Wall of Grief and Remembering

Reza, a 26 year old asylum seeker form Iran, hanged himself in Brisbane yesterday. These lines are taken from the account of his close friend who had vainly attempted to alert the police to Reza’s desperate plight.

He was scared to stay here.
He was scared and thinking that people would get him if he stay here.
He thought that he must escape from this area as police and people were chasing him.
He got to Brisbane and he stayed in the street until morning.
7am he called me and said:
“I am tired. Always police and people follow me.
I want to kill myself.
Tell my family”

“Immigration have said that Reza’s family must pay for the return of his body.”


Painting by Iqbal
Painting by Iqbal

RAPBS is building a wall of grief and remembering in which we mark the many, many lost lives of those caught in the lethal toils of our refugee policy. Some of their names are Khodayar Amini, Leo Seemanpillai, Habib Wahedy,  Shannaz Kayani. And so many more.

Our lethal refugee policy does not only operate through the black sites of offshore detention, but through other lines of demarcation, through technologies of isolation, abandonment and exclusion, such as the TPV. And  it operates through compromised systems of ‘care’ which compound rather than alleviate suffering.

These are the casualties of Australia’s war on refugees. But their stories are not forgotten. Their names and faces remain in our minds; the traces of their lost and broken bodies hover in the air. We taste them as grit and ashes in our mouths.