Outside the Baxter detention centre late Saturday night at around midnight advocates were walking back from the centre when whistles and chanting could be heard coming from three compounds within the centre.
A small group of about 30 refugee advocates rushed to the fence line and made a coordinated effort to send a loud legible message to our interned brothers and sisters behind the electric fence and razor wire.
At one point advocates were chanting, “AZADI” (the word FREEDOM in Farsi) and the asylum seekers were yelling back, “FREEDOM”. It was a touching moment and a clear dialogue via a still night sky.
The asylum seekers could be clearly heard thanking us and oddly enough even Australia. The reaction by those present was a mixture of great sadness and joy. Sadness that here was clear evidence of what our government was hiding out in the desert, people being detained like animals and that we were almost powerless to save them from this unending torture. Joy that we had made contact and hopefully lifted their spirits and helped maintain their sanity.
Television news crews were present and seemed to be also touched by the dialogue. After a short time we saw a man on the roof, it was an asylum seeker thanking us and encouraging us to engage with them. All the while no-one even touched the fence or made an attempt to rattle the police. It was a truly emotional experience something that many people will take away with them and be talking about for a very long time.
For many this was the moment that made it all worth while. There are humans in this oversized, over policed steel cage and the evidence was made that more apparent when those present had the opportunity to express their sorry and sadness of our government’s cruelty.
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S A V E – Australia Inc (Specialist Assignment Volunteers Enterprise) is a not-for-profit organization responsible for the management and supervision of the continuing work of Aborigines for Refugees, Ausnews Global Network, United Against Racism (Email List), Coalition for Justice for Refugees and the Australian Human Rights Newsletter. The principal aim of S A V E – Australia is to promote awareness of social justice and human rights issues, and to provide Australians with an opportunity to engage as volunteers in the work of social justice and human rights - locally and globally. The work of S A V E – Australia includes, Inform and educate people about the aspirations for justice for all; Develop coordination between like-minded groups, communities and individuals; Design and distribute human rights education materials; Promote reform to eliminate all forms of human rights violations through education and information dissemination at all levels; and Work for the elimination of poverty and suffering. We need your help, this might include: add your name to the mailing list, submit articles to be considered for publication in the newsletter or become a volunteer. Any public donations are welcome and will provide practical support for Asylum Seekers in need of emergency legal assistance; will build social justice awareness and support community education programs targeting key sectors within the Australian community. Any donations can be made to: SAVE-Australia Inc, Commonwealth Bank, REDFERN NSW, Account: 062 231 : 1020 8046, donations are not tax deductible, however receipt can be provided. ABN: 98 214 050 131