Junior Fellow Niyosha Keyzad in conversation with Omid Tofighian about his translation of No Friend But the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani.
Behrouz Boochani’s, No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison, demands a reckoning with the colonial logic of “kyriarchal” immigration systems and practices. Omid Tofighian will discuss his translation of this astonishing story of survival with Junior Fellow, Niyosha Keyzad. Tofighian and Keyzad will consider the ways in which Boochani works against conventional modes and genres to bring lived experiences of immigration detention and systematic torture into the realm of common understanding.
“What is happening to the world lies, at the moment, just outside the realm of common human understanding. It is the writers, the poets, the artists, the singers, the filmmakers who can make connections, who can find ways of bringing it into the realm of common understanding. Who can translate cash-flow charts and scintillating boardroom speeches into real stories about real people with real lives. Stories about what it’s like to lose your home, your land, your job, your dignity, your past, and your future to an invisible force. To someone or something you can’t see. You can’t hate. You can’t even imagine.”—Arundhati Roy, Power Politics
Omid Tofighian is an award-winning lecturer, researcher and community advocate, combining philosophy with interests in citizen media, popular culture, displacement and discrimination. He completed his PhD in philosophy at Leiden University, Netherlands, and graduated with a combined honours degree in philosophy and studies in religion at the University of Sydney. Tofighian has lived variously in Australia where he taught at different universities; the United Arab Emirates where he taught at Abu Dhabi University; Belgium where he was a visiting scholar at K.U. Leuven; Netherlands for his PhD; intermittent periods in Iran for research; and in Egypt where he was Assistant Professor at American University in Cairo. His current roles include Adjunct Lecturer in the School of the Arts and Media, UNSW; Honorary Research Associate for the Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney; faculty at Iran Academia; and campaign manager for Why Is My Curriculum White? – Australasia. He contributes to community arts and cultural projects and works with refugees, migrants and youth. He has published numerous book chapters and journal articles, is author of Myth and Philosophy in Platonic Dialogues (Palgrave 2016), translator of Behrouz Boochani’s multi-award winning book No Friend but the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison (Picador 2018), and co-editor of ‘Refugee Filmmaking’, Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media (2019).
Niyosha Keyzad is a PhD candidate at the Department of English and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Her research focuses on diasporic Iranian life writing, literatures of exile and displacement, and theories of space and identity.