A replica of the Wilde's cell made in wood, built in a chapel in England.
  he artist Jean-Michel Pancin used the original door and floor measurements to replicate Oscar Wilde’s cell in the chapel of Reading Prison in England. Photo Credit Justin Tallis/Agence-France Presse — Getty Images

Oscar Wilde, a Refugee of His Time

Article in The New York Times, by Kamila Shamsie
18 November, 2016

“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.

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