Mapping the Stakeholders
To understand the context of our chosen issue, Refugees and Asylum Seekers, we spent time during class mapping out the stakeholders and participants involved. The map above depicts our first attempt at understanding the context. This rapid mapping saw us look at both the human and non-human actors involved, and consequently how interconnected they are.
The influence of each actor both human and non human are of varying degrees and contexts. Thus it became apparent that within this larger map of the refugee and asylum seekers there are more defined contexts such as the physical processing facilities and environment, the media, the governmental sector and the human aid and support ecosystem.
This map prompted much discussion around this issue and consequently saw us identify two broad areas we wanted to focus more on being the ‘Conditions’ of asylum seekers and refugees during the stages of departure, travel, detention and settlement and additionally the ‘Media Transparency’ surrounding the issue. Mapping this saw us identify the entities that influence these situations and to my surprise, despite focusing on a smaller context, the maps produced still covered broad areas.
Finally the process of creating the previous two maps we kept identifying how some entities act on the smaller scale while others act on the larger scale. However the terms ‘small’ and ‘large’ have an associated value attached and therefore did not accurately represent what we were trying to convey. Eventually we landed on terms ‘extrinsic’ and ‘intrinsic’. Thus our maps weren’t focused on separating the positive and negative views and actions around the issue but rather understanding the different levels of this issue.
This final map revealed a more considered understanding of the issue. From our initial map, to this one our understanding of the issue visibly developed. What we gained most was the understanding of the complexity of this issue, how different lenses can highlight different patterns and relationships eventually highlighting the need to look at this issue from many different directions.
Source 1: First day at sea
Titled ‘First day at sea’, this photograph was taken by Barat Ali Batoor, as he began a journey that would change his life. Using ‘documentary photography as a tool for change’ Batoor took photographs throughout the duration of his journey from Afghanistan to Australia. In this particular photograph he was on a boat with 92 other asylum seekers hiding under deck. However like many other boats from Indonesia, it never made it to Australia but rather ‘ran aground on rocks’. This image was then later named the first Nikon-Walkey Photo of the Year as it ‘broadened the debate and helped us visualised what happens before the boats arrive at Christmas Island.’
One of the most recent confronting pictures to surface on international media, this image depicts a boy ‘Omran Daqneesh’ sitting in an ambulance after being rescued from a bombed home in Aleppo, Syria. The rubble covered, bloodied face and his confused still expression conveys his shock. When viewed in the context of the video that emerged, we see how remains frozen as more children are being rescued. Whilst it garnered great media attention the confronting nature of this image is a reminder of the ongoing conflict occurring.
I feel that every so often a strong powerful image is swept across international media and reminds us that this is not a short term issue. As the general public we go through waves of focusing and then departing away from the issue, due to the very little knowledge we have in regards to how we can create change.
Source 3: Asylum seekers on baord the Tampa
The 2001 Tampa incident saw 438 mostly Afghan refugees rescued from their sinking boat by the Norwegian vessel MV Tampa. Whilst four hours way from Christmas Island, the Australian government did not grant them permission to enter. Eventually they were taken to Nauru.
What’s most interesting about these images is the analysis done by researchers from the University of Queensland. Examining the media representation of the Tampa incident specifically on the ‘The Australian’ and the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ newspapers. Their research revealed that 42% of images depict asylum seekers from a distance whereas only 2% show images with recognisable facial features. Thus whilst this image was the ‘most widely circulated images from the crisis’ it raises questions on media outlets attempt to dehumanise the issue.
Source 4: No Way. You will not make Australia Home.
Part of the Abbott governments Regional Deterrence Framework Campaign, costing 420 million dollars is this video and poster titled ‘No Way. You will not make Australia Home.’ Featuring the commander of Operation Sovereign Borders Angus Campbell, the video over a minute, simply reinforces the pictured message. Campbell’s address has been translated into 12 languages and has become quite controversial as a government approach to tackle this issue.However till date it stands on online platforms specifically on youtube, posted by the Australian Border Force, with 529,966 views and comments disabled.
It raises concerns on the extent to which the government will go to stop boats and further highlights this backwards extreme propaganda approach.
Source 5: Asylum seekers sewing lips shut over visa denial
One of several photos of asylum seekers protesting visa denial for boat arrivals on Nauru or Manus Island. Activists say that of those sewing their lips together ‘at least seven are minors, some of them unaccompanied minors’. Whilst blurred out, the pictures remain visual and convey their desperate circumstance. Furthermore, these series are part of the larger activist movement of self harm in detention centres, raising concern on the physical and mental health of these individuals. Whilst a single image is confronting, knowing that there are a series of these, really puts the issue into perspective in regards to how far these people are willing to go, to merely attain human rights.
Source 6: Petra Laszlo
This image went viral as it depicts TV Camerawoman Petra Laszlo tripping a man carrying a child as they try to escape from a collection point in Roszke, Hungary. Laszlo was later fired after videos of her kicking and tripping many migrants fleeing from police spread across media internationally.Whilst the refugee struggle is usually depicted through images of their treacherous journey or conflict with government officials, this image stands alone. It depicts the role of media and the general public in the journey of refugees and how they can antagonise the situation further. Like many of these images it was interesting to see the responses towards it and the way it affected people.
Source 7: Aylan Kurdi
This image of a lifeless body of the toddler Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach became a symbol of the refugee plight. It shed light on the lives of children in the asylum seeker, refugee situation. Surfacing on the front page of countless newspapers and online social media and websites, the image had gone viral with the hashtag #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik meaning humanity washed ashore. And with the father being the only surviving family member, it addressed the dangerous journey many face and furthermore how they consider the travelling through the seas to be a safer option than staying on land.
Source 8: Reza Barati
This image depicts a vigil held for Reza Barati, an asylum seeker killed during the unrest at Manus Island detention centre.The explanation for his death was summarised as ‘multiple head injuries, that could be caused by a heavy object’. The image with photo, candles and banner convey the Australian public’s response to his death which whilst dubbed by officials as being a result of asylum seekers escalating conflict, raises more questions on the actual cause and the role played by security and police.
Source 9: Omid Masoumali protest on Nauru
This image is of a protest on Nauru in the event of Omid Masoumali’s death. Having set himself on fire, the young Iranian man was taken to a Brisbane hospital where he later died. At the time a team rom the UNHCR were on Nauru and in light of the event called for the immediate transfer for refugees and asylum seekers both from Manus Island and Nauru. This protest is one of many that occur and whilst the image just depicts Omid’s name on the shirts with no indication of what happened or why, we can immediately see that his name becomes a symbol for them all. His name represents more than just him, through unity it represents the struggle faced by all and the potential for any one of them being in his situation.
Source 10: Manus Island Detention Centre
This photograph shows asylum seekers looking through a fence at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea. Whilst there are many photos like this of the multiple detention centres what’s interesting is how much they resemble a prison, something they are criticised for actually being. The high fences, that surround the camp and the slumped postures convey the negative atmosphere of such a setting. Further being a common sight, we become numb to these images as they establish a perceived norm when they should not be.
- Batoor,B. 2013, ‘First Day at Sea’, [online], <http://www.sbs.com.au/news/dateline/story/batoors-story-wins-walkleys>.
- Australian Border Force, ‘No Way. You will not make Australia Home., [online, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT12WH4a92w>.
- Wallenius Wilhelmsen/AAP, 2001, ‘Asylum seekers on board the Tampa’, [online], <https://theconversation.com/friday-essay-worth-a-thousand-words-how-photos-shape-attitudes-to-refugees-62705>.
- Daily O, ‘Omran Daqneesh’, 2016, [online], <http://www.dailyo.in/politics/omran-daqneesh-aylan-kurdi-afghan-girl-child-victims-war-syria-war-on-terror/story/1/12485.html>.
- SBS, 2014, ‘Of those sewing their lips together, activists say at least seven are minors, some of them unaccompanied minors’, [online], <http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/09/30/nauru-asylum-seekers-reportedly-sewing-lips-shut-over-visa-denial>.
- Reuters, 2015, ‘A migrant runs with a child before tripping on TV camerawoman Petra Laszlo (L) and falling as he tries to escape from a collection point in Roszke village, Hungary’, [online], <https://www.rt.com/news/315113-hungarian-journalist-sorry-refugees/>.
- Nilufer Demir, 2015, A young Syrian boy lies in the surf near Bodrum, Turkey, [online], <http://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/styles/article_medium/public/thumbnails/image/2015/09/02/13/syrian-migrant-boy-turkey.jpg>>.
- Bunton, M. 2014, ‘A man sits next to a picture of Barati at a vigil’, [online], <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/26/asylum-seeker-reza-barati-died-from-multiple-head-injuries-png-police-say>.
- ABC, 2016, ‘UNHCR says the recent events in Nauru are symptomatic of a loss of hope’, [online], <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-05/vigil-on-nauru-for-refugee-omid/7387034>.
- Reuters, 2013, ‘Asylum seekers look through a fence at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea Photograph’, [online], <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-05/vigil-on-nauru-for-refugee-omid/7387034>.