Christmas message from Manus

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of the poet and gardener, Mohammad Ali Maleki, here is his Christmas letter:

Dear Australians,
From detention on Manus Island, we — who came seeking asylum — wish you a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Just as in the last four years, we are about to embark upon our fifth of pain, sorrow, torture, and the endless nightmare of detention.
We don’t know why we are in this prison. What illegality have we committed? What logic does the Australian Government use to decide upon our lives?
We light candles for our lost friends instead of celebrating New Year. We hope next year will be our last of such miserable times. We can’t go on under the torture of detention very much longer. We pray to be set free from this prison someday.
I wish Merry Christmas to all the Christian and Catholic people, especially to the good and wise people of Australia who’ve given us help in the past four years. I hope they are happy and healthy with their families.
I also wish a special Happy New Year to those Australians who do not like us; I love them too, from the bottom of my heart.
It is true that these dear people insulted us by swearing and sending rude comments, and that their words broke our hearts and made us feel ashamed. In fact, their comments hurt us much more than even the harsh difficulties of detention; their comments made our situation harder to bear. These dear people made us cry, and cry again.
But I respect their views and read their comments. Then I offer their words to the clean clear waters of the ocean to carry to its farthest point so I don’t have to see them anymore. And I forgive them with all my heart, and wish them a Merry Christmas.
— Mohammad Ali Maleki, Manus Island, PNG