“Yet standing in Wilde’s cell reflecting on what those laws had meant to him, even after his release from prison, I also realized what he shared with a group of people today who are incarcerated for doing nothing wrong — migrants in Britain — and saw the limits of the progress marked by his pardon.
I had previously thought of Wilde as a man who went into exile after completing his prison term. But when Wilde went to France, where it wasn’t a crime to be gay, he was a man fleeing unjust laws that could be used to persecute him. He was no exile; he was a refugee.”
The analogy described in this article could apply to the five Australian immigration detention centres and to Nauru’s three off-shore regional processing centres I have visited in the past weeks. Several detainees told me that prison is better as one knows why one’s detained and when it will end. One day, an apology will be in order.