Despite being stripped of his Human Rights Medal on the basis of a technicality, Syrian activist and philanthropist Mahmoud Qabbani has stated that he will nevertheless continue to promote and protect the rights of the underprivileged and oppressed.
Describing the oversight as “regrettable”, a representative from the Australian Human Rights Commission explained that their “hands were tied” regarding the matter, as refugees (lapsed or otherwise) are, by definition, neither Australian citizens nor permanent residents, and are therefore ineligible for consideration.
Having received the aforementioned award in recognition of his outstanding commitment to raising awareness of the plight of Australian homeless people, Qabbani expressed that it was an honour to have even been nominated in the first place. The co-founder and CEO of Refugees for Homeless Australians went on to say that the charity wouldn’t exist in its current form were it not for Tony Abbott.
“By pledging to resettle 12,000 of us, Mr Abott unwittingly engendered an either/or situation, wherein any assistance we were afforded would come at the expense of Australian homeless people. In short, our gain, their loss. Realising this, it immediately occurred to me that a self-imposed ban on trying to escape certain death was the only appropriate response. I couldn’t bear to think of them out there in the cold, scared and confused, as their tin cans and hats were emptied of loose change by Government officials.”
As such, after repeated calls from Qabbani for a referendum, one was eventually held, and the people of Syria unanimously decided to respectfully decline the former Prime Minister’s generous last-ditch attempt to endear himself to the Australian public.
For obvious reasons, Qabbani was unable to attend the Human Rights Day Ceremony, which took place on the 10th of December at the Nauru Regional Processing Centre. Instead, soi-disant maverick and writer extraordinaire Tom Lowery was invited to accept the prestigious award on behalf of Qabbani and RFHA.
“I’m just glad they [the refugees] finally came to their senses. It’s better to stay and fight than flee [an active warzone]. Running away won’t solve anything,” said Lowery in his address to the audience.
“It’s a small price to pay for our peace of mind. Their sacrifice has ensured that our taxes won’t be squandered on unnecessary elective surgeries, like rape-baby abortions. Furthermore, now that they’ve resolved to stay put, the threat posed by IMAMs [Ideologically Motivated Asylum-seeking Missiles] has been effectively mitigated.”
“While we were all dying to visit Nauruland, the last thing we wanted was to burden the system, or to take advantage of Australia’s world-class hospitality. We had to break the cycle of dependency we found ourselves in. Humanitarian aid wasn’t something we could rely on forever,” Qabbani asserted. “Given that it’s inherently impossible to care about more than one thing at the same time, it was imperative to us that the interests of the Australian people remain the country’s only priority.”
“Not only were we concerned about the prospect of displacing native homeless people, but there were other factors we needed to consider, too,” Qabbani elaborated. “We didn’t want to be responsible for depriving professional welfare recipients of employment opportunities. Nor did we have any desire to prevent those with jobs from receiving unemployment benefits either.”
Though he fully endorsed Qabbani’s efforts to dissuade refugees from leaving Syria, Lowery remains sceptical of RFHA’s commitment to providing homeless Australians with much-needed services and facilities. “As homelessness has never affected me personally, I didn’t see how it could possibly be an issue. Honestly, I had no idea that people actually live on the streets. I always thought they were camping out for the new Apple product, or queuing up for a concert, but I guess I was wrong. In any case, this really needn’t be a zero-sum game,” Lowery remarked. “They can both fuck off.”
With $700 million now at its disposal, the Turnbull administration has outlined plans to reallocate these funds to the National Offense Budget. “We have to make sure there’s enough refugees to go around,” said Senator Payne. “As for the homeless, well, given that they have failed time and again to assimilate into society, it has been determined that it would be better for everyone involved if they were relocated to, and indefinitely detained in, one of our many offshore happy-camps.”
Ahmed Azmeh, an RFHA volunteer, noted that while the organisation has garnered a lot of support on social media, there has been no resultant increase in the frequency or sum of contributions made to the charity over the past four months. In fact, according to Azmeh, they are yet to receive a single donation. Surprisingly, The Salvation Army and St. Vincent De Pauls have reported similar findings.
“Getting people to acknowledge the mere existence of a problem is often the most difficult obstacle to negotiate in this line of work, but we’ve well and truly cleared that particular hurdle,” he said. “Unfortunately, the currency of human kindness simply isn’t a viable one in this economy, its value having been depreciated, what with all the counterfeit notes in circulation. This is why we desperately need people to sympathise with their wallets. If we had a dollar for every time we heard someone say ‘But what about the homeless?’ there probably wouldn’t be any homeless.”