July 19 2018 Blog Post

19th July 2018 

5 long years 

 

 

Kindness, it’s our duty to keep the remarkable work every kind human has left behind. This is a reminder for all of us to continue watering the garden they have planted long time ago while they had nothing but love and passion for what they believed in. It’s our duty to pick the fruits and feed those who are in need and, simply showing the next generation to step up for others is our obligation to one another.

Hani Abdile 2018

 

 

   

 

19 July: The worst day of my life (2017)  

(art work by a woman, an architect, an artist who has fled persecution and has been incarcerated 5 years by Australia on Nauru.  The work was painted for the 4 year anniversary of the 2013 July 19 policy)

Artist’s statement: 

’19th July. The worst day of my life’

As an architecture graduate, I look at art in geometric forms, with volume, colors and visual elements harmoniously combined. My inspiration comes from my favourite style Cubism and complimented by expressionism, abstract and modern art.

I usually draw portraits with aspects of the person’s life, textured, hidden and incorporated into their personal story. Their dreams, sadness, loves, hope, happiness flow throughout the drawing.

I’ve painted ’19th July’ to show my own story about trying to seek asylum in Australia and instead of finding safety, I am faced with 19th July 2013 policy, of no hope in limbo, told “You will never make Australia home”.

In this painting the only thing which is in realism is ocean. Because everything that I’ve seen during my travelling is based on lies, but the ocean was real and true. The words 19 July tattooed on the top of the canvas same as in my mind.

The fences on both sides of the ocean, shows a woman is stuck behind the bars, watching the ocean. The sun is brightening in her eyes and in front of her lips. The anchor has broken her heart, because she is stopped at a wrong place.

The hands reach for the sun, a symbol of warmth to catch the freedom of getting to Australia, are coming out from the ocean, Instead of catching the sun, those people are drowning in the ocean.

With fire behind the fences, the spiral gets closer to itself, getting more alone and cloistered, until he sets himself on fire.

There are thoughts of making fire in the woman’s mind, but also some brightness of sun that shows that some hopes still remain and stop her from making fire. In front of her face is an angry man who made the 19 July policy. His bruise face and his compressed teeth shows how he hates the woman because she is an asylum seeker.

The 19 July is the worst day of many people’s lives.”

 

No Country for Refugees. Eaten Fish

 

Visit the link below to read the important work of Asif Rahimi detained in one of the Australian funded detention prison camp in Indonesia.

https://overland.org.au/2018/07/first-walk-with-me/  

 

This special poem is about the cruel and heartless politicians in Australia. 
‏The refugees problem is a global issue, and we can see today that many countries are losing their humanity and their moral compassion but in Australia it became political games or, in other words, games of interests – Abdul Aziz Muhammat

5years of injustice.

5years of false imprisonment.

5years of practicing worse part of cruelty and torture.

5years the world is quite .

5years in prison with no green lights put yourself in my shoes.

My heart is breaking

Piece by piece

It’s not just a metaphor

Not anymore

I feel it in my chest

Right in my heart

These pangs of pain, torture and trauma that you imposed on me.

But how can you decide

What’s right for me.

But I’ll give you that space

If you could just look at my face and say to me your a queue jumper or trash bag.

I’m sorry I tried to understand

I went too far

Into those walls built from scars .

I didn’t know that you guys are heartless and cruel .

You sold your humanity just to remain in power. 

I knew human-right is just a word without meaning

Implemented in poor nations but not Australia.

I believe you guys are above the laws in either way, correct me if am wrong.

The tears run down my face because of the pain and suffering that I endured for 5years.

There is no light in this place

Only fences and inhuman people like you. 

Liars, liars and cheaters cheating the good of the world just to remain in power.

I will let it go

If you could just bring those years back to me

And all my dreams that you took away from me.

Not a fabricated distance

That is only another wall

Please look at me and tell me how many innocents people you killed in those detentions or prison camps .

Look at me and tell me why you do this .

Look at me and tell me why you separated kids from their parents

Family tear apart, why?

They’re human beings, just like you,  just like me.

Let’s deal with the refugee crisis with humanity,

with support, with compassion to try to help people who are trying to get to safety,

trying to help people who are stuck in refugee camps, 

and recognise that going to war creates a legacy of bitterness and problems.

Your sincere cruelty and heartless speech that you give every day

it cannot be erased from my mind

but I am a fearless

afraid of nothing and I have got nothing to lose .

  • Abdul Aziz Muhammat 2018

 

Our July Blog

JULY = NAIDOC

image taken from booktopia

 

Already we are in July.  It is NAIDOC week.  A week celebrating First Nations people of Australia. 

It is a time to remind those of us who are not of these First Nations people to always remember the land called Australia is, was and always will be Aboriginal land.   

This year there is a focus on women: ‘Because of her we can’. 

To begin our July blog we are going to focus on the work of a Gunai woman who is a poet, educator, and writer:

Kirli Saunders

 

Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai woman with ties to the Yuin, Gundungurra, Gadigal and Biripi people. Kirli is the Manager of Poetic Learning and Aboriginal Cultural Liaison at Red Room Poetry. She was awarded ‘Worker of the Year 2017’ at the NAIDOC awards in the Illawarra/ Shoalhaven region and has been nominated for a National NAIDOC award in 2018. Kirli founded the Poetry in First Languages project. Her first children’s picture book The Incredible Freedom Machines, illustrated by Matt Ottley has been selected for Bologna Book Fair 2018. Her second picture book Our Dreaming will be released by Scholastic in July 2019, Happy Ever After will follow in February 2020. Kirli’s poem ‘A Dance of Hands’ was Runner-up in the Nakata Brophy Prize. Her poetry manuscript, ‘Mother, Earth Child, Lover’ was Highly Commended in the 2018 Black&Write! prize. Kirli’s poetry has been published by Cordite and is embedded in infrastructure as a permanent installation at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne. In 2018, Kirli will be Writer in Residence at Bundanon Trust, Q Station and The Literature Centre, Fremantle for ‘The Sound of Picture Books’.  https://kirlisaunders.wordpress.com/

And a poem by Kirli Saunders published in Cordite May 2018: http://cordite.org.au/poetry/notheme7/disconnection/

Disconnection

1 May 2018

Little one,
I see you mouth empty spaces,
for a mother’s words to fill
and stretch your ears
for the stories and their voices.

I watch your
trembling limbs
ache to shake
in dance
and hear your lungs
as they gasp with songs unknown.

I feel your
body sans
spirit,
ceremony
and secret

and know that
it has been grown
without roots –
away from the earth that cradled you

and I taste the hunger
you do
to know the parts of yourself,
to feel at home
when your
dreaming has been taken.

  • Kirli Saunders, Cordite, May, 2018

 

Happenings

It has been a time of many happenings.  There has been a lot of sorrow.  There has been some who have found hope in going to the US. One of our long terms members has married. There have been a new publication in the Australian Independent Media Network by Samad Abdul who interviews Obeida on Manus Island, and an article written from detention in Indonesia by Asif Rahimi, Walk with me, then talk about me, which will soon be published in Overland. Mohammad Ali Maleki’s new chapbook “Truth in the cage’ has been released, Juan Garrido Salgado has sent in a poem for Selim, Behrouz Boochani’s ‘No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison’ will be launched in Sydney and Perth in early August and in Melbourne in early September.  MAFA’s exhibition ‘Global Citizenship’ was held in Space@b in Melbourne with wonderful art work by various artists with women strongly represented. 

New Project

Our Women Speak: Writing Through Fences project, an anthology of writing and art work by women associated with Writing Through Fences is almost ready for printing and we are asking for help with funds for this. 

https://www.gofundme.com/women-write-writing-through-fences?member=352578

 

WE DON’T FEEL FOR ONE MINUTE WE ARE FREE 

Samad is a writer from Pakistan and an administrator of Writing Through Fences.  Obeida is an auto-mechanic from Syria.  Samad speaks with Obeida about life in Australia’s immigration prison camps on Manus Island as the only remaining Syrian.

This interview was conducted in April 2018 in the East Lorengau Prison Camp on Manus Island.

Samad: Thank you so much Obeida for your time and to be here. I saw your interview which you gave to Janet in 2015 (see link to this interview).  I saw that and I read it and it is very painful and I am very sorry for that so my best wishes will be with you.

Living in the new prison camps:

Obeida my friend, first of all I would like to ask you how are you feeling and how is the new accommodation?

Obeida:  Here no-one gives me help because I’m alone here.  Even I asked for help from the security or from anyone here but they didn’t help.  First they put me with someone with mental problem.  That person tried to set fire to the room when I was asleep.  You know, after that I leave the room and no-one give me help.  This is what I feel:  I feel alone here.

Samad:  So you dont have any room here?

Obeida:  For now I have a room but not forever.        

Samad:  Ah it is just temporary room.

Obeida:  Yes it is just for now.

Being Syrian in Manus:

Samad:  So you said you are the only Syrian here and as you are only one person here you dont have any appearance from your community here.  How do you feel to be alone like this?

Obeida:  When you feel alone you cannot do anything.  You be with yourself just thinking.  Thinking about your family and what they do in Syria.  My family’s still in Syria. Always there. Thinking. Just thinking.

Last 24 days on Lombrum:

Samad:  So I will ask about the 24 days when Australia left us without food, without water, without support and they just left us alone in Lombrum.  It was horrible days. It was really horrible days and we are still suffering that pain.  Can you describe how do you feel about that, and how did you survive that, and do you have suffering that comes from that?

Obeida:  You know the Australian government  they tried to kill us at that time but they put PNG as the face – little man do whatever they want.   PNG they tried to kill us but in the end the media went out. We remained strong at that time and we showed all the world all the pain that Australia does to us.  I was feeling not safe because we don’t have parents, we don’t have food, we don’t have water.  We tried to contain the rain water and we drink it.  Very hard days.

Samad:  Yeah, it was very hard days.

Obeida:  Yeah.  We don’t have this stuff.  Maybe the animals will eat us at that time.  Really.  They did try to kill us.

Australia and the situation for people in and from Syria:

Samad:  I want to ask you about, you know … the world knows that Syria is now a war zone and a couple of countries are accepting refugees from Syria, including Australia.  I saw in the news that 12,000 people will be accepted by Australian government, whether they are really accepted or not I dont know!

Obeida:  Yeah, I never believe the Australian government.  I never believe what I hear from Australia.  Never believe they have one person who help humanity. 

When Australia says they will take 12,000 Syrian families, please think about the off-shore people because you have Syrians there.  You have one person in Manus and two families in Nauru. It is only a few people who come and ask, ‘We need your help. We need safety’.  You will torture the Syrian people and in the media you say you will help 12,000 people or 10,000 families.

Samad:  Yes, it is really unjust.  They are taking people from Syria but Syrian people are here in offshore and they are not accepting them so this is unfair.  Im so sorry for that.

So you still have contact with your family in Syria?

Obeida:  I have contact with my family but you know, with the situation it is very hard.   But yeah, sometimes I contact with my family.  But just family.  My friends, I lost them.  I don’t know where my friends are now.

Samad:  You dont know about your friends?

Obeida: Some of them is dead, and some of them in prison and some of them … I don’t know. 

Samad:  So where is your family now?  Are they in Syria or somewhere else?

Obeida:  Still in Syria.

Samad:  Are they safe now?

Obeida:  I can’t say yes and I can’t say no.

Samad:  We heard about USA throw some kind of weapons, chemical weapons – we dont know.  Did it affect your friends or family.

Obeida: Yeah.   No it is a little bit away from my family.

About love:

Samad: Obeida I have another question.  Do you love someone or something the most in your life?

Obeida: I love freedom. But I don’t think we get freedom. This is not freedom [to live] somewhere else in PNG.  It is not freedom to settle in danger. We will not have freedom in Australia or somewhere else.

I loved one girl in Syria so she talked about marrying me and we got engaged.

Samad:   So was it love engaged or someone organised for you?

Obeida:  No.  It was love engaged.

Samad:  So you guys met in Syria?  And then you came here and you got engaged 2014?

Obeida:  Yes, because we were not thinking we live in here long time – like now for 5 years.  We don’t know when we will be free.

Samad.  So that is the reason she break up with you? 

Obeida: Yeah.

Samad:  When you broke up with her how was your feelings?   Of course you were in Lombrum then, so how was your feeling?

Obeida: It is hard to explain this feeling.

Samad:  Yes, especially when you were in Lombrum, a terrible place.

Obeida:  Yeah, and you love someone and you cannot see them or touch them for long long time.  And after that you lost them.

Samad:  So how can you describe the pain?

Obeida:  You know that time … I think by then its better for me [to break up] you know, at that time.  Yeah… but after these long years I try to forget.

Samad:  You suffer too much my friend. I am sorry for this.

Music:

Samad:  Do you like any music. What kind of music?

Obeida: Yes I like to listen to English music sometime.  Sometime Arabic. I love to hear the English music more than Arabic.  You know sometimes in the night you like to listen to sad music because of this situation you know.  When you are happy, you will listen to romantic music or something happy.

Samad:  Yes, I can say music is our only friend that we have got here that can give us a little bit of happiness and strength.

On Friends:

Samad: One more thing I wanted to ask you about Tiger [Tiger was a young stray dog that Obeida adopted].  He was our friend. Especially for you.

Obeida:  Yes, he was my best friend.

Samad:  Yes, he was your best friend. I see in photos you are with him and he with you every time.  Yes, rest in peace our friend, Tiger.   How do you feel about losing this friend?

Obeida:  When I lose him, when I lost my friend I put my heart with him, in the ground with him.  I don’t feel myself here.  Because when I walk, always Tiger was with me. When I go somewhere, Tiger was with me. Really he’s my best friend.  I lost something from my heart.  You know I think half of my heart is gone.

Samad: Tiger was such a relation.  He was like our friend. The whole compound friend. 

Obeida: Yes he was everyones.

Samad:  Especially he was close with you.  So, you dont feel safe when you go out now.

Obeida:  Yeah, because before you had a friend walking with you.  Like Tiger was my friend. A  friend makes you strong when you are walking with them.  Now I never feel safe.

Samad:  I am sorry it is terrible news.  I hope you find and adopt another dog or something.

Obeida: Especially in this country because you don’t feel safe from the security.  You will never feel safe because the security will … attack us, take you to prison or try to kill us, already kill four or five friends, you know.

Chauka prison:

Samad:  I heard you had been taken to Chauka – in 2015 I think.

Obeida:  Yes, I go to Chauka prison and also the Lorengau prison.

Samad:  How many days you were in Chauka?

Obeida:  Maybe for 3 days.  One time 24 hours.

Samad: What was the reason they take you to Chauka?

Obeida:  You know one time they take me to Chauka because I have – you remember we have one sick man was Syria?  He had long time been sick and he had a broken nose from Syria.  He was very very sick and I tried to help him. Security were beating him.  I just tried to protect his body and security arrest me and take me to Chauka.

Samad:  Where is he now?

Obeida:  He’s back to Syria.

Samad: Hes been deported or ..?

Obeida: No, no, he’s gone back because he’s so sick and Australia they didn’t help him…

Samad:  So hes gone back. How is he?

Obeida:  You know his father is dead from the war. In his city it is so bad. Very very dangerous.

Samad:  So you were trying to protect him when the security were beating him.

Obeida: Yes, so they take me to Chauka

Samad: So can you try to explain the Chauka, what kind of place was that like?

Obeida:   So, Chauka is like a [shipping] container and there you don’t have water, you don’t have food.

Samad:  So do they give you toilet, no water, no bathroom?

Obeida:  No, they have a bathroom but, you know,  like even if you have a dog they will never use this bathroom, you know.

Samad:  Yeah, I saw some pictures. That toilets terrible.

Obeida:  Yes, they give you hot water. You can drink only one bottle of water in a day.

Samad:  Only one bottle on a hot day!

Obeida:  Hot day under the sun.   Inside the container, under the sun, oh, you know if you sleep its like you swim in the water because of the sweat, you know.  They give you only little little food.  Not allowed to have fan or air con.

Samad: When you were in Chauka did security guys beat you or give you some problem?

Obeida:  No just talking too bad, you know.

Samad:  So they give you some pain with their words.

Obeida: Yes, by words.  They never beat me but when they are talking bad with you it is like they beat you, you know.  If they beat you it is better than talking with you badly.  You cannot do anything, you are a prisoner.

Samad:  Playing with feelings and trying to give you negative words to make you upset, to make you sad?

Obeida:  Yeah.

Hopes and motivations:

Samad:  What is your hope and motivation that keeps you up and strong?

Obeida:  My family and doing something for them.

Samad:  So its a really good thing because your family keep you up and you are strong and still thinking what you can do.  So I really hope you can do something for your family and that you can be with them in a safe country.  I pray for you.

Samad: What is your dreams or goals when you are released and get to a safe country?  What will be your dreams?

Obeida:  I want to help people.  To help the people who other people torture them, try to help them, the poor people.  This is my dream.

Samad:   It was really nice talking to you Obieda. So what will be the three things you want to do for the world it you could?

Obeida:  The first thing I try to bring peace for Syria. I hope the refugees will not be suffering in the compound and in the centre. I love to see the refugees free.  To see country like Australia help the refugees not torturing the refugees, not put them in prison, but help them.  It’s not a compound. We are in a prison.  We don’t feel for one minute we are free.  To see the refugees are ok, have a good life. One thing else, I hope that all the world love each other, you know, thinking only about love, not thinking about religion, or the colour, you are black or white.

Samad:  No racism, yeah.

Obeida:  You know this is how they brought us, this is how they bring us here, only thinking about religion.  I hope all the people thinking only for love.  Nothing about the religion or colour.

Samad:   So you want to do three things for the world.  To build peace in Syria, stop the persecution of refugees, like you want to end all the detention centres, people who suffer in detention and the third will be love. You want to make love, no racism, nothing like that, no torture in the name of religion.  Thats really inspiring.  Thank you very much for being with me today and it was really inspiring to be with you again.  I am pleased that you are with me and yes we know the situation and how it is. It is a terrible situation. 

I think we have finished now what was in our mind and what was in my mind and I can say you are very positive person and a gentleman and I hope this detention will end soon. We are still hopeful for that because we have to. We have to be positive every time so again thank you very much Obieda. It was very nice.

Obeida: Thank you.

… END …

Samad Abdul and Obeida published in https://theaimn.com/we-dont-feel-for-one-minute-we-are-free/

Mohammad Ali Maleki’s chapbook Truth in the Cage, has been released.  Congratulations.

Truth in the Cage

A Poem for Selim 

¿Cómo se deletrea la muerte en este lugar llamado Manus Island?
for Salim Kyawning, killed by Australia’s cruel offshore detention policies
1
Si muero hoy en este momento
¿Quién traerá un poema encendido como una vela?
¿Quién traerá un clavel rojo como fue mi corazón?
Y los podrá en la ventana de tus ojos sin lágrimas
No como un signo de dolor
Sino como tributo del silencio e indignación…
Así dirán otro los que pasen por tu lado:

Otro refugiado ha muerto hoy en este país de la vergüenza

Juan Garrido-Salgado ©

24th May 2016

How do you spell death in this place called Manus Island?
for Salim Kyawning, killed by Australia’s cruel offshore detention policies
1
If I die today at this moment
Who will bring a poem lit like a candle?
Who will bring a red carnation like my heart was?
And they can in the window of your own eyes without tears
Not as a sign of pain
But as a tribute of silence and indignation…
This is what others who pass by your side will say:

Another refugee has died today in this country of shame
Juan Garrido-Salgado ©

 

 

June Blog 2018

photos, remembering, mourning, art work, exhibitions, book launches, poetry:

Sunrise / Sunset

(Manus Island June 2018)

photographer Samad Abdul

                           

 

Until when we will say RIP and forget it.

Until when we’ll condemn and forget it.

Until when we’ll express ourselves in words with sadness and forget it.

Until when?

Until when?

Until when?

Is there any one to get us out before it’s too late.

#ANOTHER_BLACK_DAY

#MANUS

#NAURU

– Samad Abdul

image from RRAN action. Photographer Michelle Bui

 

From MD Imran (facebook post June 9 2018)

We lost Salim because of the lack of proper treatment and negligence by the Australian government. His death, and many others who died on Manus, was preventable. Every single person on Manus as a worker or detainee was aware of Salim’s serious health issues. I wish the Australian government had allowed him a sudden death instead of the agonisingly slow death he experienced. It is the 21st century and Australia is actually wasting its’ taxpayers money like water to make human beings suffer to such an extent. Documentation has been made and history will record the Australian government’s actions, what they made him endure and which eventually caused his death.

In the meantime, I would like to express my deep gratitude to all my brothers on Manus Island and every single Australian who showed their solidarity, expressed their condolences and stood up against this inhumane action. Although Salim is not among us anymore, he is still remembered and alive through many hearts. This is the human spirit and I thank everyone again for keeping this power alive.

REMEMBERING FARIBOURZ

and sending our love and sorryness to his family and friends

            Mothers Cry Blood by S. Ghasemi 2014

I didn’t know Fariborz, yet every part of my body knows the system which has taken his precious life. The system the Australian government has designed for refugees and asylum seekers, has a kind of evil and devastating effect. It can ruin the very inner strength of human spirit. To the outsider, Fariborz took his own life, but the truth is the system took his life. There is no alternative explanation, and we must hold the Australian government accountable for this action.

The silence of his unimaginable suffering must have reached saturation point. It feels like it is Australia’s ultimate goal to put every vulnerable refugee and asylum seeker into an inescapable corner. If the intensity of his suffering wasn’t extreme, he would not have had the strength to say goodbye to his own life last Friday morning.

We have now lost seven lives from the hell of Manus and five from Nauru. All were full of life. I don’t know how many more lives they want in the name of this policy.

Even though I am now safely in America, the experiences I suffered on Manus are always on my mind and bind me to Australia. I will use every opportunity to record the barbaric acts towards fragile refugees and asylum seekers.

  • MD Imran (20 June 2018)

ART EXHIBITIONS

 

BEAUTIFULLY SUFFERED

is an exhibition of art work by photographer ‘Kaaveh Maleknia’.

‘An artist/photographer from Iran has been suffering island imprisonment in Manus since 2013.

“Recording the moment is a photographer’s job. Here in Manus, we need some beautiful, transient distractions to help us tolerate continuous tortures…Those pictures are beautiful landscapes for you, but for me, they are just different corners of my prison.”

“Kaaveh Maleknia” hasn’t lost his skills but something has changed in him forever.  Visit his first photo exhibition of Manus Island’s beautiful landscapes and hear him speak about his work, while he is locked up’.

Exhibition Opening: Wednesday 20 June 7pm @ City Arts Space, Northbridge Piazza, James Street, WA.

Contact: infor@rran.org

You can buy Kaaveh’s work at https://society6.com/maleknia

NASIR MORADI’s exhibition

See My Humanity

 

See My Humanity is an exhibition of paintings by Nasir Moradi.  Opened by Tom Ballard and Abe Nouk 2pm 16th June 2018.

It is a free event shown in the Contain Art Gallery, Pearces Park, Barkly Street, Ballarat, Victoria.

Nasir says: ‘I hope you can go there and enjoy the art and the performances and I need your support and your encouragment. Everyone welcome. Thank you.’

 

From the MAFA artists:

GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP

‘Join us for our opening night and exhibition held as part of Refugee Week with Melbourne Artists for Asylum Seekers (MAFA) 

The exhibition is based on the idea that a person’s identity transcends geographical and political borders and comes from the membership of a broader class called ‘humanity’.

Everyone has rights and responsibilities as part of being a civic member of the world, beyond the citizenship to a specific nation. 

There will be an engaging talk with drinks and nibbles on the night.

Everyone is welcome so please invite family and friends to come along.

ARTISTS:
Leila Ashtiani
Maryam Sepasi
Sepideh Karimi
Zohreh Izadikia IG: @zohreh_kia
Azizeh Astaneh
Tadros Hanna FB: www.facebook.com/tadroshanna.art

The exhibition is open at Space2b Artspace from Tue 5 June to Fri 30 June so please drop in to view the exhibit during our open times. 
Tue-Fri 10am-5pm
Sat 10am-2pm 

http://artistsforasylumseekers.org/
http://space2b.com.au

 

THE SAME MOON

This year’s theme, #WithRefugees, is explored in works by artists who are refugees: j.luan, Farhad Bandesh, S. Nagaveerab (Ravi) and local artists; Robert Cowan, Keedah Throssell, Indira Carmichael and Alexae Franka. With’Through the Moon’,  a Writing Through Fences video, and story-telling by Evita.

Bateman’s Bay Library

Thursday 21st June 5pm-6:30pm

 

POETRY

 

We will be free…

Our stolen time and freedom will be given to us again.
Our exhausted minds and hearts will be restored.

We will start re-building our shattered lives in freedom.

We will re-start living in the heart of beautiful, calm and clean nature without being surrounded with black, despicable high fences and closed metallic doors and sharp- barbed wires.

My heartfelt clear message to the rest of my brothers still detained in the corner of dark detention centres in Indonesia and across the world.

We will start flying in blue skies like free birds………. I promise,

We will outlive again.

  • Erfan Dana (Balikpapan Detention, Indonesia)

 

 

ART WORK

 

by Mastaneh, Nauru, 2018

 

BOOK LAUNCHES

Hunter Asylum Advocacy held a launch of ‘The Strong Sunflower – an Illustrated Poem’ by Mohammad Ali Maleki in Newcastle, speaking with Mohammad and Mansour Shoshtari.  They also performed a recital of ‘Freedom,Only Freedom’ – from the freepoetry project a collaboration between Voices from the Human Dumping Grounds and Writing Through Fences.  You can find the pack for this recital on our website under freepoetry.

  The SAGA bookshop will also launch The Strong Sunflower in WA , 22nd June at 6:30pm, 2018, 203 South Terrace, Fremantle. #RRAN

 

 

remember

 

words by Ghulam

design Marziya Mohammadali

#freepoetry

you can download the Free Poetry pack at 

Freedom, Only Freedom: download poetry performance pack

 

Of Life – May 2018

Welcome to the Writing Through Fences blog for May.

 

May has been a a very hard time for so many of us at Writing Through Fences. 

However, many have kept creating and there has been some happy news.

 

Congratulations on your marriage Boush

 

 

“Life”

You are so beautiful, amazing
You are the great lover, full of happiness 
People have fallen in love with you.

Do I deserve to fall in love with you?
Do I deserve to get happiness from you?
Do I deserve to feel you?

It’s been ages, I feel like you have abandoned me. 
you have taken my love, happiness and emotions. 
My eyes are full of tears, begging you to come back. 
My broken heart is begging you to come back. 
My scared soul is begging you to come back.

Despite lots of pain, my lips still get a smile when I remind beautiful memories. 
Despite lots of tears, my eyes are still looking at those lovely days. 
Despite lots of suffering, my heart still wants you to come back.

Life is like smoke around me, my dreams are disappeared in smoke. 
I can’t find a way to achieve my dreams. 
Can’t see my destination. 
It’s like I have been thrown in the desert where it is impossible to find water.

Freedom is my water.

How lovely those days and nights were when I was talking to my dreams

I lost that happiness

There isn’t any hope, there isn’t any support 
Don’t know when it will be end 
Going and going forward to chase my dreams 
I am punished.

Life is rude to me, no reason to live. 
A disgusting flood has come into my life
not letting me to chase down my dreams. 
I quietly keep crying and crying during the nights
My pillow is my only support to absorb my tears.

My heart wants to say something:

Give me some Sunshine. 
Give me some rain. 
Give me another chance,
I want to grow up once again.

  • Samad Abdul

 

                    

photos  by Samad Abdul

Turned away

I was surrounded by water, where waves are trained to swallow human beings and fish are trained to feed upon our dead bodies.  I was surrounded by the darkness of night,  where cloud covers the sky and even the gleaming of stars is nothing in the absence of the moon. I was surrounded, in a quiet world where eyes can see nothing and ears can hear nothing, but the smell of dead bodies blows from east to west. I spent the whole night struggling with big mountains of waves one after another, swearing to catch that dream, as many did – the ocean a nation of people. I woke in the morning and found myself still among huge hills of waves.  The biggest wave swallowed that boat nation and the smallest one threatened my path. I screamed out for help and imagined what those border protectors were doing when big waves swallowed those people.  I screamed out and waved up their flag on the sky, but they were still pretending they have no eyes.  I screamed out again and waved the others flag.  They hastily came and turned me away from my destination.

  • Boush 2018

 

Take a look at the work of Elyas Alavi.

http://aceopen.art/exhibitions/daydreamer-wolf/

 

…and don’t forget to order your copy of Mohammad Ali Maleki’s

‘The Strong Sunflower’, a beautiful book of art and poetry.

The Strong Sunflower

Blog 3: Strength of Women

Welcome to our March 2018 blog (yes we have got it up a bit late!).

STRENGTH OF WOMEN

 

mothers cry blood by S. Ghasemi, Nauru

 

Here we are focusing on the work of two women, artist Miream Salameh and poet Hani Abdile.  You will find short videos of Miream and Hani’s work, links to their websites, an interview with accompanying art work by Mieram and a written piece by Hani.

Miream Salameh

The following is taken from Miream Salameh’s website: http://mireamssl.wixsite.com/mireamsalameh

Born in Homs, Syria

Lives in Melbourne, Australia since 2013

She is a Syrian Sculptor and Painter, She bears between the folds of her soul love to a homeland of deep-rooted civilisation ….to a homeland called the country of Jasmine… She was forced to leave it with just the words (I don’t want to leave my mother’s womb… and I don’t want to die in it).

This attitude can be felt through all her artworks, which embodies women’s freedom and the suffering of people being crucified for loving life and liberty.

Clay…wood…stone … and fingers made of music in labor sculpting the mirror of her depth.

 

 ‘It’s illegal to decide someone’s freedom—to put these people there with no charge, no reason, keeping them for years. It’s destroying lives’. 

(Miream Salameh in https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/a3w5m8/people-are-dying-every-single-day-the-refugee-painting-syrias-pain)

Hani Abdile

Hani Abdile is a writer, spoken word poet and budding photographer from Somalia. She made her way to Australia by boat and was detained on Christmas Island. While detained, Hani found healing in writing poetry. She is an honorary member of PEN, co-facilitator of Writing Through Fences. Hani has received numerous awards for her community work and writing. Her first book ‘I Will Rise’ was published by Writing Through Fences in 2016 to critical acclaim.  You can purchase it from our shop on this website.

Visit Hani’s website here :  https://abdilehani.wordpress.com/

Brush off the dust

Do we often forget to love ourselves and care for ourselves? Or is it that we get dispirited when other people say we can’t do something?

For the past few years I have become a poetry addict and I have realized that I find love and joy within myself.  Even though most of the time I wrote to give a voice to people that struggle on a daily basis, I also wrote for my soul because my soul seeks unity and an acceptance of love within my body.

As a young woman, I had my own challenges; I know your story might have the same start but definitely a different ending. There were times I thought my new home, a home that is safe, would never come. On this journey I often try to understand why women, despite what part of the world we are born, find putting ourselves first hard to do and we bear the demeaning responsibilities. My eyes have seen so many abuses swept under the rug. This mixture of feelings results in a culture of threat, as these feelings get stronger they turn into anxiety, and we see ourselves as worthless because the past is haunting us.

But whenever that happens, you have to take a second and say: ‘My past is a page of my history. The present is what I need to deal with and the future is yet to come’.  As Maya Angelou said, “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”. We all have that untold story that we conceal, we all have that untold story that takes us onto a dusty road, we all have that untold story that blurs our vision, and we all have that untold story with wounds that are yet to heal. But at the end of the day we just have to wake up and brush off the dust.

Personally, life has been bitter sweet for me. When these days of dizziness and confusion arrive I try to step out of it, be myself and keep writing because the more I write poetry and tell my story and the story of my sisters, I feel relief.  Take note and just tell yourself you are the foundation of power and only the sky is the limit.

As females in general, we sometimes forget to love ourselves, to cherish ourselves, to empower each other and say to ourselves “If Ellen DeGeneres can rise up from all the bullying then we can do it, If Oprah Winfrey didn’t listen to her haters and doubters then we also can do it, if Maya Angelou didn’t stop shooting out her words, we can too”.

I often feel I find a voice and love for myself within poetry. Other powerful female poets around me might agree. I am not saying it’s only poetry that brings love and happiness but anything you do, for work or a hobby, can bring that little sparkle of love towards you.

This is a poem that I thought would inspire the young women of the next generation:

Dear Self,
I know sometimes life sucks
It makes you down
But remember it’s a test of your patience
You must know life is a session of lessons,
Which must be lived in to be understood.

Dear self
Please, please, please
Don’t forget your inner quality
You’re kind and hilarious
You are beautiful and unique
You are the best creation of God
You’re worthy and made of self-motivation
You’re the beginning of love and affection
You’re precious and a diamond of two parents.

Dear self
You’re an example of many amazing people
You have been a positive soul that gives hope to others
And when you feel pain you’re allowed to cry loud
You can’t be the person of the light all the time
Even though I know you’re soft and smooth like the clouds
I want to take you out in the rain
So you can wash out all your failures
Because every success comes after you fail and pain.

Dear self
Think of it this way,
You now have a chance to be better everyday
You now have a chance to understand more about you
About people around you and the whole world
So be wise and highlight your mistakes
And those who pretty much take themselves too high.
Reject them and be true to yourself.

Dear self
I want be by your side through the excitement and desperation of life
I want to offer you a love as a fundamental act of self compassion
I want to offer you a lamp that will Light up your future.

Dear self
You’re not that bad at all.
You’re actually really good.
And I’m sorry if I ever made you look bad and weak.

Dear self
Look at your reflection in the mirror
Notice all the mistakes,
Smile and say,
This too shall pass.
After all you will remember you’re my only darling self
And I will be always here for you.

  • Hani Abdile March 2018

Blog 2: Remembering Reza Barati 2018


(Free Poetry at CASPA Castlemaine)

In this our second blog post for 2018 we remember Reza Barati’s life.  And we remember his murder 4 years ago in the Manus Prison.

Boush writes of his five years in Indonesia, Kazem sends a poem of love and loss from Manus, longing for home is powerfully written by Maria in ‘A message from sweet home (Somalia) to a sweet girl’, Samad’s latest publication in the AIMN speaks from the final days in the Lombrum prison and Ali Ataei writes a farewell tribute to others on Nauru.

And we are pleased to support the new blog by writers in Indonesia https://refugeenewsindonesia.com/  Please follow this and share.

 

REMEMBERING REZA BARATI

Your Songs

You just leave, you are gone
When the dark day will finish
When the sun’s rising again
When the mouths open to breath
We will sings your songs
You just leave, you are gone.

– Nazeer.

 

 

Our Mothers, a poem for Reza

My mother, Reza’s mother and Fazel’s mother are crying together
I heard the Seymareh river crying with them.
Beneath Fazel’s village is Sirwan, one of the most ancient and significant cities int he world.
The city of Sirwan.
Mothers cry upon the oldest city, cry for Reza and Fazel.
I heard all the beautiful mountains in Kurdistan are crying. All of Sirwan is crying. Mountain, rivers, wild flowers … all crying.
All of Sirwan is crying, all separated from their mothers.
I hear the most ancient of chants, I hear the mothers chanting in the city of Ilam, in the city of Sirwan, all throughout Kurdistan.
I hear their cries from inside Manus prison. hear the most ancient of songs, chanted by mothers. This form of chant is called Mour.
Mour is the oldest of songs, a song the Kurdish mothers chant for their boys and warriors who lose their lives fighting against enemies that attack the land of Kurdistan. It is a song for brave sons.

Fazel and Reza were brave sons. They fought for their lives.
When I was in Kurdistan, I climbed up the highest mountain on many occasions. The oldest chestnut oak trees reside up there. I hear the chestnut oaks crying too. My heart is extremely heavy, as I heard the deepest and most sorrowful Mour chanted by my mother today.
I have never heard a Mour like this, a choir of Mours, Reza’s, Fazel’s and my mother chanting.
This is Kurdish culture. We are born by song, live by song, fight by song, and die by song.
I feel the deepest sorrow because of Fazel’s death, because of and Reza’s death.
He deserves the deepest Mour to be sung for him.
My heart is heavy because I am crying and listening to a Mour sung for my best friend, sung in a prison on the remotest island in the world.
I never thought I would hear Mour sung for the bravest of Kurdish sons out on a remote island, out in the middle of a massive, silent ocean.
I always think about the Mour my mother will chant for me when I die.
I thought that song would be sung for me in beautiful Kurdistan.
I am sure Reza and Fazel had this thought just like me, but their lives were taken in a remote place, not in Kurdistan.
They lost their lives because of injustice.
They lost their lives in a foreign land.
Who was there when their lives were taken?
My mother, Reza’s mother, and Fazel’s mother,
all together, all mourning, all chanting, the deepest Mour.

  • Behrouz Boochani, published in the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/17/four-years-after-reza-baratis-death-we-still-have-no-justice

Five Years of My Life

Five years of my life, trying to get my hands free of chains.

Everyday wake in the morning willing this day has come with action,

but no reaction.

Five years wake up in the morning, the news fabricated and lies.

Receiving yesterday’s news today.

Five years of my life in detention means fifty years for my mother.

Thinking: if your mother has the same heart as mine does..?

(Have you ever realised how your mother felt when she could not see you for five days?)

Stop the secret killing!

You already killed me and killed thousands with me.

You have broken my mother’s heart with thousands of mother’s hearts.

If tears can be a water, our mothers’ tears could make oceans.

And if hatred can do something, I have too much from seeing your uniform in front of my cell everyday.

I came with a great big hill of hope but today my ambition is just to breathe free as you do. 

I’m not fearing death but let me see that smile on my mother. 

And let your mother get that smile too.

  • Boush, Surabaya, Indonesia, 19.02.2018

 

(panoramio.com)

A message from sweet home (Somalia) to an unknown sweet girl.

Hello child.

I am just wondering where you live now?

You disappeared without saying goodbye.

You used to tell me I was the only place you had on the earth.

Where is that patriotic, brave girl who used to say:

‘I will protect my homeland from anything bad”?

What has happened to her?

Where did she go?

OH SWEET GIRL

You were born inside of me.

Why did you leave me like this?

Have you forgotten my warm nights and bright breezy days?

Have you forgotten lying on my sand with a big beautiful smile on your face

Oh my dear… unforgettable moments!

You were fearless, a strong and beautiful child

playing around with self confidence.

Sweet girl we call to you.

Home is the only place you will be loved and respected.

COME HOME GIRL,

COME HOME,

COME HOME,

COME HOME!

  • Maria 2015

 

(image pixabay.com)

 

Unreal Sin

Cold feeling of unreal sin

Is suffering me. I cannot talk

‘Cause this’ not a logical world

You have given me an unreal sin.

 

You set me on the fire of your anger-

It’s probably better that its fallen apart.

I want to talk although the love’s gone

I want to talk despite the ruin done.

 

The twilight space between us

Is giving me a stifling feeling

My pulse is getting weak, you know?

You judged me ’cause of no sin.

 

I don’t deserve to bear the pain

No darling, no, not accused of betrayal

I don’t deserve to bear the pain

The moment’s gone ’cause of you.

 

I know the love is beyond help

Darling?  Your verdict is irresistible.

I want to talk although the love’s gone

I want to talk despite the ruin done.

 

  • Kazem February 2018

 

(image by Boush)

 

My Best Friend

That’s such a moment of blessing when you are with your best friend but that’s such a horrible moment when friends get separated forever.

Being detained without any guilt in Manus prison camp where each day is equal to a month, every month is equal to a year and each year is equal to a century but we are still trying to get our rights and justice.

I was brought here by force. At that time I needed some one to talk with, to share my pain, to laugh, but it was impossible to find a friend in a place where everything is against the system, where everything is against the law, where giving torture and stress to us was the job of those who conceived this prison and work here.

The beginning of detention will remain one of the toughest and most painful times forever and I’ll not be able to forget such cruelty.

I was expecting such a great humanity and kindness in all white people as I was inspired from white people by the media. But not all white people are kind, some are worst.

When I stepped in to Christmas Island I was so happy and I was looking at the sky and telling myself, I’m a free person now and I will find my happiness in this land and no one will stop me from fulfilling my dreams.

I was thrown in a hole, my dreams were taken. I was abused, disrespected and tortured but according to the system they were doing a great job.

In that tough situation where I was separated from my happiness and my dreams finally I found a best friend in my diary. My diary was my only friend with who I could share my pain.

I was always writing my pain, suffering and struggle and it gave to me some lovely time as I kept myself busy in a place where there wasn’t any activity to do.

After dinner, coming to my bed and writing about my feelings and pain, my good experiences and bad experiences was one of the greatest times and it always made me so positive, motivated me. I dreamed I would read my diary every night once I had succeeded in my dreams but this too, another dream, was destroyed.

The day when we were attacked and removed by force to another prison camp, they entered my room and abused me both physically and verbally and destroyed my everything.

My diary, my books, my clothes have been destroyed. I couldn’t protect my diary.

The moment is such a painful moment. It is the worst moment when everything is going wrong but you are not able protect or fight back for your rights.

I cried and begged them please not to destroy my diary but their only response was to abuse us as they were trained by the people who are having fun in Australian parliament house and are very happy to torture innocent lives.

https://theaimn.com/?s=samad+abdul+

To all my dear friends in Nauru ❤

I would like to thank each and everyone I know or met in Nauru, for letting me in their life and made me a part of it. There is no word to describe how beautiful, amazing, astonishing, marvellous and strong people you are and how lucky I am to know you all.

Regardless of what was going on in that period of time, I was always surrounded with your love and support. Undoubtedly, I couldn’t make it through, if I didn’t have you guys on my side and your beautiful souls to inspire me everyday.

You guys taught me resilience, courage and endeavour, which I would be grateful for the rest of my life.

We have made countless unforgettable memories in this island which make us to feel much closer than ever.

I am very blessed and proud that I have met you all and I can’t wait to see you all in USA.

Much love and respect

‘’The darkest hour is just before the dawn. ‘’ Thomas Fuller

Ali Ataei

+++

Refugee Radio at 3CR features the work of people who have been forced to flee their homelands.

http://www.3cr.org.au/refugeeradioshow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moz

Moz is a musician who plays guitar, sings and raps. He is from Kurdistan and is currently incarcerated in Australia’s Immigration Prison on Manus Island.

Hello everyone.

It’s Moz from Manus Island detention center.

The reason that I’ve created this song is to bring attention to our plight. We have been left in a political limbo for four years now. The conditions are hellish and how they treat us is deplorable. I hope that people who are listening to my song will understand our desperation, frustration, and fear.

Here is the song

Here you can read more and download the song ‘Our Humanity’, video footage was shot by Farhad Bandesh.

 

‘Our Humanity’ was shown at Queensland Poetry Festival 2017 as part of the Writing Through Fences collaboration.

Hani Abdile

 

refugees_hannie_2

(image still Rodney Decker)

Hani Abdile is a poet who performs around Sydney and is the Sydney faciliatator of Writing Through Fences.  Her book I Will Rise is available through our SHOP here.

Hani was detained in Christmas Island for 19 months and is now in community.

I am

I used to think I am alone

and hold myself back.

Scared to express my feelings

and make my life a mess,

I sat silently

and agreed with my thoughts.

I forgot I had a chance.

They pushed me back

and broke my heart.

I stood for nothing

but a waste of number.

They held me down

but I got up.

I am ready to brush off the dust.

Here I am.

You will hear my voice,

that is my sound.

Now I am flying like a bird.

You can see me

diving up so high.

I fight for my rights

and go from zero to hero.

They locked me in

but I got out.

I am ready to brush off the dust.

Here I am a Somali girl.

I am not a waste of number.

I am not a victim.

I am a hero

and I am a leader.

– Hani Abdile 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oooh old friends

My beloved friend

 

Many days

We laughed

We chased each other

We tickled

 

But that wasn’t my favourite

 

We rolled in the mud

So thick, double to our skin

Danced in the rain

As we thought we could bless the land.

 

We re-owned our lost childhood

Your smiles fully healed my wounds

So shiny and sharp.

 

I was addicted to your company

I felt disgrace to leave you behind

But my friend you have chosen the traditional way.

 

Seeing your photos my perfect friend —

Life always takes unexpected turns

You dive into abuse and rise like a sun

Blessed to be a mother of two

My ship has sailed on unknown shores

While yours still floats on the garden of your birth.

  • Hani 2018

Creative piece

thanks to Carita for helping out.

Ramala’s tongue was tied to her throat. Her heart beat like a speeding train. Sweat ran like waterfalls within the creases of her body.  She stared at the path in front of her that looked like a tunnel. Unfamiliar darkness choked her.  This was the place her real parents called home. Parents. That word seemed so strange to her it caught in her mouth and evaporated like a drop of rain on a desert plain.

It was her summer break and Ramala had finally made her journey to her beloved home.  All her life from her luxurious bed in Miami she dreamed of a quiet village that smells like grounded cardamom and dry earth, filled with the laugher of children. The image wrapped her with a sense of safety, but it was not real.  She created it through Internet searchers and memories of others.

She called herself “take away” because 20 years ago Ramla was found by an NGO in an orphanage and adopted by an American couple at the age of three.  She had learned about her country’s traumatic history in a high school classroom, which ripped her from her middle-class life and forced her into this significant and life-changing journey.

Now at 23 she stood in front of the burning heat stared at the left over of her family. Small hut crumbled into the earth. Rotted defeated and abandoned. “Home was mouth of a shark”. The whole village had run away.

  • Hani Abdile 2017