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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

I Will Rise – Tasmanian Book Launch

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.

– Miles Merril, Word Travels.

I Will Rise was written between 2013 and 2016. 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”. This she did. I Will Rise reflects Hani’s tenacity and determination, her dedication to writing and her creative approach to all that life has brought.

A huge thank you to Anna Forsyth of Best Light Communications for all her work which went beyond what many would offer.

If you wish to publicise or organise an event in relation to I Will Rise, please contact us at Writing Through Fences fenceswritingthrough@gmail.com and remember to cc. your email to Janet Galbraith at galbraithjanet3@gmail.com to make sure we get it.

TASMANIAN LAUNCH

I WILL RISE by Hani Abdile will be launched in Hobart from 5.30pm on Friday 16th December 2016.

Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square, Hobart, Tasmania.

“Hani Abdile is a Somali asylum seeker who came to Australia by boat when she was only 17 years old. Her poetry speaks of experiences most of us could not bear to live through, yet with a courage and passion that defies her circumstances. Hani is based in Sydney, but we are lucky to have her in Hobart for the launch of her extraordinary new book” – Emily Conolan

For further details:

https://web.facebook.com/events/257999944614562/?active_tab=about

Why not our life?

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(image via angelfire@deviantart.com)

Yesterday I went to play soccer. After we finished we took some rest. The security officer told us: ‘Everyone go back to the compound’. I told him “I am waiting for the moon’. He said, ‘There is the moon, you can see, look up’. I saw the moon it was very big, looked beautiful. I looked and smiled at the moon and I asked the moon, ‘You light over the world so brightly. Why not our life? How long will we live in this darkness?’ The moon smiled at me and said, ‘Wait patiently please! I look around the world then I come to you’.

But still I don’t know how long it will take.

I feel restless.

  • Rahman (Manus Island August 2016)

A long dusty road

Here is the work of a man who was incarcerated on Manus for 2 years.  He returned under pressure to his country of origin only to have to flee again.  We have kept in contact and he remains part of Writing Through Fences.  Here is some of his story.

3.2-The-long-and-dusty-road

image from hemantsoreng.com

Confusing life

I and a dusty road and a cloudy sky.

I and a long dusty road and a dark cloudy sky.

I and a dusty road, nobody knows where is it’s end.

I and a cloudy sky, nobody knows whether it will get rainy or not.

I and a dusty road, nobody knows how long it takes to get to the end of it.

I and a cloudy sky, nobody knows when it will be stormy or what will happen

to me and dusty road.

Maybe we will get green, maybe we will get puddle.

I and a dusty road, nobody knows whether I can get to the end of it or not.

Maybe we will become friends,

maybe we will finally part.

– M.

I am not a poet but these poems sometimes come to my mind and I can write them.  Not really my mind, they come from my heart.

Thinking about my destination… I came from other side of the world and I came through many countries to get to your country and I couldn’t.  They banished me to PNG, to that prison camp – worse than prison camp.  I went back to my country and had to run away again, to cross many countries again.  I climbed mountains, walked so far, was packed like sheep in a container for 12 hours, took taxi’s, walked so far, slept on streets in freezing rain, boats, camps, sleeping on the wet ground, sometimes in tents, much – too much walking, travelled on buses, walked so far, waited for long times stuck on bridges.

Some days we just had 2 pieces of bread.  I lost too much weight.

When I ran away I was not thinking where I would go. I just had to run away. Now. Run. During 3 years, since I first ran away, and then this second time, I crossed more than 15 countries.

Somedays, yes I get depressed because when I think about future, what will happen…  I am not young and I don’t have time for another journey – and I am a little bit tired now!

I know this country can accept me but do they want to or not?  They can, but will they?

Sometimes I think my life has been wasted.  On the other side I say to myself: Hey boy, you are trying to help yourself and many people don’t have the opportunity you have.

I have faced many kinds of people in my life.  Here, I find that people are kind.  They look at you with open face. Maybe they will accept me.  Maybe this big sky will make a storm again and I will have to stay friends with long dusty road.  Nobody knows if I can get to a destination or not.  I don’t know the answer.  I hope that someone will help me solve these problems, that they will accept me and I can stay here in a peaceful place and let go of that dusty road.

– M.

Nature

This writer from Bangladesh has been incarcerated in Manus Island detention prison for 3 years.

Read and share his beautifully heartbreaking words.

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image by scrapper9000

Nature Breaks

Sometimes nature breaks down into a hundred thousand pieces

when she sees our sorrow.

But no-one realises this.

When security gives us trouble we wait patiently and look at the sky,

for nature to gives us inspiration and sympathy for our lives.

Peace is hiding from us.

There is too much distance between peace and where we are.

 

Of Youth

Youth is like summer flowers.

Suddenly it withers away.

 

  • words by Rahman (Manus Island)

What Matters – Feature Story

A message from Eaten Fish and Dismal Manus

eaten fish and dismal manus

 

Forbidden

Where is the freedom and flight?

 

They sign the swallow’s migration as forbidden,

surround the disordered sky with fences,

whip its wings.

Is this his only right?

 

When will the celebration of paper and words be?

 

An unsolved conundrum in a cup of tea!

They cross out the forbidden answer

and burn paper and words simultaneously.

Is this our only right?

 

In this wounded body,

covering its sick soul

they sign ‘forbidden’ on the flower petals,

they burn its stems.

 

Yes, all my rights are the light of a lantern’s flame taken from me.

They sign ‘forbidden’ on my kind moon

They burn stars and night.

 

When will the celebration of paper and words be seen?

  • M. 2015