Writers In Detention

Open letter from ‘L,’ a mother who is to be deported

What is our crime?

What have we done to be punished like this?

We know we came by ‘illegal way’ but then we didn’t have any choice. If I could have stayed in my country I would never have left my family.
I left my country for safety and thought I could make my family safe later.

I came by boat but my child did not. She was born in this country and every child deserves to be protected by the country she or he is born in.

I want to be able to go back but I cannot take my child to that terrible life.
Some people say to me that it is luck that has meant some people were able to stay on Christmas Island and we sent to Nauru. I don’t believe in luck. I just believe in justice.

We are human beings and we deserve a safe life like other human beings.

When I came to this country immigration sent me and others to Nauru. But now I am in this country because there is no medical care for people in Nauru. The Minister said that people who came after the 19th of July will never come to Australia but I am here and my baby was born here.

Why do we have to suffer like this?

Sometimes death is better than life.

I only live for this child here.

What do we have to pay for this painful life we live every day, not knowing what will happen to us and our children?

This country has made me more afraid even than the sea. Every minute I am scared. Believe me, I have never been scared like this even in the sea. If I only had a country to go back to I would have gone.

When they knocked on my door at Christmas Island at 5am and threw a garbage bag in and told me to pack I asked them, ‘Where are you taking me?’ No-one would answer me. Then when we were all put in the one room and searched and waiting until 6pm that day finally they said ‘You are going to Nauru’. I said: ‘Why are you taking me to Nauru? I am pregnant.’ No-one answered me. When they forced us in the bus to go to the airport we had to walk into the airport between 2 lines of security officers both sides of us. Did they think we would escape? Where would we run?

What was our crime?

It was a 9 hour flight to Nauru; most of us did not eat for 2 days. There were 2 of us (asylum seekers) and 1 security guard in each of the rows of 3 seats. I didn’t cry in the sea but I cried when they took me to Nauru.

When we reached there, you can’t imagine the heat. You can’t imagine the tents. I was sick all the time. I was dizzy all the time. Many people were sick. You can’t imagine the heat. You can’t imagine not having enough water. You can’t imagine that when you need a nappy or some food for your child or anything at all you have to ask an officer, you have to line up; it is so hot. We can’t do anything for ourselves. Not shower, not wash the babies clothes.

You can’t imagine.

I grew up in a Refugee Camp but I have never seen it like that one.

Now each night I am waiting for them to knock on my door and throw in the bag to pack.

I am so scared.

What is our crime?





‘L’ is a mother who is to be deported from Australia to Nauru with her Australian-born baby.
There are 25 babies born in Australia – and their siblings – (making up 44 children) who are to be deported to Nauru as determined by the recent passing of the Migration Bill by the Senate.