(slight language warning)
Today I was lucky enough to hear about the journey one of my clients had been on before he reached Australia. It’s disjointed, it has big holes where I didn’t pry to get further information, and I have no proof of any of it. I don’t care. I consider it a privilege that he told me.
Born to a Turkish father and an Iraqi mother, he was born in Iran but denied a birth certificate or passport in Iran because of his mother’s nationality.
At age 12, his parents passed away in an accident.
He travelled through Turkey to Malaysia, who sent him to Thailand, who sent him to Indonesia. He then ended up on a boat headed to Christmas Island. It was a 12 day voyage but after seven days, all the food and water supplies were gone. People died on the boat, and many were ill.
When he arrived on Christmas Island, he repeatedly asked for water, but his request was denied until processing was finished. He then remained in detention for nearly three years.
He’s here now, working hard and studying to make a better life for himself. He’s friendly, funny and a little bit flirty too. Yet a lot of the time, the reaction he gets when he strikes up a conversation is “We speak English here, so fuck off until you can talk properly”.
So many things about this story break my heart. I guess the main thing though is that after everything, this young man was bounced around from country to country like a pinball only to be held like a prisoner in a country that values freedom as highly as ours – and that doesn’t sit right with me. I also hate that we are lucky enough to have political stability, a bicameral parliament with representatives of all citizens sitting in it, and an unalienable right to vote, yet we have a bunch of clowns running our country who are incapable of doing anything about this issue.
I find it incredible how opposite the two of us are. He spent his whole life travelling, trying to find a home, while I continually leave my home in search of something greater. I hope I can continue to remember this next time I have my passport stamped (after all, I’m one of the lucky ones just to have a passport).