Christmas Island, off the coast of Australia: here 50 million crabs make their slow and ancient migration from the jungle to the ocean’s edge, while thousands of people seeking asylum are indefinitely held in a high security detention facility. Poh Lin, a trauma counsellor living on the island, bears witness to the dramatic stories and decline of those being detained.
Some speak of the families they’ve left behind and the journey they took to get to the island. Others tell of waiting indefinitely and being exposed to the gradual mental collapse of their friends and family around them. Rarely leaving the detention centre, and with little idea of the natural beauty of Christmas Island, their sessions with Poh Lin are rare moments of human connection.
The island’s crabs come to serve as a metaphor for the ancient and timeless natural movements of migration. Their spectacle sits in stark contrast to the chaotic human movements and entrapment that become senseless and absurd – not just on this island, but around the world.
The Island is commissioned as part of the Guardian Bertha documentary partnership, which aims to tell international stories with global impact.