Top positive review
One of the best reads, an incredible book
3 August 2018
Recently, a friend asked me to name favorite books off the top of my head. I listed Narrow Path to the Deep North, The Book Thief, and All The Light We Cannot See.
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.