Detained Manus Refugee Moz Sings His Ode To “Love” And Compassion
Moz is a Kurdish refugee who fled from troubles in his homeland and arrived in Australia in 2013. He was forcibly transferred to Papua New Guinea and locked up in Manus Detention Centre, designed to deter refugees from coming to Australia. After 6 years he was transferred back to Australia and is currently still locked up on the 3rd floor of the Mantra Hotel, in Preston, Melbourne, along with around 65 other refugees and asylum seekers. They spend 23 hours a day in their room, with only a view of the carpark connecting them to the world.
Since arriving in Melbourne, Moz has watched the world go by from his window. He has received support and encouragement from friends and supporters of refugees, many who have come to the carpark and waved to him from the window, holding banners, singing songs, and attending protests asking for their release.
Producer Jim Moginie (Midnight Oil guitarist) writes:
“I'm so proud of this man. Moz has been locked up indefinitely in the Mantra Hotel in Melbourne with 65 other refugees. If you think lockdown is bad, think of being locked up for 6 1/2 years on Manus Island and then here when there was no crime, and no sign of release due to the Australian Goverment’s inhumane policies. Moz displays incredible endurance to his, and his comrades’ desperate situation by responding with love for the people who are speaking out and coming to their aid.
“We put together his song, with his phone in the Mantra and some studio tinkering and mixing by me. The guitar was given to him by Jimmy and Jane Barnes and Moz plays it and sings on the record. Maryanne Slavich did backing vocals, Robert Hambling the film clip and Steve Smart at #studios301 mastering."
A deeply felt song that expresses gratitude, joy and love to friends.
It was written despite seven years of fear, frustration and isolation in detention.
The song shows the transformative power of human warmth and care to overcome darkness, cruelty, systematised abuse, pain and struggle.
It shows that even daily exposure to racism and xenophobia can be endured if enough people share their humour, energy, resources and friendship.
Recorded in a hotel room where Moz has been imprisoned on the third floor of Preston Mantra Hotel. It was recorded on a phone. Moz has been denied visitors for most of his detention and most of his connections with friends over a phone.
Moz arrived in Melbourne under Medevac legislation from Port Moresby in November 2019.
Moz has endured every crisis that befell the group of asylum seekers detained on Manus since July 2013, many leading to fatality or permanent injury, from bashings to suicides to evictions, shooting and machete attack. Moz himself was hit with an iron bar during the 2017 closure of the Lorengau Regional Processing Centre.
His goal is freedom for 1440 immigration detainees, integration into Australian communities and transitioning from relationships based on guilt and concern to joyful independence and exchange.
Exchanging energy, patience and hope. Moz acknowledges that advocates have dug deep to support his cohort throughout their detention.
The song is an expression of gratitude.
Advocates have done as much as they can despite their own busy lives and day to day pressures, including difficult personal circumstances like demanding work, deep poverty, frail age, the struggle for human rights as aborigines in Australia, caring for parents or children with disabilities, casual work, profound health crises (such as MS, scleroderma or Christina Coombe’s terminal cancer) and of course recent threats from bushfire and coronavirus.
The song has been released to coincide with other events at detention centres and APODs this week.
Detainees and their supporters are conducting events and demonstrating daily.
Jim Moginie, Producer, Guitarist with iconic Australian rock band Midnight Oil.