Letter from a refugee: ‘We have suffered too much’

May 11, 2011
Photo: Peter Boyle.

Below is a letter from a 17 year old Afghani man, who has been held in a Darwin detention centre for more than a year.

* * *

The refugee has a question. Best regards to Australia, the country in which people, all human beings, are equal; and all people from different ethnics, cultures and languages have the same rights.

Australia is one of the most civilised countries in the world. All people are literate. People work according to their expertness.

In this country, people aren’t familiar with the world of war. They always feel peace. Their children are able to make their future as well as they wish.

I say my best regards to this country, which is very different from my country. Australia is like this because of the people who are governing there. They do the best for this country.

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Sometimes they do what they don’t even believe if it is necessary for their country, even though it isn’t according to human rights.

For example, they keep refugees, who have come here because they had no way out, in very bad situation. Some of these refugees have little children. Some of these refugees are under 18.

Even in these conditions, government doesn’t pay attention to them. In appearance government gives them food and place to live. But in reality, something else is happening.

These refugees have to stay there until the government allows them to leave these places. Australian government is not aware of mental problems of these people, who are in such a bad condition.

This government is not aware that these people are victims of war and violence. And their mental needs are important than their physical needs.

Australia government ignores the first right of these people which is freedom.

The government blames them because they have come from a war-worn country. But this is not the fault of those Afghan children who were born in that country. This is not their choice.

Thousands of Afghan people immigration to Iran and Pakistan. Some of them were blamed because they were Shia. They have suffered too much.

Now some of these people, after passing away a long distance, and also a difficult life, have come here for living.

They are seeking sanctuary. The only thing they have is their life. That passes away a dreadful travel to come here. They have left their dear family. And also all of their memories because there was not way out and not another choice.

They are looking to for peace, not just food. The Australian government wants to satisfy them with water and bread. After keeping them like prisoners far from society and other people for several months, the government makes them to speak with interviewers.

But I am sure most of these children are not literate enough to speak with these interviewers. These children have no experience of school. They don’t have educated parents, They are hurted by ethnical wars.

The government of Australia forces these children to speak with the interviewers, who are graduated from the best universities of Australia. Surely these children can’t answer their questions.

Some of them forget what they know and cry. Some of them are shy and can’t cry. But some of these interviewers have convinced government that the conditions in our country are better now.

And government has ratified a law for six months suspension. But nothing has changed in our country. Ethnical wars are deeply rooted in Afghanistan for several decades. And this is the reason why many people live in mountains and places far from city.

If some one study the history of my country she/he will understand the reality. But Australian government expects this situation becomes better just in several years.

Now, after six months waiting for this law (six months supension) the government inform us that most of you are not eligible to be a refugee. And you cannot stay in Australia.

Australian government believe that our government is able to protect us. But our government is government by people who side battle. They think killing people is something necessary and right.

In our country this is just the name of government which has been changed. During these ten years there are no differences in the conditions of economic security etc.

Ethnical wars and religious problems are the biggest problems of Afghanistan. Now if we look to this matter in another way, maybe these educated interviewers are not aware of our problems.

And they haven’t been in the same situation. They don’t have any experience about the conditions in our country so they can’t really understand us. I want to ask them to define safety. But I prefer an Afghan woman, an Afghan man, old or young, answers this question.

I am sure the answer is: “A night in which there is not sound of gunfire is a safe night.”

The imagination of safety in the minds of these refugees is different from what they say when they talk to these interviewers. Especially teenagers don’t know what really they think and want.

This is the fault of these educated interviewers because they don’t pay attention to the refugees’ problems and behave them very bad.

They make these poor people to believe that their destination is torment, humiliation and unfairness.

And this is the last question: Do these interviewers know? Don’t they know? Or don’t they want to know the reality?


If the people are too illiterate to answer verbal questions in an interview, in their own language about their own country, and they are suffering serious mental problems and in a bad condition, and they have never been to school and neither have their parents, and they are involved in ethnic wars and religious problems... How can they possibly function if released freely into the Australian community??? The letter doesn't say, but I'm assuming they can't speak any English either. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Add to that the fact that it's politically incorrect for anyone to notice the problems that they will have, and thus impossible to do anything about their problems, and you will see that it's unlikely Australia can do much for them.

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