Hajar Maghames was just 27 when she came with her family to Christmas Island. She fled Iran with her mother, father and brother to escape persecution as a part of an Arab minority in the Iranian city of Ahwaz. After seven months, she transferred to Nauru, where she and her family spent seven years in detention. Transferred to Darwin for urgent medical treatment, they are still yet to receive one year later.
Hajar is now 35 years old. She is a freedom fighter, but her dreams of freedom and hopes of studying as a young woman in Australia are dwindling.
Interview by Refugee Voices volunteer, Liryca Simpson.
It’s hard to describe how frustrated I am. For eight years, we have lived in limbo. We keep repeating that it’s been eight years. We have problems with the lawyers, the doctors, the journalists. Even with all of our friends, I have no words left to say. I’m so disappointed.
It’s so hard when you see no change.
I am a young woman who has spent eight years of her life surrounded by a fence.
I’ve spent eight years feeling like an empty shell, surrounded and controlled by the immigration officers.
I have no way to speak or even breathe. There are too many eyes looking at me, watching me. They stare at my family for what reason, I don't know. We have committed no crimes; we are innocent.
I don’t know how I can continue. How can I have hope for my future?
It is not humane to treat people like this. They’re playing with people’s lives.
The women feel so frustrated. We don’t see any progress.
We ask ourselves, why? Why do we have to suffer in this terrible situation for no crime, no reason? Who will answer? How can we return to good health with the physical and mental issues we now have?
What is most important to me now is freedom.
We’re stuck in a small cage. When I see the birds, I see them flying, and I wish I were like them. I wish I could fly and go anywhere.
Although our hope is minimal, we do get hope from those who come to the protests. We feel a small sense of power when we see them. They are amazing people who care about us.
When I do get my freedom, I would like to finish my studies. I want to learn more about everything, philosophy and life. I want to continue, but while I’m in detention, I can’t concentrate. My mind, heart and soul are broken.
We all want to be free. It’s been eight years.
When I see my parents, they are so frustrated, and their health is getting worse. I cannot imagine how difficult it is for them. We see their pain.
My parents are old, and it’s getting worse. They are so hopeless. They can’t see any change or any future.
I hope the government grants my parents the freedom to live out the rest of their lives as everyday people.
I appreciate people’s support and that they stand with us. They will never give up until they see us free and I hope, one day soon we’ll see these beautiful people in the community, not behind this fence.
We want to be free as soon as possible.