Category Archives: Voices from the Black Sites

Women of Kurdistan

I will talk to you of Kurdistan and mountains, of beautiful trees and rare flowers.  I will talk of wild rivers, tall waterfalls and amazing music.  I will talk of my father, the shepherd, who was inseparable from nature.  I will talk of my mother who worked too hard to find something for us to eat and, when there was none, lay our heads on her lap and sung us beautiful stories to make us sleep. I will talk to you of Kurdistan made a battle-field, of a childhood filled with war,  of 50,000 Kurds killed on one day by chemical weapons, of our soil soaked in blood.  I will talk to you of Kurdistan and the women I admire.  The women of Kurdistan who fight, sing and dance.  The women who fight, sing and dance.

-Behrouz Boochani – Manus 2015

The Black Kite

Over Manus Island,
a black kite flies.
A few youths –
still with energy
to bear the difficulties
of this prison camp  –
made it.
The black kite flies,
a messenger of freedom
for us, the forgotten prisoners.
It circles
higher and higher
above the camp,
above the beautiful coconuts.
Our eyes follow its flight,
it seems to want to tear its rope.
It breaks free,
dances towards the ocean,
flies far and again farther
until no one can see it.
The youths stare into the empty sky
after their impossible dream.

-Behrouz Boochani, 2015
Translation by Ali Parsaei and Janet Galbraith

My Nightmare

This is me
I wander about aimlessly in a dark and black night
My night is my dream
My body is the victim of my soul
My dream is my wild nightmare
Terrified strange fears from the sun.

This is me!
My soul wanders in a nightmare
The night is completely dark
A tree is trembling
I hear only the sound of whipping on a tree’s body
It becomes bruised,
cannot yell.
It is left out, alone in the world.

This tree is my body
It has no-one to see it’s pains
A sound breaks the silence of an untouched desert
My body trembles in this dream
Dream has to be my peace!!
Suddenly appear a murderer.

-F. B (Manus 2015)

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?
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.

Maria (Nauru)

A cry

Written by a 16 year old girl detained on Nauru

O GOd help us and save us from here.
We will stand our ground in peaceful protest
and will not use violence against any officers.
Many have sewed their lips.
The situation here is very tense.
Everybody cries at night.
No one is in a good mental health.
Everybody’s attempting suicide.
Five under age [under 18] have committed self harm with glass.
Some older people wanted to cut their own neck arteries.
I am a 16 year old girl who is tired of life.
I want to kill myself.
Please take my cry to the world.
Please, I beg you, if it is possible tell my message to the world.
Thank you.
I really need help.
– Leila (not real name) 16 years Nauru 2015.

There is nothing to worry about

My wounds are alright
There is no pain but being lost
A dream in this world
In my loneliness , when I go through the street of my memories,
I remember a red Tulip
I think there is some one hidden
That tulip has grown on his memories
All of sudden I remember, that person is me
I remember that my street is full of feelings of not seeming and not coming
I was forgetting to say, I want to build a house
Without doors
Without windows
Without walls
I just want to build a ceiling from tulip as big as your heart
What a pity
I still remember, my house being on fire
That burnt like a candle
My candle, don’t cry
My candle was crying
And in its cry, drowned slowly
Yea I’m alright
There is nothing to worry about

– M (Manus 2015)

Maybe I’m just asleep

Maybe I’m just asleep
Maybe I’m just deeply in hibernation
I don’t know how many years I’ve been asleep
Maybe it’s a thousand year old sleep
I which you were here
Not for a long time
For just a glimpse
I’d like to be a Tulip
To describe it a bit
So when a dove sits on my door
It remembers
There is some one here hidden
Let me say it again
I am alright
But, don’t you believe it.

– M. (Manus 2015)

Letter for Reza Barati

On the second anniversary of the murder of Reza Barati in Australia’s black site on Manus Island some of the men in the prison camp wrote this letter.

“Hello dear Reza,

How are you?
Are you in a good place?
Everyone is here and they are saying hi to you.
I’m sure you remember Mustafa! He is saying to you, ‘let’s play cards!’
Ali is saying, ‘do you remember you would always get 6-6 whenever we played backgammon?’…”

Letter For Reza Barati

An Obvious and Official Hostage Taking

“To the Australian people,

In the heart of the dark night, I yell out through the mass of metallic and hard fences. Surrounded by agony and torture, I yell out right next to the tropical birds, thousands of kilometres away from the people’s world, in the heart of a remote island located in the corner of the vastest ocean in the world. In the name of humanity and freedom, I yell out…”

An Obvious and Official Hostage Taking