Seven Days of ATU Action – A Mother’s Words

Just before Christmas 2015, Nina Ni, went to visit her son, Tizane, in the ATU he is currently being detained in. Tizane had been unsettled for days. He had repeatedly asked to spend some time at home over Christmas but this had been refused by the Responsible Clinician. During Nina’s visit, Tizane became agitated and was immediately pinned down on the floor by five members of staff. Whilst in the prone position, Tizane looked up at his mother, pleading.

Nina went home and wrote this poem:

Woke up in the winter morning

Day is clear

Sun is shining,


Sickness and sadness filled all over my body.

Tears filled in my two eyes,

That needs to flow out .

My heart is sink, and pain and broken in pieces.

My heart is bloody ….

He is my boy ,

He is my son;

He is autistic,

He has learning disabilities;

He has tooth pain,

He is in puberty;

He has sensory needs,

His behaviour can be challenge from time to time.

He has been placed in inappropriate place far too long with wrong treatment.

But again and again he receives wrong treatment.

He has to be face down to be held like criminal on floor constantly.

I saw him lifting his head automatically while staff pushed him down.

I saw his eyes looking toward me to search for my protection ……

But I’m just a useless mum,

I’m just a powerless mum….


He is my baby,

He is my boy;

He is from my body,

He used to be in my arms to drink his first milk happily;

I taught him first words,

I held him for first walk.

I prefer to die but not see this scenery.

I can’t do anything but just be forced to leave ,

Like a fire happened,

Rudely always.

They are so powerful,

They have full power to decide where he will go in next,

They have whole power to allow me to visit my son or not…

I can’t be against them,

I can’t be against them.

My son is in their hands like a hostage.

They can pour dirty water on me by their lies.

They can put my son on the floor more often.

Media could make them fighting us more,

Legal is weak ….


They are so strong,

They are so dark.

They are called professionals and responsible for my son.

But I’m only a mum,

A useless mum,

A powerless mum.

I can’t be against them;

I can’t be against them …

I’m so fearful of them;

I’m fearful…..


I used to the real guns,

I used to fight for freedom and human rights in another part of the world;

I can be brave and brave more than now,

Because I’m only me,

Because I’m just myself.

But now they held my son,

my son,

He is so vulnerable ,

He is so valuable to me ,

To me …..

I feel I face the cruellest fascist never ever met before,

I’m walking in the darkest tunnel …..


I’m a hopeless mother,

I’m a useless mother,

I’m a powerless mother.

Mums are the foundation for all the families,

Mums are the symbol of the love in the world for all the children.

What happened in this world ?

How shameful they treated mothers this way ?

Are these people also from their mothers?

Do these people also have their own children?

What happened in this world?

I’m wonder,

I’m wonder ….

Mums are always children’s safety rock,

Mums are always children’s peaceful harbour,

Mums are the best in the world ……

How many days my son has been counting his days to home?

How many nights he was dreaming of home?

How many times he draw our home,

and then he just ripped the picture off,

and ripped it off …

and draw again and again …

Home only can be in his dream,

Home is too far away for him in the reality ……

Home is so easy for every ordinary people,

Why it is so hard for him ?

–an autistic young boy?


He is frustrated,

He is frustrated by locked in,

What he can do ?

What he can do ?

He only can hate himself,

He only can bite himself,

He hate himself to be born as autistic,

He bite himself to release his pain in his heart …

View his injuries everywhere

In his face,

In his knees,

In his swallow horrible arms…..

As a mother,

I’m tearless ,

I’m wordless ,

I have to numb myself,

Numb my heart to keep myself strong.

Numb myself to keep me walking forward …

It is the darkest tunnel that I have to walk through …


He has autism,

He has learning disabilities.

How can this inhuman treatment make him happy?

How can this inhuman treatment make him recover ?

It is the most torture in our life as a family in all,

I’m walking in the most darkness tunnel,

It is winter …

It is darkest days in the year!

It is darkest time in my life!

It is the darkest tunnel I have to walk through ………