Refugee Voices

On this page you will find featured a variety of writings, art works, and notable achievements by refugees on Manus and Nauru. Please follow the external links for more information and consider supporting their work.

Thanus Selvarasa

Mohammad Ali Maleki

Dry Land

Behind my room I had a piece of land
that stayed forever in my mind –
not knowing how to use it,
I thought arid land was no good.

Then spring came
bringing new purpose
and I planted some tiny seeds.
A stem grew up and multiplied;
buds followed.
In that dry place I’d made a garden
where flowers blossomed and covered
the cracked earth.

I loved my little garden.
Smelling so sweetly, it attracted guests:
dragon flies, butterflies and a sparrow
all came dancing through
until I felt I was dreaming of a garden
that had come to life…

Then the sparrow left.
Months passed and the garden
grew depressed. I did too.

But the sparrow returned with more of its kind,
singing to my garden, making it happy.
That sparrow had found its mother,
just as I had found Mother Earth.

But I have forgotten to tell you
where this garden actually is.
It is far away, on Manus Island.
And you know well
what a menace Manus is.
And how during three years of incarceration
we have suffered here.
For what crime?

I hope you never see this place,
nor your child feel any pain,
even from the thorn of a beautiful flower;
that would make you so sad,
the pain of your precious child.

God knows we are just human
and that we have beloved families.
Are your children neatly dressed?
Are ours dirty?
No. We too are simply human,
like you.
For God’s sake realise this:
it is in God’s eyes
that we are all equal

-Mohammad Ali Maleki

Behrouz Boochani

Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Abdul Aziz Muhamat named 2019 Martin Ennals Award laureate.

Sudanese refugee Abdul Aziz Muhamat was named the 2019 Martin Ennals Award laureate in recognition of his documenting the conditions of incarceration on Manus Island– particularly his podcast “The Messenger,” made in collaboration with The Guardian. Happily, Mr. Muhamat achieved his freedom and was granted asylum in Switzerland while permitted to travel to Geneva to accept the award.

Farhad Bandesh

Songwriter (bio)

“This is How they Drive you Mad”

Mostafa Azimitabar

Bandcamp Page

Interview: “Our Phones Are Our Lifeline”

“All the Same”- Moz