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Write on Wednesdays: Turned His Back...

Write On Wednesdays

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 22 Select a piece of music that reflects the mood of writing you'd like to aim for. Press play. Start free writing. Write the first words that come into your head. When the music's over, so is the writing. I'd recommend finding out how long the song is before you start the exercise. You may feel cheated in your writing time if you pick a song by The Ramones. Of course, if you feel like writing a short, punky piece by all means, go for it!

Ah, you're all going to hate me! Another bleak/sad one this week. If it's any consolation, this is not a reflection of my own mental state - I've been running on numb for a week or so now. Rather, I chose my absolute favourite George Michael song (I'm a massive George Michael fan, he truly is a poet - once you get past Wake me up before you go-go! Although Young Guns was actually very clever...).

Listening to this song "Praying for Time' brought back all the recent stories I've seen about the detention camps for 'illegal refugees' (look up oxymoron, you'll find the definition include the term 'illegal refugees')... Also, don't get me started on Alan Joyce and his 70% pay rise versus the 'unreasonable demands of unions which will drive QANTAS into the ground'...

Here's a link to the song if you want to play it on another tab while reading, or maybe read first then go watch the song because the video is the lyrics and the lyrics are quite profound (particularly since they were written 20 years ago)!

Turned His Back

The minister stood surrounded by camera crew with his back to the chain mail fence, the hot sun boring down on his glistening face. He ran an index finger along the inside of his collar in a vain attempt to allow air to circulate beneath it. To Sandra it looked as if he were choking. Another 'inmate' had hung himself this morning.

Sandra shaded her eyes against the bright sun rays and peered beyond the minister to the young teenage boy on the other side of the storm fencing; watching the media throng. She expected to see desperation in his eyes; he had no doubt witnessed the suicide. What she saw instead chilled her bones despite the heat. The boys eyes were blank, completely void of emotion, or rather the stripped and bare ground over which emotion had flowed too fervently.

How, in this 'Lucky Country', could the powers that be not see these people had already suffered too much? How could Australian's turn their back and blame these people for not coping when hope was raped and left bleeding in desert sun this way? As the minister strode back to his air-conditioned car, relieved not to answer more questions, Sandra looked back at the boy, but the boy was gone.


Sarah Mac said…
An oxymoron indeed!

This was quite chilling Sif. So many people see the perceived crime and ignore the human suffering.

We need to bring some humanity back into this whole situation!

Really well written.
Sif said…
I couldn't agree more with you, Sarah! I was really hoping the 'Go Back to Where You Come From' documentary series on SBS a few months ago would change a lot of people's thinking, but as time passes it doesn't seem to have done that at all. Then stupid shows like Today/Tonight run 'asylum seeker fear' stories and it people feel justified in allowing the Government to continue to detain these already traumatised people further as if they were criminals, which they simply are not! The repeated referral to people who pay for tickets to fly into the country 'legally' ignores the facts that boat people often have had their passports illegally taken from them. It's the asylum seekers who are the victims of crime, not the Australian public!
Rain said…
'Chilling' is the right word for your piece; it made me shiver. The way the boy's eyes were devoid of emotion is haunting. And I know all too well that feeling, both the girl's and the boy's, and it's terrible. Makes me feel at once guilty and helpless. We have grown used to witnessing the unspeakable and not giving it a second thought because it has become commonplace. What are we, then, but monsters?

/ Rain
So sad and powerfully written Sif. I absolutely agree with your sentiments on this - we should be ashamed as ourselves as a country for many of our selfish attitudes. Not many of us "first worlders" really know about discrimination and suffering
sars! said…
I'm not gonna lie, I have a very difficult time with pieces/songs that deal with this subject. I grew up where people lived in fear every day and it wasn't far from their dinner conversation. Thank you for a thoughtful piece.
Melinda Chapman said…
Fantastic, Sif, and extremely moving.
What a line:
The boys eyes were blank, completely void of emotion, or rather the stripped and bare ground over which emotion had flowed too fervently.

Well done - and you never need to apologise for bleak/sad - when you write with such humanity, you somehow make bleak/sad uplifting!
Jayne said…
Beautifully written-you have captured the despair and abject horror of detention centres perfectly :(
InkPaperPen said…
The image of "raped hope". Brilliant description. It sums up the sadness of the situation in just two words. Powerful piece


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