I wrote this poem early in 2004
some, I’m told, call you
“The Blind Man of Baxter.”
You’ve refused food since mid-November
but say you are not on a hunger strike.
You have not sought publicity.
Are you blind to the fear of death?
Is this what Australia has done to you?
You say that this is your escape route,
that you lost your hope, and then
you lost your appetite.
Your words ring in my ears:
“They can have my body,
I will try to take my soul.”
You may not have the finest vision
but your perception of our indifference
is clearer than Senator Vanstone’s.
She can’t even see your humanity.
Please feel free use this poem in any way that might help free Hassan from the Baxter Immigration Detention.
I received a reply from Hassan Shamsaei – this was my response.
Thanks for your letter. Glad you have started eating again.
I hope the government comes to a favourable decision on your case.
I live a long way from you but one day you may get to see some pretty parts of Australia
All the best I am enclosing a phone card in case this helps you contact your friends on the outside of the camp.
Copyright © 2021 John Tomlinson