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Bron Williams

Jan 31, 2022

I Have Seen the Moon

Reflections on Nauru

2017

Today I talked to Bron Williams about her book I Have Seen the Moon: Reflections on Nauru (2017).

Mary Anne Radmacher wrote, "I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world." Have you ever looked at the moon from a different angle? I don't mean looking at it upside down as you might have done as a child, through your legs or hanging from the monkey bars. I mean, have you ever looked at the moon and it looked upside down? I know the moon is round and that there really is no up or down side to a circle, but I'm talking about a quarter moon or a crescent moon. Have you ever seen a crescent moon where the crescent just doesn't seem to be in the right place? That's how it seemed to me when I lived and worked on Nauru. Nauru, the Pleasant Island, is a tiny island nation just 23 km around, lying in the Pacific Ocean 30km south of the equator and some 2800km north-west of Australia. It is a typical tropical island - palm trees, warm blue seas, smiling locals and cheap food. It also houses one of Australia's off-shore detention centres, and it was here that I worked, off and on, for 15 months. In the months after I returned to Australia permanently I realised that inside me I had built wall. This wall was not to keep things out, nor to keep things in. it was merely a wall constructed from all the events, people, memories, impressions and emotions that made up my time working in off-shore processing in Nauru.

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Ari Barbalat

Ari Barbalat holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of California in Los Angeles. He lives in Toronto with his family.

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