Creative Industries Precinct, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia
Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology
The Bitter Shore, by Jacqui Everitt, is an overdue yet well-researched chilling story of a refugee Iranian family who belong to the officially-unrecognised minor religion of Ahle-Hag. Kurdish husband, Saeed with his five-year-old son, Shayan, from a previous marriage and a young pregnant Arab wife, Zahra, flee persecution to find themselves in the “hell at the border of paradise.” The tragic mistake the newly-weds couple make is a commonly embraced fantasy of Iranians inside Iran that Australia welcomes asylum-seekers.
We need more of these life stories to humanise the image of refugees in camps and further awaken Australians about the inhumane treatment of refugees in the name of national security under the Howard's government. Of course, unless the real conditions of refugee lives in detention are not widely represented in transnational media, the persecuted Iranians and others from the region will stick to their private dreams of Australia as a paradise and will flock towards the shore for realising them.