18 April, 2016

What privilege looks like

Tracy Grimshaw wrote an anguished piece for The Australian today in defence of her 60 Minutes colleagues who are currently under arrest in Lebanon.

I make no comment on the case and I don’t question for a moment any of Ms Grimshaw’s account of what good people her friends are. I feel for her and I feel for them. I particularly feel for the crew who probably had no input in the story and may not have had a choice in their involvement in it.

The point I have to make is that for anyone who has ever had to wonder, this is what privilege looks like.

Never mind the fact that a tabloid journalist is defending other tabloid journalists. In fairness, Ms Grimshaw declared her lack of objectivity.

Never mind the fact that once again, Australians are behaving the laws of another country don’t apply to us while in that country. 

Never mind the fact that if a Lebanese television network were alleged to have paid people smugglers (remember when they were the bad guys?) to snatch a child of a Sydney street and spirit him out of the country, 60 Minutes, A Current Affair and all their ilk would be baying for blood.

Let’s start with the fact that every person in every jail cell in the world has a friend who says they’re a good person. They don’t all get to say it in a major daily newspaper though.

It’s not news or even notable that someone who is locked up has friends who are worried about them and family who miss them. There is nothing special about that. That just makes them human. Some of them are probably innocent. The 60 Minutes crew may well be innocent. That’s for the Lebanese justice system to decide and it doesn’t matter what you think of Lebanese law, they were in Lebanon so their law applies. Being Australian and a good person doesn’t mean you get treated differently. If you think it does, or should, that’s what privilege looks like.

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