Labour blocked vote to bomb Syria, now we must take responsibility and take Aleppo refugees
After the disastrous decision by the Labour Party to vote against providing military help to the Syrian people (because of their self righteous pacifist stance) Aleppo is now a place of death and hell on earth for men, women and children.
We must now help and try to clean up the mess that the Labour Party helped to create.
Aleppo Refugee Success Story
The day Youssef Moussally, 63, got a second call from the Australian Embassy was the first time he had felt happiness in five years.
The Moussally family are among the first Syrian refugees to arrive in Hobart as part of a State Government commitment to increase Tasmania’s refugee intake.
They fled their home in Aleppo after the Syrian conflict started, and moved to Iraq’s Kurdistan region, where they lived before moving to Hobart last month.
Mr Moussally’s son, Elia, recalled the day they found out they were Australia-bound.
“It was 9:00am and I woke up and found a missed call from the Australian Embassy in Jordan,” he said.
“I told [my family] ‘We have a missed call’, and they said ‘Why you didn’t answer!’.”
After a short period of time panicking that they had missed their window of opportunity, Elia got another call from the Embassy with the news their visas had been approved.
His father Youssef said it was the best news he had received in years.
“It was the first time I felt really happy for five years, when the war had started,” he said.
“Aleppo is a very nice city, we enjoyed life there before the war.
“We left because of the crazy war there. It was really sad for us, because this city was really amazing, and after the war it is almost destroyed.”
Mr Moussally’s wife, Rania, said the decision to leave Aleppo was difficult because they had loved their city.
“It was a really hard decision, but after two years without electricity and without water, we made that difficult decision and we moved to Iraq,” she said.
“I love Tasmania very much, it’s really amazing. The people are really kind and everyone has tried to help us to feel like we are not so far from our country.”
Pre-war Aleppo remembered fondly by other refugees
The Ghazal family, who also arrived in Hobart last month after fleeing Aleppo, have similar fond memories of their home city prior to the conflict.
“After the war, life changed,” father Rimoun Ghazal said.
“We couldn’t stay there anymore. People started to be kidnapped.
“I decided to leave my country, to save my family.”
One month on from their arrival in Hobart, Mr Ghazal said he was confident they had made the right decision.
“The main goal for me is to educate my children, for them to have a future,” he said.
His daughter Grace, 8, has already picked up several English words and said she loved her new school.
“I have so many friends,” she said.
Catholic Care Multicultural Service programs manager James Norman said both families received support to find permanent housing, schools and medical centres.
“We meet the families at the airport and then we work with them for about 12 months,” he said.
“We support them with the knowledge that they need to settle successfully in Australia and Tasmania.”
Mr Norman said the families were adapting well.
“They are attending English classes and are going to school,” he said.
“They are very appreciative of the support shown by the Tasmanian community.”
Tasmanians applauded for generosity
About 40 people have been settled in Tasmania as part of the additional intake of 12,000 refugees escaping conflict in Syria and Iraq, which was announced by the Australian Government last year.
About 7,835 of this additional intake have already arrived in Australia, with families settled in every state and territory.
Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs Zed Seselja has welcomed the new arrivals at a BBQ lunch in Hobart.
In a statement, Senator Seselja said the response by Tasmanians to the Syrian and Iraqi humanitarian crisis had been generous.
“This heartfelt response reflects the long-standing tradition of pitching in and helping others in times of need,” he said.
“Many families have spent a number of years in refugee camps after fleeing harrowing circumstances in Syria or Iraq, and this generosity of spirit shown by Australian communities is helping our newest arrivals feel at home.”