Home and away
Mum is a rehab counselor for people with alcohol problems. Grandma Raynor lives next door. Dad is a driver for Elgas. Then there's me, fifteen, into a lot of different stuff. Music, surfing, animals, tennis, swimming, computer games. And my sister, Claire, and brother Toby. We re a typical Australian family. Barbeques, footy, gardening, school, Holden Commodores Then one day things change. April 26, Dad burns the toast, yells at Toby, thanks me for cleaning the cab of the truck, kisses Mum and Toby, then he's gone April 27, the war starts May 21, the city's in ruins, blackouts nearly all the time, food is hard to find September 13, Dad's heard news of a boat. We might get out of here yet September 28, it is just after dawn. A boat from their Navy has found us. We waved and cried and cheered. But then, slowly, we realised they were shouting at us, telling us to go away September 30, we are in a huge prison, with razor wire all around us. The government says there's no room for us. The Prime Minister says that if they let us out into the community it ll just encourage other illegal immigrants. The Deputy Prime Minister says we re not genuine refugees. The Minister for Immigration says we should have gone through the proper procedures and applied to come here the prescribed way. Apparently there was a queue or a waiting list or something, and we were meant to find an Immigration Office and put our names down to be considered. I guess they re right. I feel terrible about the trouble we've caused them.
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I don't understand
Every Australian should read this book. It should be part of all school curricula. With few words cleverly matched with brilliant illustrations it shows the oneness of the human race, the vulnerability of all of us, the uncertainty of the futures of all of us. And by raising this awareness, it fosters understanding and compassion for those who are living what, for us could be just around the corner, through no fault or choice of our own. It exposes the ignorance and arrogance of any stance other than recognition that: "The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens." Baha'i Writings.