Bubbles: And the red headed lesbian with the obviously gay hairdresser boyfriend won’t be getting my vote, this is not for the right reason but just to fool the public and go to the election with a positive, how many more Australians will die now because of this decision but that will happen after the next election when Alquaida get back into power.
Me: The racism and ignorance here is startling. The “red headed lesbian” has an “obviously gay…boyfriend”? Really? Both members of a heterosexual relationship are gay? Thanks Bubbles. Incoherent homophobic rants aside, the ability of a politician to perform their duties has nothing to do with their sexual orientation.
Me:As for Snorkle’s remark regarding “all illegal immigrants”, I feel inclined to concur. As I’m sure she is aware, the vast majority of illegal immigrants are US/UK nationals who overstay their visas. Surely, cracking down on these illegals would give the Australian government more resources to address immigrants in greater need- such as asylum seekers who come by boat, most of which are granted refugee status. As I’m sure Snorkle is aware, it is not illegal to arrive in Australia without a visa and request political asylum as a refugee. More information about common misconceptions regarding immigration can be found here, http://www.ajustaustralia.com/informationandresources_factsandstatistics.php.
Me: Also, how can we possibly have an intelligent discussion about “Afghanastan” Diddles? What about the nation of “afghanstiona” that Snugly mentions? Moomoo’s counter-terrorism expertise is also questionable, along with her background knowledge of “Alquaida”. The lack of basic language skills is disappointing. Facebook is a social tool, so I’m not suggesting that anyone take more than a relaxed disposition towards articulation. However, I’m surprised someone who spells “already” with a “t” (such as the esteemed Giggles) can actually read The Advertiser.
Giggles:..Mr Perfect Outrim..So what makes you so bloody perfect….Haven’t you ever made a typo error moron?…..Perhaps you need to get your facts and information right before you base your stupid opinions …For your information they ARE illegal if they by pass safe countries to ” Country shop” for the best benefits they can get…Have you never studied what isn happening in Europe ? or do you just mouth off. You REALLY need to do some homework. Perhaps you could explain why they throw their passports overboard on the way here, if they have nothing to hide ?..Perhaps you can explain why they don’r assimilate , but are prepared to grab anything they can from the taxpayer. even wanting the taxpayer to pay for them to have a holkiday back in the country where they were ” persecuted”….If they were genuinly persecuted, why would they or anyone else want to go back ? Please explain ?…. http://www.australiafirst.net/fakerefugees.htm ..Now be a REAL tool and run through this post and see if you can find anymore typo errors.. Idiot.
(a few moments later)Giggles:.Mr perfect Outrim…Now look very careful…REAL careful at the above post…I have left a typo error in there ,,Just to amuse you.
Me: Everyone makes minor errors from time to time. I myself do so regularly; I certainly do not consider myself perfect. I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. My intention was to highlight the clear lack of understanding of the complex geopolitical issues being discussed here in a lax, arrogant manner. After all, if no one here can spell Afghanistan or Al Qaeda, how can they possibly claim to have clear, concise views on the humanitarian and security concerns relevant to this discussion? I cannot stress how complicated these issues are; wayward, poorly informed commentary such as that shown here (and within The Advertiser itself, I might add) is simply not useful. Nonetheless, you have made a few interesting points in your rebuttal. Indeed, the movement of people can cause numerous social problems. The example of Europe today is timely, given the recent court appearance of an alleged terrorist responsible for many deaths in Norway. This is not to say that it is impossible for refugees to integrate into a host society, there are plenty of success stories. The Australian Refugee Association (http://www.australianrefugee.org/) is a good place to start if you are interested in researching expert opinions on refugee integration. Generally, despite a few isolated incidences regarding right-wing aggression, most experts seem to agree that Australia has had a positive experience regarding refugee immigration since WWII.
(I then decided to respond to the ‘article’ posted by Giggles)
Me:Your article is not particularly interesting, however. It lacks citation, and fails to sufficiently reference the relevant legislation. I would advise that the publisher consider employing basic academic norms in order to gain greater credibility. Also, in response to your request, I must answer in the affirmative regarding your enquiry related to the presence of grammatical errors in this publication. However, I suspect the minor errors are of little importance to the publisher, the Australia First Party. Indeed, Australia First probably (and rightly) devotes more time to addressing accusations of neo-Nazi and white supremacist tendencies, and the alleged relationship between senior members and the KKK, than to taking due care when editing publications. Once these accusations are finally put to bed, and the party has convincingly renounced racist and fascist ideals, perhaps your friends could consider publishing their work in an academic journal. Of course, I say this purely sarcastically- we all know most degenerate fascists are often locked from the realms of genuine policy debate in Australia today due to their minimal intellectual capacities (an inherent requirement of racist indoctrination). Although, the NT intervention and continued lack of sufficient support for Indigenous Australians may undermine this point.
Me: As an aside, Giggles you did not leave one typo as you suggested- there are numerous errors in all of your posts. Moreover, you are correct in your assumption that I am amused by this. I will be sure to use the comments you have provided as anecdotal evidence for the final point I made in the preceding comment. By the way, if Mallett-Outtrim is too difficult for you to copy, Ryan will suffice.
I then posted the following link, and strongly advised Giggles read it. http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/justsalvos/up/downloads/Refugee_and_Asylum_Seekers/refugeesandasylumseekers.pdf
Amy: Go Ryan!
Giggles: ….Mr Outrim….Perhaps this would be a good place for you to start ?…If you are suggesting that that illegal boaties ( Because they can afford air fares to fly into Indonesia, then $20,000 to people smugglers while bypassing safe countries, then throw their passports overboard to make it harder to identify them) should have priority over these GENUINE refugees, then I suggest you go back to the drawing board, and get your priorities right …..So in your screwed up opinion…Who do you think deserve the help to get here as refugees…Illegal boaties, or those in Africa ?..Who would you fight for first ?…P/S…Do you have any comment on Amy’s comment, Spelling Ryan with a lower case “R”…and starting off a sentence with a lower case” G”…MMMMMM You say nothing about that because he’s saying something that tickles your ear. Hypocrite. Here is your REAL refugee, not financial illegal boaties. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRSHdxgtNXw …Why do they throw their passports overboard again
Bubbles: Ryan Outrim, of course she’s a lesbian and he’s a poofter, it’s a sham relationship like when Elton John married a woman. It’s just another example of her lying to the public. As for you refugee rants, why don’t these boat people apply for refugee status at the OHCHR office in Indonesia? the ones that come here by boat destroy passports and lie about where they are from knowing full well it’s impossible to prove otherwise. Many young men that come here are simply cowards for not fighting for freedom in their own country, and notice how they have left their wives and children behind in this dangerous country to come out here?
Bubbles: It’s idiots like you that will turn this country to another England or France.
Me: I will attempt to assist both of you in your inquiries in a concise manner, but bear in mind this sort of discussion does not lend itself well to Facebook. As you can see I’m spamming like a troll already, so I do apologise. Firstly, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission, “Australia has obligations to protect the human rights of all asylum seekers and refugees who arrive in Australia, regardless of how or where they arrive and whether they arrive with or without a visa.”
This is in accordance with the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (CRSR). For the exact definition of a refugee, refer to Article 1 of the CRSR, as amended by the 1967 Protocol. The legal expectation of protection is further stipulated in Article 31. This is compliant with Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that, “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
Your allegations of criminal activity engaged in by asylum seekers arriving by boat are amusing, yet fanciful. From anecdotal evidence, the narrative you refer to in your partially coherent comment is not representative of most refugees; whether they arrive by boat or plane. More significantly, however is the simple fact that at least 90% of applications for refugee status from undocumented arrivals are granted (refer to the SMH article included below- not the best source I admit, but sufficient for this discussion I’m sure). Refugee status is only obtained after a lengthy investigative process. If you feel the outcome of any particular investigation is incorrect, I would advise you contact the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) immediately.
I cannot critically examine the law(s) you refer to that prohibit refugees from moving between numerous countries before arriving in a nation willing to grant asylum. The reason for this is that you have not cited any such laws. In order to claim someone is a criminal, you need to be able to cite a law that they have broken. No one in this discussion has achieved this. Furthermore, I feel it is necessary to remind everyone that Indonesia is not a signatory to the CRSR. In fact, a large proportion of refugees who have arrived in Australia in recent years originate from countries such as Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. The most common route to Australia involves transportation to neighbouring Pakistan (for Afghani nationals), then by sea to Malaysia or Indonesia. Neither Afghanistan or SL have Australian Embassies, UNHCR offices (not ONHCR, Ms Milton- get your acronyms right) or signatures on the CRSR. Pakistan and Malaysia are also not signatories to the CRSR, so they have no legal obligation to assist asylum seekers (regrettably).
Me: Lastly, in relation to Giggles’s point, I must stipulate that I do not believe undocumented arrivals should have priority over refugees able to reach an Australian embassy or UNHCR office outside Australia. Ideally, it would be great if anyone threatened by war or persecution could just call the UN and be whisked out of a conflict zone. Unfortunately, this is not the case. As I learned whilst working in refugee camps, escaping from conflict zones is incredibly difficult. As Amnesty has documented, applying for refugee status from a conflict zone is a lengthy experience, and can be more risky than simply fleeing. Asylum seekers in many countries can face huge risks approaching UN installations, including UNHCR offices. Moreover, many refugees simply do not have sufficient insight into their rights to understand how to go about applying for asylum. Refer to the excellent article by Amnesty included below for a better explanation. Even awaiting processing in Indonesia can be incredibly risky; refer to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty for comprehensive details on human rights violations committed by Indonesian authorities against asylum seekers.
Me: Oh, and as mentioned Facebook is a social tool, so minor grammatical errors are reasonable. Refer to my earlier comments. Repeatedly acting as though you have an informed view regarding nations and organisations when you can’t even spell their names is arrogance. Arrogance + ignorance makes Ryan a sad boy.
Giggles: …..Hell !! .. You would make a good politicion, Full of crap….So, AGAIN just why do they throw their passports overboard ?….Seems to me your a muslim ?…You show absolutely no concern for what is happening in Europe and have a very layback attitude,and are prepared to let it it happen in this country. Please , don’t insult my intelligence and tell me it wont happen here. It is that attitude you display is the reason Hitler got into power…I REALLY think you should show more concern with the facts and actions to what is REALLY happening in the world than trying to spin crap. .Wake up and smell the coffee ! http://www.hotheads.com.au/immigrants.htm
Giggles then posted a series of Youtube clips, all arguing the same basic line.
Giggles: ….By the way Mr know it all Outrim….It IS illegal to leave a safe country just so you can get better welfare from another. http://www.menzieshouse.com.au/2011/08/a-real-answer-for-illegal-migration-problems.html
Me: I find it hard to believe advocates for social justice such as myself brought Hitler to power. I think fascists did that. Actually, I think uneducated, xenophobic radical nationalists and eccentric conspiracy theories (to be elaborated upon later) did a lot to support Hitler.
I’m getting tired of repeating myself. Suitable answers to all of your (coherent) inquiries can be found in the relevant legislation, or in any of the articles I have posted here. Unless you post a genuinely intelligent, well founded, clearly thought out and concisely articulated question I cannot continue to respond to this thread. I have enough material to laugh at your poor responses in my international relations and global security classes for quite some time.
None of your articles present an actual legal argument. One comes close by actually making a brief mention to the Refugee Convention (this is where I got excited), but before citing a single article to back its eccentric interpretation, the author simply dives into a protracted discourse on how Muslim immigrants are involved in a sophisticated plot to take over Australia (excitement…fading). Then I reached this statement, “The most common route for them [refugees] is via Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, none of which have a policy or track record of persecuting or killing them.” This is incorrect. All of these nations excluding Singapore have a long history of persecuting and killing asylum seekers and refugees. This is well documented by numerous human rights organisations, including Amnesty and HRW. Again, Singapore is the only country mentioned that I would consider irrefutably safe for refugees, especially families with children. None of these countries (again, excluding Singapore) recognise the legal rights of refugees and asylum seekers in accordance with the Refugee Convention. I have personally worked with refugees who have been persecuted and suffered horrific conditions in some of these countries.
For the last time, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission, “Australia has obligations to protect the human rights of all asylum seekers and refugees who arrive in Australia, regardless of how or where they arrive and whether they arrive with or without a visa.”
The above quote is directly sourced from the AHRC,an “independent statutory organisation “ that “report[s] to the federal Parliament through the Attorney-General”. It was “established in 1986 by an act of the federal Parliament” (see http://www.hreoc.gov.au/about/index.html). If you feel your interpretation of the Refugee Convention is better than that of the AHRC, you should bring it up with the Attorney-General.
I regret that you feel the UNHCR, AHRC, ASIO, Amnesty International and HRW are all complicit in this complex web of Islamic conspiracies threatening the Western world. I guess you can’t trust anyone, when the Muslims have infiltrated everything (insert sarcastic tone).
Now, when you start resorting to wild conspiracy theories, I know you have at last reached rock bottom. This is where it ends. Eventually everyone like you I argue with falls back to this last bastion of stupidity and ignorance.
The Muslims/Jews/Mormons/Knights Templar/Ronald Reagan’s zombie/ whatever are behind all our woes and misery.
Hitler’s derogatory vilification of Jews was fundamental to his ideology of hatred and supremacist notions. The narrative that the Jews were running the world, manipulating everyone with the intent to dominate us all functioned as a galvanising mechanism to keep everyone paranoid. It aided in the mobilisation of dissatisfied, unstable nationalists in the overthrow of the Weimar Republic. Sounds familiar? It should.
Socialists like me didn’t bring Hitler to power, people like you did.