|Pick your village on this map.|
After leading journalists and Australian Immigration Authorities on
a wild goose chase around Afghanistan looking for
his ever-changing home village, celebrity asylum-seeker Ali
Baktiari finally admitted that he had lied about his past, and admitted that he
had spent 'several years' in Pakistan.
Just like seasoned politicians, his support
groups 'refined' their earlier position on their version of the
truth. Effectively saying that it was acceptable for asylum-seekers to lie in
order to ensure a successful refugee claim.
Many Australians will feel quite betrayed by this. Initially the asylum-seeker
support groups tried to stir up outrage in the community because of the
contradictory position that the Immigration Department seemed to be taking.
Ali Baktiari was classified as a refugee from Afghanistan, but his wife and
children were classified as being from Pakistan.
Gleefully, the left
joined in the chants of 'liar Ruddock, liar!' and presumably believed that
enough repetitions made a truth - that the children overboard fiasco had
permanently tarred the Howard/Ruddock position so that they could simply
make up their own facts. However, this was not to be.
Few people would have predicted the events of September-11, or the
overthrow. In 2000, claiming to be a victim of Taliban persecution
would have been a Pakistani plumber's best chance of emigrating to
Australia. After the collapse of the Taliban became inevitable, so was exposure
of the lie.
And slowly, bit by bit, the lie was exposed. First as lack of knowledge
about local currencies, then doubts expressed about accents and language and
customs, then witnesses in Quetta (Pakistan), and then finally by journalists who
went to the village that the Baktiaris claimed to be from.
But the left never saw this coming. They didn't see that drawing attention
to the plight of this asylum-seeker would result in his certain downfall. They
didn't understand that making it newsworthy would ensure the free press would
investigate it themselves. Like a religious prayer, or witch's spell - which
gains more potency with repetition, presumably they believed that by repeating
the lie often enough it would be believed. And they chose to put their
credibility behind a case which was suspicious at best, and at worst an obvious
The Australian public now consists of three groups.
- Those who have had their suspicions about asylum-seekers confirmed.
- Those who feel betrayed by those who have asked for their help under false
- Those who feel that fraud, cheating and lying are acceptable if they are for personal
There is nothing quite like the coldness from someone who has had their
generosity and trust betrayed. Ali Baktiari, and some 700 other 'suspect' cases
may like to consider this on their trip home.
Australians are a generous people, but they don't like being lied to.