Perpetual Insecurity 12f - Burial


The Presumption that No One Cared

Flowers laid at Khodayar's burial site.[imagecaption] Flowers at Khodayar Amini’s grave, Northern Memorial Park, 2018. Photo: Stephen Clendinnen. ‘Dead Letters’, 2017. Photo: Stephen Clendinnen. [/imagecaption]


Khodayar did not have an identified senior next of kin in Australia. No one was notified when his body was released and eventually buried more than three months after his death, in a shared grave with two others. Authorities made no attempt to communicate the burial plans to individuals who knew him, to members of the Hazara community or even to the Red Cross, despite the fact that these parties’ stated they wish to be involved. A presumption was made that he had no friends or relatives; that no one cared.

There were networks of people who attempted to follow Khodayar’s case, who wanted to pay their respects and keep his memory alive; however the state institutions relentlessly sought to deny them the opportunity to do so. This prompts the question: if Khodayar’s death, which received some degree of public attention, was treated in this manner, what happens to the other invisibilised people who die while seeking safety in Australia? How many other graves have been quietly dug for people whose names will never appear on any public record?


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