Poetry of a detained asylum seeker

Issue 

REVIEW BY SARAH STEPHEN

Poetry by Mohsen Soltani Zand
Vocals by Annette Hughes, Yvette Duncan and Jane Camacho
Music by Geoffrey Datson
$20, order at <www.stickylabel.com.au/mohsen.html> or <http://www.chilout.org>
Send cheque or money order to PO Box 1166, Darlinghurst NSW 1300

Mohsen Soltani Zand is a young Iranian asylum seeker who was in detention for four years, first at Port Hedland and at Villawood in Sydney's western suburbs. He was released recently.

In detention, Mohsen became a prolific poet, writing about love and the pain of being imprisoned.

The Children Out of Detention (Chilout) web site says: "He has trusted us with his friendship and his words in the hope that we might be able to amplify his voice. Every day his despair deepens, and we sincerely hope that his spirit refuses to desert him. Mohsen has dedicated this album to the children in detention".

All proceeds from the sale of this album go to Chilout.

The following poem is an expression of thanks, on behalf of the people in detention, to those who continue to campaign for justice and human rights. It was read to thousands at the World Refugee Day protests across Australia in June.

If one person dies

If one person dies, there is always one who will bury them.
If a bird falls from the sky, there is one who will mend its broken wing.
If a building collapses, someone will dig to rescue survivors.
After the deluge, the ones who are left will search for loved ones.

There are still just consciences.

We are the dying, just barely breathing.
We are the birds, hearts pierced by the arrow of faith.
We cry out from beneath the rubble of humanity Washed up by the flood to this shore.

We are innocents who have kissed the noose of Australian democracy.
We were the fan to the political fire, who now find ourselves in the flames.
We who believed in the dream of freedom, are stuck fast in a quagmire of prejudice.

You are the only hope after God.
And you are the light in the darkness of Australian politics.
You are the ones who are left.
We hear the voice of conscience through your mouths.

BY MOHSEN SOLTANI ZAND

From Green Left Weekly, January 22, 2003.
Visit the Green Left Weekly home page.

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