Ahoora is 7 years old.
He and his family, every one of whom has been recognised as a refugee, have been detained on Nauru for more than 5 years.
Ahoora regularly has fevers and breaks out in rashes. He wets himself as a reaction to the threat of violence from older children and, because of his disrupted education has not learned to read and write.
He has a series of behavioural tics and, when frightened, chews his clothing until it disintegrates.
He is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder exacerbated by his continued detention and the absence of any hope for his future.He has spent years being heavily medicated with antidepressants.
He has watched his father deteriorate into listless depression and his older brother sew his lips together in protest. He has seen his mother – who has made numerous suicide attempts and regularly burns herself with cigarettes because of overwhelming frustration – write letters, daubed in her own blood, to the Australian Border Force, begging for help.
When he can fall asleep, Ahoora wakes screaming.
“In my nightmares, darkness surrounds me. My mum is not with me. I feel like she’s abandoning me and leaving. Then I see blood everywhere. … In my dreams, I keep on dying … everywhere, everything is constantly filled with blood, the floor and the walls.”
A succession of psychiatrists and doctors who have attempted to treat Ahoora have consistently reported it is his detention on Nauru that is damaging his mental health.
These are facts provided by Ben Doherty of The Guardian whose full story can be read here.
These things have happened and continue to happen because Australia has decided that keeping refugees on Nauru saves lives and keeps Australians safe.
No lives have been saved by Ahoora’s detention.
Those that have not travelled by boat to Australia will have attempted to cross the more perilous Mediterranean or remain in limbo in Indonesia (without the right to work or learn) or within an overcrowded camp (where disease can be rife and clean water and food sparse). These lives are not ‘saved’.
As an Australian, I feel no threat from Ahoora and his family. I feel threatened by my country’s descent into condoning torture and ignoring its horrendous consequences.
Having heard about Ahoora, what do you feel?
If you think that Australia should free the people held offshore and abolish the policies that put them there …