I love living in Australia, and could not imagine living anywhere else. I appreciate our cultural adherence to giving everyone a "fair go". But what about a fair go for Mr Jovicic? Mr Jovicic was born in France to Serbian born parents, and has lived in Australia with his family for 36 of his 38 years. Because of thefts to support a drug addiction, Mr Jovicic's visa was cancelled and he was deported to Serbia. Now Mr Jovicic is homeless , unwell, and stateless. Serbia does recognize him as a citizen, and he is not able to work or receive welfare assistance. Mr Jovicic has not been given a fair go, but a death sentence.
Click here for more of the story in the Age. Mr Jovicic is camped outside the embassy in freezing temperatures in a final effort to be given a fair go by the country that until recently was his home.
"I've explained to the embassy if I'm considered Australian trash that I will rot on Australian soil,'' Mr Jovicic said (The Age, November 24th 2005).
Where is our national compassion? Mr Jovicic is not unique in Australia for having a drug problem, and for turning to thefts to support his habit. Mr Jovicic needs counselling, not cancelation of his visa. He needs rehabilitation, not rejection from the only country and culture he has ever known. It is a sad state of affairs when the closest an unwell Australian can get to his country is the freezing steps of the Serbian based Australian embassy.
I am further disturbed by the fact that very few people seem to be talking about it. Who is crying out for a fair go for Mr Jovicic? Justice burns deeply in the heart of God, and should burn deeply in ours. Even as I type, I know why so many of us are silent. It is not necessarily because we are apathetic, many of us do care. It is because we feel powerless to do anything about it. I saw a photo of Mr Jovicic in the paper earlier this week. It was a side view, and he was crying. I may be unable to do anything except pray for him and his family, but I will not be unmoved.