- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Picador Australia (26 November 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 176078494X
- ISBN-13: 978-1760784942
- Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 3.2 x 12.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison Paperback – 26 Nov 2019
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About the Author
Associate Professor Behrouz Boochani graduated from Tarbiat Moallem University and Tarbiat Modares University, both in Tehran; he holds a Masters degree in political science, political geography and geopolitics. He is a Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate and filmmaker. From 2013 to 2017 he was a political prisoner incarcerated by the Australian government in the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre (Papua New Guinea). Since being forcibly transferred in 2017 he continued to be incarcerated in one of three new prisons (East Lorengau Refugee Transit Centre). Boochani was writer for the Kurdish language magazine Werya; is Adjunct Associate Professor in Social Sciences at UNSW; non-resident Visiting Scholar at the Sydney Asia Pacific Migration Centre (SAPMiC), University of Sydney; Honorary Member of PEN International; and winner of an Amnesty International Australia 2017 Media Award, the Diaspora Symposium Social Justice Award, the Liberty Victoria 2018 Empty Chair Award, and the Anna Politkovskaya award for journalism. He publishes regularly with The Guardian, and his writing also features in The Saturday Paper, Huffington Post, New Matilda, The Financial Times and The Sydney Morning Herald. Boochani is also co-director (with Arash Kamali Sarvestani) of the 2017 feature-length film Chauka, Please Tell Us The Time; collaborator on Nazanin Sahamizadeh's play Manus; associate producer for Hoda Afshar's video installation Remain (2018) and the accompanying photography portrait series; and author of No Friend but the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison (Picador 2018). At the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2019 his book won the Victorian Prize for Literature in addition to the Non-Fiction category. He has also won the Special Award at the 2019 NSW Premier's Literary Awards; Non-Fiction Book of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards; and the National Biography Prize.
Dr Omid Tofighian is an award-winning lecturer, researcher and community advocate, combining philosophy with interests in citizen media, popular culture, displacement and discrimination. He completed his PhD in philosophy at Leiden University, Netherlands, and graduated with a combined honours degree in philosophy and studies in religion at the University of Sydney. Tofighian has lived variously in Australia where he taught at different universities; the United Arab Emirates where he taught at Abu Dhabi University; Belgium where he was a visiting scholar at K.U. Leuven; Netherlands for his PhD; and intermittent periods in Iran for research. His current roles include Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature, American University in Cairo; Adjunct Lecturer in the School of the Arts and Media, UNSW; Honorary Research Associate for the Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney; faculty at Iran Academia; and campaign manager for Why Is My Curriculum White? - Australasia. He contributes to community arts and cultural projects and works with refugees, migrants and youth. He has published numerous book chapters and journal articles, is author of Myth and Philosophy in Platonic Dialogues (Palgrave 2016), translator of Behrouz Boochani's multi-award winning book No Friend but the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison (Picador 2018), and co-editor of 'Refugee Filmmaking', Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media (Winter 2019).
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I now have a fourth.
No Friend But The Mountains, though, has impacted in a way that others haven’t.
Sometimes, I have to stop, breath out, be still, and digest in full what I have just read. Words and phrases from this book are sometimes beautiful, often harrowing - and still now knock me sideways as I go about my day.
It is filled with beautiful storytelling, verse, personal insight. It is artful and poetic, but it is also a narrative exposing the harsh degradation, humiliation and psychological warfare pitted against those incarcerated on Manus. It is shocking, heartbreaking, and makes you want to reach out to pull people away from such an existence and unknown end.
Last year, I visited Sachenhausen in Berlin. The guide had studied Germany’s politician history and spoke with immense insight. He talked of how extremist ideologies and atrocities such as those that happened there didn’t develop overnight. They slowly crept in over a number of years and were progressively normalised until people accepted a new status quo and felt compelled to remain quiet.
He left us with three key requests. Firstly, to keep traveling or expose yourself to different cultures so that we may realise and accept we are all very different, yet fundamentally the same.
Secondly, to read - with an appetite that will not sate the desire to continually question and understand.
And thirdly, to speak up. To not do so is to support those who perpetrate human rights atrocities.
The Australian government may have implemented those atrocities against authentic refugees. But I believe it’s our collective legacy.
We all own it - me .. you. We are all responsible for what is happening through our decisions to stay quiet about this new status quo; or choosing otherwise.
Don’t let it be so. Please read this book. And speak up. It takes individual voices to create a chorus. Please let that be our legacy.