Tragic that the writer remains on Manus in limbo
Where have I come from? From the land of rivers, the land of waterfalls, the land of ancient chants, the land of mountains...
Since 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani has been held in the Manus Island offshore processing centre.
People would run to the mountains to escape the warplanes and found asylum within their chestnut forests...
This book is the result. Laboriously tapped out on a mobile phone and translated from the Farsi. It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile.
Do Kurds have any friends other than the mountains?
'A chant, a cry from the heart, a lament, fuelled by a fierce urgency, written with the lyricism of a poet, the literary skills of a novelist, and the profound insights of an astute observer of human behaviour and the ruthless politics of a cruel and unjust imprisonment.' ARNOLD ZABLE
About the Author
Behrouz Boochani holds a Masters degree in political geography and geopolitics. He is a Kurdish-Iranian journalist, scholar, cultural advocate, writer and filmmaker, founder of the Kurdish language magazine Weya, an Honorary Member of PEN International. In 2013, he fled Iran and became a political prisoner of the Australian Government incarcerated in the Manus Regional Processing Centre (Papua New Guinea).
About the Translator
Translator Dr Omid Tofighian is a lecturer, researcher and community advocate based at the American University of Cairo and University of Sydney. His work combines philosophy with interests in rhetoric, religion, popular culture, transnationalism, displacement and discrimination. He contributes to community arts and cultural projects and works with asylum seekers, refugees and young people from Western Sydney. He has published numerous book chapters and journal articles and is author of Myth and Philosophy in Platonic Dialogues (Palgrave 2016). He has translated a number of articles for Behrouz Boochani for the Guardian.
Tragic that the writer remains on Manus in limbo
This book should be read by everyone in order to understand what is being done to refugees by the Australian Government. Manus Island refugee detention centre is nothing short of a concentration camp where men who have been found to be genuine refugees are denied all of the things most people take for granted - an adequate diet to maintain health, a clean bed to sleep in, clean functioning toilets, prompt medical attention and dental treatment. The world should know what is going on.
Boochani's story of his travel to Australia by boat and his incarceration on Manus Island is a beautiful and moving account of human struggle. He is so tuned in to his fellow travellers and prisoners and the system of torture with which he finds himself in- filled with deep insights and observational characterisation. Most of all this is an immensly readable book with poetic language and insights that all humans can relate to. It's a gem.
Behrouz and his translators have so beautifully and shockingly articulated what he has gone through in the lead up and while in detention within Australia's Centre's. It is a riveting read, but so hard to comprehend that this is someone's reality, who right now is still in this situation. Recommend for anyone who is willing to engage in this space
"No Friend But the Mountains" is an exquisitely written story. The Translator's notes are extremely helpful and informed me as to the various cultures that were intertwined in the book. The fact that the author Behrouz Boochani, an asylum seeker who thought that he was coming to Australia for asylum but instead ended up in detention on the island of Manus, wrote the book from detention using a mobile phone to send the text via text messages, is an extraordinary feat in itself. The vivid descriptions of the chaos and fear of death that accompanies all who try to flee danger by boats which are completely unfit to be on the ocean caused me to feel admiration for those who are going through it and anxiety for asylum seekers who are still using that method in order to reach a safe haven. Behrouz Boochani's description of how the Australian Government, after putting people into detention, breaks down people's sense of their own humanity until there is barely any left using techniques such as referring to people by numbers thus rendering them invisible because they have no names, makes it difficult to comprehend how humans can be so cruel to other humans. I will remember "No Friend But The Mountains" until the day that I die.
Highly recommend anyone interested in Behrouz's work to purchase this book. As much a work of art as political analysis.
Powerful stuff. Poetic. A voice of deep humanity.
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 31st July 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.3 x 15.4 x 3.1
Weight (kg): 0.51