I am from Burma and I am 67 years old

 

 

 

 

 

image c. Janet Galbraith

I am from Burma and I am 67 years old

as told to F.S. in Nauru
Voiced by Janet Galbraith
A woman from Burma held hostage in Nauru for more than 4 years now asked F.S. to share her story.
Thank you to F.S. for your sensitive work.
Her story was part of WTF's empty chair installation at QPF 2017.

 

Kazem

Please listen to this poem in Farsi with guitar accompaniment at the link just below:

An unpassable bridge 2017-07-31 Kazem poem 2

image by Hannah Patchett

 

 

 

 

 

 

An un-passable bridge

My guitar is my soul mate nowadays
I don’t care for the world anymore
I play my guitar with a heart full of sadness
My eyes drizzle like rain.

My heart is absent minded.
It’s going to tell the secret words.
It has a heavy pain to reveal.
It is profoundly sad,
sad like someone who has lost his sweetheart.
It has many words to say
but there are no worthy people to talk to.

My restless heart wants to fly
to take a message to someone.
But what benefit is there when there is no way to fly
My heart is exhausted from waiting and effort.
It’s breathless and alone.
It’s become weak.
It’s looking for a way to fly.

My heart with a hidden secret
and a world full of wounds in a jail
has no path to freedom.
It’s been condemned to a sorrowful separation.

I wish there was a kind person to give a chance to this prisoner
Give him a smile again as a gift.
Let him free from fetters and alienation.
What a pity that it’s all a dream!
My helpless heart has never seen bliss.
The jailer is bringing new chains to fasten.
This is a different prison
Oh, banish the sorrow of my unblessed heart.

I’m like an iron, you know, I am strong!

The white demons have arrived with anger
to promise another Reza’s death.
They have sharp claws
They are roaring
The ground is wet from blood
though no-one has been killed yet.

They want a volunteer.
Someone like Reza Barrati.
Someone to be annihilated again.
The white demons are starving again.
They want to feed themselves with my own body
and celebrate until the next day.
They have no sorrow, no sadness, no pain.

My mother, my love, be strong.
I know it’s hard to say goodbye to your son.

Without seeing it, I can read the verdict:
My young body must be killed.
There is no sign for humanity.
There are no rights for humanity.
Power is in the hands of wicked people.
They have made the world
an un-passable bridge.

Kazem

Kaveh

Humanity

Nowadays, there is no foundation for the concept of humanity,

no understanding of humanity itself.

It’s name remains from the past, and this is the only sign for humanity – its name.

The only sign of humanity is its name.

I’m staggered by human beings – they are social creatures.

I’m staggered by the society that they have now formed.

Human beings and their societies stagger me.

I’m staggered by wickedness, by the wrong behaviour of humans.

Elders from the past were a guide for the demonstration of humanity.

They aspired to live well so to manifest the nature of humanity.

Wickedness and wrong behaviour now stagger me.

There is no longer any word for human or humanity.

The opposite only exists .

The description of humanity does not depend on any religion, race or ethnicity,

no, not the description of humanity.

You find humanity. It is not something to buy.

It’s achievable, it’s obtainable, it’s retainable.

I mean the name of humanity.

Turn on the luminous light of humanity now, today.

Don’t be silent, and useless. Don’t draw back from the name of humanity.

The name human and humanity are valuable – an alchemist’s gem.

Don’t make the noble and great name disgraceful and contemptible.

Do your best to serve people, love them, be kind with them, until you are present;

until you live again under the glorious and magnificent name of humanity

– Kaveh

Translation: Moones Mansoube with Ahmad A. and Janet Galbraith

Nightmare

To the creator of the July 19 2013 Policy.

It’s morning now and I see the outside

Manus sky is still above my head

My feet are weak and the ground is feeble

The sun is shining, hotter than yesterday

Again another repetition, again another day

Our surroundings are closed, all around a bunch of fences

We see the same faces, same people

their faces have been empty of laugher for so long.

Although the world is colourful, big and beautiful

Our world has been gloomy, tiny and dark for so long.

We are all similar. Our pains are similar.

If we are frightened and nervous, there will be no one to listen

To our agonies and stories.

If we are in an awful situation with too much misery

There will be no one found, to solve even one problem,

No-one who will be as balm and make us happy.

But I have a close friend, a companion

My cigarette, burning beside me, burning like me.

Sorry, I talked a lot without introducing myself:

We are a bunch of luckless victims of 19th of July who have been sacrificed.

But I don’t know why, what we had done.

On what basis we were chosen that we were separated from them, and moved.

We were brought from Christmas Island of Australia to here, I mean Manus Island, one of the

offshore detentions of Australia. It has been a long time that I’ve had this question

‘What made the difference between us and those coming on a same boat that day?”

You let them settle in the land and they’re livin to stay

After that law, after that year, after that month, after that day

This is the biggest injustice that I’ve ever seen in the world still

We’re in limbo here, living in the dream of going to the USA.

You’ve been keepin us for so long illegally

You’ve shown no respect, neither to law nor to the PNG court rule

With all your inhumane bad behaviour

We are still hostages hungering for freedom

You have violated human rights, why?

I was askin why, why several times

But they have been useless, my words, my questions –

Useless.

If I object, I protest in PNG, they will reply that ‘you’re on Manus, country of PNG

You will face the law of PNG’.

But who’s listenin to these words?

Hey mate, take it from me I know you’re busy, busy with politics, interests and war

But have a bit of heart at least

How can you place your head on the pillow at night

with peace of mind?

Refugees on Manus, on Nauru, each of them

Has become sick and depressed, got shattered internally

In order for you to achieve your goals and interests easily.

Open your eyes wake up! this is a reality. After all the damages we just need support.

If bringing us to the offshore was to close the ocean routes and stop the boats –

It has been so long that no boats have arrived. Stand up! Time is up, why are you killing time?

Make a decision based on logic and sanity. Don’t let us become more pissed off.

We are teetering on the edge of insanity

Either you give us a hand and help us, let us free, we are human,

Or shoot the final bullet and get rid of us.

I don’t wanna beg anymore.

I am looking for a deep sleep so as to get permanent relief

– Kaveh (Manus)

Translation Moones Mansoube

QUEENSLAND POETRY FESTIVAL

http://scenestr.com.au/arts/queensland-poetry-festival-judith-wright-centre-review-20170903 a link to a review about QPF that includes Writing Through Fences.

WRITING THROUGH FENCES at the Queensland Poetry Festival 2017

We acknowledge that our voices, and some of us, are travelling to Yugerra Yugembul country, having passed through various other countries in this continent and world. We acknowledge your ongoing cultures and languages and offer out respect to all your peoples, Elders past, present and future.

This beautiful art work which will feature throughout our various events is by Mahmoud Salameh.  Thank you again for your constant support and inspiration Mahmoud.

 

art work, Same Moon by Mahmoud Salameh

Through The Moon – Saturday 26th August 2017
1pm – 2pm
BEMAC Level 1 102 Main St Kangaroo Point

with Juan Garido Salgado, Hani Abdile, Ahmad Aeinjamshid, Ahlam Moahamed, Ibtisam Ahmed,  Jenell Quinsee, Nick Theodoropoulos,

AND

Farhad Bandesh, Kaveh, Maria, Kazem, Boush, Abdi, Areqou, Lilla, Jajee, Sajjad, Farhad, Rajan, Sri, Moh, Rahman, Sabaa, Milad, A., Iqbal, Ali, Mohammad, Janet

Through the Moon is a weaving of poetry, words, conversations,  song and music from members of Writing Through Fences – including those who are held hostage in off-shore and on-shore prison camps, and in limbo in Indonesia and in community in Australia.  Here we find resistance and the affirmation of life through creation and relationship.

Poetry and Displacement Panel – Saturday 26th August 2017
2:30pm-3:30pm BEMAC

Members of Writing Through Fences will speak a little of poetry and displacement and then invite questions from the audience.

Please be mindful of your questions. We are here to present and speak about our work. We hope you will respect us and limit your questioning to the relevant topics rather than our private lives.

WRITING THROUGH FENCES VIDEO POEMS/SHORT FILMS
11:30am-12:00pm
Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art – IMA Screening Room, 420 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley

AN INVITATION: We hope you watch and listen deeply – as you would with any encounter with any artist or art work – and, importantly, that you listen with a desire to listen openly, not for what you expect but to allow yourself to be absorbed, slashed, challenged by something other than what you expect.

1. Moz from Manus: Rap with video clip: ‘All the same’ with Artists Against Detention

2. Aziz (check out his collaborative award winning podcast ‘The Messenger’) with Michael Green and Behind The Wire
‘Daily Dreams’written and spoken by Abdul Aziz Muhammat (Manus Island) recorded and produced by Michael Green, Through The Wire.

3.’ Who I am’ written and performed by Hani Abdile recorded and produced by Christopher Miles

4. ‘Writing Through Fences’ for ABC by Jane Curtis

5. 11pm , 11 December 2015, Australia’s black site on Nauru
‘Violence against women is one of the great shames of Australia’
PM Turnbull March 8, 2016 written by Maya (psuedonym) and Janet Galbraith. Production by Hannah Patchett

6. ‘We need you’, written and spoken by Ibtisam Ahmed, art work by Iqbal. Production: Jane Curtis

‘Resisting Silence: Poetry and stories from Australia’s political prisoners’. An Empty Chair Sound installation. Sunday 27th August, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art 
From four years on bunk beds in Manus refugee detention prison camp, the streets and detention camps of Indonesia and Malaysia, the prison camps on Nauru, in Brisbane and Melbourne, men, women and children have storied and mapped some of the most intimate impacts of nation building in Australia, nation building that occurs on their bodies.
1. I am 67 years old
Thank you to Farhad Shah who worked closely with a woman from Burma to write down her story as she requested and send to Writing Through Fences. The woman’s story is voiced by Janet Galbraith.
2. Lina – Friendship.  Thank you to Michael Green and Through The Wire for recording and production.
3. Imran Mohammed – Four years in a bunk bed. Recorded by Imran Mohammed.  Production by Rose Ertler.
4. Amir Taghinia – Multilingual Negotiations. Recorded by Amir Taghinia. Production by Rose Ertler.

 

Some of WTF members have been invited to read from Writing to the Wire Sun 27 Aug 5pm Judith Wright Shopfront, free

Hani Abdile has been invited to read at Voices of Colour Multilingual Slam Sunday 27 Aug Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art

Janet Galbraith will be reading (via distance) at The Day is Here: Poetry + Spoken Word Sat 26 Aug 4-5pm Judith Wright Screening Room, free

If you were not able to pick up a copy of  I Will Rise or Our Beautiful Voices at the event, you can buy on line at the Shop

What we are up to

SYDNEY WRITERS FESTIVAL

Hani Abdille

Kaveh Arya

Amjad Hussain

Eunice Andrada

Writing Through Fences – Sydney Writers’ Festival 2017 @ Sydney Dance 1
Event Date: Thursday 25 May 2017
Starting at 11:30 AM
Place:Sydney Dance 1
Sydney, NSW

‘Go beyond the political rhetoric of detention centres and ‘boat people’ and learn more about the real life adventures of people who now call Australia home. Featuring three performances and a discussion from those who have first-hand experience of seeking asylum in Australia; Hani Abdile, Kaveh Arya, Amjad Hussain and moderator Eunice Andrada, will share powerful stories and poems told with passion and vulnerability’ – Word Travels.

https://www.facebook.com/events/207483293081924/

http://www.liveguide.com.au/Events/1404361/Artists/Writing_Through_Fences_Sydney_Writers_Festival_2017

Hani Abdille (and others) will also be appearing at the Sydney Writers Festival as part of Transforming My Country and They Cannot Take the Sky: Stories From Detention.

Hani Abdile is a writer and spoken word poet who fled the civil war in Somalia. She made her way to Australia by boat and spent 11 months on Christmas Island. While detained, Hani found healing in writing poetry. She is an honorary member of PEN, a lead writer for the Writing Through Fences group, and has received numerous awards for her community work and many achievements since being released from immigration detention. Her first book I Will Rise was published in 2016 to critical acclaim.

Appearing at:
WRITING THROUGH FENCES
TRANSFORMING MY COUNTRY
THEY CANNOT TAKE THE SKY: STORIES FROM DETENTION

https://www.swf.org.au/authors/hani-abdile/

Blog 3 from Imran on Manus

Imran Mohammad won the 2017 Amnesty International blog competition. He is an astonishing young writer who has been imprisoned in Australia’s prison camp in Manus Province PNG for almost 4 years now. You can find his work published in the Age, on the Amnesty website and as part of Writing Through Fences publications. His booklet detailing life in the prison camp is to be launched in the next months. Here we feature Imran’s latest blog. Please read on.

‘My relatives walked over 5,000 kilometers to reach Saudi Arabia’

 

I will rise

I WILL RISE BY HANI ABDILE15094291_1228447800548361_2239501594287121452_n

MELBOURNE LAUNCH : 2pm – 5pm, Sunday January 8, 2017 with Girls on Key OPEN STUDIO 204 High St, Northcote.

From the poet/author Hani Abdile

People often ask me why do I write? What they don’t know is that I wasn’t a writer or a poet until moments of suffering made me a writer.

I was sitting in a place where there was only a fence and hapless humans. My pen and paper were bright flashes that lit up my steps.  I had no hope other than writing poetry and turning what I wrote into reality.

When everything else in your life is dictated by others, writing become enjoyable. It is not forced. It is a weapon against stress and despair.

For me it was a way of healing and relief. At first it was just a personal thing that I didn’t want to share with anyone because i was afraid of people discovering my weakness.  One day when my eyes were bleeding tears and pain was knocking me away, everything I was feeling came out on the table. I posted a poem on Facebook called Freedom for Education and a remarkable human being sent me a message saying ‘are you a poet?’  I didn’t understand the meaning of the word poet so I googled it. I answered no but Janet didn’t give up on me. We started working together. I kept writing.

I joined Writing Through Fences. It was amazing how welcome I felt thereWe all come from different races and religions. I started to rise and build my talent. I was no longer afraid of my weakness because in Writing Through Fences we had something in common.  Everyone was going through hardships of life in different ways and writing the pain was our secret doctor.  Now these people are not only fellow members but family and everlasting friends.

I Will Rise shows my development as a writer. It means a lot to me and the people who are by my side through this journey.

From Miles Merril of Word Travels:

Hani is an incredibly brave writer. This book is a cathartic journey, purging her hardships through the creation of beauty. Hani throughout the pain of her experiences has kept hope and joy alive through her poetry. From Somalia to Christmas Island detention to Sydney, the theme of Hani’s challenging life has been and still is ‘I Will Rise’.  The poems are full of passion, emotion and intellectual depth.  The kind of passion that tears at the reader/listener and forces us to question out won role in keeping prolific artists like this locked away from Australian shores.  The richness of her language and the vividness of her imagery signals the beginnings of a great writer. Keep watching this poet.

From Abdi Aden author of The Shining Boy.

I Will Rise is an amazing collection of poetry and prose that dates back years.  Hani’s work shines.  The stories are full of struggles and warmth of belonging.  Hani is able to reflect the absolute angst of being a refugee. I was able to identify myself in her so stories however also gained insights into the plight of others. Without a doubt Hani is a true talent.

From Dr Karen Zwi : Australian Human Rights Commission Inquiry into the impact of detention on children.

I first met Hani when she was detained on Christmas Island as an “unacompanied minor” as part of Australia’s policy of mandatory, indefinite detention of asylum seekers arriving by boat. I was visiting as part of the Australian Human Rights Commission Inquiry  into the impact of detention on children.  Hani lit up the room with her smile, her aspirations and her wisdom, even though she and her fellow detainees were locked in a grim and hopeless situation.

Through her remarkable gift of connecting deeply with people, we stayed in contact as she remained detained and reached a point of life-threatening despair and as she was released and began to “rise”.  Hani has a “positive soul that gives hope to others”. I have been truly humbled by her strength of character, her intense motivation to learn and explore, her engagement with poetry, photography, hospitality and almost anything else she encounters, and her commitment and kindness to all the people she meets along the way.  She has made her way into my heart like no one else I have ever met and her powerful poetry, the “weapon against [her] stress”, will allow her readers that privilege too.

About Hani Abdile

Hani Abdile is a poet, writer, photographer, student and author/poet of I WILL RISE.  Hani touches everyone she comes in contact with.  Her first collection of poetry and prose has finally been released by Writing Through Fences.  Her work offers many the opportunity to experience some of Hani’s spirit, wonder and strength as well as her commitment to justice and life.  She speaks the sufferings and joys that few are able to. 

Hani says : “My pen and paper were bright flashes that lit up my steps.  I had no hope other than writing poetry and turning what I wrote into reality”.  I WILL RISE reflects Hani’s tenacity, her dedication to writing and her creative approach to all that life has brought.

Hani began writing in 2013 whilst incarcerated in immigration detention on Christmas Island.  Over the three years she has learned to read and write English, has written the collection I Will Rise, has completed 2 years of schooling, become a regular and celebrated spoken word poet in the Sydney scene, has inspired and guided many other writers in similar situations to herself, has spoken publicly and worked on committees to further the rights of children who are seeking asylum in Australia.

Hani is an honorary member of PEN, a lead writer for Writing Through Fences, and has received various awards for her community work and many achievements since being released from immigration detention.

Writing Through Fences are so proud to be associated with her.  Hani is a treasured friend and part of our family.  We all wish you well with this wonderful achievement dear sister.

I Will Rise is published by Writing Through Fences and can be purchased through the website writingthroughfences.org

If you are interested in promoting this book or hosting a launch please contact us at fenceswritingthrough@gmail.com  and cc to galbraithjanet3@gmail.com