The movie is still very popular, and there aren’t too many people who don’t know the story of the Von Trapp family’s desperate flight from the Nazi’s at the start of WW2. Aided by kindly nuns, they outwitted the Hitler’s henchmen, and tap-danced their way into Switzerland over a flimsy wooden bridge.
My how times have changed.
Imagine how the Von Trapps would have fared if they’d tried the same stunt today? The Swiss would have met them at the end of the wooden bridge, then frogmarched them straight back to Austria at gunpoint as part of their ‘Send the Huns Back’ policy.
Then they would have demanded the Nazi’s arrest the nuns for people smuggling activities, sending a crystal clear message to anyone else hoping to flee Hitler’s’ reign of terror: The Swiss aren’t soft on asylum seekers.
Alternatively, they may have been rounded up the family and slung them into an internment camp for ‘processing’ (something we do to minerals, cattle, sheep and now, refugees).
The entrapped Von Trapps could have mouldered in mandatory detention for up to five years, entertaining the other inmates with endless renditions of ‘Doe a Deer’ and ‘Ave Maria’. Which is cruel and unusual punishment of the innocent; the prison guards should stop them singing.
But in real life the nasty Nazi’s stood at the border shaking their fists as the Von Trapps were welcomed by the tolerant Swiss. Afterwards they immigrated to America, opened a ski lodge in Vermont, and lived happily ever after torturing their guests with nightly sing-a-longs.
I can’t work out why we cheer for the Von Trapps, but want to send back the boat people? Obviously we prefer a certain type of refugee: singing and dancing ones!
So instead of sending Navy gunships to intercept the ramshackle boats, maybe we should send some instruments and dance instructors? Perhaps our politicians could visit squalid refugee camps and hand out free DVD’s of the Sound of Music?
And they can have my mint condition copy of the movie right now; I’m sure my Auntie won’t mind if I leave the birthday wrapping on it.