A candle of hope for Hani 6


Life isn’t fair.

I tell my kids all the time. It is what it is…but it sucks. Sometimes, it really, really sucks.

I can sit here in my safe, comfy home, bury my head in a book, entertain myself with the latest movie, get lost in my garden or home improvements and pretend for a little while that none of it exists. I can block it out and protect myself – because it can all be so overwhelming…so tiring – thinking about all that is wrong with the world. If I ignore it, I can pretend that it’s all okay.

But it isn’t.

Well actually, it is for me. I’ve got more than enough to meet my needs. I’ve always had love and care in my life. I’ve got safety and security. I’ve got freedom and opportunity. I’ve got hope.

Hope for tomorrow.

But what of Hani?

She’s seen terror. She’s seen death. She’s tasted poverty and cruelty. She knows loneliness and fear. She knows pain. Security is elusive, safety is debatable. Freedom she has never known…not really. Opportunity is only something of dreams.

Hope – perhaps that’s all she has to hang on to.

Hope for tomorrow is being sure that things can be better. Knowing that circumstances can change, that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that there is a plan, a time limit, an end date, a way out. There is hope when someone is coming to rescue you, or you have the strength and determination to do it yourself. Hope sees escape.

Hani lit a little candle called hope – hope burning deep in her soul – hope that it would light her way. She gathered all the courage she could muster and she prayed for a miracle. She hoped and prayed for something beyond all she could possibly imagine.

Hani – she and I are different, and yet so alike. We have more in common than not. Our shared humanity is the link that binds us. At least it should be.

But hope. Mine is alive and well. Hers is hanging on by a thread.

My hope says I can move forward. I have people who love and care and want the best for me. Sure I’ve had my fair share of hurt and pain, but so many of the problems in my life are only temporary, and they aren’t really so bad anyway – not when I keep them firmly in perspective. Even in the bigger and scarier things, I have access to so much. A little bit of patience, time and determination, and things can change.

Hani’s hope – it’s shaky, fragile even. She’s seen a glimpse of the possibilities, then been plunged into darkness once more. Although her eyes have become somewhat accustomed to the darkness, she knows there is so much more to be had in the light.

Hani sees the world and wonders why. She wonders why for some it is so good, and for some it is so bad.

I was born into hope.

Hani – she was born into horror.

Her candle has been burning a long time…it no longer resembles the candle it once was. Yet she hopes. Barely. But still she hopes. Hope for tomorrow. Hope that one day things can be different.

I don’t have the answers, and sometimes it seems so unattainable…I wish I was more courageous…

…but I hope for her…for all the Hani’s of our world.


(Please note: Hani is just a name I have used – I wrote this piece in response to reading Submission 21A and 21B of the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 2014. If you haven’t already, please take the time to have a read here

About Esther Murray

As a bit of an idealist, Esther often dreams of a world where kindness is the currency and where no one ever suffers from hunger or mistreatment. In the hopes of making some part of this dream a reality, Esther studied a Bachelor of Social Work. She quickly discovered that she probably wasn’t going to save the world but could simply strive to make a difference in her everyday. Much later, as the sea of nappies, toys, teething and tantrums threatened to engulf the dreams of a former life, Esther began to write. Making meaning of a childhood in the Himalayas, the craziness of motherhood and the state of the world was a much-welcomed creative outlet. Esther loves doing life alongside her husband Clive raising their three young daughters. In her down-time Esther can be found drinking tea (never coffee), tinkering on the piano or bass-guitar, practicing her Urdu, rummaging the op-shops, or attempting some kind of DIY.

6 thoughts on “A candle of hope for Hani

  • Lucy

    I have only just read the first few lines of your latest writing Est and already felt the sting of tears behind my eyes x x Your writings from your heart are always, always so touching and meaningful..really getting in touch with the hard things of life we all so often try to shy away from…push down….yet what you bring out is so real. Have printed out 21A & B and going to get a big box of tissues to have on hand as I read them x x
    p.s. I wonder if ‘Hani’ or the young lady from Samali will ever get to write on Kin Women

    • Esther Murray Post author

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Lucy. I so appreciate your love and encouragement and all of our ‘deep & meaningfuls’. It is gorgeous ones like you in my life that encourage me to be honest with myself and give me the courage to be real! What a wonderful thought to hear from a ‘Hani’ on Kinwomen…imagine the richness of experience and depth that could come out from these young one’s lives. xx

  • Steve Wickham

    We see things in the news and hear of protests, but it’s not every day we are taken into the soul of an incarcerated child. Every parent can identify with what you wrote, Esther, and you have such a great encouraging realness with your writing. We need more pieces like yours!

    • Esther Murray Post author

      Thank you for your encouragement Steve. You are so right, we hear so much of the politics around these issues but often don’t get to hear of the real human beings behind the stories. Reading some of the submissions really brought it home to me.

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