NSW Central Tablelands media professional Aleks Krajcer says the suffering of his former All Saints' College schoolmate Kylie Moore-Gilbert shows the consequences of injustice - wherever in the world it happens.
"I can't eat anything. I feel so very hopeless ... I am so depressed."
These are the words from schoolmate and Bathurstian Kylie Moore-Gilbert, imprisoned in what sounds like total squalor, first in Iran's 'notorious' Evin prison, and now in in the equally feared and hostile desert prison, Qarchek.
IN NEWS AROUND BATHURST:
By all reports her situation is desperate. Her physical and mental health in serious decline.
Reading them blew me apart. This was in part to having a personal connection to Kylie. For months, news articles of her internment have steadily filled up my Facebook feed from mutual friends, classmates and teachers.
But above all, her words gave a human voice to her suffering, and the horrifying reality that she and her family must be dealing with daily, while we look on from afar - sympathising, commiserating, yet utterly impotent.
To have a life like hers - academic and worldly - derailed like this is beyond all comprehension, underscored further by her beguiling youth.
Much of the media coverage has centred on the passage of injustice that has conveyed Kylie to her present hopeless situation, as well as the entirely wretched conditions in which she is confined.
Brutal and swift Iranian justice, exacerbated by brutal, prolonged Iranian detention.
Half a world away, the New Zealand government recently granted asylum to Behrouz Boochani, the Kurdish-Iranian refugee who was detained on Manus Island by the Australian government six years after attempting to seek asylum.
Boochani endured a particularly high-profile quest for asylum, especially after 2018 when his book (composed over WhatsApp whilst in detention) went on to win Australia's richest literary prize and other accolades.
Tempering his jubilation, he said last week that, "... it's extremely difficult because still this policy exists and still people are living in detention... and still the Australian Government continues with this policy of torturing people."
In June of 2018, an Iranian asylum seeker died by suicide at just 26 years of age whilst in detention on Nauru, after five hopeless years confined on the Island.
Since February 2014 there have been 13 known deaths in offshore detention, including seven by known or suspected suicide, not including countless cases of self-harm.
The circumstances for Kylie's arrest, conviction, and imprisonment are entirely different to those refugees, despite fleeing persecution from the same government.
There are, however, haunting parallels in the human cost of inhumane imprisonment, and some home truths that we as Australians need to grapple with when denouncing the treatment of our compatriots abroad.
Australia is not Iran, of course, but if we are to condemn injustice in defence of Australians, we must condemn injustice for all - especially when it is done in our name, by our Government.
I hope dearly for an end to Kylie's grave situation, and while there are no simple answers or solutions to the calamities that thrust desperate refugees outwards, we must remember that hate, mistrust, fear, tyranny, and injustice all beget one another.
To break the cycle, we must look at home, as well as abroad.
If you, or somebody you know is in need of crisis support, help is available from, but not limited to:
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636