Cinematic Poetics and Reclaiming History: Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time as Legacy
Abstract: Australia’s brutal legacy of offshore detention has been marked by tragedy, human rights abuses and international condemnation, framed within an overarching failure to reach any true resolution. The difference between Australia’s two major political parties’ approach to immigration policy has been largely cosmetic and there is little tangible difference between the actual policies they have implemented and sustained. Human Rights Watch bluntly diagnosed Australia as having “serious unresolved human rights problems”, calling the conditions on Manus and Nauru “abysmal” (Giakoumelos). This paper examines the process by which successive Australian governments have advocated and implemented border and immigration policies and, more specifically, how control of information has been a central tactic in defining how such policies are perceived by the public. There is a questionable disconnect between Australia’s political class and those targeted by the immigration policies it sustains. Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time (Boochani and Kamali Sarvestani 2017) captures the cruelty of Australia’s offshore detention policy, while intimately mapping the emotional and psychological experience of living in detention. Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time marks a fundamental shift, blunting attempts to dehumanise those in detention from a distance, while highlighting the moral crisis that this dehumanisation has created.