A few years ago I sponsored a bunch of Afghani kids on a soccer playing tour of Queensland and NSW. It was a privilege to meet some of the kids. I expected to find kids who’d grown up in a peasant culture, who would not be particularly interested in education. One tends to think of ‘humanitarian’ migrants like that. Not the greatest value economically, but we’re happy to do what we can. I guess those people who let my father into the country thought the same thing. But he turned out OK.
Anyway, it was obvious from talking with the kids how wrong my ideas were. These kids wanted to be doctors, architects, engineers. And they desperately wanted to educate themselves. And now as Crikey! reports, some of the kids from the Tampa have been doing just that. In New Zealand that is, where some of them were allowed to land. The kid pictured – Abbas Nazari – is a mean speller, coming third in NZ’s national spelling bee.
And I’m really sorry about the way we treated you – I still don’t know what got into us.