I Have Been Displaced since I Was Five Years Old

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Children learning English in detention

Displaced; that is the word that describes most of the 25 year journey of Musa’s life. He is one of the millions of descendants of Afghan ethnic minorities who seek asylum in other countries. Since the age of five, he was forced to live with fear and threats. His father, the school principal in his village, was forced to take him to Pakistan in order to save the family. At first they felt ok living in Pakistan, but this feeling did not last long. In 2004 ethnic and religious minorities living in Pakistan began to be targeted in murders and bomb attacks that continue to this day. As a teenager Musa faced many difficulties and threats. Being not even allowed to go to school or work, he decided to flee again in search for a safe place.

“I paid an agent in order to leave Pakistan. I had no other choice with the threat of being killed in sight. From Pakistan I went to Thailand, Malaysia and finally to Indonesia, where I met others that promised to take me to Australia. Unfortunately, Indonesian security officers arrested me on the way. Then I got detained in an immigration detention center” said Musa.

“I met with JRS in the detention center. They help refugees and organise many activities in here. Every time JRS comes, I feel calm because they often bring news and help us with a lot of things. I feel comfortable to share my grief and the difficulties experienced here. I am grateful JRS is here.” JRS organises soccer games, aerobics and yoga sessions in the detention center, but more often just comes to speak and listen to people held against their will here.

Recently Musa was granted refugee status by UNHCR after they found that Musa’s life will be in danger if he returns home. After 20 years of restlessness and fear Musa is finally able to apply for resettlement to Australia; his first real chance to leave behind threats to be uprooted over and over again, detained, jailed, injured or killed. This is a glimpse of hope for him, in what can be described as a hard life so far.

“Hopefully one day I can study again, work and be together with family. I long for a safe place where I can forget my worries about me and my family, a place where the law and courts listen to me.” ***

Citra Ayi Safitri

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