Jan 24 2002 – All of the attention that has rightly been focused on the treatment of the Taliban and al-Qa’ida prisoners held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay should not blot out an even uglier drama that is being played out on the other side of the world. Australia is facing open revolt in two of the detention camps where it is holding hundreds of asylum-seekers. More than 200 people are on hunger strike; several dozen have deliberately poisoned themselves; parents have sewn up the lips of their children.
These are the desperate measures to which people resort when they see no other option. As it happens, the detainees who are protesting are almost the reverse image of those held in Cuba. Many are fugitives from the Afghan regime that was so brutally imposed by the Taliban. They did not have to be hooded or shackled and forcibly airlifted to Australia; they risked their lives and what money they had to come. Yet when they arrived, they found themselves