Australians Against Racism (www.australiansagainstracism.org) has published a book bringing together the best refugee stories submitted for an essay competition which ran in primary and secondary schools around Australia.
The 37 stories in the collection provide extraordinary accounts written by young people.
"A dark dream left a mark in my heart, mind and soul."
"They did what they could to stay alive, and then they played soccer."
"I wish to escape from this cruel razor wire, I wish to escape from loneliness in captivity"
"I do feel a little better now that I have told everyone my story … Many of us have hidden secrets and pains from our journeys or sadness because of the loss of loved ones".
"We have not been allowed to know the (recent) refugees as human beings - as men, women and children, as mothers and husbands, sons and daughters. These stories change all that and force a personal response from the reader. What a pity Australia's bigots can't be persuaded to read these accounts. It might, just might, make them more understanding and compassionate." (Phillip Adams, columnist)
Dark Dreams: Australian Refugee Stories edited by Sonja Dechian, Heather Millar and Eva Sallis, Wakefield Press, ISBN 1 86254 629 0. Available for $A19.95 + postage from Project SafeCom Inc. P.O. Box 364, Narrogin, Western Australia 6312, Australia. Online purchase: http://members.westnet.com.au/jackhsmit/dark-dreams.htm
At the last count, 183 refugee children were being detained by the Australian government on the Australian mainland, Christmas Island or Nauru.