Art as Form of Resistance for Refugees

Authors, artists, musicians and scholars gathered at the Greek Centre to honor Behrouz Boochani, writer of the novel ‘No Friend but the Mountains’ and to speak about the current refugee crisis.

Boochani appeared live online from the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, and his translator and collaborator, Omid Tofighian, was live from Cairo. According to the organizers, the event was held to raise awareness about refugees’ substandard living conditions and the deprivation of their freedom and human rights as they remain detained in the Nauru and Manus Island refugee camps, unable to enter Australia.

The evening also featured an address from political activist and academic Professor Gary Foley and was opened by First Nations musician Bart Willoughby and Kurdish musician Fadil Suna. The event was hosted by Nikos Papastergiadis, Director of the Research Unit in Public Cultures at the University of Melbourne; writer and human rights advocate Arnold Zable; writer and refugee advocate Janet Galbraith; and award-winning photographer Hoda Afshar.

The guests called on the public to press the Australian Government to bring all refugees from Nauru and Manus to Australia. They criticized Australia for the policy that keeps refugees detained in military camps for more than five years, saying that the refugees are asylum seekers who left their war-torn countries in search of a better future for themselves and their families.

The event featured live online interviews with Boochani and Tofighian conducted by Janet Galbraith and Hoda Afshar, who spoke at length about Boochani’s popular book, the ideas Boochani propounds in the book, and about the refugee crisis in general.