‘I escaped, actually by boat.’

Jacques van der Merwe artist. Refugee from Iran
Jacques van der Merwe. Artworks of refugees and immigrants into Australia.
DATE INTERVIEWED // 07-02-2013
D.O.B. // 06-02-1982
COUNTRY OF BIRTH // IRAN
COUNTRIES LIVED IN// IRAN, AUSTRALIA
DATE OF ARRIVAL IN AUSTRALIA // 2012
KIND OF ENTRANCE // REFUGEE

Hamed arrived by boat from Iran via Indonesia in 2012. He escaped prison, torture and pending execution in Tehran. He is currently in the process of applying for a permanent visa and is learning to speak English.

I was expelled from my university because I was involved very heavily with politics.  I wrote one of the stories by Jean Paul Sarte and then because I was a writer for the cinema and I was active in politics, unfortunately the Iranian authorities were chasing me.

And they followed me to catch and then they put me in jail to execute me. 

That is why I had to escape from Iran to Indonesia and then from Indonesia I took myself to United Nations.

I came by boat, I didn’t come by plane. I escaped, actually by boat. About eight months ago. Then I came to the camp of course because they said I cannot come to the city. They put me in the camp and then they interviewed me. And if I pass they let me come out of the camp.  I was one who had had an interview and then they let me pass and let me out into Australia.

Came to Australia waiting for my permanent visa. Hopefully I will get my permanent visa.

Australia is absolutely, culturally and linguistically different from Iran. But, I’m so lonely here and isolated. But I love this country. I love Australia. Australia is the most beautiful country; they care about me. They care about all their refugees, not only me. And I love it.

I would prefer to be here by myself in loneliness rather to be dead in Tehran and tortured.

So Australia is a lovely country.