Books & DVDs
All these books are available from the Romero Centre office.
Unforgettable Voices: Australia We Are Here – edited by Jason McLeod, Jeniece Olsen, Hassan Ghulam and Sabah Al-Ansari
This book and music CD offers a collection of biographical stories and poems of Afghan and Iraqi families who have resettled in Queensland, Australia. Local musician Roz Pappalardo has also turned a selection of the poetry into songs in the accompanying CD.
“Freedom or Death” (DVD) a film by Elliot Spencer
“Freedom or Death” is a documentary about the refugees who were detained in Australia’s most remote offshore detention centre on the impoverished Pacific Island of Nauru.
This intensely human story deals with the personal impact of the Australian Government’s “Pacific Solution”. The story emerges through personal interviews with key players directly involved with the issue, united by a common concern for the refugees. It features scenes and information the Government meant to keep out of sight – forever.
And it is the inspiring story of Chaman Shah Nasiri, a Hazara refugee from Afghanistan, who represented the detainees. When claims for asylum were rejected following prolonged and indefinite incarceration, a group of detainees began a hunger strike in a final act of desperation. Their official statement and slogan was “freedom or death.”
This documentary explores a deeply controversial chapter in our history exposing human rights abuses, which were deliberately hidden from the international community. It brings light to key issues including children in detention, the forced separation of families, Nauru’s environmental degradation, and the hunger strikes.
Featuring interviews with Frederika Steen, Hassan Ghulam , Chaman Shah Nasiri, Julian Burnside QC, Andrew Bartlett, Keith Davis and Dr Sima Samar.
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Blind Conscience by Margot O’Neill
This book tells the inside story of a shameful period of Australia’s recent history. This profoundly moving book reveals the untold story of the people who struggled to get asylum seekers out of detention and change government policy.
Lateline journalist Margot O’Neill, who covered many of these stories while they were happening, paints a compelling and heartbreaking picture through an extraordinary cast of characters. Some, like Petro Georgiou, Julian Burnside and Phillip Ruddock, are very well known. Others are not famous but felt compelled to follow their consciences and act to help desperate people in desperate situations, often to the detriment of their personal well being.
Inspiring and disturbing in equal measure, and an extraordinarily gripping narrative, Blind Conscience, will prompt a sharp intake of breath across Australia.
Freeing Ali: The Human Face of the Pacific Solution by Michael Gordon
Freeing Ali follows the story of Ali Mullaie, a young Afghan seeking asylum, from Afghanistan to Melbourne – and recounts the experiences of survivors of the SIEV X tragedy and the “children overboard” saga. Michael Gordon examines how ordinary Australians forced the Howard government to drop the harsher elements of its border protection policy. And, as the pressure grows back in Australia for a change in policy, he assesses the costs, in human and financial terms, of the Pacific Solution.
Rescuing Afghanistan demonstrates that decades of conflict have created an extremely challenging set of problems for the Afghan people and the wider world. It shows that only a determined, credible, long term commitment from the wider world – a type that is rarely if ever found – offers the prospect of rescuing Afghanistan from the dangers it faces.
Acting from the Heart: Australian advocates for Asylum Seekers tell their stories Editors: Sarah Mares and Louise Newman
In recent years, thousands of Australians have been moved to act in support of asylum seekers and refugees and against the Australian governments immigration policy and practice. In Acting from the Heart, over 50 people who reflect the diversity of this movement describe how and why they became involved. The contributors shared a sense of disbelief and outrage that ‘Australian values’ suddenly appeared to include callous self-interest and a disregard for human suffering. The detention of over 4000 children could not easily be seen as necessary or a ‘fair go’. Acting from the Heart represents a powerful contribution to the ongoing debate about the ethics of our nation and the politics of institutionalised inhumanity worldwide.
The Rugmaker of Mazar-E-Sharif by Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman
Today’s Christians are faced with the challenge of understanding better, the faith and customs of Muslims who are a small minority in our country. A charming yet confronting way to do so is to read this account by a Melbourne Afghan refugee of his life, his gruesome persecution and of his sustaining faith. It is an inspiring story of optimism, goodness and thankfulness.
In the great oral tradition of the Hazara who were so often denied access to education, Najaf tells his story of life as a simple shepherd boy and then as a 12 year old passionate apprentice rugmaker. His Shia Muslim faith provides the whole framework and wisdom for life. It imbues every moment of his waking. The reader/listener begins to understand the everyday life, the culture and relationships within the family and tribe and also the external evils of ethnic and religious fanaticism that destroy his home, his beloved family and community.
Najaf survived the damaging detention experience to rebuild a life in Melbourne and be reunited with his wife and daughter after years of forced separation. This book is a fine testament to a good man, a faith-full Muslim man, one of many who came to these shores and found a new life.
Human Rights Overboard by Linda Briskman, Susie Latham, Chris Goddard
This book draws together, for the first time, the oral testimony and written submissions from the inquiry in a powerful and vital book that stands as an indictment of Australia’s refugee policy. The book is a haunting guided journey by voices from every side of the fence: former and current immigration detainees, refugee advocates, lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists and former detention and immigration staff. Taken together, their stories record a humanitarian disaster that sounds a warning to current and future policy makers, both here and overseas.