Letter to the Australian
22 July 2002

I WAS surprised, on reading your editorial, that after an initially compassionate response, you became harshly critical of those who had brought this story to the world's attention. ``There are other ways of expressing opposition,'' you say. But up until now, the other ways have failed to move either this callous Government or the bulk of the Australian people.

The papers are flooded with front-page articles, wonderfully vitriolic cartoons and supportive letters, and we hear there is an outcry in Britain, too.

It is tragic that the lives of two young boys have been ruined by our detention system, and a further tragedy that their bid for asylum has meant their return to prison.

If this system is to change, the newspapers have a responsibility, as we all do, to get the true stories into the public arena.

It seems it's only when a truly dramatic story emerges, that the issue receives the attention it deserves. The recent hunger strike received scant attention and the disgusting Siev X story has gone largely unnoticed.

At a gathering of 300 schoolchildren on Friday, when the Bakhtiyari story was discussed, amid tears, one young girl asked: ``Why do human beings treat other humans like this?''

Diana Greentree
Highlands, Vic

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