A park ranger once explained how migrating crabs find their way to the coast. He said that they follow the slight gradient of the land as it slopes toward the sea, tracing the paths carved by little pockets of water- condensation, collected rain- falling slowly downhill. We follow the water because it’s what crabs do. Following the water is a way to the next stage of a life cycle; it’s navigation; it’s a new way of listening to the land.
On a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, everyone is on the move. Christmas Island, known for its brilliant red crab migration, is also home to a different kind of movement: it is the site of one of Australia’s largest immigration detention centers. In a place where movement is central to survival, what happens when these two migrations get too close?
Producer: Stephanie Niu
You can learn more about asylum seekers in Australia and ways to get involved by visiting the Asylum Seeker Resource Center website or the Refugee Council of Australia website.
More on the 1954 Refugee Convention here.
This episode was made possible by the support of the Beagle II Award and the generosity of the residents of Christmas Island and asylum seeker activists and allies in Melbourne. Many many thanks to Brigid Arthur, Craig Wood, Jahna Luke, Foo Kee Heng, Christopher Su, Karen Singer, Yit Meng Sho, Suzy Mathew, Mary Mathew, Mark Bennett, Gordon Thomson, Bluey, Max Orchard, Janet Pelly, Nicole Erlich, Choy Lan Seet, and Pamela Curr for sitting with me and sharing your stories. Jake Warga and Christy Hartman were instrumental in making this audio piece a reality. Thank you also to Gordon Chang and Hilton Obenzinger for your ongoing mentorship and support.
Our anchor story is about a little island where everyone is on the move: crabs descending from the jungle during a mass migration, people passing through the island in search of the mainland. Enjoy this preview of our first episode on Christmas Island and its moving populations.