A scan of his Twitter feed makes you feel as you do in those dreams where horrific things are happening right in front of you but you are unable to move or speak – an ineffectual witness to human catastrophe …How can anyone read another human being stating, “The refugees are digging into the ground to find water. It’s a tropical area and people think they will reach fresh water” posted only minutes before and not feel sickened by what their country continues to do to innocent human beings? … But, shockingly, it seems that some can …
Behrouz Boochani is a writer and journalist who has been detained on Manus Island since August 2013 having fled Iran fearing for his safety because of his writing in support of Kurdish rights and culture.
From inside the detention centre, he began interacting with Netherlands-based Iranian filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani via WhatsApp. And what evolved was A FILM with the two men as co-directors – Boochani as cameraman, filming on a smartphone, and Sarvestani as his cinematic mentor and co-writer.
Their film, “Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time” screened a month ago at this year’s London Film Festival.
And now, this talented writer/journalist/filmmaker is yet again speaking out as he and his fellow abandoned detainees struggle in the dark with no food, no drinking water, no power, no medical care and the imminent threat of violence from many sources.
He has written a ‘diary’ piece for the Guardian the day after the official closure of the Manus facility. The details are appalling:
It is like a war zone here and people have become refugees all over again. They have become homeless in the detention centre; their faces are frightened, distressed and weary. … Without the benefits of having power, insects chew into the skin. The constant, unbearable fear is provoked by the events last night. This relentless fear continues to haunt us, a merciless fear has gripped the camp. Fear of being attacked, fear of being murdered. … When the power is cut off the water in the toilets is also automatically cut off. This means the toilets have become even filthier. They stink to high heaven, it is extremely annoying and debasing. It is so humiliating. I have witnessed with my own eyes how a human being can degrade another human being, using toilets as a technology of torture. It is utterly disturbing when one comes to the realisation of the cruel machinations of a human being, of what a human being is capable of. …