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Monday, 25th of April, 2005

Egan on Peter Qasim (8:11 pm)

I've only just discovered that another of Greg Egan's impassioned and articulate essays on the continuing neglect (a word that doesn't even begin to describe the appalling reality) of refugees under the current Australian regime.
Visitors to his site will be well aware that Greg has been expending most of his energies on fighting for refugee rights in the last few years. In this article for the Melbourne Age he tells the heartbreaking story of Peter Qasim, unwanted by India, where he was tortured as a youth, maltreated in Papua New Guinea, and languishing in Australian detention centres for an astonishing 6½ years now. His words from letters over the period make for painful reading.
Amnesty International covered his predicament in the latest Human Rights Defender:

The Department of Immigration has justified Qasim’s continued detention on the grounds that he has not followed correct protocol to enable his return to India and therefore is responsible for his own ongoing predicament.
Sometimes it's hard not to get that vertiginous feeling, contemplating how much longer we all are going to have to put up with this government of ours. But for some , who have no choice whatsoever about who's in charge down in Canberra, the consequences of the selfish masses' choice are all too inescapable.

In happier news, I've heard from various sources that we can expect a number of new Greg Egan stories finally this year, or at least in the next year and a bit. Who knows how long it'll take for the various anthologies to come out, but Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan have both confirmed that Greg Egan stories are slated to appear in anthologies currently being put together. Can't wait!

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