Mem Fox, celebrated Australian children’s book author, had an experience when traveling to the US earlier this month that so horrified her, she is unlikely to return to the country.
Fox, 70, says she was on her way to speak at a conference in Milwaukee when she was detained for two hours and subjected to such verbal abuse and emotional turmoil she collapsed, sobbing, upon her release. From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
She said the border agents appeared to have been given “turbocharged power” by an executive order signed by President Donald Trump to “humiliate and insult” a room full of people they detained to check visas.
That executive order was eventually halted by Federal Courts and it was expected a new order would be signed this week, designed to avoid the confusion caused by the original.
“I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness,” Fox said.
“I felt like I had been physically assaulted which is why, when I got to my hotel room, I completely collapsed and sobbed like a baby, and I’m 70 years old.”
Fox is among her country’s most respected authors. She has honorary doctorates from Wollongong and Flinders Universities and was made a Member of the Order of Australia for “services to children’s literature” in 1993.
Ironically, this comes just as Fox’s latest book, Welcome to Australia, is coming to market. It’s about “welcoming strangers to a strange land — Australia — and I wrote it because I perceived that Australia was losing its gorgeous warmth of character in our attitude to newcomers.”
The full piece is here.