Photographer's Note

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 refugee 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 in detention 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:

For those of you who abhor politicians playing with the lives of the most vulnerable, please 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

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Additional Photos by Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3580 W: 114 N: 6323] (28618)
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