Australia, Hungary, not just Trump with punitive migrant policies



The uproar over the handling of USA refugee immigrants has turned the spotlight back on Australia’s draconian policies of warehousing incomers, often fleeing repression, on offshore islands. When described to Trump in 2017 by PM Malcolm Turnbull, he remarked “You are worse than I am.”

Brigid Delaney writing in the Guardian describes these internment camps as ‘so grim and dangerous that they are often worse than the conditions people were fleeing from – as hot as hell, with all sorts of tropical diseases and only basic medical care. Places where there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go. Places with random outbreaks of violence, that end in murder (RIP Reza Barati). Places where it’s easy to get away with rape. Places where pregnant women can’t access abortions. Places that are almost guaranteed to send their inhabitants mad.’

It started as a hurried political response to the arrival of one boat in 2001 and has consolidated over a decade and a half into a permanent policy, with the support of both Australia’s major political parties. Dozens of countries, the United Nations, and rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have documented and condemned the illegal detention.

More than three-quarters of those forcibly sent by Australia to one such centre Nauru whose asylum claims have been assessed have been found to have a “well-founded fear of persecution” and are legally owed protection.

Foreign journalists – save for a handful of selected reporters – are forbidden entry to the island. Dr Peter Young, formerly the chief psychiatrist responsible for the care of asylum seekers in detention on Manus and Nauru, described the camps as “inherently toxic” and said the immigration department deliberately harmed vulnerable detainees in a process akin to torture. The traumatologist and psychologist Paul Stevenson said that in 40 years working with the victims of terrorist attacks and natural disasters, the conditions in Nauru and Manus camps were the worst “atrocity” he had ever seen.

All of which is the context for one astrological thought. The policy was established in 2001 on a Saturn opposition Pluto (in Gemini/Sagittarius) which has the same feel as the approaching Saturn Pluto conjunction which will dominate 2019. At the moment Eastern European countries are hardening their attitudes to refugees, with Orban in Hungary enacting a decree that helping migrants will be a criminal offence against EU diktats so it isn’t just Trump.

Saturn is rigidly disciplined, status-driven and authoritarian and has no reason to mellow when combined with Pluto’s need for control. A world view based solely on power sees only the victorious or the oppressed. There can be no quarter given when compromise is seen as a sign of weakness, a lowering of defences as potentially life-threatening. There is no room for compassion or sentimentality.    Freedom of choice is not a Saturn–Pluto concept, so beliefs that do not fall in line with the established order come under pressure whether religious, political or ethnic.

The last Saturn Pluto conjunction in Libra in 1982 oversaw the Falklands War; Israel invaded the Lebanon and were instrumental in the Sabra/Chatila refugee-camp massacres of Palestinians; and Solidarity, the Polish workers’ organization, demonstrated against martial law, only to have the Soviet authorities tighten their repression.

In 1946–48, with Saturn–Pluto in Leo, the messy partition of India and Pakistan led to massacres and killings; the Cold War started, bringing down an Iron Curtain between Russia and Western Europe, symbolic of Saturn–Pluto’s determination to build defensive barriers. Japanese and German war-crime tribunals were ongoing, bringing to public awareness the extent of the atrocities of the Second World War.

The previous conjunction in 1914 kicked off WW1. One conjunction earlier in 1882, Saturn–Pluto in Taurus saw the outrages in rural Ireland when 10,500 families were brutally evicted. Tsar Alexander III was at the same time exerting an iron rule in Russia, forcing Orthodox beliefs on the population, and persecuting dissidents.  Saturn–Pluto was in Pisces in 1819, when freedom of the press was abolished in Germany and universities placed under State supervision in an attempt to check revolutionary and liberal movements. The Peterloo Massacre in England at the same time saw the militia attacking a crowd for listening to speeches on parliamentary reform and the repeal of the Corn Laws.

It’ll be a grim time to be a refugee  fleeing oppression.

10 thoughts on “Australia, Hungary, not just Trump with punitive migrant policies

  1. It is going to be interesting to see what Bill Shorten Opposition Labor Leader does if he takes over, both parties favour repressive immigration policy, but their maybe some twinking just to make it look conservative lite. The way Australia treats it cousins New Zealand is appalling as well, deporting people back to NZ, after they went there as children. Some just on character risk alone. It does not have many moral friends, but it has the money for the time being to ride it out.

  2. Interesting piece from William Hague in today’s Telegraph as Erdogan is re-elected, about the rise of authoritarianism – Turkey, USA, China, Russia, Egypt etc – and how scary it is that a democratic vote can actually put megalomaniacs in charge. We never seem to learn from history. Saturn Pluto flexing its muscles – 2019 will be heavy going.
    Will do Erdogan when he’s sworn in.

  3. Interesting point from Tara about the triple conjunction in the late 1980s/early 1990s. In the past in the aftermath of triple conjunctions (usually circa 150 years apart) there have always been vast migrations of people. In historical time were not much beyond that – and seeing the Saturn Pluto in Capricorn of 2019 as part of that, well the pendulum swing, makes sense. Plus the swirling confusion of boundaryless Neptune in Pisces.
    Agree Solaia about Uranus in Taurus, followed by Jupiter Saturn in Capricorn, never exactly conjunct, but near enough in 2020 till early 2021. Earth signs are not always sympatico or compassionate putting material wealth as the priority.

  4. To me, the current debate on refugees is, really, caused by Neptune in Pisces. Dissolving the bounders, fear and disinformation connected to it. And, I think we got the worst with Saturn in Sadgittarius squaring that Neptune. Not only were Russians and Turkish using refugees to advance their agenda, but people in Europe and The US were incredibly susceptible to “fake news”.

    The situation now is, to an extend, different. Very charged, with authoritarians seemingly taking over everywhere, possibly due to Uranus in Taurus. I do not think, however, Saturn conjunct Pluto in Capricorn is necessarily bad situation, since it gives structure to things. Refugees suffer in conditions where nothing is determined, because this opens space to abuse. Eventually, people in Western Countries will realize that having refugees stacked away somewhere they do not see them isn’t going to take away THEIR problems.

    For instance, it’s obvious that separating children from parents is a vile human rights violation. As horrible as Nauru Center is, they do not do this. That said, what’s really stunning that The US Authorities went into this without a clear plan on how to reunite children and parents. This will open anyone who was involved with this to legal process on misconduct. There are several instances now promising legal representation to whistle blowers. I also suspect the reason even many Republican Governors have refused to send National Guard to The Boarder – they know this will leave them very exposed legally. So, there’s a very good chance of actual trials for this taking place by early 2019 in The US. Also, a full Congressional Investigation in case Democrats do (as I think they will) take both House and Senate.

    Also, selected EU leaders has been in session for the whole weekend on refugee program. The likely outcome here is some sort of “entrance centers” in The EU Area financed by most countries, and Hungary and other countries facing financial sanctions for not doing their part.

  5. It took the full weight of Uranus and Neptune in Saturn’s sign of Capricorn before it was possible to bring the Berlin Wall down again. I remember looking ahead to 2020, when it seemed so far into the future, wondering “Will there be another wall? How can there be another wall?”. Gradually over the years I dismissed this as the naivety of a young teen. I realise now that the real naivety is in thinking that everyone learns from history. Not only do we have a new wall being promised, but children being separated from their parents and people arguing that it’s justified.

    These days a lot of people seem to just use recent history to justify their “what abouts..”. The media criticises Leader A for a questionable policy, cue cries of “What about Leader B, who did something similar in the 90s? You didn’t jump on him!”. Thus Leader A becomes a persecuted champion of the people, unfairly treated by the “liberal elite” media imbalance and debate about the actual policy is closed (in the minds of the supporters).

      • Good point Virgoflake, thank you. I’ve also just realised the last pass of Uranus Neptune in Capricorn saw the channel tunnel open, who would’ve imagined we’d be heading for brexit then?

  6. A frightening prospect but the picture you paint adds up. This is the context for the Brexit process to turn from a long argument about might-be scenarios into reality, at least political reality, in 2019. The main issue which swung the Brexit vote was fear of migrants, fuelled by Merkel’s instinctive gesture of welcome and claims that 78 million Turks were just about to join, which under Erdogan is very unlikely.

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