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Podcast episodeCover image for of #12 Flight from Manus

The Messenger

12 Flight from Manus  /  Migration

 

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 'Aziz: Flight from Manus' by Michael Green, Earshot, ABC Radio National, first broadcast 21 September 2019
The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

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.

 
Podcast episodeCover image for of #13 A Stranger in Geneva

The Messenger

13 A Stranger in Geneva  /  Migration

Aziz in the snow, in Switzerland — Photo: Michael Green

'Hard to imagine. Start your life again. Have your own house, your own family.'

– Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Incredibly, Aziz is in Switzerland. And he’s just won a major international award for human rights defenders. 

He’s swamped with attention and adoration, briefings and business cards. But he is only allowed to be in Geneva for three short weeks. Then he has to return to Manus Island – back to the dangerous situation he’s being celebrated for campaigning against.

In this episode, we follow Aziz as he negotiates meetings with diplomats and speeches to the UN. He struggles with an unexpected, oppressive dilemma – should he board a plane back to his brothers on Manus, or seek yet another uncertain path to safety and freedom?

Transcript

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

Further reading 'Aziz: A Stranger in Geneva', produced by Michael Green for Earshot, ABC Radio National (first broadcast 28 September 2019) 'Flight from Manus' by Michael Green, ABC Radio National, 1 October 2019

In this episode

Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Michael Green Peggy Hicks Michael Khambatta

Our theme music was composed by Raya Slavin. Music used in this episode was produced by Hour House (Mark Leacy and Sam Kenna), except for 'I am the Changer', by Cotton Jones.

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. Also Camilla Chapman, Cecilia Cannon and Sean Cole, and Behind the Wire's many participants and volunteers.

 
Podcast episodeCover image for of We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place and Belonging

The Wheeler Centre

We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place and Belonging  /  Community

Homelessness can take many guises – sleeping rough, yes, but also couch-surfing, squatting, or staying in a refuge, boarding house or caravan park. The same can be said of the people who experience homelessness. Not defined simply by their predicament, they’re a diverse group. They may be siblings, parents, grandparents; people who study or work; people who’ve moved or migrated, yet to find their feet. People with full lives, and much to offer. 

A new profit-for-purpose book from Affirm Press, We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place and Belonging, is a testament to the unique insights of people who’ve known homelessness in Australia. Edited by novelist, homelessness researcher and former Big Issue deputy editor Meg Mundell, it offers a bounty of extraordinary true stories from a wide range of writers – prominent names, emerging voices and first-timers – who have themselves experienced homelessness. Behrouz Boochani, Krissy Kneen and Claire G. Coleman appear alongside undiscovered talents, exploring the idea of place – and how our sense of it changes when homeless.

Hosted by Mundell, and presented in partnership with Writers Victoria, hear from contributors Claire G. Coleman, Roderick Waller, Ayub Abdi-Barre and Jody Letts about their stories, their places and their writing. Hear readings from the book – and learn about the process of putting it together – at this celebration of survival, place and belonging.

'It’d be near-impossible to read this rich and humane mosaic of stories and not have how you conceive of homelessness completely reframed. A beautiful testament to survival, resilience and hope.' – Benjamin Law

 

Prefer to watch? Catch up on our live-streamed video below. Includes Auslan interpretation.

We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place and Belonging Watch
 
Podcast episodeCover image for of Samantha Power on Influence and Idealism

The Fifth Estate

Samantha Power on Influence and Idealism  /  Defence, military & war

How does a person navigate the change from activist outsider to influential insider? How do you balance idealism and pragmatism under pressure?

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Samantha Power has had to navigate these questions first-hand. From a troubled childhood in Dublin to a career as a war correspondent then academic, she landed at the heart of American politics in 2005 – when her critiques of US foreign policy drew the attention of Barack Obama. She joined his team, eventually becoming a senior human rights adviser. 

After an early misstep (she branded Hillary Clinton ‘a monster’, and lost her job over the incident), Power served in the White House’s National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. In 2013, she was appointed to the coveted position of US Ambassador to the United Nations. 

As she reveals in her newest book, The Education of an Idealist, the intensity of her work was matched by personal struggle – trying to start a family, then raising young children; dealing with anxiety attacks and her own painful childhood. Power has been celebrated for her skill and influence, and has proudly worn the title of activist. She has also drawn sharp criticism from some quarters, particularly in her advocacy for ‘humanitarian intervention’, and her arguments for US action or inaction in Libya, Syria and Yemen.

In conversation with Sally Warhaft, Samantha Power discusses the complexity of decision-making, the tensions between activism and power, and the reconciliation of past and future.

Sally Warhaft and Samantha Power

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