“Mehdi: what kind of an organisation is S/A and what is its main task?
S/A officers: We are christians who have mobilised to do our best wherever there is humanitarian assistance required and to better the lives of those in need.
Salvation Army is a large international and independant organisation.
Mahdi: Why then does the SA does not report the conditions of the camp to the media and others and even those who oppose these condtions and nor does it express its dissatisfaction with these horrid conditions? can it see the hunger strikes and suicides with its own eyes?
SA officers: At the beginning we signed a contract with DAIC, and one of the conditions of this contract is one which forbids us from disclosing what the conditons are and what happens here, our reports only go to the hierarchy of SA and we follow the rules set down by DIAC.
Mahdi: Yes, I remember ‘Brett & Rita’ were two helpful officers who genuinely wanted to help us, but on Brett’s last day he was barred from coming here to even say goodbye to us, even to an extent that I’ve heard he is not to come back to Nauru anymore, who knows he might’ve even lost his job, as he had gone beyond (in helpfulness) what was specified by DIAC. Does he still work for SA?
SA: We don’t know, but he is not to come back to Nauru!
Mahdi: SA is a large international organisation, what is its source of income?
SA officer: I don’t know!
Mahdi: What limitations are imposed on you on this camp and outside here?
SA officers: we are not allowed to talk about whatever happens here not to the media nor others, only our superiors, we follow the chain of command.
Mahdi: So, you really work for DIAC and DIAC for the government, so if we eliminate the intermediaries, you work for the government, right?
SA offiers: Oh no, we have come here to help you and nothing else.
Mahdi: Yes, you’re right, I understand your intentions of doing good deeds, please allow me to finish my questions, there are many things I don’t know and just want to know the answers. I just want to ask you a personal question, do you personally as a human being agree with keeping us in these conditions? this is personal question to you and nothing to do with your role with SA.
SA officers: We oppose these conditions! as far as we know SA also opposes extra territorial (offshore) processing also.
Mahdi: the behaviour and responses of SA yesterday reveal to me the fact that there are 2 sides to this story. Yesterday Ms. Carl joined the hunger strikers and urged us to end our strike and was unhappy about this and mentioned that we can’t change the laws of the country, why do you play with your own lives? it’s the law and we mustn’t hunger strike.
So I said this has two sides for me:
1) That she from the goodness of her heart and the holy dress she wore tried to dissuade us from harming ourselves so that we are not harmed any further.
2) Perhaps she had been asked to tell us this by perhaps the DIAC or the government.
For me the 2nd is more likely the case as I know that she is in charge of the internet room, the canteen, food distribution (this was said to us by Ms. Rose in her last talk when a video was shown from Green Left and they shut everything down here and everyone left, as a threat also saying that if they were not to be here, all these services will shut down also).
Most importantly Australia is a lawful country and everyone for the continuity of their employment and a better life obeys the laws.
(((very quietly so that no one would hear I said the government at the moment has a two sided view of the asylum seekers, some get bridging visas and others exiled to the worst possible places to punish the people smugglers and so that no one comes with them))).
So, I draw this conclusion is that someone has asked Ms. Carl to say this, aren’t I right?
Mahdi, you ask difficult questions!
(((no other response is forthcoming)))
Another asylum seeker who was who was around us said the biggest service you can do for us is to help us get off this hell, and this is demandable by SA, it just needs to officially and independantly raise its voice, or at least officially announce the conditions here independantly!
SA officers: we are not allowed to, so our superiors are most likely not allowed to either.
Mahdi: If you were convinced that SA coming here is helping the Australian government to keep us here indefinately according to its policies would you still have come?
Having explained myself more clearly more than 10 times they still side-stepped the question!
Mahdi: so I asked again, so inspite of the fact that SA is a humane society from the church and the community and opposes offshore processing, isn’t it better that it would choose the path of assistance through setting up of public campaings, demonstrations and such? wouldn’t this be more effective for the asylum seekers?
Let us give SA the benefit of the doubt and say it was not aware of the situation in Nauru when the contract was signed and expected good conditions here, so now that it is aware and fully in touch with the situation on the ground, is there no action on its part neccessary?
SA officers: we cannot comment nor respond to these questions, however, we will run it past Ms. Carl to talk to you about it!
I told them I was no politician, I am an asylum seeker who has opened up to you, so if there is someone who can answer me, I would be grateful.
Copy right Mahdi Vakili, asylum seeker in Nauru 3/12/2012”