i love to be approved of and it is flattering to be commended for visiting but it's really not saintly. i wonder if it is my Christianity that motivates me or if it is my socialist tendencies or maybe it is just that i want to feel useful. one thing i know is that altruism usually has an attached benefit.
|the message from detainees inside Villawood Immigration Detention Centre, just this past weekend|
when i arrive at the IDC i park under a tree if i can and then walk down the road, maybe 200 metres, towards reception. the existing detention centre is to my left, there are two cyclone wire fences with a transit zone between them. in the distance i can see washing flap on lines as detainees shuffle about their day.
the new, fancier looking, more comfortable
i think about all of this every time i walk along this road and the weather always seems less kind than in any other situation: hot days seem more unbearable, if there is any rain about it always stings, a winter wind will blow grit.....
as i enter the lino floored reception area i breathe a quick sigh of relief that the road has been successfully navigated, there will often be one or two people surrounded by the scraps of possessions that they bring in plastic shopping bags for newly detained friends and i wonder which of the reception people will deal with me. will it be the terminally bored young guy? or the middle aged woman who swings from pie- sweet to annoyingly aggressive and back again?
they issue me a locker key and put their black light squiggle on my wrist. on a good day i might be asked to step through the metal detector, other days i wait in vain for someone to acknowledge my passage into the secure zone. there might be a narcotic swab but most likely i will just go through to the courtyard.
( i do always go through the security system but sometimes it is so routine that i feel like a ghost)
there are well worn dust tracks through the grass and the undercover area is crazily placed right in the middle of the yard. i never fail to be irritated by the moronic non design. detainees lighting cigarettes from a hole in a wall seem to me to be the picture of institutionalisation, not even sharing a light but they appear strangely unbothered. small children on the crappy plastic excuse for a play area seem not to notice that there is little light in the eyes of their adults.