Background

 “Help us keep our sanity, remember our humanity.”

Asylum Seeker ‘Moz’ releases song recorded in Manus Island detention centre

Kurdish refugee Mostafa ‘Moz’ Azimitabar 31, has been detained for four years.

The vocals for his song – “All the Same” – were recorded on a mobile phone and, with the footage, the song found its way out to artists in Australia. In the clip, Moz sings into the camera, surrounded by tall wire fences, and implores all Australians to “help us keep our sanity, remember our humanity.”

Moz said the song was created to bring attention to the plight of himself and other refugees.

“We have been left in political limbo for four years now. The conditions are hellish and how they treat us is deplorable. I hope people who are listening to my song will understand our desperation, frustration and fear,” he said.

A group of volunteer Australian artists were connected to Moz in July via a participant in the Julian Burnside AO QC letter writing campaign to asylum seekers. Together they mobilized to help bring the song to life and help Moz be heard.

Collaborative songwriting specialist, Dr Emma O’Brien OAM, led the project working with Moz, passing each track of the song back and forth from Melbourne to Manus.

Rates of depressive or anxiety disorders and PTSD among asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island are “among the highest recorded of any surveyed population”, according to experts, so Moz is at high risk. He suffers from severe insomnia, experiences violence and degradation regularly, and is malnourished.

“You know I don’t know how could I survive in this place, really unusual, I think none could survive more than one week. Sometimes I feel, all of us, all us refugees are dead- its just our souls that are here in detention,” Moz said.

Dr O’Brien, who managed the recording and production process with Moz via messenger, said she was worried about the safety of him and all the refugees, both physically and emotionally.

“I am astounded by his ability to be compassionate and his capacity for forgiveness, a forgiveness, I’m not sure we as silent bystanders of this human tragedy deserve. I know that’s why all the artists are involved, to do something- to send a clear message of humanity and compassion to our political leaders and decision makers,” she said.

As Moz said to Dr O’Brien as the song took shape: “This really brings me energy, it gives me strength, it gives me hope.”

All the Australian artists donated their time and creativity; joining Moz with their voices in a wider call for the humane treatment of Asylum Seekers by the Australian Government and a call to action for their resettlement here in Australia. Moz, like 700+ people still at the Manus Island site, has been deemed a UNHCR certified refugee.

Moz has dedicated ‘All the Same’ to all of those in their refugee plight, to those who have lost their lives at Manus Island and especially to his friend and fellow musician Hamed, who was recently found dead. Moz and Hamed would often play guitar together.

Moz’s ‘All the Same’ Rap and Music Video was presented at the Queensland Poetry Festival Writing Through Fences event with supporters of freedom of speech through the arts on Sunday August 27 and is now for release to the wider community with this special edition video and website.

Credits

‘All The Same’– performed by Moz; Words & Music by Mostafa Azimitabar; onsite filming by Farhad Bandesh

Artists living in Australian who contributed to ‘All The Same’ – Blair Harris (cello), Ryan Fullerton (electric guitars), Stephan Skov (sound engineer & guitars), Craig Pilkington (sound engineer & trumpet), Dr Emma O’Brien OAM (music therapist, editor, arranger & producer). Thanks to Catherine Threlfall (music therapist initial song support), Janet Galbraith (Writing Through Fences), Jane McCracken (Burnside’s Letter Writing Campaign), Carol Quilter (initial poetry support), Chris Lassig & Stefan Delatovic (media).

‘All the Same’ produced by Dr Emma O’Brien OAM with Craig Pilkington @Audrey Studios

Media enquiries and interview requests: Stefan Delatovic, 0420 549 550, sdelatovic@gmail.com

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