Today is the day of action/vigil by health, education and community work sector supporters of the ‘Let them land, Let them stay’ campaign to support the closing of off-shore detention centres.  I wear a T-shirt and think: “This is little enough surely.”

Those doctors, nurses, teachers and  psychiatrists working in the detention centres are at the ethical frontline of this issue. The High Court says it’s illegal, PNG government agrees, the UN declares it a violation of human rights. The support workers have to sign gag orders in order to be allowed in but once there…  you have to ask yourself: If I stop work in protest, who will do what little work is allowed? If I speak up will I be fired? Will I be prosecuted? will I be allowed back here? Will my actions affect the conditions here to be worse for the refugees or other staff who might come after me?

First do no harm.

But it’s too late for that. what can we do second? What can we do 4-5 years on for these refugees who are waiting for a place that feels like safe haven?

The bus, the train, the bus, walking across campus. The T-shirt says something and people are reading it. Like doing actions on the high holidays that implicate the structures and powers of the church, wearing this at Uni (and presumably hospitals, schools, etc.) implicates the power and structures of those agencies. Jesus heals, hears their whole truth and they are healed again (Mark 5:25-34).  Jesus’ power heals but then he sits with the woman, with the foreigner, with the unclean and personally engages the message ‘you are other’ with the message ‘you are mine‘.

I imagine someone denouncing me: “You’re not even a doctor, or nurse, or teacher…” and I think, “Yeah, I’m not. I’m not a trained, qualified, practising professional and I still think this is important, how is it you don’t?”

These people are not ‘other’, they’re ours.

Video: Australia’s Detention Camps