Scraping the data from web(post 6)

Twitter is a social networking media, which allows users to publish and share messages that are visible to other users. These messages should be limited in the 140 characters or less in twitter, uses can found lots of different users on twitter, which is include basic communication between friends and family,  a way to publicise an thing, or companies use this tool to communicate with their clients. Twitter was founded in 2006, and was the third most popular social network media after Facebook and Myspace.

Data Pipeline is an embedded data processing engine for the Jave Virtual Machine. Users can use it to convert incoming data to a common format, prepare data, migrate between databases. replace batch jobs with real-time data. Data Pipeline is very easy and simple, uses can quickly learn and use. 屏幕快照 2016-09-20 6.58.06 PM.png

I was typed my issue( refugees and asylum seekers) in Data Pipeline search, firstly, I received 500 tweets, then if need more data, you can chose search more than 500 tweets, also you can download tweets to excel, and you can choose emailed results to you daily. 屏幕快照 2016-09-20 6.58.34 PM.png屏幕快照 2016-09-20 6.58.45 PM.png屏幕快照 2016-09-20 6.58.58 PM.png屏幕快照 2016-09-20 6.59.10 PM.png

Advertisement

Post 7 — Mapping

words_all
Words commonly used in conversations about asylum seekers
map_03
Stakeholders map 2

Over the course of this subject, there has been a strong emphasis on the idea of collaboration and knowledge sharing, particularly during class tasks. This week, within our groups, we revisited the stakeholders mind maps created in week 2 and saw it extend into the different avenues that we have been researching individually. We used the week 2 mind map as a foundation to build on, addressing the primary actants who possess the power to mobilise change. These groups included Government, the media, asylum seekers, the Australian public and personal beliefs/values.

We built on these core stakeholders to establish human and non human secondary actors involved in this network but instead act as intermediaries, with a less direct impact. My input focused on the media and information that is/isn’t presented to the public as I have been interested in how attitudes are formed and/or changed.

media_linkThe media is one of the biggest mobilisers for change as they are at the core of this network, providing the public with information (who then vote in a political party who deliver policies to confront an issue). Mainstream media sources have been know to be dominated by media moguls, such as Rupert Murdoch, the late Kerry Packer and Kerry Stokes. However, independent youth media outlets such as Pedestrian and Junkee have seen an increase in popularity amongst Australia’s young adults. Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter also play a large role in granting exposure to these smaller news sources, as well as give an individual a platform for them to express their thoughts and opinions. We also looked at online anonymity as it is an interesting example of a non-humanistic actant that influences what a person might write.

Censorship is an conceptual actant that has a great potential to change attitudes and thus, how the issue is handled. As perspectives are formed by the information exposed to us combined with personal beliefs and values, censored information suppress a holistic context, preventing us from fully comprehend the issue, thus skewing our perspectives. Within this group we listed secondary actants, such as echo chambers, photography ban in detention centres, the ‘truth’, Border Force Act, violence, deaths and boat numbers. I found it interesting how different authorities censor information to sway attitudes in different directions. Recently, the Australian Government introduced the Border Force Act, which essentially prevents detention centre staff members from disclosing information about human rights abuses (Bradley, M., 2015) . However, in Sweden, many crimes committed by refugees, such as the stabbing of a 22 year old social worker at a refugee centre, have been concealed (Miller, M., 2016).

From these mind maps, I was also given an insight into the research of my peers. One of the group members had been looking into how Australia and their asylum seeker policies are perceived by other counties. The map illustrates how this issue extends into an international network of relations as Papua New Guinea and Indonesia affect combined efforts and the negotiations of ‘solutions’. International bodies, such as the United Nations are also stakeholders on an intermediary level; acting as an regulator of International Law. Australia has received criticisms from this organisation, as well as from other nations, however, this does not seem to to have a direct influence on the resolving the issue.

 

We also examined different polemics that have generated from this issue. We mapped the stakeholders involved in these conflicting perspectives and the emotions/attitudes they may have. Our first polemic example exists between the Australian Governments and refugee activists. These may include people such as the Malcom Turnbull, the LNP, Pauline Hanson, Julia Bishop, Peter Dutton and John Howard against human rights lawyers, academics, #LetThemStay protestors, the Greens, asylum seeker resource centres, Muslims, volunteers and resettled refugees.

debate_01debate_02debate_03

From identifying individual actors and conflicting perspectives in the polemic maps, it was reinforced that one single solution cannot satisfy the concerns of all the effected stakeholders. However, this task made me consider that perhaps instead of trying to find a ‘solution’, it would be more constructive to understand the emotions and attitudes that emanate from the polemics. These conceptual actants could potentially lead to some interesting metaphoric visualisations of emotive data.

 

Bradley, M, 2015. Border Force Act: why do we need these laws?. ABC, 16 July 2015.

Miller, M, 2016. Swedish asylum worker Alexandra Mezher stabbed to death at refugee centre. Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 2016.

 

Post 7 – Issue Mapping

Rekha Dhanaram

The tool of mapping is one that has been emphasised throughout this subject. This weeks co creating and controversy maps definitely probed us to look deeper into the issue. Whilst I unfortunately missed out on the collaborative issue mapping exercise and the valuable component of discussion, I still attempted the task on my own.

I started by reflecting on an earlier word mapping exercise we did in large groups. The list reflects around 200 words used in conversations around asylum seekers and refugees. Creating the list was tedious but it was really interesting to see the jargon-like picture around this topic. Further rearranging these words in various scales from positive to negative, emotional to factual helped us truly see the narrative of our daily discourse.

This informed my mapping exercise this week.

Map 114424187_971639432941717_1672945530_o

In Map 1 I revisited the stakeholders map we developed as a group in the beginning of this subject. However this time saw me develop a more clear and thorough view of the stakeholders and ‘environment’ as non human factors come into play. It was interesting to see how the discussion we’ve had around this issue has influencing my mapping and links I drew out. For instance data scraping exercise saw me draw out the issue of censorship and how it affects the stakeholders of media and government whilst influencing public perception. Furthermore from our initial map we discussed the role of media in depth which allowed me to flesh out this stakeholder even more. Finally when creating maps I always have questions arise which act as prompts for areas I could delve into more. I decided to incorporate this in my map as it presented a more natural mapping process with a richer view to look back on.

Map 214424098_971639376275056_29931199_o

Map 2 looked at the polemics instigated by the debates and emotions surrounding this topic. I created a list of these polemics by identifying the two actors debating. However it becomes instantly visible that there are multiple debates occurring across all stakeholders created a very interconnected yet at the same time a disjointed narrative around this issue. The narrative is not purely a social one, but one that concerns dynamics and outcomes on a social, emotional and physical sense. Hence ‘the social is not the explanation for the state of affairs of an issue; instead the state of affairs of an issue is precisely the social being performed by the actors.’ This essentially addresses Latour’s idea on the ‘associations between heterogeneous elements… a type of connection between things that are no themselves social (Rogers, Sánchez-Querubín & Kil 2015).’

Reflection

Post mapping, I was able to get in touch with my peers and reflect on their collaborative maps. This was useful as it allowed me to compare my own mapping exercise to theirs and gain knowledge on areas I would’ve missed.I particularly found their Stakeholder map interesting as it drew on actors I missed out on and went to the extent of naming public figures.

(Below – their map of re-brainstorming of stakeholders)

14215331_691697564314246_2117377552_o

Overall even though I missed out on the valuable insights gained from collaborative group work, I don’t feel like this exercise went to waste. Rather this week of self reflection of my personal thoughts was rather useful in really understanding the issue and identifying potential paths I would like to explore.

References

Rogers, R., Sánchez-Querubín, N. & Kil, A. 2015, Issue Mapping for an Ageing Europe, OAPEN, Amsterdam.

 

 

 

Post 7: Image Mapping

IMG_3647.JPG

I found this task of collaborative issue mapping exercise very clear and informative. Being able to discuss and brainstorm elements such as stakeholders, polemics and emotions led me to able to breakdown the overwhelming list of factors that affect the global issue of Refugee and Asylum Seekers since it has become such a heavy issue in today’s society.

This exercise informed my approach to issues regarding to Refugees and Asylum seekers by being able to map out a range of perspectives and also understand the emotive aspect behind their judgements. It also allowed us to explore the extremes of each argument and further analyse this in the polemic exercise and see how one would view, react to, and approach the emerging issue.

IMG_3649.JPG

 

In regards to possible actions designed to create change nationally, I personally think that there should be some sort of exposure to a range of perspectives within mainstream media. I believe we should be able to inform the Australian public, using facts and opinions from both sides and allowing them to decide, in contrast to the major bias apparent in media sources, politics and education. Education has become a key recurring factor in regards the public forming opinions in regards to refugees. Another possible action would be to break down borders in all terminologies, both physical and mental, as this has had such an obvious effect on the refugee crisis – spanning from emotional distress at the detention camps to political outrage on debate shows such as ABC’s Q&A. In order to be able to resolve this ever growing issue, we the people, need to be able to stay informed, challenge the dominant ideas and provide support to those in need.

Post 6: Analysing opinions on Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Scraping the web for data allows one to gain an insight into what a broad, but generalised swathe of what the online community thinks. This was particularly relevant in my interest with Refugee and Asylum Seeker issues as I find the differing perspectives and opinions very insightful.

 

With the Advanced Search on Twitter, I started quite broadly. I used simple hashtags and key terms such as ‘refugee’, ‘asylum’ and ‘migrant’ to try and gauge the general, majority opinion that Twitter users were broadcasting, both in Australia and overseas. Along with this, by doing the Twitter scrape via Google documents, I was able to further filter these keywords and build upon my initial findings.

 

The majority of tweets which were picked up revolved around Australia’s treatment of refugees since the issue of detention centres and border control systems are so highly criticised in recent times, as well as these issues being prominent in the media. In addition to this, Australia was contrasted with other countries in regard to discussing how these countries approach the issue of refugees, with users highlighting the differences in policy between these nations.

 

The five key points that I took from this exercise were:

 

  1. Most tweets from within Australia seemed quite left-wing and supportive of refuges, with more popular tweets being created by the news media and NGO’s such as the Refugee Council of Australia and the ABC. There was a lot of critique about the mistreatment of asylum seekers and support in closing down the detention centres.
  2. Children have become the unofficial face of the issues. Tweets which linked to articles about specific events, rather than general trends, usually contained imagery of children. These tweets linked the effect the current treatment of refugees and asylum seekers to the innocence of youth.
  3. No single hashtag was predominant. In my previous research so far, the only major hashtag that could be relevant to refugees would be the negative #stoptheboats or also general tweets in regards to #humanrights, #manus and #nauru, as well as #qanda which continuously resurfaces the debate with refugees consistently.
  4. There was much more news media coverage as compared to individual tweets, though this is most likely a result of the algorithm favouring tweets which received a high number of likes or retweets, both of which a media page is more likely to receive.
  5. Contrast between our society versus the refugee.

 

Below are a few screenshots of my process:

 

Post 6 – Data Scraping

Rekha Dhanaram
The subject has seen me engage with numerous tasks that have helped me gauge an understanding on my chosen topic of Asylum Seeker and Refugees. The most recent task saw me go deeper and engage with online research through a unique means being data scraping. Data scraping allowed me to see the bigger picture but also the individual context of how people are reacting and engaging with this issue. With social media being a primary form of communication, data scraping is useful in understanding the different perspectives in regards to this issue.
I chose the platform of twitter to conduct my data-scraping tasks. Twitter is a social network, where people post or send a ‘tweet’, a short message of maximum 140 characters. With instant feedback either as a twitter follower or the tweeter, this service essentially allows people to reach countless others instantaneously. Furthermore the dialogue generated evidences it as a medium where people voice their opinions on varied issues. With this in mind twitter provided an appropriate platform to examine the public opinions around Asylum Seekers and Refugees.
Defining my research proved to be the most difficult part. Reflecting on the past few weeks, I’ve looked at this issue through a broad lens tapping into areas of media transparency, politics, processing environment and activism. Whilst its hard to narrow my focus, I decided to look into the legal context and activism through refugee experiences for this specific task.
Initially I did a very broad search on terms such as ‘refugees’, ‘asylum seekers’ and ‘Australia’. However the results were varied and whilst I was trying to get insight on the Australian society, I found that the tweets were from all over the world in response to the Australian situation. Thus I decided to go back and focus on an area I wanted to know more about. This led me to the hashtag #BorderForceAct.
The Border Force Act sees that anyone who ‘gains “protected information” during their employment service for the Border Force is barred from revealing this information without authorisation. The penalty for doing so is two years in prison.’ Whilst there have been no penalties charged under the BorderForceAct till date, it is still under constant criticism. I wanted to understand the stakeholders views in regards to this disputed issue which is highly relevant to the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.
Looking at the tweets and images that were accompanied with the hashtag revealed the various stakeholders in regards to this issue including campaigners, the general public and event works at asylum seeker centres. What was interesting to note in some of these posts was that they spoke of other issues that arise front the Border Force Act as seen through the use of the hashtags #Bringthemhere and more contrastingly #WhitePriviledge. These tweets and uses of hashtags are a form of activism or campaigning. And whilst they stand alone as individual campaigns, it was interesting to see how they intersect. More often than not the hashtags are used together to support multiple campaigns centred around the one issue of refugees and asylum seekers. Overall, these tweets were overwhelmingly taking a negative stance in regards to the issue.
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre CEO and founder Kon Karapanagiotidis and other tweets which raise the issue of White Privilege alongside the Border Force Act.
Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.23.12 pm
The #BringThemHere hashtag was equally common.
Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.23.38 pm
The tweets gave insight into the various stakeholders including workers, the public, doctors and nurses. 
Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.32.48 pmScreen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.32.58 pm
Whilst most of these were from an Australian perspective, I came across a news like twitter page called ‘Public Concern at work’ which constantly tweeted quotes and statistics from articles that related to this issue. Whilst it is based in UK, it was interesting to note that it frequently tweeted posts using this hashtag.
Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.23.49 pm
Furthermore when exploring the images, I found that there was a pattern of photographs of different protests peppered with political and satirical cartoons. I found it interesting that cartoons, which are traditionally in newspapers, are really popular in the ‘twittersphere’.
Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.37.14 pmScreen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.38.37 pm

 

Whilst the twitter search revealed interesting insights, I do believe that it would be better to add more parameters to gauge. I did however try to define the tone of posts, but unfortunately the results weren’t very accurate and in defining whether the tweet was opposing or supporting the Border Force Act.

Summary:

  1. Hashtags in the twitter sphere can act as a form of activism.
  2. Whilst certain hashtags support specific campaigns, many users combine them with other Hashtags centred around the bigger issue. It highlights the interconnectedness of campaigns and the overall stance taken towards that issue.
  3. #BorderForceAct is quite ironic in nature as people are voicing their opinions on a law that prohibits  many from speaking.
  4. The Border Force Act received commentary from an international platform.

 

 

 

POST 7: Issue Mapping

by Jessica Avelina Horo

MAP 01: Stakeholder of the Issue

jessica-mapfullsizerender3

In this week, we were asked to look back at our initial stakeholders map form Week 2 and see the relations between the stakeholders. However, I worked with different partner from my previous group that made this map together. At first, it was a bit hard to combine all our information and datas but this experience has allowed me to see this issue in different perspective. After all, she also chose refugee and asylum seekers as her main topic so that it is just a matter of time until we can work together as a team to collaborate.

In the second map is what we came out together by combining all our information. We categorise them much more specific and refining the terms even more.

MAP 02: The Polemics and Their Emotions 

fullsizerenderThe second map discussed about the polemics of the issue and the emotion attached to them. Upon looking at the map for the second time, I realised that there were so many negative emotions written on the paper. All of them are what might the refugees or other stakeholders felt about the controversy. As listed in the map above, the polemics that attract both of us the most are:

  1. Legitimate Refugee VS Illegal Refugee
  2. Detention Centre VS Funding
  3. Boat People VS Security Threat

The other polemics are quite broad, which is why it was hard to describe the emotions in result of the polemics. It was quite hard for me to think of any other polemics out there, as it requires a high level of understanding of the issue and massive researches. However, by doing this in a group of two, I feel more confident with what I understand, confirmed them to my partner, and made these collaborative maps.

MAP 03: Mapping the Stakeholders in the Polemics

fullsizerender2

It was quite confusing to write specific stakeholders and made a map where the actors intersect or diverge. We kept looking back at our main stakeholders map and then see if we can include related stakeholders to this polemics. As stated above, we started first with the Legitimate Refugees VS Illegal Refugees because we felt like that’s one of the biggest aspect in this issue.

 

POST 7: Issue mapping

In this week, we are doing group mapping again, this week is asked we to do different mapping about our issue and stakeholder, our group from government, policy, organisation, nationalism and media to found idea about refugees and asylum seekers. We developed more information than last week mapping, and communicate with each group members, each one share one stakeholder information, such as I’m doing media part, I seperate it to two part which are private media and public media, private media means daily media report, email, and fax etc. Public media is a various medium, people used it share events and news, public media including newspaper, social media and journalism, then social media also can private media, for example, facebook, twitter and Instagram can used by personal account, every can share they own voice on this public media. Newspaper only can divide to public media area, newspaper is more formal. img_0256

Media can be used to help refugees and asylum seekers, let more people understander what and who is refugees, right now, do not have more people know them, we can use media to help them, refugees and asylum seekers also can use social media to get help.

For design, we can choose media element to design a app, website or a serves platform, that can be used to connect refugees and society. From this week mapping we have learn more about our issue and help each members.

Post 6 — Twitter Data Scraping

The issue of asylum seekers coming to Australia is a highly debatable topic, particularly on social media platforms. Twitter in particular allows people to express their thoughts and opinion in a quick 140 character message. Using the Actor Network Theory to understand the social systems and networks surrounding the topic of asylum seekers, Twitter can also be seen as a non-humanistic actant that connects people all across the world. Human actants can read, reply and write tweets using their laptop or mobile device.

Hashtags are used for keywords/phrases to broadcast and categorise tweets, helping them to appear in Twitter searches. Advanced searches allows you to filter your results by setting specific parameters using keywords, locations, people, places and dates. This information can be exported into table format with the combined use of Google Sheets.

Over the week, I have been collecting Twitter data to show patterns of human actants and their thoughts and behaviours. I experimented with different sets of parameters to reveal more about attitudes towards asylum seekers and how they are formed and swayed. I drew on the words collected from week 4’s class task, where we were to intuitively write down 25 words that resonate with us that are often used by the media and in daily discourse about Australia’s asylum seeker/refugee issue.

words_all
Class Task — Words heard in daily discourse regarding the topic of asylum seekers

I began by entering some of these words in a very broad search using the Google Sheets Twitter archive. However, I found that it was difficult to find any underlying patterns as there was an overload of data that was difficult to analyse (over 4,000 tweets). I realised that if I wanted to find data that is relevant to my specific area of interest, I needed to suggest a somewhat broad hypothesis so that I know what patterns/variables/trends I am looking for.

data_scrapeI hypothesised that people from the same regions may have similar attitudes. This vague assumption dictated the keywords that I entered into the Google Sheets Twitter Archive and Twitter’s Advanced Search. The Twitter archive did not allow me to specify the location of the tweets, thus I needed to manually filter through locations within Australia. I was also able to obtain qualitative data from the user descriptions, providing an insight of the underlying reasons or factors that may influence these results. I repeated this process using different keywords and compared and analysed the results. I obviously could not go through all of the results, thus I selected a random sample group of 175 people to analyse which can be seen here [https://s9.postimg.io/5gci9fw65/table_all.jpg].

 

international
Unfiltered results (Tweets from international locations)
national
Filtered results (Tweets from locations in Australia)
tweet locations
Number of tweets from different locations in Australia (these results were collected from a random sample group of 175 tweets)

From this data scraping research, my hypothesis was not entirely validated as the data showed that the vast majority of people on Twitter have similar attitudes, irregardless of where they are from. Most people tweeting about the issue of asylum seekers in Australia condone the offshore processing policies and detention centres. However, these results only reflect a tiny percentage people on twitter and an even smaller percentage of the Australia public.

In conjunction with tweet locations, I also needed to identify the attitudes/opinions presented in the tweets. I considered how one may frame their statements, focusing on how the word ‘illegal’ is used. By simply changing the linking verb ‘are’ and ‘is’, I was able to collect tweets with very different stances on the issue.

are illegal_01are illegal_02is illegal_02is illegal_01

I tried to understand the background of this sample group, as that would give an insight to why they have these attitudes. From observing the bio descriptions, most people who have tweeted on the subject of asylum seekers are fairly well educated and/or are advocates for social justice.

bio

Summary Points:

  • People from CBD’s (particularly Melbourne) are a lot more vocal about asylum seeker issues on social media than people from regional areas. In saying this, one must consider that capital cities have higher populations than regional areas).
  • Most people who have tweeted on the subject of asylum seekers are fairly well educated and/or are advocates for social justice.
  • Tweets tend to focus on one specific aspect of the issue (though they are restricted to 140 characters).
  • Most twitter users do not have the ability to mobilise change. Rather, they act as intermediaries that retweet provocative posts made by influential mediators.
  • Twitter data scraping is better suited for numeric data, rather than measuring trends in opinions. I found it to be tedious as I had to manually find and organise tweets that came from locations in Australia.

Potential Concept:
A Twitterbot would ideally distinguish peoples attitudes based on how the post has been worded (i.e. ‘is illegal’ and ‘are illegal’) and match the tweets with opposite attitudes. I found that many twitter posts tended to focus on only one aspect of the issue whilst ignoring equally important concerns. This concept could lead to either a mass of heated arguments and hurling of insults, or possibly provide people with a bit of perspective and alternative insights. I would hope the latter would be the predominant outcome and hopefully force people to see the issue in a broader context.

 

 

Blog Post 6: Ordinary People in Extraordinary Circumstances

 

Self Promoted Media

The social media source that I’ve chosen to explore in this web scraper is twitter. As I’m sure you will now know, Twitter is a platform that enables the user to read and post 140-character messages, photos and videos. In this format, Twitter amplifies the nature of 24/7 media. The reactionary nature of social media serves to speed up the cycle of reporting and opinions. Hash tags and trending subjects both reflect traditional media and generate organic content.

It’s is a platform that enables the user to read and post 140-character messages, photos and videos. Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has evolved into a platform that fosters political engagement and discussion from a grassroots level, giving a voice to ordinary people and breaking down traditional barriers of entry to publication and media.  The accessibility of Twitter is also what makes this platform a valuable resource for marginalised groups of people to push policies and engage in politics in ways that they were unable to do prior.

Finding Humanity in Data

With this unique feature in mind I aimed to explore how refugees on Manus Island and Nauru were using the platform to express their views, interests and emotions.
I began doing this by using a Google chrome add-on that archives the history of a particular hash tags –Twitter Archive. I looked up the hash tags #bringthemhere and #letthemstay, the current trending hash tags in Australia used for refugee issues.

In the initial stages of this scrape I looked at how much the content of tweets were shaped by their context, by looking for hash tag patterns in geographic location. However, as this progressed I realised that I was shifting the focus onto the Australian population and away from the refugees. To accompany for this, I realised that maybe I was scraping for the wrong type of data and I needed to focus on a more abstract type of data to render the type of results I wanted.

 

new doc 15_2.jpg
Mindmap of my process and how my initial area of research actually informed my focus area.

Whilst my search for relevant data in this focus area was fruitless, I found an account which was repeatedly showing up with and IP address from Papua New Guinea.  When I clicked on the hyperlink it took me to the page of a 25 year old Iraqi refugee.

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 4.36.34 pm

When I visited the page, I was invited to follow other refugees who were on twitter and talking about their time and experiences in offshore immigration detention centres.
I documented a selection of posts on each profile which were the most popular via retweet or favoriting. The results of these indicate that twitter users were more responsive to tweets that was organic and original in content and / or personal opinion and/ or personalised through use of emoticons. It was these results that prompted my interest in the use of language and expression as a form of data.

refugee info4
Excerpts from the Twitter page of user @khankha06919739. The user’s language tended to be quite poetic and metaphoric. They used Twitter as a forum to voice their opinions around the conditions and cruelty of offshore detention centres.
refugee info3
Excerpts from the Twitter page of user @elahe_zivardar. This user used alot of imagery, often portraying the different peaceful protests that were occuring on Nauru (where they were detained). At times they talked about the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables and how difficult it was to remain healthy when they were so poor.

 

refugee info2
Excerpts from the twitter page of user @SuchNigel. The content of their tweets is often about feelings and emotions or updates and questions about what’s happening on Manus. One gets the impression from the tweets that there’s not a lot of clarity of information which in turn, fuels discomfort and anxiety.

\

refugee info
Excerpts from the twitter page of user @ManusFad22. Their twitter content is a mixture of football and their daily musings of being on Manus.

Of these profiles I ran an analytics program through to see which words were most common on each of the profiles, what were the most used hashtags, and what time of day they were each posting at.

The results are indicative of the humanity of people in detention; each user has an individual mode of self-expression. This subjectivity of refugees is often erased in the media, which tends to depersonalise refugees and thereby strip them of their identity. Looking at the analytics of these results provide insight to the similarities and differences between the accounts and highlighted the individuality of each refugee as it would for an ordinary person.

Potential Outcomes

As the nature of my research has been predominantly towards representation of refugees in the media vs the media generated by refugees it would be interesting to explore avenues in which I could emphasise the humanity and ordinariness of refugees.
A manner in which I think this could be most effective is by considering the opposite spectrums of similar situations, comparing the spaces of Australian suburbia with Nauru and Manus.  In a brainstorm of ways I could do this is looking at physical items like objects, people, space,  and abstract items like dreams, ideas, language and feelings.

Image References
Image: Wallman, S. A Guard’s Story, 2014

Post 5 – Interview + Probe Task

To gauge an understanding of others perspectives of refugees and asylum seekers I conducted a semi structured interview and probe task that would help garner insight into others interactions. This design led enthnography study helped articulate the varying degrees of understanding within the 18-25 age group.

Interview

Reflecting on the maps we created in our groups, I alongside my peers, developed a set of questions that provided the framework for our interviews. These interview questions drew on media transparency opposing views, Australian culture, public interaction and human rights.

The final questions I used for the interview are shown below:

  1. What are your current views on the asylum seeker/refugee situation?
  2. Do you think refugees will positively contribute to Australian society?
  3. How often are you exposed/interact with articles on refugees/asylum seekers? On what medium? (social media, newspapers, tv, in person etc). Do you engage with these articles or just scroll past them?
  4. What should be shown to us as the younger generational public figure?
  5. How do you think asylum seekers / refugees are portrayed to us as Australians? Not international level.

I conducted this interview on a peer aged 20 years. Referring to the questions occasionally, the interview had a conversational tone that truly allowed me to engage and develop an understanding of her personal views and actions.

Results:

It was interesting to see a different perspective in regards to this issue. The peer I interviewed (Interviewee 1) gave insight into her engagement with this topic particularly raising the fact that she ‘knows about both sides and understands why they have their reasons but doesn’t know where she stands in regards to them.’ Later interviewing another individual (Interviewee 2) aged 25 years with the same set of questions, I was able to identify this uncertainty in opinion as quite a common occurrence. This feeling of being overwhelmed was something both interviewees alluded to.

Continuing on, Interviewee 1 went on to state how she receives news through social media through a few friends who are very active in regards to this issue and post frequently. However she doesn’t really engage by clicking and reading further on. She did however raise further insights into her personal encounters and experiences surrounding this issue. For instance she spoke of how there is a poster at a church near where her sister lives which states that ‘children don’t belong in detention camps’. She went on to say how this has been there for many years and whilst its true, she believes that n one should be in detention camps. So while Interviewee 1 didn’t allude to supporting one side, she had a tendency to be understanding of both sides.

When asked about the portrayal of refugees and asylums seekers in media to the younger generation she raised how regardless of what you’re exposed to there’s a level of cultural influence that plays its part. The context you grow up in particularly affects this. She stated how she grew up in a suburb that was not very multicultural and diverse and whilst she was not exposed to outright racism, the language used around issues regarding race both in a social and school setting implied negative connotations. Thus the idea of people being unaware of how to talk and deal with these issues becomes apparent.

Interviewee 2 raised another idea stating how educating people is not the sole way of dealing with this issue. Whilst she had a more pro refugee stance, she highlighted how many people are comfortable with their established opinion and therefore don’t seek to educate themselves.

Overall the two interviews revealed a great depth of insight into not only their personal experiences and views but their understanding of the ecosystem surrounding this issue.

Probe

I conducted the probe on Interviewee 2. My probe was as follows:

Record the number of times you are exposed to an issue regarding refugees and asylum seekers, and note down what tone is used to convey this news. Is it negative, positive? affirmative or strong? critical? *The vocabulary for describing the tone can differ.

Results:

The results are depicted below:

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 11.55.47 pm.png

It was interesting to see how most of her exposure to news surrounding this issue came from the side supporting refugees and asylum seekers. Furthermore, to my surprise despite not actively engaging with the topic, she was continuously exposed to news regarding it. Her description of the tone did not have a wide vocabulary but through multiple adjectives, she conveyed enough information to gauge the perspective from which its coming.

Whilst the result were insightful upon reflecting I found that there’s quite a bit missing. I think it would be valuable to redo the task with the additional component that the participant must record their exposure to the issue, whether it be via photograph, screenshot, a written account etc. This will allow me to compare and thus understand their judgment on the tone, as what I perceive the be strongly negative may vary with them. Furthermore it will allow me to see the different ways in which they’re exposed to this issue whether it be news, social media, conversations, education etc.

Interview and Probe task

Blog 5

After the quick interview, we did as a class exercise, I decided to create a small survey and passed it to random people. This small survey and extended interview with other friends gave me an insight to other people’s thought and opinion. It is important to understand my surrounding as it influences my opinion on this issue.

Keywords: rights, protection, trauma, persecution, control, camps, threats, resettlement, empathy and discrimination.

Those are keywords that resonated strongly in my head after a series of exercises I did. It is probably also the aspect that I focused more along my research for the four previous blog posts.

The Interview:

What do you know about refugees and asylum seekers? Where they are coming from?

  • I know about the issue but it’s not particularly my interest. They come from war countries, and maybe Somalia.
  • Asylum seekers are people who running away from their country to seek safety. Mostly from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan.
  • I don’t really know about refugees but I think they are from Syria or Middle East countries.

Are you aware that we are facing a global refugee crisis?

  • Yes. I saw many articles on Facebook and news talking about this issue.
  • Yes. Many European countries are facing difficulties to resettle the influx of Syrian refugees.
  • No. I don’t know much about this but I think the growing number of refugees is likely to be difficult problem.

What influenced your view?

  • Communities and where I live.
  • My job. I have to do lots of research on humanitarian issue.
  • Asylum seekers issue is something that I have interest in so  when I scroll my Facebook page or Twitter I sometimes look at articles that relate to this.
  • Education.

What is your view about terrorism and asylum seekers crisis?

  • Many people are afraid of them since many terrorist attack happened in European country.
  • Terrorism and refugees are completely different matter. It just doesn’t make sense when people connect the dot between those two.
  • Anyone can be a terrorist and they have a lot of money to fly and put a bomb in certain place. But asylum seekers, they need protection not rejection.
  • Islamophobia.

Would you do something if you know this issue better?

  • Maybe, but I don’t really know how to act and contribute to help them.
  • I don’t know if this issue can be handled by individuals since we can’t really engage with them.

 

Based on the ‘Participation Level‘ I did for blog 3, many of us are actually aware of the asylum seeker crisis, however, decide to not investigate it further. The rest falls in the indifferent category.

Participation Level

  • people who do not know about this matter
  • people who are indifferent
  • people who are aware but inactive
  • people who strongly involved in the issue

 

Findings on interview and survey:

  1. Media plays such a huge role in shaping people’s perspective on asylum seeker and refugee. There will always be pros and cons, however we have to look at several sources to be able examine the issue clearly.
  2. People’s point of view is varies, depends on the education, jobs, upbringing, place and experiences. People who has migrants background or have refugees friend are more compassionate about the issue.
  3. Young people tend to be more open and willing to make changes while elderly prone to stigmatise outsider.
  4. People think this issue is distant and they can’t reach refugees and asylum seekers to help.
  5.  Asylum seekers and refugees are associated with terrorism. People think they come to the country to do harm.

 

Probe

For the probe task, I asked the participants to collect images and articles related to this issue. I also provide them with this small notes that has two colours paper in it. After finding the images or articles, the participants have to map their emotion and perspective. Green colour represents support and symphaty while the pink one is the opposite emotion. The aim of my probe is to identify different category of people and their perspective on asylum seekers and refugees.

I asked people from different demographic ( education, job, area) to do this task. It will help me to determine other factors that influence their perspective. My probe was ongoing until few weeks as they could not find any images during the first week.

Images collected from the task:

 

untitled-1-01untitled-1-03

I found it quite interesting as the participants who were not aware of this issue before became interested and did extended research on asylum seeker and strict Australian policy. They’re also willing to make a positive attitude change when they meet people who have migrant background.

Conclusion

This probe makes it clear that there is a huge confusion in society regarding the asylum seekers and refugees issue. Media has become one of the most effective Government’s propaganda tool. It could shift public opinion in no time. There are mixed feeling and most of the participants admit that they don’t know how to react to this issue as it doesn’t affect their everyday life.

Post 3 – Map of Stakeholders + Image Archive

Mapping the Stakeholders

13935166_1460463400645803_2161365723552478472_n

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.

13902813_1460463420645801_4854232531595533953_n13934614_1460463437312466_3161451163138810034_n

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. 

13891866_1460509893974487_9203645766900693439_n13900270_1460509863974490_7390718158243990804_n

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.

Image Archive

Source 1: First day at sea

image-20160727-7064-jei8kw

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.’

Source 2: Omran-Daqneesh-syria-war-usa-isis-mena-child

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

image-20160726-31171-he5nn5

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.57.54 am

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

nauru_9_2_1

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

55f2ff64c4618810678b45ab

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

web-refugee-crisis-2-reuters

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

A-vigil-for-Reza-Barati--001This 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

7371960-3x2-940x627This 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 

2281This 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.

Reference List

  1. Batoor,B. 2013, ‘First Day at Sea’, [online], <http://www.sbs.com.au/news/dateline/story/batoors-story-wins-walkleys&gt;.
  2. Australian Border Force, ‘No Way. You will not make Australia Home., [online, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT12WH4a92w&gt;.
  3. 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&gt;.
  4. 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&gt;.
  5. 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&gt;.
  6. 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/&gt;.
  7. 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&gt>.
  8. 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&gt;.
  9. 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&gt;.
  10. 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&gt;.

A New Culture of Welcome

Blog 4

After countless articles I read in the past few weeks, I found the asylum seekers and refugee issue has hit me hard in the core. The crisis has been said to be the worst after World War II, hit the 60 m mark and increased 5 m since 2015. It means 1 among 113 people in the world is either a refugee or an asylum seeker. The more saddening fact is more and more country are closing their door to refugees. European countries have pledged millions of dollars for refugees but the aid still falls short. In Australia itself, 557$ mil was funded for refugees in detention centres surpassing the amount that should have been allocated in the health sector. Even though, we can’t entirely blame them for the action, this has led to another problem: where should the refugees live?

The service design I found is a website that finds a home for refugees. The crisis has brought many countries difficulties to resettle the refugees and provide a decent place to live. Responding to this situation, three German activists who have been working closely for asylum seekers, sat together and decided to realise the design they had in mind.

With a motto ‘Why shouldn’t refugees be able to live in flatshares or houses instead of camps?’, Marieke Geiling, Jonas Kakomschke and Golde Ebding designed a website called Refugees Welcome to help the re-settlement issue. The concepts works similar to Airbnb, with a humanitarian purpose to help displaced people in line. The website connects refugees and citizens and provides a place for refugees by matching them with available flatshares or houses in the country.

1020
A website that matches refugees in need of a home.

Originally started in Germany in 2014, the project has spread around Europe and is extending its service throughout US and Canada. People involved in this service project come from different backgrounds, ages and lines of jobs. However they have one thing in common: a willingness to help. The number of people who signed up to provide housing for refugees is beyond the expectation, with over 800 people registered within a few months after it launched. The citizens’ reaction to the Refugees Welcome was a surprise, showing that many still have a heart for refugees. The citizens have to sign up on the website and provide information of their accommodation. There are certain requirements that the team has set to that the refugees have a decent place to live. Once the participants have passed the first stage, the team will then match them with suitable refugees. The cost for rent is covered either by the job centre or social welfare payments, crowdfunded and in special cases, refugees can receive support from the local Government.

“We are overwhelmed by people’s readiness to help. It’s time for a new culture of welcome.” 

The idea is simple yet it has a huge impact on people’s life. Allowing refugees to live in a sound environment helps them to learn the new language faster and be able to adapt to the culture quickly. It gives them hope to live and contribute to the society. On the other hand, the host will learn a different culture and sympathise which helps alleviate the burden. The project also demonstrates the other sides of the services design, a strategy to challenge people’s perspective on asylum seekers and refugees. The initiative of the host could be an example for other citizens to take action and influence their thinking on refugees. The project has a psychological effect on both participants: the refugee and host and gives them compassion and hope, in which I believe was successfully executed.

 

 

­This movement could be something to replicate in Australia. The long history of Australia tough refugee policy limits the citizens’ participation to welcome refugees. Refugees are people who long for safety and in need of our support. Seeking asylum is not a crime and they have an equal right as we do. We may probably seem powerless at this stage to change our policy but we can always make a small change in our community. By treating refugees in a more humane approach, this will help them to feel more welcomed as well as combat any negative stereotypes about refugees.

 

References:

Elgot, J. 2015, Airbnb for refugees’ group overwhelmed by offers of help, the Guardian. viewed 20 August 2016.

<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/01/berlin-group-behind-airbnb-for-refugees-overwhelmed-by-offers-of-help>

Refugees Welcome. 2016, Flüchtlinge Willkommen, viewed 20 August 2016. <http://www.refugees-welcome.net>

Mapping Stakeholders

Blog 3

13876451_10153950302341799_7049309819096275711_n
Stakeholders
FullSizeRender 5
Stakeholders’ position
FullSizeRender 4
Participation level

 

Image Archive

1. Smatphone

2015-migrants
Angelos Tzortzinis/ Refugees check their mobile phones after getting out of an inflatable boat on a beach on the Greek island of Kos

This image represents false belief that refugees and asylum seekers are not seeking protection urgently as they are still able to carry possessions and some gadgets. Many refugees are spotted staring and playing with their phones, with some are even taking selfies. The fact is they need the technology to navigate their way in order to find the nearest camps, contact their families and locate themselves in unfamiliar surroundings. Also, most of facilities and services available to refugees can only be accessed via online. However, people see this image with a negative tendency ‘they are all doing fine’ in mind. We claim to live in a modern society yet we still perceive technologies (smartphones) as something fancy.

2. Abuse

4000-2
Matthew Abbott/ The assault of two refugees at the Manus Island Detention Centre

The bitter reality that Government has tried to hide from the public is now up in the screen. Living in a detention centre is not a hopeful journey for many refugees, with a numerous report of abuse and self harm among the detainees. The matter regarding many refugees that have spent years in camps also has been criticised by UN and humanitarian groups. The image should be a wake up calls for Australian Government to take this issue seriously as the money allocated to fund the refugees in camps cannot be said to be small. Australia Government should rethink their decision. Instead of wasting money to imprisoned refugees in Nauru Island, we should let asylum seekers inside Australia which is far cheaper.

3. Plastic Bag

longform-original-11256-1449743881-3
Antonio Bronic / A refugee child sleeps in a rain cover at the border crossing with Slovenia.

Have you ever imagined putting a living creature inside a shopping bag? A baby sleeping covered in a plastic with small hole in it is a powerful message to the world that the refugees are in need of emergency support. Due to the massive wave of Syrian refugees and the poor system of its placement, many of them have to sleep in public places like train stations.

4. Silver Skin

longform-original-10761-1449143129-3
Jean-pierre Amet/ A group of refugees protect themselves from the weather with emergency blankets as they huddle on the sea wall. 
When a refugee comes to a land from a boat, they are wet and disoriented and this emergency blanket are a real life saver. The photo emphasises that they come to a certain country not to seek prosperity, they seek safety with a hope to find a new home. The crisis of asylum seekers and refugees are said to be the worst since World War II and the number has hit the roof.

5. The Barbed Wire

longform-original-7431-1449680321-3
Bernadett Szabo/  A family of refugees cross under a barb wire at the Hungarian border.
In one of the speeches, Donald Trump mention that refugees are just healthy men trying to invade the countries and open the door to terrorism. I guess this photo will prove him wrong. Most of the asylum seekers are family with babies and children.
“Why would an ISIS terrorist sit and wait to be a refugee for three years to get into the US, when they could get a radicalized European citizen and fly here on a visa waiver and then live here under the radar?”
 6. #BringThemHere
dbb3591d370b492891a168e40426005d_18
Aljazeera/  Protesters in Sydney holding a poster reading ‘Asylum Seeker is not a crime’.

This photo brings a new hope for asylum seekers waiting to be resettled in Australia. After some leaked photos and datas from detention centre, the awareness of displaced people has come to light. This opportunity is used by many activists and communities to voice their hope to house many asylum seekers that still remain in the camps. They use the term “prison” in Manus and Nauru Island which certainly has an unpleasant connotation. Asylum seekers are not criminals and shouldn’t be kept and treated badly.

 

7. Real Australian Say Welcome

Spencer+St+Melbourne+
Peter Dew/ Poster od Monga Khan as Australian Folk Hero

The poster is inspired by the National Anthem where there is a verse ‘courage to combine’. The artist, Peter Dew feels that Australia should be more open to asylum seekers. Many asylum seekers have spent years in detention centres without any certainty. The aim of the poster is to inspire people that Australia is a multicultural country and we have a place for asylum seekers. The poster is very simple yet powerful enough to break the idea of ‘invasion of refugees’. The refugees that can assimilate and contribute to society are likely to be given a warm welcome first by Australian.

8. #BringThemHere  Part 2

IMG_6053
Flipboard/ Public support for offshore detention centre.
The strong reaction of public in the wake of Nauru files published by Guardian Australia keeps coming from many places. The protest is not only addressed for Australia, but many countries trying to stop the boat from entering their border. They claimed their action to be an act to make the journey less dangerous, while in fact they contribute to the danger. The influx of refugees is not something that a country should deal alone. Instead this is an international crisis that has to be solved together. Turning away refugees will not solve the issue, only make it worse.
 .

9. Friendly Stranger

longform-original-6082-1449148191-3
Scanpix Denmark/  The image of a girl playing cheerfully with Danish policeman.
The photograph somehow gives us a little hope in this unpleasant journey. I hope this photo ignite a compassionate heart for refugees and asylum seekers. If we happen to find one in our community, we should share the spirit of a child in this photo. They don’t need our pity, they hope for our support and openness. No prejudice. Just a kind heart.
“Someone strong and smiling in the same tragic situation is a thousand times more powerful and touching.”
 10. We are desperate
1448428601188
Cathy Wilcox/  “We are more desperate.”
Asylum seeker issue sure is not a laughing stock but this illustration successfully makes a smile in many faces. Wilcox reveals the reality of Australia’s effort to deter asylum seekers into a satire. A journey to find a safe place is not an enjoyable one and they have to pay lots of thing to get the documents and enter the border. After all the efforts, what Australia can offer is a route to resettle in developing country such as Indonesia and Cambodia. The absent of Australia participation helping asylum seekers is something the Government should reflect upon.
References:

Post 5: Approaches to Design for Change

In our tutorials, we were given the chance to interview people working on contrasting subjects to our own, which in turn, allowed us to receive greater insight into an outsider’s opinion of our emerging issue. For my research in particular, I’m leaning towards focusing on the varying perspectives and perceptions of Refugees & Asylum seekers from a variety of people. As well as how a myriad of factors such as education, location, political stance can influence their opinion – whether informed or not.

This exercise particularly linked in my scholarly article for Post 2 – ‘It Would be Okay If They Came through the Proper Channels’: Community Perceptions and Attitudes toward Asylum Seekers in Australia’. With my questions, I tried to keep them quite open and unbiased by simply asking Annabel what she knew about the issues regarding Asylum Seekers and Refugees as a whole.

 

QUESTION ONE

Q: Are you aware of Asylum Seeker or Refugee issues at all? What do you know so far?

A: I’m definitely aware of it, I think it’s pretty hard to escape it since it’s so prominent in the media at the moment. I don’t know that much about the specifics like policies that are in place…Other than that Australia doesn’t take on nearly as many asylum seekers and refugees as it should, considering how affluent our future is. I just know we’re not doing enough, or that much.

From her answer, I could deduce the great amount of exposure she’s received on this issue, as it is so ubiquitous on both print and online media. But it was interesting to see how, with only a broad and general overview of the topic, she has already formed a definitive opinion on the issue. This could suggest that her opinions are based more on personal feelings than facts, which is a common occurrence in relation to this issue, on both sides of the argument.

 

QUESTION TWO

Q: You touched on the Australian side of the issue, do you know about what’s happening overseas as well?

A: Yeah, I’ve kind of gotten into podcasts called ‘This American Life’ and I recently listened to a couple of last week from early this week about a couple of refugee camps in Greece and it was Iranian and Syrian refugees. So that was very specific to what the camps were like there and it was I assume, a general overview of the lack of information they have access to and the little bits of hope they grab onto and think they might be able to leave sooner. But as a whole, it’s a very intense subject matter and I personally feel like I can’t quite keep up with it all.

The issue of Refugee and Asylum Seekers extends beyond just the current crisis we have in Australia, indeed it is a global issue. It seems like one has to be able to actively look and dig deep in order to know the specifics about the issue. Popular media, such as Podcasts, have such a huge reach in being able to educate and inform their audiences. Without this, she wouldn’t have known about the Refugee crisis in Italy or be informed into what was going on. Also, since this issue has become so widespread, it is definitely not surprising that Annabel finds it overwhelming as there are so many aspects to consider.

 

QUESTION THREE

Q: Do you have any influences on where you get your information from about Refugees and Asylum seekers? Do you think your background, upbringing or maybe particular media sources you watch affect your opinion?

A: I think our generation, or at least my group of friends, are pretty motivated to be morally correct. So I feel very passionate that we should be letting more asylum seekers and refugees into Australia, but I guess that is totally influenced by the media and politics. It’s what we should be doing, but I wouldn’t say my upbringing other than school or education…I wouldn’t say my family has particularly influenced that way of thinking.

Annabel acknowledges that the media and politics do have a say in her current stance, but also points out that she has a group of friends where they share the same aspirations regarding Refugees and Asylum Seeker.

 

QUESTION FOUR

Q: Do your friends side with the point that they (Refugees & Asylum Seekers) should be welcomed?

A: Definitely. I feel like UTS being an inner city university kind of changes our perspective on it, and we’re engaging in media more regularly than someone from a rural area.

Annabel makes a very insightful response to how locality does have an effect on your opinion due to resources, culture, positioning and lifestyle from the city to more rural areas.

 

QUESTION FIVE

Q: How do you think we can change the issue? Do you think it could build from a smaller scale for example, or should it be tackled as a global issue?

A: If I was told ‘How should we solve this?’, on a local and community level, I wouldn’t know other than suggesting more educational tools – so that there is a greater awareness of the situation both globally and nationally. But then again, I feel like the issue is so big at the moment that perhaps a global strategy is more necessary. I feel like there should be one governing body that is allowed to make decisions on behalf of some countries, like ‘you have to take X amount of people, asylum seekers & refugees, to your country’

I asked her this question, where in hindsight I should have been more specific in a way, as it is such a loaded question. But she has a very interesting answer for responding to the issue at hand. Education and awareness is one key element in allowing people to truly understand what is going on throughout all the filters, events and influences one can find in varying sources.

 

Reflecting back on the interview, it was great to be able to chart a university student’s opinions on the Refugee and Asylum Seeker issue. I would like to be able to do some further interviews with people of varying backgrounds, careers and ages to be able to chart their differences and understandings of Refugees and Asylum Seekers. It would also be a great opportunity to be able to see the issue from the perspectives of current Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Australia, and how this is compared to the other interviewees. Bias is also a key factor that I would like to further work on, as my left-wing perspective is quite evident and may skew some results. However, this task enabled me to further engage and explore what I would like to focus on in regarding the treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

 

For the probe, I asked her to save the sources she came across whenever it was linked to the issue of Refugees and Asylum and analyse the tone and information being communicated. By being aware in collecting her information, she was able to delve further into the issue and educate herself in varying media sources. The most useful platform in coming across issues regarding Refugees and Asylum Seekers was her Facebook. Some friends in her circle were actively invested in sharing information related to Refugees. Another way she was informed was by various forms of media she came across during her week such as her Facebook newsfeed in the morning or the radio in the drive home.

After this exercise she felt much more informed and more comfortable in discussing with others the range of positions and perspectives that are currently being debated in Australia. The feeling of being more educated in the subject allows her to present her own opinions and be more interactive with the matter itself. It also allowed her to be more aware and analytical with the information she came across, in terms of source, political stance and opinions.

Questions:

  1. List one source you came across
  2. Where did you find them from?
  3. What was the overall tone/influence from the media source?
  4. How do you feel after reading it?

 

Results:

Monday / 22 August 2016

  1. Q&A on ABC
  2. Friend recommended me to watch it. Also they were planning to discuss about Nauru on the show.
  3. Defensive answers from the panellists, some acts of blame, circling around opinions and what they should do as political leaders
  4. Disappointed, confused and not feeling fully informed in the situation with such different opinions.

 

Tuesday / 23 August 2016

N/A

Wednesday / 24 August 2016

  1. Opinion piece by Simon Longstaff on ABC News
  2. Front page of ABC news website
  3. Ethical, unbiased opinion piece
  4. Informed and had a well understanding of his points. He was able to communicate really effectively to both sides of the discussion around Refugees.

Thursday / 25 August 2016

  1. Hack on Triple J radio
  2. Came on in the car driving home from uni
  3. Factual with pause for opinions, more left-wing
  4. Supportive. I feel like my left-wing stance has heightened after doing this probe.

Friday / 26 August 2016

  1. ‘Hungary to build a bigger fence’ article on Daily Mail
  2. Scrolling through news sites for more information on Refugees
  3. Informative and also slightly left-wing stance
  4. I feel like the action is unnecessary, but also a good insight into how other countries are facing the refugee crisis.

Post 5 — A Matter of Opinion

Since the beginning of this subject, I have been engaging in a number of different class tasks that have provided a deeper insight and understanding of my topic of interest, Asylum seekers and refugees. Last weeks tasks encouraged myself to become more engaged with others to discover how attitudes are swayed and/or formed by people from different demographics. During this research, I conducted an interview with two fellow students who had a basic understanding of asylum seekers and refugees.

INTERVIEW

I began the interview by asking what the interviewee believed to be legitimate reasons for someone seeking refuge. The response was interesting as they believed that a person may not necessarily be fleeing war or persecution — they could also be escaping economic instability, lack of educational resources, drugs and other severe situations that may occur in more developed countries.

The interview followed by questioning what they perceived to be the most ‘legal’ way of seeking refuge. One responder acknowledged that it is a difficult question as the issue is so complicated. There is a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy involved in claiming for refugee status, and too often, people in desperate situations don’t have the opportunity or time to do so the ‘proper’ way. The second interviewee also added that in many cases, asylum seekers aren’t aware of Australia’s current offshore processing policies — if they were aware, they wouldn’t have come.

The conversation then steered towards how asylum seekers may effect Australia and our economy, lifestyle, jobs, culture, community etc. The respondent answered that Sydney is becoming a really expensive posh area that is not economically diverse. There are new CBDs popping up, such as the inner west and Parramatta where populations and new jobs are increasing. I mentioned an article I read about a 2nd generation immigrant explaining that Australia has so much land and so many resources; he called it the land of plenty. The interviewees replied that indeed Australia has a vast amount of land that is unused, however a lot of it is harsh uninhabitable. However, they added that if we used this land more effectively, we would have a lot more give. It was also mentioned that the reason why refugees may affect the community negatively is because of tension caused by fear. This ‘fear’ seems to make a predictable pattern and is more apparent when large numbers of migrants resettle to form ethnic communities within Australia. I asked if this is a bad thing. The interviewee responded that it definitely is not a bad thing, but rather very beneficial — different races bring new insights, cultural traditions, cuisines and celebrations that we can all enjoy. Multiculturalism is what makes Australia so great.

I then focused on one of my areas of interest, which examines what factors influence attitudes and opinions. The interviewee stated that obviously the media plays a massive role in influencing how the public think by what they show, and interestingly what they do not show. At all of the asylum seeker detention centres, there are strict no photography/filming policies, which makes you wonder what they don’t what people to see. Perhaps if people could see the conditions and treatment of these refugees, then they might be more sympathetic. It was interesting when the interviewee also mentioned that language and discourse plays a vital role in representing refugees. The increasing number of migrants is often seen as potentially dangerous and something to be cautious, particularly when words such as ‘swarm’, ‘epidemic’, ‘influx’ and ‘tide’ are used.

PROBES
To follow up with this interview, I asked the interviewees to participate in a probing task, where they would collect a weeks worth of data in the context of their everyday social media activities. The probe (which I now realise is probably the same as 95% of everyone else researching asylum seekers/refugees) was to save any social media posts relating to asylum seekers and screenshot the comments that respond to it. Despite the lack of originality of my probe, it focuses my area of interest (which now that I think about it, most other students are probably focusing on this area too) — that is researching how attitudes and opinions are formed and/or swayed.
I found the one of the more interesting and conflicting comments were from a New York Times article, titled ‘After Paris Attacks, Vilifying Refugees’. People had not only commented on the article, but they also responded to other peoples commentary, sparking lengthy and open online debates. The vast majority of the comments were either strongly pro or anti refugee with little room for having a neutral stance. This often resulted in insults being hurled towards people with opposing views.
probey
Similarly, on a youtube video titled ‘The Rise of ISIS and the Refugee Crisis’ by talk host John Oliver, I found the comments to be very intriguing, but also very exhausting to read (image below). Initially they were very insightful and I found myself wanting to join in on the conversation. However, the debate quickly turned into a heated exchange of insults (which was not surprising for Youtube), revealing more about the person behind the obscure username. I continued reading through the comments, though now I wasn’t sure if my motive was for research or because I just found it slightly humorous; that these people were arguing for hours with complete strangers with no possibility of changing each others obstinate views.
1
Youtube Comments from John Oliver’s video, ‘The Rise of ISIS and the Refugee Crisis’
Informal pieces of text, such as simple comments to a video or news article, are a useful source of research to gather in terms of discovering underlying bias and pre-conceptions. As the exchange between NeulNeul Lee, Arnold and oasis fan continued, more was revealed about their attitudes and why they think that way about refugees. One individuals stance was heavily influenced by their empathy with refugees, and often defended how they are negatively portrayed by the media, politicians and in public discourse. Another commentator was as equally passionate about the issue, however they had a completely conflicting perspective and supported their argument with quotes, facts and statistics that negatively represented asylum seekers.
Another set of results from the probes were inspirational and empathetic stories about refugees. It was interesting to see the Facebook pages/groups that the participant for this task received her material from. The pages that we ‘like’ or follow on social media accounts determines what information we are exposed to and definitely influences our perspective on the topic.
athlete
warchild

REFLECTION
From these tasks, I observed that people seem to be more vocal of their opinions on social media than in reality and daily conversations. I believe this is due to the anonymity of being online as well as having the time to articulate themselves through writing. Online conversations also grants instant access to the internet, which enables them to justify their opinions and quickly rebut.
I feel as though both interview and the probe provided a deeper insight of how attitudes and opinions are formed by people of different demographics. However, there is definitely room for improvement with my interviewing technique — I feel as though I was much too involved and often averted silences with my own personal input.

Week 3: Mindmap & Image Archive

3A: Mindmapping

13932911_10153950302291799_5405177519961830309_n13876451_10153950302341799_7049309819096275711_n

With the current issue regarding Refugees and Asylum Seekers being so large, our group created mindmaps which broke down the hierarchy and highlighted the links between individuals and stakeholders. First focusing on the issue in a nationalistic perspectives such as government, border control and detention centres, we gradually escalated to more global aspects including embassies, terrorism and politics.

 

3B: Image Archive

160303085722-restricted-02-migrant-crisis-0303-super-169
Refugees arriving at Lesbos (Masiello 2015)

Image 1: This image depicts refugees arriving at the Greek island of Lesbos, therefore it shows the end of a long journey for these people. It is interesting that the image is proportioned almost identically to Michelangelo’s depiction of God in The Creation of Adam. It is unknown whether the people helping them are Greek, but there is a clear prioritisation of the children. It is also interesting that safety gear is not ubiquitous, and that overcrowding is commonplace in these circumstances; these factors along with the fact they are not docked at a port all suggest desperation.

 

1.Angelos Tzortzinis
Refugees checking their phones at Kos (Tzortzinis 2015)

Image 2: This image shows refugees landing at the island of Kos in Greece. It depicts refugees checking their mobile phones soon after arriving. This image shows refugees on their mobile phones soon after landing at the island of Kos in Greece. It is an interesting juxtaposition, as refugees are usually depicted as being low tech, or economically disadvantaged. It is interesting that using their phones is their first thought after arriving is to use their phones, though we do not know if they are contacting other family members or doing something else.

 

2. Christopher Furlong.jpg
A Hungarian police officer blocking refugees (Furlong 2015)

Image 3: This image depicts a Hungarian police officer blocking refugees as they are attempting to board an already full bus. This image captures the desperation on both both sides of this issue, with the refugees desperate to board, and the police officer struggling to control the crowd. It highlights the stresses on both sides, and is especially powerful because we do not see the faces of the refugees left behind.

 

A migrant carrying a child falls after tripping on TV camerawoman Laszlo while trying to escape from a collection point in Roszke village, Hungary
A refugee with his child falls after being tripped by camerawoman Petra Laszlo (Djurica 2015)

Image 4: This image shows the aftermath of a refugee being kicked by a Hungarian camerawoman while attempting attempting to evade custody in Hungary. It is a highly symbolic image in a multitude of ways. It shows the local resident, the camerawoman, as the object of power, standing over the man as he attempts to protect his child from the fall. It is also highly reminiscent of how the media has a lot of power over the depiction and general perception of these refugees. We do not know what happened to the man or his child in the aftermath of this image.

 

4. Jean-pierre Amet
Refugees huddle in silver thermal blankets on the seawall in Ventimiglia, Italy (Gaillard 2015)

Image 5: This image depicts refugees wrapped in silver thermal blankets on the seawall in the town of Ventimiglia in Italy as they have been refused entry into France. It is quite captivating image, with the harsh contrast of the silver blankets along rocky terrain. In a way, the blankets distort the human image of the refugees, similar to how some media and politicians create an impression of ‘us and them’.

 

5. sub-buzz-14130-1470509879-7
The Refugee Olympic Team enters the stadium at the Rio Olympic Games Opening Ceremony (Neal 2016)

Image 6: This image was taken at the Opening Ceremony of the Rio Olympic Games. The procession of the refugee team is the first to ever occur in history, which reinforces how large the issue is in today’s society. This sheds a positive light on the refugees due to the support of the other athletes and the crowd. Their choice to use the Olympic flag as their own is highly symbolic of their desire to be accepted in society.

 

6. sub-buzz-10294-1466559628-13.jpg
The ‘I Came by Boat’ campaign challenges the misperceptions of refugees in Australia (Dundas 2015)

Image 7: This image is part of a campaign by the ‘I am a Boat Person’ charity. The aim of this campaign is to challenge the mainstream perceptions of refugees and to demonstrate their capabilities which are unfortunately often overlooked. That she is wearing a hijab also further confronts the misguided perceptions that many Australians have, especially in post 9/11 era. By showing that she is a high achieving individual she disproves many of the myths associated with refugees such as the myth of high unemployment and welfare dependency.

 

7. canada-refugees-facebookJumbo-v2.jpg
Justin Trudeau welcoming Syrian refugees into Canada (Reuters 2015)

Image 8: This image shows the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau welcoming the first Syrian refugees arriving by plane into the country. This image contrasts greatly with the depiction of the Hungarian police officer in the third image, and highlights Canada’s unique approach. This image is an example of what countries could do if our perceptions were changed.

 

8. Guardian.jpg
Children stand up for their rights at the Nauru detention centre (The Guardian 2016)

Image 9: This image displays child protest at Nauru detention centre. It is quite a strong image, and the fact that the children are not facing the camera is highly symbolic of the fact that they don’t have a voice in the massive debate raging in Australian society revolving around them. It is a statement asking for empathy on refugees in shining a spotlight on the children stuck in this highly contested issue. This image, alongside the release of the Nauru files expose the mistreatment of refugees and how the Australian system has failed them.

 

10. Th20-City_Syria-Ch_2979003f
Controversial cartoon presenting the lack of positive outcomes for Syrian children (Albaih 2016)

Image 10: This final image is an illustration done by Sudanese artist Khalid Albaih, who controversially outline the two options Syrian children have in the current crisis. Omran Daqneesh and Alan Kurdi have become well-known faces of the refugee issue because the different ways they have responded to the current crisis. It tackles the refugee issue as a whole and identifies what little choice refugees have in either staying in a war torn country or attempting to flee for a better life.

 

References

 

Albaih, K. 2016, ‘’Choices of Syrian children’ cartoon: Khalid Albaih’s illustration shows heartbreaking reality of Syrian crisis’, Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 19 August 2016, <http://www.smh.com.au/world/choices-of-syrian-children-cartoon-khalid-albaihs-illustration-shows-heartbreaking-reality-of-syrian-crisis-20160818-gqw89t.html>

 

Djurica, M. 2015, ‘Photographers reveal the stories behind 2015’s most powerful pictures’, Business Insider, viewed 18 August 2016, <http://www.businessinsider.com/stories-behind-2015s-powerful-pictures-2015-12//?r=AU/?r=AU&IR=T#a-migrant-carrying-a-child-falls-after-being-tripped-by-tv-camerawoman-petra-laszlo-while-trying-to-escape-from-a-collection-point-in-roszke-village-hungary-september-8th-2015-1>

 

Dundas, B. 2015, ‘I Came by Boat Campaign Launched in Australia’, Daily Mail Australia, viewed 18 August 2016, <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3348952/I-Came-Boat-campaign-launched-Australia.html>


Furlong, C. 2015, ‘World Refugee Day 2016: 60 Powerful photos of desperate families trying to reach safety’, International Business Times, viewed 18 August 2016, <http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/world-refugee-day-2016-60-powerful-photos-desperate-families-trying-reach-safety-1566075>

Gaillard, E. 2015, ‘Mediterranean migrants: Refugees sleep rough on Italian Riviera after being refused entry into France’, International Business Times, viewed 18 August 2016, <http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/mediterranean-migrants-refugees-sleep-rough-italian-riviera-after-being-refused-entry-into-france-1506149>


Masiello, A. 2015,  ‘Europe’s migration crisis in 25 photos’, CNN, viewed 18 August 2016, <http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/03/world/gallery/europes-refugee-crisis/>

 

Neal, L. 2016, ‘A Syrian Refugee Who Swam For Her Life Just Won Her Olympics Heat’, Buzzfeed, viewed 18 August 2016, <https://www.buzzfeed.com/davidmack/a-syrian-refugee-who-swam-for-her-life-just-won-her-olympics?utm_term=.rkYq0wRLq#.rhZDyN9XD>

 

Reuters 2015, ‘Justin Trudeau wins hearts (again) by welcoming Syrian Refugees at the airport’, Dawn, viewed 18 August 2016, <‘http://images.dawn.com/news/1174417>

 

The Guardian 2016, ‘UN, human rights groups and refugee groups demand solutions following Nauru data leak – as it happened’, The Guardian, viewed 18 August 2016, <https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2016/aug/10/nauru-files-global-reaction-to-huge-leak-of-immigration-detention-reports-live>

 

Tzortzinis, A. 2015, ‘Chaos in Kos: Greek Isle Overwhelmed by Migrant Influx’, NBC News, viewed 18 August 2016, <http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/europes-border-crisis/greek-island-kos-bombarded-influx-migrants-n408766>

 

POST 6: Twitter Data Scraping

by Jessica Avelina Horo

I have decided to use Twitter as my chosen social media platform to do the data scraping relating in the refugees issue. Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”. Refugees could be a quite sensitive topic so that maybe some people have more courage to speak in Twitter. In these 140-character messages, I feel challenged to see a variation of people’s opinions and how they speak out their mind out loud to the whole world. I also want to see how social media affecting the issue in any other aspect of it. During the past decade, Twitter rendered the “pound sign” obsolete and made the “hashtag” part of our vernacular. The hashtag’s uses range from sarcasm and trolling to awareness of social causes. I’m also using Twitter Archiver, a neat Google Sheets app that imports tweets with a particular search term or hashtag. I am also able to get each tweet’s date and time, retweets, favourites, the user who tweeted it, the number of people they follow, and their total followers.

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-5-22-46-pm

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-5-23-03-pm

(Screenshots from Twitter Archiver)

I started the research first by typing general keyword such as ‘refugee’ and ‘Australia’ and then try other keywords that resonates refugee in my opinion. From my researches, I feel like most people tend to focus on one side of the issue and ignoring equally important concerns. I like how people can use social media like Twitter to show their support to an issue. However, there are too many information in Twitter that could lead people supporting the wrong side. There are a lot of trending hashtag about refugees such as;

#RefugeesWelcome

#LetThemStay

#WeStandWithYou

#CloseTheCamps

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-1-24-38-pm

While #RefugeesWelcome continues to trend on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites, it has not changed the view of all countries’ political leaders. #RefugeesWelcome is being used to share photos of migrants crossing the border. While there are millions in support, there are still some who believe it is not their problem. The crisis has also split governments and led to country leaders arguing among themselves. There are various petitions for people to share #RefugeesWelcome, but it is unclear whether it will change the views of political leaders.
However, the use of hashtags on social media has gotten a bit of a other bad reputation, since it’s often just a show of support and not an action. This is “slacktivism”,  the self-deluded idea that by liking, sharing, or retweeting something you are helping out.” – urbandictionary.com. It soon became clear though, that a lot of people were using Twitter to actually get involved. Using hashtags, they turned social media into an excellent organisational tool. It also helps social organisations keeping everyone up to date with the whole refugees situation. The real example could be seen from a NGO called Train of Hope.

“Thanks to Facebook and Twitter it took us only two weeks to establish a community of people, who come by and help out, but also use their own existing networks and communities to help us solve the problems we’re facing every day. Without these tools we could never have built a microcosm so complex and effective.” – Train of Hope social media team.

Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 11.27.47 pm.png

(Train of Hope’s main website – Train of Hope 2016)

Summary Points:

  • Most people who have tweeted on the subject of asylum seekers are fairly well educated and/or are advocates for social justice.
  • Twitter hashtags could changed the way we talk about social issues. As people tend to retweet what people mostly tweet about, so it is easier for true/false information got into people’s opinion.
  • Social media like Twitter is a great tool for communication, keeping everyone up to date with the real situation.
  • Supports in Twitter could be an act of “slacktivism”, unless people show their support by doing actions too.
  • Most of the tweets about refugees issues in Australia are mostly from well educated people from law background, such as advocates for social justice.

Reference:

Train of Hope 2016, Trainofhope.org. viewed 28 August 2016, <https://www.trainofhope.org&gt;.

Moral Panic and Prejudice

Blog 2

After looking at secondary resources in my previous blog post, I discovered many perspectives on asylum seekers and refugees. Islamophobia has become a hype and stigmatization is going stronger. I am particularly interested in the history of Australian strict refugee policy and its effort to deter asylum seekers from reaching the shore. This links to how Australia has a strong prejudice toward asylum seekers.

The first journal is written by Greg Martin, examining asylum seekers in Australia and social response through moral panic theory view. Greg Martin, a Senior Lecturer in Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Sydney gave this journal a title Stop the boats! Moral panic in Australia over asylum seekers. His research interests include cultural criminology, criminal law, policing, and social movements. Throughout this journal, Martin discussed relevant international issue and research that frames the analysis of the boat people’s panic invasion in Australia.

OZED110913
Don’t come to Australia, go somewhere else.

Martin also demonstrates a different kind of moral panic, explaining the reason of a hostile response directed to asylum seekers and refugees. While classic moral panic can be driven from various reasons such as fear of invasion and multiculturalism, he also argues that this panic state is also intentionally made by politicians to gain full control of the refugee policy. Not only from internal factors, Britain’s moral panic after 9/11 attack also resonated in Australia. The anger is mistakenly directed towards Muslims, created he fear of terrorism and global Islamophobia.

Equipped with various research and statistic from many sources, he presents a credible resource to examine asylum seeker issues in Australia. He believes that as Australia is given an active coalition of the willing after 9/11, the government has the responsibility to give a fair treatment towards asylum seekers.

 

On the other hand, many people also involved to stand against this discrimination and the negative stereotype on refugees. On the second journal, Can We Make a Difference? Prejudice Towards Asylum Seekers in Australia and the Effectiveness of Antiprejudice Interventions, Lisa Hartley and Anne Padersen challenge the readers’ perspective to perceive this issue in a positive manner and to be able to take action as an individual. Based in Perth, Harley works for Human Right Education while Padersen is an associate professor of psychology in Curtin University, both fields involve discrimination against refugees, Indigenous Australians and Muslim Australians. They strongly criticize the way the Australian Government has always created a barrier from refugees and the introduction of Operation Sovereign Border has made the loop even bigger.

“Within this small number of resettlement places, Australia offered 9,399 refugees the chance to be resettled in Australia – less than ten percent of the permanent global resettlement places but only ranking third overall in resettling refugees, behind the US and Canada.”

This journal is a result of numerous domestic and international researches, combined with their practical experiences in refugees. Hartley examines the correlation between prejudice towards asylum seekers and the importance of counter prejudice in society. She also presents the myth around asylum seekers and reveals the fact that the Government swept under the rug, whilst creating a negative image for refugees.

“They are people like us.”

By the end of the journal, they introduce an intervention strategy as one of the ways to help individuals and the community to shift their negative belief towards asylum seekers. Giving right information and facts about refugees can influence each individual’s psychology. Their tone is inspiring and uplifting. They believe that we can build and practice positive attitude towards asylum seeker. Hartley and Padersen call for individuals to stand against such prejudice and dehumanisation against refugees especially Muslims, acknowledging our different value and situation, and putting aside selfishness. I agree even though we might seem powerless at this time, a prejudice intervention from individuals and the community can bring a change at a structural level.

 

References:

Martin, G. 2015, Stop the boats! Moral panic in Australia over asylum seekers, Continuum, vol 29, no 3, pp.304-322,.

Pedersen, A. & Hartley, L. 2015, Can We Make a Difference? Prejudice Towards Asylum Seekers in Australia and the Effectiveness of Antiprejudice Interventions, Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology, vol 9, no 01, pp.1-14,.