They Cannot Take the Sky is made up of multiple stories of people’s lives in various detention centres that they have lived in, in their quest to live in Australia. From Villawood to Christmas Island, the different experiences have all had the same impact on the victims who are fleeing persecution – they have all been treated like criminals, held against their will and traumatised by their time in detention at the hands of the Australian Government.
There are stories from a range of countries, age groups and reasons for fleeing their country of birth, which makes the stories diverse and rich in their narrative. I couldn’t read the book all at once, reading it over a few weeks instead, as it’s so sad, embarrassing and mortifying to think that people who have fled to save their lives are put into these positions when they would rather be in their own country with their families.
I am not sure what the answer is that will make everyone happy in how to manage the people seeking asylum, but I know that detention in these centres is not the answer, and this book provides the proof of that. The trauma and terror that are within the words of each story is the proof.