One brother to another brother
The eyes of the innocent

Manus Island

Los Negros (Mari Ellingson)FRANCIS NII

An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

Cruising over Los Negros Island
Momote Airport sleeping in serenity
Surrounded by surging blue seas
Pilot’s bliss

The Bird of Paradise
Gracious national flag carrier
Swiftly taxis to a halt
Joyfully I disembark

To the welcome of equatorial heat
Brackish sea gale
World War II relics
Swaying palms and mangroves

My mind races to Kundiawa Airport
Surrounded by rugged and menacing mountains
Pilot’s nightmare
My spirit groans

Settling into a single cab Hilux
I cruise along Loniu road
The pulsating songs of Chauka set the pace
My soul thrills at the ambiance

At the sight of Lombrum turnoff
Hatred overwhelms me
Why, I question myself
But the answer hasn’t dawned

Wow, Loniu Bridge!
A state of the art ingenuity
A solid and durable structure
Connecting Los Negros with Manus

Thinking back to South Simbu highway
Rugged terrain and potholes
Scary Pilme Bridge and snaky Deboma Pass
My mind battles to comprehend the contrast

Arriving at Lorengau Market
To the enchanting smiles of pretty angels
Adorned with stylish tattoos, long tresses
Selling all kinds of sea products

I think of Wara Market
Where varieties are arrayed in galore
Kaukau, potato, broccoli and more
And the familiar smile of Simbu Ambais

Harbourside Hotel
Manus deluxe holiday bungalows
Perched on the sea edge rocks
A lip-smacking banquet of seafood

Out in the dark tranquil sea
Seagulls dexterously glide down and up
Catching the speedy skipjack
Fleeing from the predatory boats

Lying quietly to the east of Harbourside
Is the beautiful no man’s Rara Isle
Surrounded by white sandy beach
A perfect hideout for freedom seekers

Beyond is Lombrum Naval Base
The asylum seekers’ detention centre
I smell the rot from where I stand
It makes me sick

Then it dawns on me
Why hatred overwhelmed me at Lombrum turnoff
It is the asylum seekers processing centre
Alias Australia’s problem solution centre

An institutionalised human rights abuse
Where Australians are at liberty to rape
To satisfy their power and lust
And get protected by Australian government

Filling sick I retreat to my room
Jet lag makes it worse
In the comfy of the twin bed
Soon I forget the ugliness of Lombrum


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Peter Kranz

"In recent weeks, the Murdoch press has sent a journalist to Manus Island for the purpose of maligning the defenceless refugees on the island. Media outlets such as the Herald Sun have published stories written by Peter Michael that distort the reality of life for refugees on Manus Island.

"These reports imply that taxpayers’ money is being lavished on refugees here. We are apparently “ungrateful illegals” who are “treated like kings”. We are “2”. Michael writes that “taxpayers are footing a $1.5 million a week bill for meals, fishing trips, beach outings …”

We are the victims of this policy; and for three years, we have been taken as hostages in an official and exiled approach.

"It is a barefaced lie. In fact, the taxes have been spent on incarcerating and torturing the imprisoned refugees, not on providing facilities for them. The large companies that operate the prison profit most from this situation. After three years of incarceration, the refugees in this prison are still deprived of the basic and simplest necessities of life. I know. I am one."

Read on...

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