When Yassmin Abdel-Magied realised her Anzac Day post ‘Lest we forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine)’ had struck many people as disrespectful she retracted it and apologised unreservedly, acknowledging its timing and content were disrespectful.
If only her unforgiving critics could apologise as readily for their disrespectful, personal attacks.
Ms Abdel-Magied is a firm believer in the importance of Anzac Day and has regularly attended Anzac services.
Like many Australians, she has also been very concerned at the suffering of people incarcerated indefinitely, and, according to the United Nations, unjustly, on Manus and Nauru.
As many Australians have done, Ms Abdel-Magied was also asking in her post for more compassion for the people of Syria and Palestine: victims of warfare, persecuted and denied a safe homeland – a life I cannot imagine.
Ms Abdel-Magied did not want to demean Anzac Day (she believes in it strongly); she was trying to widen her fellow Australians’ awareness to include both Anzacs and suffering people today.
My parents who served in World War II would have shared her deep concern for those suffering people.
Ms Abdel-Magied’s plea for compassion towards people we too often ignore deserves not our condemnation but some thought and our support.