Before I explain the photo let me tell you a story:
Memory: When I was seven years old and whilst playing with my friends in my grandmother's yard, I heard a heart wrenching scream coming from her room. We ran upstairs and I found my grandmother tearing at her hair and hitting her head with her fists. Her son had been caught by the Yugoslav coastguards while trying to cross the Adriatic to Italy. He was sent to prison to be reeducated in the virtues of Communism.
Memory: Two years later I see my family lining up in Paris to get refuge status from the relevant French department.
If that had been now and we were coming to Australia by sea to seek asylum, we would be sent back or end up on some God forsaken island.
Today I joined a thousand or so Melbournians to protest against the inhumane treatment the asylum seekers are receiving in the hands of the Australian Government.Refuges coming by boat from Indonesia (a departure point for desperate Kurds, Iranians, Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Tamils) are intercepted in Australian waters and are now either sent back to Indonesia or taken into detention in New Guinea with no prospect of settlement anywhere. Their choices are to remain in detention indefinitely or to go back to the very places from which they have escaped.
I took this image while a young Kurdish woman was speaking, one of the "boat people" who ended up on Manus Island in New Guinea where she informed us 12 people are accommodated per tent in a place where the humidity is unbearable, where the toilets have no doors and there is no privacy to weep about one's past, about one's loved ones left behind, about one's loss of hope. The faces of these young Kurdish women reflect the speaker's own suffering as she remembered her incarceration.
Several days ago the refugees on Manus Island rioted when they found out that the interviews held by the government officials were bogus and were mere window dressing for the international community. Some of these detainees had been in detention for five years with no end in sight. One, a 23 year old Iranian Kurd was killed, murdered. His name was Reza Barati, he was an architect, who dreamt of a better future.
I include a section of an article from The Age about the event and the secrecy surrounding it since the government has chosen to keep the Australian people in the dark:
The details of the entire unfortunate matter were too complicated and clouded by conflicting reports, according to very experienced bureaucrat Martin Bowles, who is secretary - public-service speak for chief - of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
What might have happened would be the subject of, yes, a review, he declared, and kept declaring, having clutched it as a shield.
There might be an interim report by the end of next month, and an actual report a month after that. Until then, why, reviewing would take place, and it wouldn't do at all in the meantime to attempt to shed actual light on what might have happened when the lights went out on Manus Island.
But what of the 23-year-old man who might, in high probability, have been murdered? And the scores of others who had their heads broken?
The Australian Federal Police wouldn't be investigating, or any other Australian police. Not even reviewing. It was a matter for the Papua New Guinea police. So urgent is the matter to the PNG police, apparently, that a week after the man had his head stoved in by persons unknown within Australia's outsourced detention centre, a post-mortem had not yet taken place. His body was being transported to Port Moresby, a week post-mortem.
There was no mention of a review of this lack of urgency. Papua New Guinea was a sovereign nation. With, you'd presume, its own sovereign time. Of the 1340 asylum seekers on Manus Island, 1339 now, not one has been processed for refugee status.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/lights-out-on-manus-death-as-review-clouds-the-truth-20140225-33ft1.html#ixzz2ui5tFIBu
For those of you who abhor politicians playing with the lives of the most vulnerable, pleas read other articles that have appeared in The Age over the last weeks. Type in Key words like Manus, Reza Barati, Boat People and you will learn something about the dark days that we as a nation are going through as we brutalize those who have come to our shores in search of freedom.
WORKSHOP: images of demonstration
Critiques | Translate
mirosu (12604) 2014-03-01 4:21
Excellent note, superb photo. Smart choice of close-up to accentuate the girls faces and the colourful flag with splendid sharpness, great color contrast, superb light and very good POV choice.
Very well done
Wish you a very nice weekend.
batalay (34783) 2014-03-01 4:47
Thank you for taking the time and writing this heart wrenching essay, and illustrating it with a totally unforgettable photograph. The anguish is written on the faces of these people. Man's inhumanity to man is a timeless and omnipresent. As we get more sophisticated and take a 10,000 steps forward, we slide back 9,999 steps.
SnapRJW (29308) 2014-03-01 5:42
Hello Klaudio - I became aware of the death of Reza Barati through Lisa (Delpeoples) FB page and your note, which is written so eloquently , brings more details of the asylum seekers plight to my notice. It is easy to understand why you relate so strongly to this horrendous situation having experienced man's inhumanity to man as such close quarters.
The dark colours in your shot and the looks on the two young women's faces tell as story of disbelief and confusion. I am not surprised; I had imagined Australia to be an enlightened and progressive society. One that was developed by an immigrant population and proud of its diversity...... I hope I am not wrong and that politicians will recognise that there but for the grace of god go they.
An important and excellent post
worldcitizen (6489) 2014-03-01 9:18
The despair and anguish is palpable in this photo. It's an excellent documentary shot that has even more meaning due to your excellent note. I wasn't aware that this was going on in Australia, and I learned a lot from your post.
kasianowak (5002) 2014-03-01 10:49
I'm so glad and greatful you have brought this issue to our attention. I was not aware people seeking refuge faced this kind of treatment in Australia. We tend to think of Australian society as welcoming and open minded. Technically speaking, great majority of people there are immigrants or decendants of immigrants.
I can't understand the mindset that makes the affluent nations look down upon the less fortunate ones and treat immigrants as lowlife, nuisance, and threat.
I suppose, one has to experience that to understand. Here in the UK, it makes me sick, day after day, to hear on the radio and read in the papers that people like me, i.e. immigrants from Easter Europe (or just "Europe" or "EU" as they like to call it, as if forgetting that the UK itself is located in Europe and part of the EU) are the cause of the current economic crisis. Immigrants, rather than greedy bankers or the flawed philosophy of constant economic growth.
Great reportage, Klaudio. TFS
Waylim (25086) 2014-03-01 16:17
This is a very thought provoking image. I can somewhat relate to your story with some differences and yet it all sound so familiar. I won't claim to understand the whole situation, but my heart to out to the refugees. I too was one a refugee and have undergo many unforgettable moment, not know how our faith will end up. Live and death and uncertainty. Hopefully there will be a good solution and there will be nice ending to the problem. I applaud your to take part in this fight.
I'm surprise to see such treatment by the Australian government, because Australia has always been a very good supporters during my time in the refugee camp with many volunteers and many Refugees from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam had been accepted to immigrated to Australia.
I posted this part of my story awhile back. If you are interested. You might have already seen it.
delpeoples (52575) 2014-03-01 20:59
I take my hat off to you. This is a photo that means more to me than even the most beautiful photo of one of our national natural treasures. Your words have come at a time when I have hung my head as an Australian. It is beyond me how anyone can justify what happened on Manus Island and what has been happening to those who dare to seek asylum, which is their legal right, in Australia. Both political parties are to blame, and just as next week, I will be protesting the Abbott Regime's actions in its 6 months of being in power, I marched last year against Labor's attempt to sink to the lowest common denominator and match Abbott in his politics of cruelty. Nazi Germany taught us that the majority is not always right and that it is incumbent upon Government to rise above the baser instincts of its more vocal people and do what is morally right. Sadly this regime - I won't call them a government as it implies legitimacy - will never do that and will continue to mine the political goldmine that is the Asylum Seeker Issue. But your photo shows us that we are not alone in our thoughts, as much as the bigots and racists would have us believe that we are the lone nutter or do-gooder. Thank you for sharing, you aren't alone.
kato (11630) 2014-03-02 1:41
Hi dear Klaudio,
You're capturing well this documentary photograph by a good angle and excellent tone/clarity. So, we don't notice well about oppression and damage of a race without a country, ethnic minority of nation and economic poor as an actual problem when it is not the party concerned. Although it is large to be based on the press restrictions of the government or mass media, it is on the bottom that there looks like an intention that people do not want to disturb the order of a life. Justice and human rights are what. It is the important duty of the person who received education in modern society, however it seems to go with the time so that it may understand by immigration regulation of the latest Switzerland, Britain, etc.,. Real intention will not want to go too far into a matter excessive as a state. As for it, the present-day individualism which was too excessive, liberalism, and thin information society look like a cause. It is also the sadness of the human being who does not notice unless we are placed by the position. However, there are many great men who rose to social justice historically.
fritzi007 (2846) 2014-03-02 5:48
For me, a very good information, they have a right to temostrieren against their lawlessness!
Many greetings from Styria
dekanski (2434) 2014-03-02 9:22
impresivna i dirljiva priča. Kada god čujem slične priče, iz raznih delova sveta, uvek isto pomislim (mada se to ne odnosi tako direktno na Australiju, ali generalno važi za sve "Imperijalne sile"). Dok su izrabljivali kolonije i rado primali izbeglice (mada su tada to više bili prisilno naseljene osobe) da stvaraju bogatstvo i rade najprljavije poslove, svim tim zemljama su ti jadni ljudi bili dobri. Sada kada bi i oni da dobiju malo od tih (za njih neopisivih) blagodeti, više nisu poželjni.
Ovo je malo gruba i vrlo opšta konstatacija, ali nadam se da je jasno šta sam želeo reći.
Pozdrav i još jednom pohvala za fotografiju i priču!
ACL1978 (7467) 2014-03-02 16:31
Klaudio - thank you for a really important image, and a touching and angering story to accompany it. This sounds, sadly, like something my own government would do (and has done, many times), so I'm sad to hear of it taking place as far away as Australia. Thank you as well for the connection with your own family's story.
As photojournalism, both the journalism and the photo are worthy of plenty of attention. You've captured in your shot raw emotion, easy to see and read. I hope photos like this, and stories like the one you shared, will reach the eyes of as many people as possible. Only through awareness can injustice like this be changed. Thank you for sharing this.
abmdsudi (39794) 2014-03-02 23:48
A timeless and moving shot for this so important message that you post here, a powerful double portraits and the hidden drama behind the scene with their eyes adding so much feeling to this picture for me. You've done very well retaining such clear detail and a lot to look at. Thanks so much to your in-depth infor notes to share with us! my respect. What hits me is the quality of the exposure, sublime is in order here!!!
Freedom is our birth right...
Royaldevon (26629) 2014-03-03 1:48
I was extremely moved by your notes and absolutely understand why you have felt so passionate about the situation. The plight of these people borders on the horrific. Surely with pressure from the masses, the Government will take a more liberal view, especially from a nation should be enlightened, having been built originally on deportation and immigration.
The pain and suffering is undeniable from these two young women. Your concentration on these two, and their symbol of hope, gives your photograph strong impact.
Thank you for sharing this.
My kind regards,
nikkitta (13354) 2014-03-03 13:05
Very, very moving capture of a fact that is happening in lots of countries, being social worker and so working with people that comes from next countries and must stay and suffer terrible non human conditions, quite aunderstand the subject, just read about Obama planing to shut Guantanamo (as promissed)only to transfer the prisioners to an ignote island from Yemen
Of course your experience must be remembered as a terrific one, but for sure Australia will change it politics face inmigration, being the papulation of this same origen
The worse is to emigrate to a poor country, believe me
The colors of you capture are mainly dark as is the present for these people but there is also a sun, meaning some kind of good life ahead
Well done and presented
- Copyright: Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) (22738)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2014-03-01
- Categories: Decisive Moment
- Exposure: f/6.3, 1/400 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): Kasia's Favourites 4 [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2014-03-01 4:17
- Favorites: 1 [view]