Opinion | ‘White Australia’ Policy Lives On in Immigrant Detention

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Australia presents an attractive and engaging picture of itself to the world however the trendy historical past of Australia is stuffed with puzzles. The extra you examine the extra absorbed you turn into in its historical past. My journey educated me in its hidden, darker historical past of prejudice and xenophobia. It’s a historical past written in locations like Manus Island and Nauru, and has its roots in its settler colonial origins.

The Stolen Era is one other chapter on this story; for a lot of a long time, hundreds of Indigenous kids have been separated from their mother and father by the state and compelled to assimilate into settler colonial society.

Twelve years have handed since 2008 when Mr. Rudd, throughout his first time period as prime minister, apologized for Australia’s violent mistreatment of its Indigenous individuals, for stealing their kids. Nonetheless a disproportionate variety of kids and youth incarcerated in the Northern Territory, in Queensland and elsewhere in Australia, are Indigenous.

5 years after apologizing to the Indigenous individuals, the identical Mr. Rudd forcibly despatched me and hundreds like me to imprisonment at Manus Island. His authorities’s insurance policies, hardened additional by the three prime ministers who got here after him — Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and now Scott Morrison — have resulted in lots of kids being separated from their households for years.

The White Australia coverage, which formally led to 1973, continued underneath one other guise. The colonial behavior continues in Australia, with the federal government utilizing Nauru and Papa New Guinea for exiling undesirable individuals. Australia’s presence on Manus and Nauru looks as if a thread that leads you additional right into a darkish cave with no finish.

Australia is an attractive nation with nice artists and writers however it is usually a rustic the place brutality and struggling are interwoven into the sociocultural material, ingrained within the soul of the nation. Folks like me signify part of its unofficial historical past, a historical past that is stuffed with trauma and violence.

Behrouz Boochani is the writer of “No Friend but the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison,” a co-director of the documentary movie “Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time” and a senior adjunct analysis fellow with the Ngai Tahu Analysis Middle on the College of Canterbury. This essay was translated from the Farsi by Omid Tofighian.

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