This Old Somali Mother by Hani Aden
Photograph by Nicholas Olle
This Old Somali Mother
“This Somali mother she arrived in Australia 15 days after the policy changed last year. She came from the horn of Africa. She crossed all the way to find peace and a better life in Australia. She was on the ocean for eight days and through the journey she was sick and got so many medical matters. She lived half of her life in Somalia where horror becomes people’s daily work. She just didn’t know where to go so she coped with it and survived. She used to work hard to find food for her family living inside the war which is hard as women working inside violence. She got more damaged in her head as people beat her during the civil war. She lost many members of her family and some became disabled and still they needed assistance from her. Some of her nieces and nephews turned out to be orphans too, as everyone knows in Somalia no one cares about young and old, many mothers become widows. The last years of her life, it became too hard to live in Somalia with so many reasons like her safety as a woman, and many others horrible situations, which when she explained, her eyes were full of tears. At her age it’s hard to travel but she didn’t have a choice except to leave her husband, her own son and family to look for peace and to help the rest of her family.
But the Australian government didn’t care about her awful past and they put her in detention. She became so stressed and sometimes she collapsed. She became so desperate. She got so many medical matters. She had eye disease; also all her body was swollen. The IHMS GB told her it was because of stress and she asked them for a medical check-up and treatment. Their response was we are responsible for your sickness and they said to her:
“We will send you to Nauru soon.”
She told them “I can’t live there.”
The reason was because she is sick and she is alone too but they didn’t show her any human heart but only sent her away to off-shore detention where many people are still in captivity for years and years.
She made up her mind and decided to go back to horror. She spoke with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). They told her we can’t take you back because Somalia is where we lost so many of our staff so we can’t send you back; it’s against the law. But the Department of Immigration thought it was a good idea to send her back to the horror.
They forgot that they published her private testimony on a public website. Anytime she returns to Somalia her life will be in danger, 50/50, so they told her to be ready. They would send her back but it took five months to send her home and on 12 of August they sent her to her home where she got more and more desperate and got a little bit of mental problems.
The Australian government should help those who look for protection from them; those who don’t have anywhere to go even if the policy has changed there is a lot of other human ways they can treat people. ”