Importantly and without cliche, this was about their journey. Who they were when the process started and what they came to understand in the process. Who they are now. There was no avoiding the audience response to the series and the participants themselves, and this was addressed in this panel show – with particular focus on Raquel and how she’s coped since the whole of Australia was introduced to her.
“It’s been tough,” she said, “but I’ve learned never to judge a book by it’s cover.”
Raquel was offered an opportunity to get to know “a towel head” as a seemingly genuine gesture of friendship from an Australian woman wearing a head scarf. Here’s hoping she takes it. Adam was definitely changed, Darren qualified his position but did express sincere empathy for the people he met and gained greater insight into the plight of refugees.Gleny just could have given everyone a big hug, participants included. It was interesting to hear they didn’t get an advance screening of the show – they saw it live to air as the rest of the country did. It would have made for uncomfortable viewing, that’s for sure (and educational as they then would have gotten to see what the other group got up to while on their portion of the journey. The stories of Roderick & Raye were the most interesting for me. Hearing their backgrounds, hearing how the process affected them and what they intend to do about it.
The inclusion of the refugees they groups met with at the start of the program was excellent, if only for the update on their families as to getting out of their situations. It would have been great to hear more from the assembled studio audience but they did only have 60 minutes to deliver the show.
Importantly, it was a poignant follow up to the 6 people willing to stick their opinions out for all to hear and judge them on and to see and hear how the process affected them. Enus was an affable and engaging host who didn’t shy away from the tough questions or statements towards the particpants. A solid epilogue to a series that must be made available in all high schools in Australia, if only to provide students with the opportunity to debate one of the most important issues of our time that our privileged culture will face.