Howard Firkin
for Julian Burnside
Australians all, we may as well rejoice
and issue some commemorative stamps
to celebrate the concentration camps
we hide in other countries. That’s our choice:
ignore them. Concentrate on other things.
These are not people. These are human flotsam.
These self-ungirt who trust their lives to chance,
they choose to drift on tides of circumstance.
Don’t sell us hard luck stories—“Thanks. We’ve got some.”—
You can’t blame us for others’ sufferings.

Some women in our camps are sometimes raped.
Some children may self-harm. Some men have died.
But these were lives that global forces shaped.
We couldn’t change a thing. Not if we tried.