Published 19 December 200819 December 2008 · Main Posts merry christmas island and a traumatic new year Maxine Beneba Clarke I bet nobody told them that freedom this Christmas would feel like this. The corridors are so empty that the loneliness echoes back pitch-perfectly, little kindred flesh to absorb the grief. Tears pool on the linoleum, slide coldly down cement-rendered walls. They can’t stall the ghosts that will soon walk these halls: the shredded crimson scream of roof-flung bodies slit by perimeter razor-wire, the sedated dreamscape of war-torn memories, black-purple bruises from the steel-tipped truncheons of frustrated guards. In months to come, nobody will speak to those who use the cafeteria: they will be an affront to freedom. Escape will mean the deep belly-rumble and dry chafe of hunger-striking lips. Head-count every hour, they will have to go slowly: starving out an exit, body devouring organs from the inside out. The Age reports this morning that one of the Howard Government’s most appalling legacies, the new Detention Facility on Christmas Island, is about to open it’s doors. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art 1. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art 5. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art 9. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art 13. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art 14 Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized. – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art 28. Please support an Australian Bill of Rights. Maxine Beneba Clarke Maxine Beneba Clarke is an Australian author and slam poet of Afro- Caribbean descent. Her short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the 2015 ABIA Award for Best Literary Fiction and the 2015 Indie Award for Best Debut Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize. Her memoir, The Hate Race, her poetry collection Carrying the World, and her first children’s book, The Patchwork Bike, will be published by Hachette in late 2016. More by Maxine Beneba Clarke Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 25 May 202326 May 2023 · Main Posts The ‘Chinese question’ and colonial capitalism in New Gold Mountain Christy Tan SBS’s New Gold Mountain sets out to recover the history of the Gold Rush from the marginalised perspective of Chinese settlers but instead reinforces the erasure of Indigenous sovereignty. Although celebrated for its multilingual script and diverse representation, the mini-TV series ignores how the settlement of Chinese migrants and their recruitment into colonial capitalism consolidates the ongoing displacement of First Nations peoples. First published in Overland Issue 228 15 February 202322 February 2023 · Main Posts Self-translation and bilingual writing as a transnational writer in the age of machine translation Ouyang Yu To cut a long story short, it all boils down to the need to go as far away from oneself as possible before one realizes another need to come back to reclaim what has been lost in the process while tying the knot of the opposite ends and merging them into a new transformation.