Lament for the children

We’re aching the children,
we want to wipe their tears
We want to give them freedom,
we long to end their fear.

We can feel the shame,
the helplessness and pain,
of children in detention,
their lives held in suspension.
We mourn with them and grieve,
and we won’t be relieved
Until the suff’ring kids are freed
Until the kids are freed.

These families are sentenced
to futility and despair
while those who sit in judgement
condemn without a care.
But no crime has been committed,
they came looking for a welcome;
they asked us for protection,
and we stole their hope and freedom

We’re aching the children,
we want to wipe their tears
We want to give them freedom,
we long to end their fear.

The criminals in Canberra
pretend to serve our interest.
They claim it’s for our benefit,
that it’s for the best.
Our moral compass has been lost
on that we can be clear:
It’s been swallowed by the politics,
of racism and fear;

On the tiny island of Nauru,
amidst the desolation,
no one’s going anywhere;
there is no destination.
There’s nothing to look forward to
just more desperation,
for children and their parents, too,
a helpless situation.

We’re aching the children,
we want to wipe their tears
We want to give them freedom,
we long to end their fear.

Childhood should be wond’rous,
with laughter. and with learning;
without the fear and sadness,
the aching and the yearning.
If we only could we’d make it right,
create a justice outcome,
take their hands, hold them tight
and make these children welcome.

How long must the children wait
for justice and compassion?
Kindness, hospitality;
why must these things be rationed?
We will raise our voices high,
together we shall loudly cry:
Until the suff’ring kids are freed,
Until the kids are freed.

We’re aching the children,
we want to wipe their tears
We want to give them freedom,
we long to end their fear.

Ken Rookes 2018

I wrote this for the Bendigo Rural Ausralians for Refugees rally held last Wednesday, calling for the release of children and their families from detention on the Island of Nauru. The people were invited to participate in the response (Bold). It works as a sort of rap.

I was invited to offer it as a prayer at Eaglehawk Uniting Church this morning. People responded positively, and it opened up some good conversations

 

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On Nauru

On Nauru

Linocut 12 x 21 cm

I produced this to use on a poster for a rally calling for all the children and their families to be freed from detention on Nauru

Mr Abbott, open your mind before you open your mouth.

Describing remote community living as a lifestyle choice again demonstrates that Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, just doesn’t get it.

For indigenous people, their remote community is their home.

It is their place of belonging, their land, their life.

Take them away from that, and their lives are diminished.

Many people living in remote communities are still not quite at home. Their family lands  have been taken and used by others; and they are forced to live alongside people who may be hostile to them. But it is as close as they are going to get to “home.” We, the dominant culture, have seen to that.

Remote communities are inconvenient, and costly. We might hope that they go away. In time some of them most likely will. Our racist attitudes and policies will ensure that this happens. And the people will suffer even more than they do now.

Jane and I have chosen to live in a remote community, but it was never a ‘life-style’ choice. The issues of remote communities are complex and multi-layered. In our third year here each day brings new insights, and challenges to our understandings; and we feel we are just beginning.

Mr Abbott, open your mind before you open your mouth.