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#12 Flight from Manus

 

Photo of Aziz sitting at in the window of a hotel

Aziz, in a hotel room facing onto Genève-Cornavin railway station — Photo: Michael Green

I just feel like I left my soul back there, you know. Personally I’m here, but my heart is still in Manus.’

– Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Aziz is shortlisted for a major international prize, the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. The ceremony is in Geneva, Switzerland. Improbably, the prize’s organisers secretly arrange permission for him to leave Manus Island to attend the event. 

In this episode, Aziz finally – temporarily – escapes Papua New Guinea, five and a half years after the Australian government took him there against his will. But he has no proper passport or visa, and no idea what to expect.  

After years of exile and captivity, how will it feel to visit Switzerland – one of the richest countries in the world? And can Aziz make any difference for those who remain stuck on Manus Island and Nauru?

Transcript

A transcript of this episode is available here (PDF format).

Further reading

In this episode

  • Abdul Aziz Muhamat

  • Michael Green
  • Michael Khambatta
  • Hans Thoolen

Our theme music was composed by Raya Slavin. Music used in this episode is by Hour House (Mark Leacy and Sam Kenna).

More information

The Messenger is a co-production of Behind the Wire and the Wheeler Centre. This episode was originally commissioned and produced for the ABC Radio National programme, Earshot. It was produced by Michael Green. The supervising producer was Lyn Gallacher. The sound engineer was Melissa May.

Narration by Michael Green. Additional editing and mixing by Jon Tjhia.

Thank you

André Dao, Jon Tjhia, Hannah Reich, Bec Fary and Sophie Black. Thanks also to Camilla Chapman, Cecilia Cannon and Sean Cole, and to Behind the Wire’s many participants and volunteers. Michael Green’s travel to Papua New Guinea was supported by a grant from the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund.

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.