Why I Think Facebook Matters


Anyone not following the Syrian humanitarian crisis at the moment?

My Facebook feed is absolutely being slammed with dreadful photos and news articles and opinion pieces and memes and events.

And I’m so grateful for that.

Why is it we suddenly care so much about the Syrian people and are holding vigils around the country in an effort to show our government how much we want them to help on our behalf?

Because for really the first time in history the people of the world are talking to each other as they’ve never managed to do before. Instead of being spoon fed sound bites by major media or dictated to by our politicians, we are sharing information directly and speaking our minds and saying these people deserve our help.

And people are telling our politicians! People are rallying and saying ‘fark your stop the boats – these are people‘.

So I want to thank social media, like Twitter and Facebook, for letting us normal, average, everyday people, who aren’t running countries while being dictated to by party politics or writing for papers with mandates, be able to communicate and simply say no. No. No! This isn’t right. This is not how people treat people.

I challenge anyone to look at that tragic photo of three year old Aylan Kurdi on that beach and not picture their own child or grandchild or cousin or nephew or niece or sibling. That was awful and it should never have had to happen.

But why was he even on that boat?

Well, when you see photos of what they’re running from in Syria…

This is Kobane, Syria, the hometown of Aylan Kurdi, the little boy who drowned trying to reach Europe.
Apparently this is Kobane, Syria, the hometown of Aylan Kurdi.

…I’d farkin run too. And my family and I would’ve been gone somewhere between when the first explosion happened and the debris hit the pavement.

Wouldn’t you? Seriously?

So I will continue to follow this crisis and I will write to Warren Truss, my federal member, and I will insist we stop thinking of them as them and start thinking of them as us. Human beings. Families. Children. Wives. Husbands. Sons. Daughters. Grandparents. Brothers. Sisters. Friends. Lovers. Because in the end, lines on a map are just crap when it comes to helping someone who really, seriously, needs it.

Especially when they’re three, for fark’s sake.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who went out to those rallies tonight and stood for being decent human beings. I wish I could have joined you. You represented me and my thoughts too.

But while I couldn’t be there what I can do is to keep sharing information on Facebook and not let the light go out on these poor people who are homeless and helpless and just need the world to care.

Social media doesn’t mean people get actual money or help directly, but between all that amusing drivel and feel good memes – all of which I love – it does mean people discuss important issues in real time. I hope and urge you to continue to share your thoughts too, because whenever large groups of people talk, the pollies listen. They don’t really have a choice.

Sort of like the Syrian people.

GetUp! – Light The Dark



 ~ raising a family on little more than laughs ~


  • Well said, Bruce. I have a three year old (amongst others) and the last few nights I’ve shed a tear as I tucked him safely into bed. By sheer luck he was born in a country where his top sheet is covered in his favourite cartoon or TV characters and it’s highly unlikely it will be used as a shroud. Tomorrow he goes to daycare to play, laugh, paint, colour and fig in the sandpit with his friends… his only enemy is a possible high UV rating.

    • Even tonight, I’ve been weepy. That poor family. That poor child. Those millions of poor people that really aren’t interested in the crap that’s entered their lives.

  • That was a great read Bruce, also they are just human beings so we have a duty to look after them, just like if it was us we would like the same to be looked after.

  • Seriously??? So while all those baby girls were being raped to death…not a thought….while women were being set on fire and burned alive…not a twitch?? But you shed a tear over a three year old boy whose father…safely housed in Turkey…sent his family to their deaths so he could get new teeth in Canada?? I see how THAT works…

    • Yep, I shed a tear for that three year old. If you have a problem with that I can’t help you. But to say that I don’t care about all those other terrible things because I haven’t mentioned them here in this post is bollocks too, Sandi. I have five girls. You think I don’t picture them every time I hear a story? You think maybe I don’t share stuff about that too? As you say, seriously???

  • sandi: “The ultimate injustice one can commit to Aylan Kurdi and his family is to omit the parts of his story which explain why he ended up dead on the beach. The details matter, so please read and share:
    1) Abdullah Kurdi, the father, was detained for 5 months in Air Force Intelligence in Damascus. While in detention, he was tortured and his teeth were pulled out. He had to sell his shop in Damascus in order to bribe the officers to let him out. This cost him 5,000,000 Syrian Liras (around $25,000)
    2) After he bribed his way out of jail, Abdullah fled to Aleppo with his wife and sons, Alyan and Ghalib. The situation in Aleppo became dangerous due to the constant aerial bombardment, so he fled again to Kobani, his hometown.
    3) When ISIS attacked Kobani last year, the family could no longer live in their hometown, so they fled to Turkey. Once in Turkey, the Turkish government did not provide them with assistance, so they paid almost $6,000 to secure 4 spots on a rubber dingy to the Greek island of Kos.
    4) While on the boat, rough waters caused the boat to flip. The lifejackets they were given were fake. His sons and wife all drowned in front of his eyes, in his arms.
    5) Kurdi had applied in June for refuge to Canada, but was rejected. After Aylan’s photo became a media story, he was reportedly offered citizenship to Canada. But he doesn’t want to go to Canada or Europe anymore. He says he will go bury his family in Kobani and stay there to fight against ISIS, because everything has been taken away from him and he has “nothing to live for.”
    So if the world wants to no more Aylans on the beach, someone needs to do some combination of the following based on above: (1) stop torture and arbitrary detention by the Assad regime, (2) stop the regime’s aerial bombardment, (3) stop ISIS, (4) make traveling to Europe safe, (5) get western countries to take more refugees.

    • Not a bad timeline, but the family had lived in Turkey, for free, for 3 years, before the father decided to take his family on this journey. My sympathies go out to genuine refugees. For every ILLEGAL boat person we accept as a refugee, we deny ppl who have waited in line (often in refugee camps) a place in our society. While I have no objection to Australia rehoming refugees, preference should be given to those who follow legal guidelines as much as possible. Our country only offers a certain number of refugee visas per year, and for every family that can afford to spend thousands to get here, there are 50 that can’t, and who are forced to live in danger until their LEGAL visas come through. These are the people we should be helping.

  • Thanks Bruce for writing this article. I think people don’t understand that there is no magical line that you get in that gets you to safety in another country when there are millions (yes millions!) trying to escape the country also. Can you imagine being a family and knowing that the chances of you getting that visa is so slim that you will probably all die before that ever happens… Can you imagine having an opportunity to get to a safer country & when you get there (after being tortured & losing everything you own in your home country) to find out that there is no help, no aid & you are essentially still have no life for your family. Not to mention the torturess conditions of the refugee camps. Now you have the opportunity to travel to safer land, where there is family by boat. There are life jackets & you feel this is the only way you can have a life & your children can grow up in safety. Any parent would take this option! Desperate times call for desperate measures! It is easy for us to sit in our comfy houses, with electricity, food & feel safe. These people do not have this option, their lives weren’t always like this & given over half of the refugees are children they didn’t get a say in which country they were born in! So how about we think about what we can do rather than talking about the imaginary queue that gets longer each day as Syrians are forced to flee there homes to be safe!

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