As a refugee detained indefinitely by Australia, I wish you a happy new year | Opinion


Another new year approaches. A new year signifies new hope, new prospects, and new ideas for the future.

Each new year people throughout the world hold infinite hope, wishes for a better life, a more fulfilling life.

Some are lucky and their dreams, hope and wishes are fulfilled effortlessly. Some sadly lack the essential ingredients of success for whatever reason; but for them, there are still other possibilities, other hopes, even if only small, that manage to fulfil them.

As a refugee indefinitely detained and left in an uncertain limbo, as part of Australia’s offshore processing regime, I have been seeing and hoping the new year will fulfil my dreams and wishes for the past seven new years.

But sadly, every year I am disappointed. Each year, my hopes and wishes remain unfulfilled. The unbearable disappointment leaves me weak and vulnerable. For the past six years the continual, agonising pain and sufferings as a refugee and asylum seeker has taken its toll.
We arrived in Australian waters seven years ago, fleeing torturous regimes, escaping on leaky boats for our lives. Yet we were filled with hope, we wanted a future, we had something to contribute to the world. Now we have lived through so many unforgettable experiences and memories whilst detained on Manus Island and Nauru by the Australian government.

Memories such as the 2014 riots when the first innocent asylum seeker was lost to death, or the 2015 hunger strikes, the 2016 Good Friday shootings, or the 2017 siege in Lombrum camp where we were left without food or water for almost a month before finally being removed by force.
Memories such as the 2018 escalation of self-harm and suicide attempts, that sparked again after the Australian federal elections in 2019 when Morrison’s government was re-elected, how we are still left in limbo with life passing us by.

As we languish for the past six years, 2019 passed us by with nothing but hopelessness and worries. Even the short-lived celebration of Medevac, came crushing to an end.

Some of the refugees from Manus and Nauru have found their new lives in a safe country and are busy making their permanent homes. We wish them a very bright future ahead. But for those of us that remain, hope of a new future seems more remote than ever. But new year is a time of hope for new life. Even if impossible, while I live, I must believe in some hope – so I believe that 2020 will be the turning point for our freedom and our new start in life.

Whilst every move of your politics determines my fate, nevertheless I wish all of you a very glorious and happy new year, one with your dreams and hopes fulfilled.



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