Fireflies in pitch-black nights

By Mishka, Freed Voices

The sense of hopelessness, isolation, sadness and fear are just a few of the emotions that overshadow the minds of people in indefinite immigration detention. This is a place where you feel you are forgotten – that you are very much deliberately kept out of sight and out of mind. The injustice you face makes you feel like the whole world is against you.

I remember when I was held in Harmondsworth – next to Heathrow Airport, now part of the biggest immigration detention centre in Europe. I could give you a list of gloomy things about that experience, but there were a couple of good memories and reasons to be hopeful.

One of them was that I got to know that people outside were supporting us and showing solidarity in many different ways. It meant a lot, and it made me happy. It meant a lot to lots of us in there.

When I was home I used to look outside the window during the pitch-black nights. When there is no moon and not many stars to light up the night sky it is very dark. Then you suddenly see some fireflies shooting across, lighting up tiny areas of that pitch-black emptiness – if only for a moment. I always found that sight consoling and beautiful.

No matter how small or fleeting that light was, and even though they could not defeat that complete darkness of the night, that sight always helped me to comprehend something quite elementary but also significant in life – tiny things can make a visible difference in this world and in people’s lives.

Yes… that is how I felt and how I saw it when I became aware that people outside the detention centre were supporting us, even in small ways like sending messages of support.

Tiny glimmers of hopes can do wonders to people passing their darkest days, and I know that people in detention will find positive messages of solidarity heartening and encouraging.

I think many of us who are part of this campaign now know about the horrors of indefinite immigration detention – and I hope that many more will know it soon as our campaign grows.