Freedom, Only Freedom: The Prison Writings of Behrouz Boochani By Behrouz Boochani

    Another important book by Behrouz. I really appreciated the setting of the scene at the beginning of each chapter, and the jump between Behrouz's writing and other writers. Incredibly written and informative. 9780755642656 ‘Here in these pages is everything we must face if we are to save ourselves from the horror of repetition.’ (From the Foreword by Tara June Winch, 2022)

    Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist and refugee activist was detained on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea for several years. He now lives in New Zealand. This book contains a collection of essays and poems that provide a first-hand account of his experiences in detention, and the struggles faced by those in offshore detention seeking asylum in Australia. Behrouz Boochani’s own writings are accompanied by essays written by other activists and by historians and journalists.

    ‘If we wanted to describe life in the Manus Prison, we could sum it up in just one sentence: A prisoner is someone who needs to line up in order to fulfil even the most basic needs of every human being.’

    This is a powerful and confronting work. Behrouz Boochani writes about individuals, about people. He tells us their stories, their hopes and tragically in some cases their illnesses and deaths. We may be able to ignore people anonymised as numbers, but how many of us can ignore the stories of individuals and the impact detention had on them?

    Behrouz Boochani writes of a kyriarchal system, a term borrowed from feminist writing, which he describes as ‘best described as interlocking and mutually reinforcing structures of violence obsessed with oppression, domination and submission, structures also characterized by their replication and multiplication.’ (page xviii)

    I found this very uncomfortable reading. Australia’s colonial past should be history, uncomfortable as it is. Australia’s colonial past should not be shaping the institutions we build now and thereby influencing the decisions we make about the future. The people of Papua New Guinea and Nauru also deserve better treatment.

    Jennifer Cameron-Smith
    9780755642656 A deep dive into the humanitarian disgrace that is Australia’s ‘Sovereign Borders’ program. Confronting & heartbreaking. Great contributions from a number of super talented writers. 9780755642656

    Over six years of imprisonment in Australia's offshore migrant detention centre, the Kurdish-Iranian journalist and writer Behrouz Boochani bore personal witness to the suffering and degradation inflicted on him and his fellow refugees, culminating eventually in his prize-winning book – No Friend but the Mountains. In the articles, essays, and poems he wrote while detained, he emerged as both a tenacious campaigner and activist, as well as a deeply humane voice which reflects the indignity and plight of the many thousands of detained migrants across the world.
    In this book Boochani's collected writings are combined with essays from experts on migration, refugee rights, politics, and literature. Together, they provide a moving, creative and challenging account of not only one writer's harrowing experience and inspiring resilience, but the wider structures of violence which hold thousands of human beings in a state of misery in migrant camps throughout Western nation-states and beyond. Freedom, Only Freedom: The Prison Writings of Behrouz Boochani


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