The People Smuggler: An evening with Robin de Crespigny
The event ‘The People Smuggler: An evening with Robin de Crespigny’, hosted by the Centre for Human Rights Education(CHRE) and the Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) at Curtin University on Thursday 28 February 2013, was a successful evening with 120 people in attendance. You can listen to the audio recording of the presentation or view the video of Robin addressing the audience and answering questions about the book by clicking this link.
People from various backgrounds came along to listen to and ask questions of Robin. Dr Caroline Fleay from the CHRE was the MC for the evening, opening with an introduction to the CHRE and introducing the speakers. Mr Walter McGuire Junior, Traditional Owner and Nyoongar representative for the Wadjuk Tribal Clan delivered the Welcome to Country.
Marcus Hampson from RRAN spoke about his experiences in Thailand and Indonesia at the end of 2012. He spoke of his meetings with asylum seekers, refugees, non-government organisations and community groups. He shared some of their stories with the audience. Caroline then discussed the complexities of people smuggling operations in order to introduce the theme of the book.
Robin de Crespigny explained how she came to write ‘The People Smuggler’ and spoke about the Iraqi asylum seeker, Ali Al Jenabi, the man behind the story. Robin expanded on the experience of writing the book with him and read excerpts from the book and highlighted some of the reasons for his decision to become involved in people smuggling. Robin discussed Ali’s experiences in prison and in immigration detention in Australia and his current plight as he has been denied a permanent visa to stay in Australia. Robin then answered questions from the audience.
A call to action was made at the end of the evening, asking for individuals to support a campaign to lobby for Ali to be given a permanent visa to remain in Australia. For more details, please go to Robin’s website http://www.thepeoplesmuggler.com/about_ali_al_jenabi/ where there is a form letter you can use as a template to send a letter or email to the Minister for Immigration, Brendan O’Connor.
Thank you to Robin for taking the time to speak at the event after a busy week of speaking engagements. We also thank RRAN for co-hosting with us and for greatly assisting in the organisation of the event.
(By Gaylene Galardi and Mary Anne Kenny. Photos by Gaylene Galardi)