Whether you have days to spend on the beach getting stuck into a book, or just an hour to while-away in air conditioning, Summer is a good time to catch up on reading, watching, and listening to some of the great resources out there. That’s why we’ve created our very own Think List: a resource for you of relevant and engaging pieces to read/watch/listen which we’ve done the hard work of digging up.
This article on The Conversation, about people seeking asylum as Australia’s next wave of entrepreneurs, is the perfect short positive read to get you started and discusses the long term contributions people seeking asylum can make to society.
One of our favourite projects, Behind the Wire, documents the stories of people who have experienced mandatory detention in Australia. All the narratives – of varying lengths – are available to read through the website. One of Road to Refuge’s favourites is Donna’s Story – we’ve also featured Donna in our #WCW series on our Instagram account. Donna came to Australia in 2000 as a 13 year old with her family by boat from Kurdistan and is now a lawyer living in Melbourne studying a Masters of International Relations at Melbourne University.
For subscribers of the Saturday Paper, there are a host of relevant articles to delve through in the archives. If you don’t subscribe (yet) but want to dip a toe in, we recommend Children Behind Bars, or the harrowing account of The Death of Khodayar Amini, both detailing how the difficulties facing people seeking asylum rarely end upon reaching Australia.
New York Times Magazine’s The Dream Boat is an older read, but a visceral, lengthy account of a boat journey from Indonesia to Australia.
If you have some time and are looking for a book to get stuck into, we suggest Ben Rawlence’s newly released City of Thorns which follows the lives of nine people living in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, or Klaus Neumann’s Across the Seas: Australia’s Response To Refugees: A History.
For those who love poetry – Manal Younas’ collection, Reap, was released at the end of 2015. Some of Road to Refuge’s team were lucky enough to attend the launch and got shivers from Manal’s gutsy powerful performances of her spoken word and the book does well to capture this spirit.
If you’ve only got a moment, we recommend using it to watch a short film – both Nora Niasari’s The Phoenix and Lukas Schrank’s Nowhere Line played at our Film for Thought event in 2015, and we’ve been thinking about them both since.
Mary Meets Mohammed and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea are two of our go-to documentaries, both of which are available on DVD, and we can’t overlook an old favourite feature film, Bahman Ghobadi’s Turtles Can Fly, from 2005.
In Television, the SBS series Go Back to where you Came From takes Australian families on a reverse journey of a person seeking refuge, season three is available to watch online now.
Virtual Reality film Clouds Over Sidra follows twelve-year-old Sidra living in the Za’atari camp in Jordan. While the experience is designed to be in 3D, it’s available to watch online, and is a moving piece as a short film alone.
As a 40 minute jumping in point, Devil’s Avocado: Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Boat People is a great overview of the politics surrounding people seeking refuge in Australia.
For a little more detail – this episode of The Conversation’s Speaking With podcast talks to Shanthi Robertson and Ien Ang on migrants, refugees and Australia’s place in Asia.
For a story to get swept up in, listen to This American Life’s episode 560: Abdi and the Golden Ticket – although centered around Abdi’s journey to the USA not to Australia, this podcast is well worth listening to nonetheless.
Happy reading/watching/listening! We’d love to hear what you think in the comments box and if you want to share your favourites, that’d be great too.
Road to Refuge’s Think List will be a seasonal series released in Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring and is aimed a tool and guide for you to engage with the best writing, films and podcasts on people seeking asylum and refugee issues.