Australia ‘s Offshore Immigration Detention System

In December of 2016 The New York Times published Roger Cohen’s ‘Broken Men in


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Australia ‘s Offshore Immigration Detention System
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Paradise,’ an ethnographic exposé of Australia’s offshore immigration detention system. “The




world’s refugee crisis,” writes Cohen, “with its 65 million people on the move, more than at any




time since 1945, knows no more sustained, sinister or surreal exercise in cruelty than the South




Pacific quasi-prisons Australia has established for its trickle of the migrant flood.” Cohen’s Op-Ed 1




centers on interviews with detained refugees in the Manus Regional Processing Center, a facility on




a remote tropical island in Northern Papua New Guinea and the holding ground for roughly 900




adult men seeking resettlement in Australia. Since its publication, the article’s comments section




has exploded with vitriol; the scathing responses are seemingly endless, and read like careful




composites of the most prevalent anti-immigration buzzwords: illegals, queue jumpers, economic




migrants, leeches, welfare tourists and Jihadists. But Cohen, too, has a lexicon for the men of




Manus Island. He calls them banished, political pawns, invisible and the walking dead. He analyzes




Australia’s discursive obsession with the term boat people and the Orwellian contortions inherent in




the phrase Offshore Processing Center. Most notably, Cohen calls his interviewees by their names.








Cohen, Roger. Broken Men In Paradise.








He introduces Benham Satah, a Kurdish refugee who has not been referred to by his given name for


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