Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Sad Case of Myung Yeol Hwang

For 12 years Korean tiler Myung Yeol Hwang worked on dozens of building sites in Australia, but in late August, after falling victim to a severe respiratory illness, he died penniless and virtually homeless.

Since then his body has been in the Glebe morgue in Sydney. Lonely death highlights illegal workers' plight, ABC News

May Day 2010 - Immigration Rally New York
Until a short time ago I condemned illegal immigration. Without hesitation. There was, in my way of thinking, no excuse. They, the illegals, jumped the queue. "Legal" immigrants (like myself in America), waited and paid hundreds of dollars in fees in order to obtain Green Cards. And so on. And so forth.

Then I read Chris Cleave's Little Bee. And changed. Completely.

Little Bee is a Nigerian girl who has learned to talk like the Queen. She's a refuge who has been detained in an immigration detention center forty miles east of London for two years. I've never heard a Nigerian woman speaking the Queen's English, so I can't vouch for the accuracy of the dialogue. But I believed in Little Bee from the first paragraph ... Jessica Gribble.

What horrors some people in this world go through. Horrors that most of us in the West can not imagine. What right have we to condemn those who try to find a better life? For many it isn't just a a case of finding a "better life", but a case of survival - those who flee their birth country in order to live.

We watch shows like "Hotel Rwanda"and shake our heads. How terrible. Yes it is.

I realize that in the world as it is, there cannot be the freedom of crossing borders, of moving countries, without restriction. Although this "freedom" is one that many Americans, Australians and English assume is their right. But there can be no excuse for any society allowing a man to be treated as Myung Yeol Hwang was.

America has proportionally many more illegal immigrants than Australia. People here don't believe me when I tell them about the detention centers in Australia, and the Australian detention centers that existed on small island nations pre-2007.

The Pacific Solution was the name given to the Australian government policy (2001–2007) of transporting asylum seekers to detention camps on small island nations in the Pacific Ocean, rather than allowing them to land on the Australian mainland. It had bi-partisan support from both the Liberal-National government and Labor opposition at the time.The Pacific Solution

The "Pacific Solution" is now off the books, thanks to Kevin Rudd. But one has to be concerned about Mr Rudd's successor, Julia Gillard, who before the 2010 Federal Election in Australia, proposed setting up an immigration "processing" center for "boat people" in Dili, East Timor. This struck me at the time as arrogant on two counts. Ms Gillard had not consulted the government of East Timor before she advocated the "Timor Solution", and in any case, if processing "boat people" is not appropriate for Australia, why is it appropriate for East Timor?

Eataly Butcher
I WAS going to write about Eataly in Manhattan. It was recommended to me by my friend Babs. An aficionado on all things New York. I went to Eataly especially today. I took photos and uploaded them, for this blog.

And then I read about Mr Myung Yeol Hwang.

I am Kathleenwng and I approve this message.

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