A Psychoanalytic Study of Australia’s Treatment of those on Manus Island and
Nauru ( Also referencing material written by Behrouz Boochani in a recent
article for The Guardian 7 September 2018)
Five years ago Australian immigration minister Scott Morrison entered Manus prison
and met a number of refugees. He threatened them “you have no chance of coming to
Australia and you must return to your countries”. This piece of flotsam now presides
over Australia. Mind you, the Labour party is no better. Boochani points out that
Morrison’s pronouncement produced a wave of hopelessness so great that a few
people made suicide attempts.
Morrison’s despicable behavior was also subject to serious criticism from the prison
authorities. For days the situation in the detention center was out of control, leading
eventually to a riot in February 2014 that resulted in the killing of Reza Barati.
According to Boochani, Morrison was instrumental in establishing a system that is
responsible for the deaths of 12 human beings. Boochani perceives Morrison as a
demagogue who tries to present himself as a moderate. This is true, our new leader
cunningly elicits emotional responses from the masses and uses these responses from
the masses and uses these responses for his own ends. There are traces of the
narcissist about him but he shrewdly manipulates his personality to appear benign.
During the past five years, refugees on Manus and Nauru have lived through four prime
ministers and two federal elections and as Boochani asserts “both major political parties
in Australia compete to see who will succeed in totally destroying us”. We remain
trapped on these two islands while Australia lacks the moral courage and political will to
change its policy of off sharing refugees.
The island detention centers are a manifestation of Australia’s education system and its
cultural and political developments. Many of Australia’s population perceive refugees as
a threat to the status quo, especially on religious grounds. This is insidious since
refugees would constitute a fragment of Australia’s population. Of course, part of the
problem is that many Australians have no idea that Manus and Nauru exist. They garner
their news online or on social media: their brain frazzled by Infotech. May these people
soon be in receipts of advanced biotech which may reorganize their neural pathways
and create in them compassion and empathy. Boochani argues “Just consider the effect
on the nation of its leader caging children for years in a remote and forlorn prison. What
future does a nation have when those same leaders take selfies with those children as
part of their PR campaigns?”
Boochani rightly claims that “Australia needs to instill humanitarian principles within its
center of power. Australia needs to think seriously about the value of life and what
constitutes a democratic and human society. Australia needs a moral revolution to
escape this dead end”.
I’m afraid many Australians are already dead, lost in the world of materialism and
consumerism; seduced by technology, even obsessed by technology. Narcissism and
egotism ride supreme and compassion is almost a four letter word.
What in the hell happened to the so-called “lucky country”; the land of opportunities?
Part of the answer to this question lies in the type of leader this country has attracted. In
the main men who were seduced by knowledge, wealth and power and their own
self-importance. There weren’t many Gough Whitlam! Once in power, these men
transferred their aims and ambitions to the masses inhibiting the growth of their ethical
and compassionate vision: the population became as self-absorbed as the leaders!
In a sense, Australians have cut themselves off from the divine within. I’m a religious, so
I’m talking about a world of infinite possibilities, a world of compassion and gratitude: a
realm referred to by Jung as the “collective unconscious”. Boochani refers to “a
profound moral quagmire” and asks where is Australia heading?
In response I will say this “Australia, the Karma will come back to you”, “Be prepared!”
-Dianne Helen Edwards