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Pain and Hope, Passion and Motivation in Manus Prison Camp

“My name is Samad Abdul and I’m from Pakistan. I have been detained illegally
for years in a place where it’s so easy for hope and dreams to be demolished.
I wasn’t a writer but this place made me a writer. My pain made me a writer.
Although I can’t take my dreams from the people who destroyed them, I will
use my words as a weapon and will not allow them to destroy more dreams.”

There is always a fight between pain and hope. Pain is very powerful but hope has the huge support of passion and motivation. These two qualities work hard to control the pain. Unfortunately, they can’t kill the pain, only dampen it for a while.

The day my feet stepped into this illegal Manus Island Detention Centre where I am indefinitely and illegally held, my torture began. Instead of my life getting better, becoming safer, as I had hoped for when seeking asylum, it is getting worse. My hope has been demolished.

A refugee is a person who has left his/her family, friends, memories, and happiness, and the only dream he/she has is to be protected, to find some happiness again and to be loved again.

I sought asylum in Australia, on Christmas Island but was forcibly moved from Christmas Island to Lombrum in Manus, PNG 41/2 years ago. In the past weeks, again I was beaten, abused, scared, terrified and forced to move to another indefinite prison camp, this time in Lorengau on Manus.

Displacement of people is a global crisis and a strong and unkind government is making a horrible example of my body and life to pass their horrible message to the world. I am being used for the political benefits of others.

If I described my pain what words could I use? It’s like someone is drowning at sea and he doesn’t know how to swim.

We have already told both the PNG and Australian officials many many times that we didn’t come to PNG and we don’t want to live here. We were forced here against our will.

I have survived and suffered for years just to convince the authorities that I deserve to be free in a safe and independent environment where I can rebuild my life, where I can go to university, where I can study Human Rights, where I can become a social worker, where I can become helpful for helpless people, where I can play cricket, where I can play different games.

Nothing is as painful as staying stuck in a place where you don’t belong.

My passion and dream to be a professional cricketer has been taken away from me and my life has become a horrible example for the people who will seek asylum in the future. My body has been used so that they will accept their deaths in home countries, so they will not seek asylum.

This horrific policy was made to punish innocent people and to use them as hostages to pass horrible messages to others. It is totally inhumane, unconstitutional and unacceptable.

We need care, not detention.
We need help not fences.
We need support, not torture.
We need love not hate.

Darkness has its own fear but my dark fear is full of the fear of being used in a political game.

I’m a human just like you guys. My life should not be used for political benefits. I have rights to rebuild my life again, not to be used by others but to grow with hope, passion, and motivation.


I know pain, and what it looks like. Let me end the pain of the world.

When we choose ourselves for others we will be blessed with the great gift of satisfaction, hope, happiness and love, the gift will be with us forever.

Early in the morning, the sunshine on our faces brings happiness & motivation.

At midnight, sharing our day with the beautiful moon and the lovely stars brings relaxation and comfort.

Let’s learn a lesson from the sun who is shining for others.

Let’s learn a lesson from the moon and stars who are lighting for others.

Here is our hope.
Here is our passion.
Here is our motivation.

by Samad Abdul

With support from Writing Through Fences



 309 total views,  1 views today


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  1. Phil

    Thank you Samad for your writing – it is a stark reminder of the cruelty that so many in Australia believe is acceptable, but be assured Samad, millions of other Australians would sooner you were given your full human rights. Our government is an international disgrace and I for one am ashamed of Australia for its treatment of not only asylum seekers but also of indigenous peoples.

    Unfortunately it is a widely known fact that many millions of Australians are deeply and irrevocably racist and their conservative government panders to their racist instincts in its pursuit of conservative hegemony and the trappings of power that they find irresistible. They are in my mind corrupted Australians deserving of contempt.

    Thank you too, to the people at Writing Through Fences – your work is truly humane.

  2. Cara Clark

    Samad, I’m so sorry you have been forced into this dreadful situation. Please know we don’t all support the appalling behaviour of our government towards you.

  3. Matters Not

    Samad, the political reality is that many Australians have no sympathy for asylum seekers because they can’t and don’t relate to abstract concepts or high levels of generality. But they do relate to particulate cases and individual circumstances. So, in a nutshell, why are you seeking asylum? Specificity helps.

    So help yourself. Present your case in this public forum. I know there’s a sympathetic audience. As there should be.

  4. Phil

    Matters Not – what a condescending comment with neoliberal undertones – the court of public opinion is not the place to determine a claim for asylum.


    no phill but it would have helped Samad if he had mentioned what persecution he was sufferring and fleeing from in pakistan. he makes no mention of any of that. A refugee necessarily escapes persecution and is not necessarily someone seeking opportunities to be a professional cricketer. He could do that in any country including in pakistan.

  6. roma guerin

    Samad, many many Australians have, and are still, fighting for your human rights. We are appalled by the terrible treatment you have been handed by the Australian government. I appreciate that you have written to us about your feelings, and I am moved by your positive postscript. It proves that you have not been dehumanised, despite the best efforts of Peter Dutton and his infamous department together with the brutal contractors employed to deliberately break your spirit.

  7. Carla @ minimalism for mothers

    My dear friend, you are a wonderful writer

  8. Terry2


    Our thoughts are with you and your friends in the impossible situation that you find yourselves on Manus and the other people held on Nauru.

    All I can suggest is that if you are able to leave the island and travel to Port Moresby you claim asylum for the New Zealand High Commission.

    The PNG Supreme Court has upheld your right to be free and under the PNG Constitution you cannot be held against your will.

    As you know, a successful legal action against the Australian government on your behalf has hopefully given you enough money for a new start in life. Ensure that you are a party to this $70 million payout which, with around 1923 of your fellow detainees this should give you around $35,000 each. Liaise with the lawyers Slayter & Gordon through their Pt Moresby agents and make sure the money is placed in a secure bank account for you.

    Good luck to you and my apologies for my country having made you a political pawn.

  9. flogga

    Professional cricketers are heroes in Pakistan

  10. Zoltan Balint

    Dutton would ask how can a persona non grata feel pain. Dutton would say ‘because of us you did not drown and sea’ but what ever happens on land and no matter how many perish it is Labor’s doing. Because as Dutton thinks he is only taking out the garbage. Dutton does not see you as a human asking for help, to him you do not exist. DUTTON and the LNP will never consider you as anything but something to further their own political stand. I suggest you contact NATO (if they allow you) and bring charges against Australia for abuse of human rights. You are a human you exist and you did not do anything that millions of others have not done over the last thousand years. The minute Australia took you off the boat Australia took on the responsibility to deliver you to a safe place and one acceptable to you. Holding you at a place you do not want to be against your will is against International Law. And it is not up to PNG to fix this.

  11. Matters Not

    Phil re:

    comment with neoliberal undertones

    These neoliberal undertones to which you refer. Please explain the undertones bit so that I can recognise my supposed sins and then perhaps explore the neoliberal accusation. Take your time. No rush. A difficult concept?

  12. Terry2

    The UN Refugee Agency has today accused Australia of abandoning hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, saying it must take responsibility for the mess it has created with its “offshore processing” system :

    “We are talking here about people who have suffered tremendously, extreme trauma, and are now feeling so insecure in the places where they are staying. There are many victims of torture, people who have been deeply traumatised, having no idea what is going to happen next to them,” she said.

    “In light of the continued perilous situation on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island for refugees and asylum seekers abandoned by Australia, UNHCR has called again this week on the Australian government to live up to its responsibility and urgently find humane and appropriate solutions.”

    It was noted that although Papua New Guinea now had to deal with the situation, the buck should stop with Australia.

    “What we clearly are saying is that it’s Australia’s responsibility in the first place,”

    “Australia is the country that created the situation by putting in place this offshore processing facility. So what we are asking is for Australia to find solutions for these people.”

    This failure of policy in Australia is clearly attributed to both major political parties but it has been exacerbated by placing the resolution of this problem in the hands of a Minister who has proven himself to be incompetent. A Minister who, in a previous position as Health Minister was regarded as the most incompetent health minister in our history. He will excel himself now as being the most incompetent minister in all portfolios.

    Whilst these criticisms by the UNHCR are valid and a call for action, they will be seen by the minister responsible as a unwarranted interference as has been the case with the offers by New Zealand to assist.

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