Deathscapes

Perpetual Insecurity 12e - A Struggle For Visibility

Deathscapes

A Struggle for Visibility

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[imagecaption] Photo of Khodayar Amini, date unknown, photo received in  2015. Photo: Khodayar Amini. [/imagecaption]

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‘He has [had] a lot to say but he wasn’t able to say [because] he couldn’t speak English…He was logical and wise and he wasn’t silent. He tried to explain things with broken English. But wasn’t enough.’ 

Friend of Khodayar, who lived with him in 2013


In his final phone call, Khodayar asked his chosen witnesses to call SBS television to relay to them the circumstances surrounding his death. He asked for his messages to be translated and shared with the media. He specifically requested that the media be told that the Red Cross, the police and the Immigration Department had killed him. Khodayar sent a series of photographs of himself through to the advocates he was in contact with.

The site of his self-immolation was in Dandenong, an area with a large Hazara community, hundreds of kilometres from where he had lived. His instructions were clear and his messages were targeted. He did not want his suffering to be invisible anymore; he wanted people to know what happened to him. Despite his having no known relatives in Australia, a crowd of more than 200 people gathered at the Robert Booth Reserve to remember Khodayar. Despite some public attention aroused by his death, no changes were made regarding the treatment of asylum seekers in the community.


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