Sunday, November 6

On Butterflies wings and a prayer

Last Saturday according to the Sunday Age newspaper in Eltham,  a leafy northern eastern suburb of Melbourne where I live   "The battle for Eltham" dubbed by the newspaper was won by the butterflies which carried the day. 

The battle was between pro and anti refugees groups but what the small anti group of protestors encountered adorning the surrounding trees and footpaths were 8000 beautiful depictions of colourful butterflies. This was the predawn work of locals wanting to express symbolically their welcome to the 120 Syrian refugees soon to be accommodated in a section of an aged care facility. The pictures of police standing guard on the pavement under a blanket of large butterflies looked was quite amazing.       

The refugees are to be housed for 2 years in a separate section of  St Vincent's aged care facility which was previously derelict but now renovated for their use while they re-establish themselves. 

Protestors put up signs "Protect elderly in aged care" but the renovated independent units are separate to the high care section and only families will be occupying the units and no single men. Others have voiced concern these units could have been used to alleviate shortages in aged care. But demand is specific only to high care and there is no shortage of independent units in the shire.                  
In our local Catholic church parishioners have been very active for a number of months organising donations of essential household goods for designated units so that the refugees feel welcome.   


susan said...

It sounds as though your village is providing a warm welcome to your new inhabitants. I feel so very bad for what's happened to all the people in the Middle East who've been drven from their homes by the cruelty of war. They certainly don't need more troubles on top of what they've already been through.

The Canadian government announced just recently that 300,000 refugees a year will be immigrating here. It seems like a lot to me what with our struggling economy and lack of modest housing but we shall see. In summer it's been nice to see people who look as though they feel they've died and gone to heaven picnicing in the park.

All the best

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan,
Indeed it is a sobering thought continuing conflicts in the Middle East stretch back 30 years or more to the latest horrendous war involving many factions. The least we can do is to welcome Syrian refuges.

But I think you will find the Canadian government announced 300,000 immigrants in a year, of which about 55,000 are refugees. As you know both Australia and Canada have a lot in common, including immigration policies. Australia takes in about 190,000 immigrants which pro rata on our reduced population of 22 million versus Canada’s 35 million is at the same level. We are expected to take in 37,000 refugees in 2017. Both countries have generous immigration and refugee intakes.
Best wishes