The banality of Peter: Is Dutton the new Adolf Eichmann?

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Like a previous one did Adolf Eichmann, could a future generation hold Peter Dutton accountable for alleged crimes against humanity?

A comparative study of two notoriously zealous immigration specialists, by Richard Raber.

LET'S MAKE an optimistic assumption about the future of our planet — a future where crimes committed by governments who currently have the all-pervasive protection via that big, ugly I-word: impunity.

In that future, high ranking government officials from successive Australian governments spanning the last few decades would be put on trial for crimes against humanity, especially in regards to their policies and treatment of asylum seekers. From where we are now, in 2017, the most obvious selection for this future judicial onslaught is none other than our warm and friendly minister for immigration and border protection, Peter Dutton.

At the core, both Adolf Eichmann and Dutton were charged with one essential brief by their respective bosses/regimes. Namely, to keep undesirables out of their home state. In the early days for Eichmann, that meant devising ways to encourage Austria’s Jews to leave the country. As WWII progressed and more of Europe was swallowed up by the Nazi regime, his job brief evolved to include the ridding of Jews from more diverse parts of the continent and, as we all know, expanded to mass murder in place of immigration. Eichmann was essentially in charge of the transportation of Jews to their eventual incarceration and/or deaths.

Eichmann studied Jewish society and history in depth. He took his job very seriously and knew that he could excel in his duties by having a reasonably vast grasp on all things Jewish. He learned Yiddish and Hebrew.

Does Dutton know any other language other than White Australian? If he does, we can be pretty certain he doesn’t speak Pashto or Dari or Arabic or Kurdish or Persian. Come on Pete  —  get cracking!

Eichmann even travelled to Palestine in 1937 via his contact with some Zionist envoys. The trip’s main aim was to establish connections and assess the feasibility of migration of Jews to Palestine. The British ejected him after 24 hours. A brief stay, but a good effort to get there at all.

How many times and to what end has Dutton travelled to the countries where many of our incarcerated asylum seekers originate from? And if he has, was his aim been to facilitate a productive immigration outcome for asylum seekers?

Dutton does score points on direct communication though. In the documentary Chasing Asylum, we see the TV announcement broadcast by Dutton warning asylum seekers what their fate will be if they dare to try and seek refuge on our shores. It’s cold and chilling. But definitely more upfront than Eichmann, who mostly aided the murder of Jews quietly from behind his desk. His victims would never get to see his villainous Nazi punim (that’s Yiddish for face, by the way).

We may even be able to conclude that when looking purely at the zealous focus of their respective professional mission statements, Dutton wins hands down. It’s well documented that Eichmann saved the lives of a few individual Jews for specific personal favours. The judge at Eichmann’s trial even used this fact to reveal that Eichmann was not merely a cog in a machine following orders as he repeatedly claimed, but that he had discretionary power to allow some Jews to live if he saw fit. To date, I don’t know of any similar example of Dutton interfering in a positive sense to improve the conditions or the fate of a single asylum seeker under his department’s fierce control.

In conclusion, let’s not muck around. Both of these men are hideous. The only problem is, one is long gone and the other is still thriving in his professional pursuits and is now pushing for more power — to head what would be a mega-department called Homeland Security (sounds strangely familiar), incorporating ASIO and the Australian Federal Police into his already super-sized department.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know, I know. Eichmann’s work was embedded with wholesale mass murder! How can I even dare to compare his career to Dutton’s? Well. You see, I just did. Despite the fact that the outcome of their work has significant differences, it’s their general professional overviews that are totally comparable. So just relax, and let go of the uptight misguided yet predictable indignation. 

You can read more by Richard Raber at medium.com/@raberro.

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The banality of Peter: Is Dutton the new Adolf Eichmann?

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