The Saudi regime won’t like this magazine. Nor will the Western governments who kowtow to it while exploiting its wealth and paranoia – which have been on full show recently.
The Saudi justice ministry threatened to sue a Twitter user who compared the regime with ISIS after poet Ashraf Fayadh was sentenced to death ‘for spreading atheism and disrespecting the prophet’. This was met with an international #SueMeSaudi campaign.
I am delighted to be able to launch David’s book here in Adelaide – particularly as so many of you will remember him from his previous life as a South Australian playwright and theatre director.
David’s first acclaimed book, Our Father Who Wasn’t There, was connected to his early theatre writings performed at the Red Shed, but The Abyssinian Contortionist is a new departure. It is – as he describes it – his first not-me book.
I got so much pleasure from reading the unexpected twists and turns of this story – particularly when I reached the heart of the book, David’s second visit to Ethiopia -that I don’t want to give too much away.
Did Reza Berati’s death in the Manus Island detention centre mark a low-point in Australia’s response to asylum-seekers? Or could the Australian Government response become even harsher and more unjust?
A week later thousands of people around the country lit a candle in memory of Reza, and also as a memorial to the Australia we used to be proud of: the land of the fair go; the country that lent a hand to those who’ve been treated badly.
The Adelaide #LightTheDark rally was particularly poignant, with two very moving speeches that are well worth re-reading.
After finally escaping a war-torn homeland, surviving a harrowing and perilous decampment and, after all that turmoil, finding out that safety and opportunity were still such distant propositions, your life at the mercy of the political wind.
Much of the world knows little about Bangladesh other than threatened coups, George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, the annual monsoonal floods and perhaps, the Grameen Bank, changing lives one microcredit loan at a time. But it should also be known that this country’s grassroots groups, like the Association for Climate Refugees and Young Power in Social Action, among others, are quickly becoming the vanguard leaders in solving the growing challenge of re-homing Bangladeshis affected by climate displacement.