MUSLIM activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied has once again courted controversy with a tweet about the government’s detention of asylum seekers on a day seen by many Australians as sacred for paying respect to the men and women of the armed services.
Today is Remembrance Day with ceremonies held around the country to mark 99 years since the end of the First World War and remember those who lost their lives.
Ms Abdel-Magied came under fire in April after posting a social media post on Anzac Day, writing: “Lest. We. Forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine …)”.
The post was criticised by some for being disrespectful and even labelled “pretty despicable” by Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Zed Seselja.
“It was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful, and for that, I apologise unreservedly,” she wrote after removing the message.
Despite the resulting firestorm that followed the Anzac Day post, the former ABC TV host — who has since moved to the UK — posted an almost identical message on Twitter this afternoon.
“#LestWeForget,” she wrote, adding the word “Manus” in parentheses a few lines below.
— Yassmin Abdel-Magied (@yassmin_a) November 11, 2017
Her tweet comes as asylum seekers have been in a desperate standoff with authorities on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island over where and when they will be resettled. The detainees have defied attempts by the governments of Australia and PNG to close the camp, saying they fear violent reprisals from the local community if moved elsewhere.
On Friday about 90 asylum seekers left the detention centre but about 400 men remaining inside have vowed to stay put, the ABC reported.
There has been no shortage of criticism levelled at the government over its handling of asylum seekers on Manus Island but some social media users were quick to question Ms Abdel-Magied’s tactics in highlighting the issue.
Absolutely disgraceful. I’m convinced now that your point is to be distrespectful and distasteful.
— Melissa Farrell (@MelF1987) November 11, 2017
I hope I can forget this tweet certainly. Remembering people who fought for our country doesn’t mean we forget others. Clearly a concept your mind is too small to comprehend.
— Front and Center (@FrntAndCenter) November 11, 2017
— TAJ PABARI (@tajpmahal) November 11, 2017
I still don’t think WWI remembrance should be brought into the Manus fray(didn’t you say you regretted this approach last year?) 🤔
— Gina V Dow (@ArtsandCulture) November 11, 2017
However plenty of others applauded the 26-year-old.
Thank you for your bravery Yassmin. I’m with you 100%
— Amy Clarke (@amy_mclarke) November 11, 2017
#LestWeForget If think those guys died fighting so we would have the freedom to put innocent people through this kind of torture and send death/rape threats to people speaking their mind then maybe they aren’t worth remembering.
— Josh Taylor (@Wario_man) November 11, 2017
Just beautiful! Thank you Yassmin.
— Shaun Warnock (@shaunwarnock_sw) November 11, 2017
Last week the United Nations called on Australia to restore food, water and health services to detainees after authorities cut off support services for the camp.
“We repeat our overall concerns about Australian offshore processing centres which are unsustainable, inhumane and contradictory to its human rights obligations,” UN rights spokesman Rupert Colville said.
On Thursday the UN Human Rights Committee released a report urging Australia to stop rejecting refugees and change its migration laws to come into line with international standards.
Footage released this week by the activist group GetUp highlighted the squalid conditions inside the camp where hundreds of men have been living without power, water or food supplies.