As ex-detainees and detainees, firstly we should remember we are one of the most vulnerable people in Australia who have experienced physical and psychological trauma as well as ongoing discrimination and deaths in mandatory detention in Australia. We also need to be really careful of those who are exploiting us, trying to promote their causes by using our stories.
In recent times I have witnessed there are so many non- refugees collecting and publishing our stories to “humanise” our struggles. There are some underlying issues about many story telling platforms created by non-refugees and mostly white people. One should question and thoroughly examine these issues and question those who control and transmit our stories.
As an ex-detainee I highly recommend:
Firstly: we as ex-detainees should not participate in any platform that is established by non- refugees. Any platform should be determined by us and run by us.
Secondly: we should not share our personal stories with those who are behind the oppression.
Thirdly: we should have a strong strategy to protect those ex-detainees who are seeking asylum not to jeopardise their protection status in Australia because our families are still back in the country facing persecution and also those who haven’t been granted permanent visas are at greater risk of deportation.
DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN STORY TELLING PROJECTS UNLESS IT IS CONTROLLED OR RUN BY US. IT IS NOT ABOUT ‘OTHER’, IT IS ABOUT US
Finally – fellow ex-detainees and detainees, it is not only the governments; the refugee sector has polarised us and damaged us. It is about their interest rather than our lives–what have we achieved last 20 years in Australia? NOTHING- because the refugee sector is headed by non-refugees last two decades. Stop letting others to dominate our lives and tell us ‘how we should live and what we should do’. We ex-detainees and detainees should build strong solidarity within us and create our own movements and decolonise our mind.
Ex-detainee and RISE member