Cartoonists Stand In Solidarity With Fellow Artist Hunger Striking On Manus

Contributor: Chris Woods
This article talks about mental illness, specifically depression and suicidal tendencies, in detail. If it triggers anything for you please call BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 for 24/7 counselling, or Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you are in crisis.

With the International Criminal Court currently weighing up whether or not Australia’s immigration system constitutes a goddamn crime against humanity, things are as awful in our offshore detention centres as they’ve ever been.
Papua New Guinea police have begun forcibly deporting people not deemed to be refugees, Coalition politicians are still trying to ban people from ever entering Australia, and, while officials have commenced interviews for the US-swap, the increasingly fraught odds of anyone being transferred has spurred two people to accept our government’s deal with human rights wonderland Cambodia.

And while it’s unfortunately flown under the radar of those bigger political stories, there’s another tragedy brewing: Eaten Fish, an Iranian refugee and award-winning cartoonist, has been on a hunger strike since January 31st.
A Manus Island detainee for over three and a half years now, Eaten suffers from debilitating mental health issues, and, as the the victim of sexual assault and harassment, has been held in a seperate compound for the past eight months.
But now it looks like Eaten will be forced to return to the compound as his claims haven’t been substantiated, despite the fact that, according to Eaten’s website, he was expected to prove the allegations to officials who had assaulted him last year.
This is reportedly the reason for Eaten’s strike, which, as quoted on his personal site, he has seemingly resigned himself:
 “Something happens with hunger strike and I think you know what that is. I will die and this will all finish.”
The Cartoonists Rights Network International has since called on Australia to bring Eaten here for emergency medical and psychological treatment:
“It is with profound alarm and sadness that [we] learn that our friend and colleague, cartoonist Mr. Eaten Fish, currently held in an Australian refugee rendition camp in Papua New Guinea has decided to undertake a hunger strike.”
“He is a man who has given up hope, cannot struggle any longer, cannot face the future that is being forced on him, and he would rather die than submit to the indignities of further inhuman treatment.”
Amidst similar calls from Australia’s Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance and the International Federation of Journalists, cartoonists have begun sharing images in support of a viral “Add A Fish” campaign.

The results, quite frankly, are nothing short of beautiful, and while the majority come from local and international cartoonists somebody also made a kickass quilt.

But while campaigns like these are important ways of spreading awareness, they’re not all that’s required; if you want Australia to stop torturing Eaten and all those other, demonstrably innocent people we’ve locked up for four years, call your MP.
Source: Twitter.
Photo: Twitter / A Murray.