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All against all

Behrouz Boochani: Only the mountains are my friend
REFUGEES: Cohesion is pulverized, everyone just thinks about managing on their own, surviving, tearing up an extra snack, a place in the food queue or the phone queue.

Iranian-Kurdish Behrouz Boochani's description of the years as refugee and interned by Australian authorities on the island of Manus north of Papua New Guinea probably gives a good picture of the lives of thousands of refugees all over the globe. The special thing about this case is that Australia, under the current Conservative government, will never let them into the country. The detainees can at best stay on Manus indefinitely or accept deportation back to the country they fled from.

Boochani fled Iran due to his activity as editor of a newspaper that promoted the cause of the Kurds. He was warned by friends that he risked arrest and a possible death sentence – and left. He ended up in Indonesia, decided to move on to Australia – and twice tried to get over there by boat. First . . .

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Kurt Sweeney
Literary critic.

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