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I am every asylum seeker

  • 21 July 2010

I was born in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. I was born in Kashmir, between India and Pakistan. I was born in Iran. I was born in Iraq. I was born in Sri Lanka.

I worked as an architect, building up my business. I worked as a negotiator, liaising with the government. I worked as an engineer. I worked as a veterinarian. I worked as an accountant.

I am a member of the Hazara ethnic group. I am opposed to the government's occupation of Kashmir. I am a firm believer in women's rights. I am a whistleblower for government corruption. I am an ethnic Tamil.

I was held down while I watched my father beaten to death. I was kidnapped by the government and taken to an interrogation room. I was knocked out with the butt of a rifle. I was shot three times. I was arrested and put in a camp.

They kept me in a solitary cell for four days without food or water. They drove a nail through my thumb and put fresh chilli in the wound. They beat the soles of my feet with canes. They pulled out my fingernails. They placed a metal roller on my shins and applied pressure until I screamed.

I bribed a guard to help me escape in the middle of the night. I fled through the mountains and a farmer smuggled me across the border. I hid underground for five months. I sold my property and used the money for a plane ticket. I cut a hole in the wire fence and crawled through the jungle to a safehouse.

I got on the first boat I could, wherever it was going. I paid a man $7000 to take me somewhere safe, but he left with my money. I spent months in Indonesia hiding in the forest. I was dumped in the middle of the ocean and had to swim to shore. I arrived on Ashmore Reef and collapsed from thirst and heat exhaustion.

I was so relieved to be in Australia! I was happy to be safe from the militia! I was alive, I was overjoyed, I was finally free!

I was then locked up on Christmas Island for three years without a lawyer. I was put behind bars and razor wire in the middle of the desert. I was called by a number not a name. I was kept in an isolation cell. I was beaten