The Gatekeepers

Posted in Humanity, Peace, War by udoit on February 10, 2013

This post is not about the documentary featuring interviews of all surviving former heads of Shin Bet – the Israeli security agency – instead it is about how security and other similar agencies of three different countries distress people. As the above-mentioned documentary, this post’s purpose is to document plights of the people who live on the edge than accusing those agencies. These three stories illustrate the perils faced by those people from the gatekeepers.

Ranjini, a widow, who fled Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war with her two children, boarded a boat from India to Australia in April 2010. That vessel ran out of fuel and food before reaching Australian waters. Subsequently, Australian navy brought them to Christmas Island, and then they were moved to Perth, Adelaide before they were released to a community in Brisbane on April 2011. Five months later, she and her children were granted refugee status as a step towards permanent residency status. On April 2012, she met Ganesh, married and moved in with him to Melbourne. In May 2012, she and her two children were summoned to immigration office. When they met the officials, they were detained and flown to Sydney for an indefinite detention because Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) – the Gatekeepers – gave “negative assessment” to them. In life, when it rains, it pours. Yes! the next day in Sydney she found that, she was pregnant. In January 2013, she gave birth a baby boy in Villawood detention center. Since, ASIO’s mission is to keep the country as safe as it can, it will not tell why and how long it will keep Ranjini and her children  in detention. In addition, it is a matter of national security so she cannot appeal and as non-citizen, she has no rights.

Santhi, a fourth generation Malaysian Tamil (also Hindu) woman lives with her husband and children. She did not have national Identity Card (IC) and no attempts to get one were successful. Her mother, Meenakshi, cleans dishes for living and her father, Jamal, was no more. Meenakshi is a Hindu who left her parents when she was a teenager then married a Muslim. Jamal spent most of his time in Jail for various reasons so Meenakshi raised kids by herself. As a result, she did not apply Identity Card for all her kids so Santhi and one other sister did not have IC where as other three siblings have IC. When, she approached officials through ruling party Politicians to get IC, they advised her to apply as Muslim because her father was a Muslim. However, she refused to do so because she was raised as a Hindu and she wants to be a Hindu. At the age of 29, she and her children did not have IC. Subsequently, it is going to affect children’s education. The gatekeepers are asking her to convert as Muslim to get IC. I heard her story in a video dated year 2010; I hope she and her children got their IC now.

The last story is about Qursaya Island located in the middle of Nile River at Cairo, Egypt. It is a common story especially in third world countries of either Asia or Africa where people first given notice to evict from the land – they live for generations – to give way for new development projects. Usually, they do not have other places to go, so they will start protesting. The gatekeepers will execute their masters’ orders forcefully for the entire nation’s prosperity; of course, the original inhabitants of that land will sacrifice for the betterment of others. The following is an interesting comment from Um Khatib – a woman live in that Island, “What revolution? This revolution has done nothing for us. The new rulers are as deaf as the old ones”. Unfortunately, in the history of human beings irrespective of period, culture, language, geographical locations or different types of governments such as democratic republic, dictatorship, military regime and single party communism –voices of people living on the edge not heard more often.



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