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#8 Kind of a Dream
Abdul Aziz Muhamat
'I’m excited because … for almost three years I haven’t left the centre, and I was just locked inside there … Now, I’m walking on the streets – every two steps I take, I turn and I look behind me, like, "Where is the security guard?"'
It’s July 2016. On the morning Michael flies to Manus Island, Aziz leaves the detention centre for the first time in nearly three years.
In this episode, Aziz and Michael finally meet in person. Michael also meets some people from Manus Island, who explain how they feel about having the detention centre on their island.
Together with Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish journalist and detainee, Aziz and Michael take a boat to a nearby island to swim, eat together, and escape the shadow of the detention centre. For Aziz, it’s an exhilarating time, full of new experiences and unexpected joys – but he knows it will soon come to an end.
A transcript of this episode is coming soon.
- ‘Welcome to Manus, the island that has been changed forever by Australian asylum-seeker policy’ by Jo Chandler, Guardian, 16 December 2014
‘They Call Me Immigration’ by Omar Mohammed Jack, Inside Story, 5 April 2017 (excerpted from They Cannot Take the Sky: Stories from Detention, published by Allen and Unwin)
In this episode
Abdul Aziz Muhamat
Our theme music was composed by Raya Slavin. Music used in this episode includes ‘Capture the Flag’ by Broken Social Scene, ‘Sensuous’ by Cornelius, ‘The North Downs Dimension’ by Broadcast, ‘Sop’ by Monica Brooks, ‘Change’ and ‘Humming Song 2’ by Aoki Takamasa, Ogurusu Norihide and Takagi Masakatsu, ‘Super Botany’ by Stereolab and Marumari, ‘Dust Rising’ by Nick Huggins, ‘Kilvo’ by Radian, ‘Han Brydde Sig Inte Om Att Stiga Upp, Hela Dagen Lät Han Nya Bilder Och Funderingar Komma Och Gå Som De Ville, Sov Lite Ibland Och Vaknade Igen Och Visste Inte Alls Vem Han Var. Det Var En Fridfull Och Mycket Spännande Dag’ by Kim Hiorthøy, ‘Reminds Me of the Sun’ by OBX and Sophia, ‘On’ by Aphex Twin, ‘Exhale’ by Adrian Klumpes and ‘The Last Farewell’ by Roger Whittaker.
The Messenger is a co-production of Behind the Wire and the Wheeler Centre. It’s produced by Michael Green, André Dao, Hannah Reich and Bec Fary, with Jon Tjhia and Sophie Black at the Wheeler Centre.
Narration by Michael Green. With reporting by Abdul Aziz Muhamat. Additional fact checking by the Guardian's Ben Doherty; transcription by Claire McGregor, Carolyn Turner, Tiarne Cook and many more. This episode was edited and mixed by Bec Fary and Jon Tjhia.
Skye Hollingsworth for video editing, and Dana Affleck, Angelica Neville and Sienna Merope. Also to Behind the Wire’s many participants and volunteers. Behind the Wire is supported by the Bertha Foundation.
Abdul Aziz Muhamat is a 24-year-old man from Darfur, Sudan. He is from the Zaghawa ethnicity, and with his family, he fled his village to a refugee camp. He arrived in Australia by boat in 2013 and was taken to Manus Island, where he remains.
Michael Green is a journalist in Melbourne. He has written about environmental and social issues for the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Nature, Nautilus, Smith Journal, Right Now and Overland, among others. He is the coordinator of Behind the Wire, and has been working on a book of people’s stories from detention called They Cannot Take the Sky, which will be published in March 2017 by Allen & Unwin. He is also producing an exhibition at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum based on the stories in the book, which will open on 17 March 2017.
All messages as part of this discussion and any opinions, advice, statements, or other information contained in any messages or transmitted by any third party are the responsibility of the author of that message and not the Wheeler Centre.
From Behind the Wire and the Wheeler Centre, The Messenger brings you into the Australian immigration detention centre on Manus Island – and reveals, in intimate detail, one man's experience of what it's really like to flee tragedy and seek asylum by boat.