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Saturday
Dec292018

We have a responsibility to, and for, terrorists

I’m uncomfortable with the Government cancelling the citizenship of Australians it doesn’t like: Neil Prakash, in this case. He’s our problem.

Australian citizens have a responsibility to each other and to the State, and the State has a responsibility to them. (The State, after all – which I use in the broad sense – is just a collection of entities to represent us and act on our behalf.)

So Prakash may have breached his responsibilities to us, as criminals do – but by cancelling his citizenship, we are breaching our responsibilities to him. We are breaching our responsibilities for him.

Prakash is an Australian, but we – the State, on our behalf – are washing our hands of a difficult character and saying, “He’s not our problem. Someone else can deal with him.” That’s a pretty shitty way to act. It’s shitty in a local context, but it’s even shittier in a global context.

Now, one may argue that Australia only cancels citizenship of people with dual citizenship, so they’ll still have their other citizenships. Great: so we’re foisting our obligations onto another country. We’re dumping a problem not in ‘the world’s’ lap, but – in Prakash’s case – specifically in the lap of Fiji.

Even though Australia is much better equipped to deal with Prakash than Fiji. Even though Prakash was radicalised in Australia, so we arguably bear more responsibility to him, and for him, than does Fiji. Even though we haven’t consulted with Fiji.

Prakash is a mangy cur we helped raise, and rather than taking responsibility for him, we’re kicking him out onto the street and expecting our neighbours to take care of him. That doesn’t sit well with me.

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