There is a growing recognition that Australia’s immigration detention centres are concentration camps, and no amount of denial by various apologists for the brutalisation of asylum seekers and refugees will change that reality.
Hitler’s first concentration camps were set up soon after his election in 1933 to lock up and destroy the left in Germany. He imprisoned tens of thousands of socialists, communists and trade unionists. In doing this the Nazis borrowed the idea from the British in South Africa during the Boer War. The US in the Philippines and the Spanish in Cuba had also set up concentration camps.
Hitler established extermination camps to liquidate six million Jews.
Colonial powers in the US and Australia used concentration camps to house the original inhabitants who had been driven off their land and to further that process. During World War I Australia locked up Australians of German origin in concentration camps. In World War II the US locked up Americans of Japanese origin in concentration camps.
Around the globe today there are many concentration camps operating. For example, the Sri Lankan government, Australia’s close ally in brutalising asylum seekers, jails many Tamil people in concentration camps. Gaza is an Israeli concentration camp.
In essence concentration camps imprison a group of innocent people in rotten conditions to further particular government aims.
Just as the British imprisoned without charge or trial Boer non-combatants, mainly women and children, to further their war aims, and the Nazis imprisoned without charge or trial their left wing political opponents to consolidate their power and drive wages down to restore profits, so the Australian government imprisons innocent refugee and asylum seeker children, women and men to further its class war on workers and the poor by diverting our attention away from that class war.
There is no better nor more accurate description of Australia’s offshore and onshore detention centres than concentration camps. Denying that reality does not change this truth.
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