The Guardian has published interviews with refugees who set out for Australia by boat only to find there was no welcome for them here. Rather, under a policy introduced by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, they were packed off to Nauru, where their claim for refugee status was found to be valid and they have been released into a community of 10,000 people who despise them. here is one of the stories.
Amineh’s family fled Iran after her husband told a Narcotics Anonymous meeting that he held political and religious views that were contrary to the country’s authoritarian Shia government.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer during her 18-month incarceration on Nauru. She also developed acute depression. After successful cancer surgery in Brisbane she was admitted to the psychiatric ward of Brisbane’s Toowong private hospital in a “flat, non-reactive” state. After a month’s treatment she was cleared for release with a letter from her doctor advising she should not be returned to Nauru.
“Given the severity of her illness, [Amineh] is a significantly high risk of relapse with further risks to herself (such as emaciation/starvation, significant decline in personal hygiene, disrupted relationships with her husband and children and passive suicidal ideation which may well escalate into active suicidal ideation)… should she return to the immigration detention centre at Nauru.”
The letter was ignored.
I didn’t want to live in this world any more. I don’t want to be alive the next day. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to open my eyes. No hope. Disappointed. Even I couldn’t bear my family. My children, my husband. I didn’t want to see them. I couldn’t bear to hear them. I was embarrassed in front of my children because I felt guilty because I did something horrible to my children [by bringing them to Australia].
My doctor in Brisbane tried to help me. He tried to give me hope again. He forced me to exercise. He made me like life again. He said ‘I will send immigration a letter. I won’t allow them to send you back to Nauru’.
One day in the hospital, 5am, [immigration officers] knocked on the door. They said that you can go inside the camp, you should go back to Nauru. And then that made me mad and that made me crazy. I spoke to immigration, I begged them. I told them my situation. I showed them my letter. But they said nothing. They forced me get in a plane and get back to Nauru.
When I arrived again in Nauru, for two days I was better because I saw my old friends and that was not bad. But after three days, I got back to my bad days. My sickness was returned.
They isolated me in a room. The doctor was so scared. He didn’t know what to do with me. I had shivers and my hands shook. I was dreaming that someone was trying to smother me. I couldn’t breathe.
After a week they released us into the community. I locked myself up into this room. I spend all my time in this room and I have nowhere to go. I feel like I’m not a normal person. I’m like a machine. The medicine made me act like a machine. If I don’t have my medicine, I’m terrible.
Read the rest of the stories here – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/19/even-god-cant-help-you-here-nauru-refugees-describe-a-life-devoid-of-hope