11 We Lived as a Nation
The men demonstrate their improvised well — Photo: Michael Green
‘Twenty four days we lived as a nation … The only way I can describe [it] is that we were a nation.’– Abdul Aziz Muhamat
The detention centre on Manus Island might be closed, but Aziz – and the vast majority of the men who were held there – remain on the island, living in three different centres.
By early 2019, Aziz is well into his sixth year, waiting. In that time, he’s felt free for only a few weeks – those few weeks when the immigration detention system disintegrated around him.
In this episode, The Messenger returns to late 2017, and the crucial period when Australia shut down the Manus Regional Processing Centre and the men refused to leave. We take you inside the centre as the standoff unfolds. There are no guards, no caseworkers, no immigration officials – and no food, water, medicine or electricity.
Aziz and his friends are in charge. How did they survive? And why did they stay?Transcript
A transcript of this episode is coming soon.
• 'No Exit: The ongoing abuses of Australia’s refugee policy' by Michael Green, Harper's Magazine, July 2018
Abdul Aziz MuhamatMichael Green Behrouz Boochani Benham Satah Poli Boas Clarence Parisau Michael Kuweh
Our theme music was composed by Raya Slavin. Music used in this episode includes 'Unrest' by Adrian Klumpes, 'La Mer' by Pivot, 'Southeast of Boston' by June of 44, 'Out with the Cold' by Kaffe Matthews, 'Rhodes Viola Multiple' by Keith Fullerton Whitman, '1.3'by Piano Magic, 'Passages' by Bowery Electric, 'Shine' by Klara Lewis and 'Iberia Eteria' by Biosphere.
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. Transcription by Claire McGregor, Carolyn Turner, Tiarne Cook, Julia Earley and many more. This episode was edited and mixed by Michael Green and Jon Tjhia.
Books and Ideas at Montalto
In previous Quarterly Essays, David Marr has turned his merciless pen to powerful men of the establishment: George Pell, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten. In his new biographical essay, however, Marr’s subject is a self-styled populist outlier and a woman: Pauline Hanson.
As Australian political figures go, they don’t come much more colourful than Hanson. Her divisive speeches and curious catchphrases are etched into the memories of many Australians, from the maiden speech to Parliament (‘we are in danger of being swamped by Asians’) to the famous response to the question of xenophobia on 60 Minutes (‘Please explain?’). Then there was the prison stint, the Dancing with the Stars stint, and the extraordinary recent comeback. The former fish-and-chips shop owner is both loved and loathed. And she’s a serious threat to both major parties, with climbing national approval figures.
Today, Hanson has much in common with other anti-immigration, protectionist and populist political figures gaining traction across the world. At Montalto, David Marr joins Sally Warhaft to discuss Pauline Hanson and the uniquely Australian strain of the politics of resentment.
Books and Ideas at Montalto
‘Author, ecologist, historian, dyslexic and honourary wombat (part time)’ – that’s Jackie French’s job title, according to her own website.
Jackie French writes novels and non-fiction; fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction and ecology; for adults and for kids. Over the course of her career, she’s written a dizzying 140 books. Loved by Australian kids for picture books including the Diary of a Wombat series and Queen Victoria’s Underpants, she’s a passionate advocate for dyslexics and children’s literature and has served as the Australian Children’s Laureate.
Jackie has won countless awards across various genres, including the NSW Premier’s History Award. Her latest novel, Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies, is about a secret finishing school for young women during World War I.
At Montalto Vineyard, Jackie French joins host Wendy Orr to discuss historical fiction, children’s literacy and an extraordinary life in literature.
Books and Ideas at Montalto
The qualities that endear Australian audiences to William McInnes as an actor are the same that endear him as a writer. It’s that wry, laconic voice and the affectionate, authentic take on Australian life.
Loved for his iconic TV roles in Blue Heelers, Sea Change and The Time of Our Lives, McInnes has also won acclaim for film roles including Unfinished Sky and My Brother Jack. In recent years, he’s devoted increasing attention to writing. He’s the author of several works of memoir and the novel Cricket Kings. His latest book, Full Bore, is about Australian artefacts and memorabilia and offers a very funny and perceptive take on Australia’s popular culture and sporting obsessions.
At Montalto Vineyard, William discusses his career and creative endeavours with Melbourne author John Harms.
Fair Play Symposium: Equity, Inclusion and the Creative Industries
How can the arts become genuinely inclusive and reflective of Australian society? How do structural biases prevent certain stories being told, and certain creative work being made in the first place? How do we elevate the work of many different types of artists from many different backgrounds? How have others effected change across the globe?
From the critical to the…
Anything and everything in Australia from across our archives.
Sarah Maddison: Beyond White Guilt (video)
In this Lunchbox/Soapbox, author and academic Sarah Maddison tackles the issue of mainstream Australia’s unacknowledged, unresolved guilt over the brutality of white settlement over two centuries ago — as well as its poor relationship with the indigenous population now. How can we redress injustice and convert our awareness of the past into a productive force?
The challenge, Maddison says, is an adaptive one —…
Debate on Violence in Alice Springs
There’s something special about Alice Springs. It’s a town at the heart of the country not just geographically but, at times, also politically. No other smallish country town in Australia better epitomises the contradictions of Australia’s history. Over at New Matilda, there’s been a fascinating series on Alice Springs and indigenous disadvantage. The latest article is by Dr John Boffa of the People’s Alcohol…
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