As I write this letter, asylum seekers are arriving on Nauru to be held in detention, for who knows how long.
The reason for this measure is to deter others from coming to Australia by boat, in case they drown on the way. That is what we are being told by our government.
However, people desperate for asylum here are sending a different message. They prefer to face the risk of drowning to being tortured, raped or killed.
Punishing innocent people to act as a deterrent is an immoral act. And punish them they will, in a covert way.
In 2004 I began corresponding with people who had been placed on Nauru three years earlier. I quote from a 10-year-old girl's letters:
"the whether of Nauru is so hot and shinny. No water they just open the water at 3 times a day one time in the morning one hour afternoon and one hour in the night. and the water is very salt."
"The singles and the men of family are hunger strick and today it's twent one day that they don't eat and drink. Please help us from this jail."
A 20-year-old mother of a one year old boy wrote:
"Here is too hot. My son has heat rashes in his body. The Australian Government is so oppressor to innocent children, I think so much about our future. Because alot of tension and difficulties I think that I am a spycologycal (psychological) patient."
Why are we spending so much money on drugs to keep them "happy", therapists to help preserve their sanity, guards to modify their behaviour and food and materials that have to be imported? I cannot comprehend the cost of all the air travel.
Please let them live in our country, contributing all their talents and building our economy, as so many have done since World War II.