Good Reading : July 2017
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING JULY 2017 50 BOOK BITE 1 BOOK BITE BOOK BITE 1 BOOK BITE 2 UNDER THE SAME SKY BY MOJGAN SHAMSALIPOOR AND MILAD JAFARI MOJGAN In detention, sadness can be like an illness that spreads from person to person. I do not wish to say too much about some things I saw and heard, but I think it’s very important to give some picture of what can happen. First, let me tell you about BITA [Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation] itself. If my memory is right it had four blocks, and each of them had five rooms with beds. We had a common area, some small grass spaces, a basketball court, and there was a little canteen; every week each detainee was given 25 points that we could use to buy things like snacks, phone cards and shampoo. Also, every adult was allowed one razor each, and when a razor wore out, the owner could take it back to the canteen and swap it for a new one. Those razors were used in some horr ible ways. I don’t know how, but there were always whispers when someone was about to be transferred somewhere else, and that made some detainees very scared. So, they hurt themselves. They cut themselves a lot. They didn’t care what they did. On the outside, girls think it’s important not to have ugly marks on their bodies and faces, but in detention they don’t think like that. One day I was taking care of a baby while his mum went to the shower. Suddenly I heard the mum screaming and hitting herself against a wall. I ran to her, but her shower door was shut. Then I ran to her husband who was in the computer room. ‘Your wife is getting crazy.You must do something!’ I got some guards too. They were so calm. The husband wanted to break down the door, Iranian asylum seekers MOJGAN SHAMSALIPOOR and MILAD JAFARI met and fell in love in with each other Australia, but while Milad was approved as a refugee, his wife, Mojgan, was placed in detention. In this extract from their account of their experiences, Under the Same Sky, they recount what it was like for Mojgan to live in a detention centre and they tell of their quest to resist the government’s attempts to pull them apart.