Deathscapes

The Military Industrial Border Complex 5a - Militarised Landscapes

Deathscapes

Manus Island: Militarised Landscapes

A Nissen hut is pictured in the former Manus RPC. White plastic chairs are scattered on the sand in the foreground. Fences and palm trees are in the background.[imagecaption] Foxtrot Compound, 2017. Photo: Behrouz Boochani. Two weather Nissen huts are pictured in the Delta Compound of the former Manus RPC at Lombrum. Fences and palm trees can be seen in the background.Nissen Huts from WWII remain on the Lombrum naval base (Manus RPC) and have been repurposed as part of the detention centre infrastructure. Nauru is also littered with artifacts of war. In 2014, an unexploded WW2  bomb was found in the family camp in the Nauru RPC. [/imagecaption]

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‘All over Manus and its tiny islands, there are dozens of signs, marking the bitter history of colonisation and war…During the past 100 years, Manus has been a theatre of war in two separate conflicts…This is one of the bitter realities of our planet. People of an island at the furthest part of the globe have become victims of a battle between the world’s super powers.’

Behrouz Boochani, Kurdish journalist held on Manus


Structural comparisons exist between Australia’s offshore detention camps and the United States’ extraterritorial camps for ‘battlefield detainees’ at Guantánamo Bay. At the same time, regional  and colonial histories are echoed in the location of prison camps on Manus Island and Nauru.

Islands have historically played a significant role in Australia’s domestic and military strategy. Australia’s violent colonial interventions in neighbouring Pacific lands, such as Manus Island and Nauru, have resulted in militarised landscapes, where  past wars continue to scar the present. The naval base on Manus, which served as a convenient foundation for the detention centre, is evidence of the residue of war. (Mountz, 2011)


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