Sunday 14 June 2015

'Cruel to be kind, or just cruel?'

This is a blog, and blogs are meant to be sort-of confessional. So let me confess...

I'm susceptible to emotional BBC reporting. (Who isn't, if it works its 'magic'?)

Jon Donnison, the BBC's very reluctant Sydney correspondent (see his extraordinary, Oz-bashing Twitter feed for proof of that), has been all over the BBC this weekend (including Friday's News at Ten), going where every other BBC Australia correspondent seems to have boldly gone before him...

....into the unpleasant consequences of Australia's rigorous but effective immigration policy.

Jon's piece was certainly powerful and, as the BBC warned, contained "disturbing images" - and I was appropriately disturbed by watching it.

His report didn't hold back on slipping in words like "notorious" to describe the centre on Papua New Guinea (where the Australians deflect their would-be illegal asylum immigrant seekers to)...

Australia stands condemned, Jon hinted, by the whole human rights world.

'Cruel to be kind, or just cruel?', he asked (in conclusion) - and it's very clear which answer he was steering us towards here. (No prizes for guessing).

I think it's fair to say that Jon isn't keen on the present (right-wing) Australian government, or its immigration policy - or Australia for that matter (again, please see his extraordinary Twitter feed).

As regular readers will be very well aware, Jon's heart remains very strongly with his beloved 'Palestine' - even after his (forced?) absence from Gaza and the West Bank. And Jon's latest tweet sings 'Happy Birthday', apparently to himself (consolingly?) Arabic.

And - he even adds the hashtag #Ramallah, longingly.

Dear Lord, let the BBC be merciful! Please put your servant Jon out of his misery and remove him from Oz and make him the BBC's Antarctic cycling correspondent instead.

Oh but, can you imagine it?

The penguins are calling in the ice-cold Antarctic night. Stars shine like Israeli drones above us. A terrifying security wall of ice is rising before me. A ten-year old penguin shivers. I take a photo and then mount my bike as the sinister shimmer of the Southern Lights begins to stream overhead as if carrying the sound of distant Palestinians wailing. The cold of Antarctica is a cruel blockade forcing the penguins to stay on this tiny overcrowded continent, whose beaches are more beautiful than anything you'd find in Australia. Only the beaches of Gaza are more beautiful, and they lie far away. Human rights groups compare the Australian bit of Antarctica to Guantanamo Bay. Jon Donnison, BBC News, Antarctica.


  1. That report was pure propaganda.

    I'd love the Australian government to politely enquire if it was supportive of its national broadcaster so grotesquely attacking a method of control they have tried and succeeded with whilst advocating one here that is panning out as disastrously as expected.

    Careful what you wish for on the cycling correspondent front.

    That's Stuart Hughes' beat, and last I recall he was not above using the BBC to mount a not very subtle propaganda campaign against Addison Lee.

    Try pursuing that one and you could get expedited, in a neat display of the commitment to transparency the BBC can be trusted to display.

  2. Edit: 'I'd love the Australian government to politely enquire of HMG if it was supportive of its national broadcaster..'

    From drinking (not the bubbly in the corridor version, of course) to childcare, to AGW, it seems the BBC is prepared to sync on the 'supportive' front of government policy... if it suits.


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