This blog was written by Mishka, a member of Freed Voices, a group of experts-by-experience committed to speaking out about the realities of immigration detention in the UK. And Mishka would like to introduce the blog himself…
This would be my final piece for Unlocking Detention 2018. It has been my absolute delight to be a part of this year’s Unlocking Detention as well – this is the third consecutive year I have contributed to Unlocking Detention.
Two days have passed since the bonfire night. Looking out from my room window, in between whilst I am typing this, I still see fireworks lighting up the sky, creating spectacular patterns. I am not certain where I would be next year by this time because my life circumstances are volatile like a drop of water on a red-hot metal plate. Nevertheless, I hope that by fall next year, we would see significant positive changes when it comes to immigration detention reform. If there would be Unlocking Detention 2019, I hope that most of the posts would be merry ones, including good memories, stories, and milestones about our prolonged fight against immigration detention in the UK and its success.
On that note, this time I decided to share something nostalgic.
One of the reasons I decided to share this piece is to convey the message that detention not only affects the individuals being detained; it affects relationships as well. I also want to convey the message that in detention you have humans, who like many others, have/had their own stories, own reasons, own dreams and hopes; who love/loved other humans and also are being loved/were loved by other humans. Detention is in some ways a graveyard of dreams and hopes and the ghosts of dead dreams and hopes can linger within those walls for months and years.
And I have one other reason as well…
At one stage of my time in detention, a point came where I was almost removed from the UK. Even though it did not happen like I had feared, I thought that I would be removed that night. Therefore, I sent one final message to an admirable woman I was in a romantic relationship with. I started composing this message two days before my proposed removal, and I sent this to her on the day I was supposed to be sent back.
The purpose of this message I sent was to inspire this admirable woman who always used to be one of my inspirations.
My final message to XXXXXX
“I am not sure where to even start. But all I know is that time is not on my side today. So, I am going to embed lots of … in between words and sentences. These embedded … in between words and sentences represent millions of feelings and thoughts that I am yearning to pour out, but I am finding it difficult. You know, it is because I am not used to pouring out my heart out into to yours in a rush. That, I prefer to do while taking a long walk – holding hands, during an autumn evening, on a trail with lots of trees with leaves turning multi colours. But I am not going to get that chance again…
You know that we have lost this battle and they will send me tonight. This means we will never meet again. I don’t know what is going to happen after they send me. Besides that, whatever it is going to be, you will not hear from me again. It is because I don’t want to stand on your path like a phantom or a wall made out of memories. I want you to move on, fall in love again, start a new life, and live your life to the fullest.
But… I have to tell you this before it is too late. Otherwise, I am not going to get another chance.
Firstly, there is no way on this earth I can ever thank you enough for everything you have done, for being there for me and with me during fond times and also dark times. Thank you for making the choice to love me. I feel honoured that you made that choice. On this earth, if I ever surrender to anything, it is not even going to be the scythe of the grim reaper; instead, it would be to the love from a woman like you.
I know that I seldom commented on your physical beauty when we were together, but I had a reason for that. So, let me declare this now: I have always been enchanted by your smile, your alluring husky voice, sparkles in your eyes, the gloss on your lips when city lights reflect on them… I can write my own book about it. There have been countless times I have been secretly staring at your beauty with wonder without you even noticing.
But… my love, for me, all these are just the features of the external cage ‘the real you’ residing. My deepest adoration and attachment is not towards that external cage you are residing. Peel down all your layers of flesh, veins, and bones: there lie your beautiful & compassionate mind and soul – these are what I adored the most and these are what always made me weak in the knees.
In some ways, I can say that I am an astronomer who was trying my best to explore the universe inside you, but I have failed in trying to do so. I got lost between those journeys because it is so vast and magnificent and I could not discover everything within three years. You, me… all of us have our own universes inside us with our own moons, stars, galaxies, and nebulas. But, we are not much keen to discover our own universes inside us because we are too focused on exploring the outer universe. We are too keen to open our eyes and watch the exteriors, but we do not close our eyes and look into our own-self enough. My request for you is to discover that exclusive universe inside you, discover its unique moons, stars, and galaxies and comprehend yourself that you are unique and incomparable to anyone else.
Even though I would not be there to hold hands, remember to walk on trails in this autumn with lots of trees with leaves turning multi-colours. While walking, remember to pick the dying bumblebees and keep them somewhere safe like you always do, so that people will not step on them. I found those miniature singular things not only commendable but also very alluring. When we have more and more people who are dedicated to helping others who cannot help themselves, this world becomes a safe and a beautiful place for everyone to live. You are one of those embodiments I have come across in my life.
I know that we both – like many others, had and have dreams and hopes. But sometimes, dreams shatter and hopes fade away without ever becoming a reality… just like some snowflakes melt halfway through the journey from the sky and hit the ground turning into teardrops. But, from time to time, it is a lesson that we feel the salty taste of our own tears instigated by the pain of our shattered dreams and hopes. This is an ideal way to learn that our actions can sometime shatter dreams and hopes of others and the pain they would feel is very similar to the pain we feel when our own dreams shatter and hopes fade away. If any of your actions would make someone else feel the salty taste of their tears, my request is that you make sure those tears are… tears of joy.
Let me declare this as well: quite a lot of the significant life lessons are, in fact, the ones I learned from you. You taught me most of these, sometimes inadvertently. You are one of my most distinguished mentors. You helped me to shatter many of my own insecurities; you were an inspiration to me to mould myself into a better man. But for this one last time, let me remind you all these because I want you to know that you have an innate ability to turn others to better people and your influence made me a carbon copy of you with many of your intrinsic worths.
Lastly, this is something I have learned over the time facing many hardships and overcoming them countless times: remember that your life circumstances sometimes or often can shatter you into millions of pieces. If that ever happens in your life, I want you to rebuild yourself. No matter how many times your life would shatter you into pieces, I want you to keep rebuilding yourself, because during that process of rebuilding… my love… you will find your true self.
I know that you are a strong woman… and you got this.
So, to conclude this piece, I thought I would add a few final thoughts. To me, and for the Freed Voices group, this year has been a quite eventful year. One of the things I find fascinating during my work as Mishka from Freed Voices is that I get the opportunity to meet people with similar wavelengths. This year I met a few people who I would remember for many autumns to come.
Lastly, anyone who has been involved in this fight knows we will not see results overnight. We will need the same qualities to achieve what we are hoping to achieve, as you need to survive the experience of detention itself: determination, perseverance and belief.