Kathleen Mary Fallon – Mamdouh Habib

P Kathleen Fallon LE P&W Vol 1 2019

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Poems by Kathleen Mary Fallon

Kathleen Mary Fallon most recent work is a three-part project exploring her experiences as the white foster mother of a Torres Strait Islander foster son with disabilities. The project consisted of a feature film, Call Me Mum, which was short-listed for the NSW Premier’s Prize, an AWGIE and was nominated for four AFI Awards winning Best Female Support Actress Award. The three-part project also includes a novel Paydirt (UWAPress, 2007) and a play, Buyback, which she directed at the Carlton Courthouse in 2006. Her novel, Working Hot, (Sybylla 1989, Vintage/Random House, 2000) won a Victoria Premier’s Prize and her opera, Matricide – the Musical, which she wrote with the composer Elena Kats-Chernin, was produced by Chamber Made Opera in 1998. She wrote the text for the concert piece, Laquiem, for the composer Andrée Greenwell. Laquiem was performed at The Studio at the Sydney Opera House. She holds a PhD (UniSA).

Mamdouh Habib

What happened was this:-

four years, four years they kept me
away from my wife, my children, my family
four years
they take me first to Egypt
for torture
it’s a mafia business
the US give them money
how much information you want for how much money
it’s a business, I tell you
a mafia business
they are criminals, criminals

they hold me in Egypt
they torture me for days

I can’t tell you torture
you can’t explain torture
you have to feel it, it’s a feeling
it’s psychological

every day they torture me
with beating, electricity, water
tell us tell us
they inject me with drugs
sign this, sign this
before my God
before Allah
I can say nothing
because I know nothing
what I can say?
what I can sign?
nothing, nothing

and I tell you this, I tell you this
this I know
they are happy with 9/11
they say to me many times
in the interrogation rooms
in the interrogation room in Egypt
in the interrogation room at Guantanamo
we are happy with 9/11
because now we can do anything to you

but I say nothing, nothing
I sign nothing, nothing
because I know nothing
what I know?
in Egypt or in Guantanamo Bay

and in Guantanamo
they give me a lawyer
a criminal from the military
he won’t tell me his name
he comes to me and says
I’m your lawyer. I’ll be representing you at your trial.

I say what is your name?
he says I cannot tell you.
I say where do you come from?
he says I cannot tell you
I say how do I get in contact with you?
he says you can’t. I’ll come to you

I say no!
I don’t want you
you ‘re not my lawyer
I will not speak

but they come
and they drag me
they drag me on my back
through gravel
500metres to the trial
but I will not speak to those judges
those criminals
criminals from the US military
criminals from the navy
criminals from the army
criminals from the marines
but I say nothing, nothing
I have nothing to say
before my God
before Allah
I cannot lie

but I tell you this
I tell you those
criminals from the US military are better
than these criminals here
Alexander Downer and John Howard
they wouldn’t even let me into my trial
to get my passport back
they didn’t even drag me

they wouldn’t let my lawyer into the trial
they wouldn’t even let him see the evidence
against me getting my passport back
I tell you they are more criminal

and I have had my house broken into
I have been stabbed
my children are abused
and what I do?
what I do to deserve all this?
nothing, nothing
I tell you my house is a toilet
a public toilet
they come in
those criminals from ASIO come in
whenever they want to
nothing is taken
but they let me know they have been there
I just leave the door and windows
why not?
it is a public toilet

I speak to you ASIO people here
In the audience
I tell you this
you are dishonourable people
I accuse you
why are you following me?
breaking in to my house?
why you are not following the criminal
kidnappers and torturers?
the people who pay for the kidnapping the torture?
the people who pay the money for the information?
I am Australian citizen
I have been kidnapped
and tortured
and held illegally for four year
and now
my taxes pay for you to follow me and
break in to my house
and I object
and I accuse you
of being dishonourable people
of being criminals

What happened was this:-

I was travelling in a bus in Pakistan when it was stopped and a couple of Pakistan men with guns jumped on. They grabbed two young men saying,” the Americans are kidnapping tourists, you must come with us it is for your own protection” They kept saying, “Come with us it is for your safety, for your own protection.” This seemed very strange to me and I said, “ Who are you? Why are you doing this? What is going on here?” And so they grabbed me as well and said, ‘OK! you can come with us too.’ And that it how it started. And they took me off the bus too and put me in handcuffs at gunpoint and took me away and that is how it started. Australian government knew, US government knew, Egyptian government knew. All criminals, criminals. I am an Australian citizen and I have been kidnapped and tortured and held illegally for four years and the government has my passport and will not give it back and will not tell why and ASIO men come into my house whenever they want and my children are abused and why? What I do?

nothing, nothing
before my God
before Allah
I cannot lie
I cannot sign anything
because I know nothing

And Ruddock say now,’I am a person of interest.’ Why I am a person of interest?
And Beazley says, ’We don’t want to hear from people like this.’
What sort of people am I? I want to ask you all here, now, ‘Tell me, please! What sort of person am I?’

That is the story of Mambouh  Habib and that is what happened to him.


Get ready for:-
No more Freedom of Thought
No more Freedom of Speech
No more Freedom of the Press
No more Freedom of Association
No more Freedom to Strike
No more Rule of Law
No more Innocent Until Proven Guilty
No more Habeas Corpus

Get ready for people to disappear

Get ready for Control Orders
Get ready for Sedition Laws
Get ready for Preventive Detention

Get ready for people to disappear

Excerpt from ‘The Etcetera Prayer’

from the all-night putt-putt range on the outskirts to the mammas dream instant pavlova drive-in take-away beside the old highway to the iguana reptile park JUST THREE KILOMETRES DOWN THE ROAD FROM THE TURN-OFF

all dead and dying dreams receive the Light

all the women living alone with their children on the outskirts in outer lying housing-commission suburbs who tick the boxes marked separated, unmarried, divorced, defactoed who wait cold-legged on windy bus stops for that mid-morning connecting bus to the shopping (everything-under-the-one-roof) town in the next satellite suburb who dream on and on on the collapsed inner-springs of lapsed mattresses stained with the reveries of next fortnights direct payment of next saturday nights bus to the dance at the  army barracks receive the Light

to the families who drive their volvos, their saabs, their audis through these depressions, these sub-urbs, of a sunday arvo and can’t help themselves saying look at the state of the cars, look at the amount of bottles, look at the number of under-nourished and neglected poor looking little kiddies who say but the homes could be cosy, the gardens could be attractive and productive (they’ve got the same dirt as we have after all) if only someone had the nous, the good sense, the welfare of the children at heart, been brought up better themselves wind down the windows of your air-conditioned, side-impact protection volvos, your every-safety-feature, crumple-zone front and rear optional saabs, your driver air-bag impact safety device audis and receive the pink and golden Light

etcetera etcetera etcetera

for the tenants in dreary red brick high-rise who illicitly bluetack postcards of europe to the stuccoed lounge room walls and conversely and in the same god-given breath the landlords, the landladies who therefore retain a substantial part of the rental bonds for the spots on the wall, for the stains on the carpet, the dust on the venetians, the filth under the hotplate, the mouse nest at the back of the oven, the syringes, meds and condoms blocking the toilet

for the parts, each and everyone, of the south american babies and derelicts

kidnapped and sold for their organs for the salesmen and saleswomen and the go-betweens and for the recipients of the organ donations for the full bodies or only the heads being kept cryogenically frozen keep the refrigeration agents active

etcetera etcetera etcetera

and let us now pray lip-service to the unemployed bodgie-jobber the do-gooder social worker weaving and warping the social fabric of lies to the wet-dreams of night-soil men to the computer hackers flying down the information superhighways to the pilgrims in sturdy plimsolls still walking the Commons and the trade routes stout staff in hand for the boxer in search of his killer instinct for the hubcap thief in search of his boxfullofsmarts to the sexkittens and fleshpots to the eyecandy and trophywives and their pure self-destruction so clean, so determined their will − some dark medusalike apparition

let us pray lip-service to all those hellbent on a perfect obliteration a perfect contrition to all those who totally exclude themselves as if they were infectious always on the outside looking in let us pray lip-service to so much brutalised innocence so much butchered innocence so many broken children so many lost children on Nauru, on Lampedusa, Manus Island, on the Turkish boarder, the Lebanese border, the Gaza Strip, the Calais Jungle, on inflatables floating in the Mediterranean

let us pray for all the dry-drunks white-knuckling it and the wet-brains hugging their bottles for the executed Chinese criminals and dissidents and their harvested organs, for the prisoners in North Korea’s secret prison camps,


when the bells peal at the sacred heart for another dead junkie pray for all the carnals and the venals and the mortals for all the excesses and obsessions

and fetishes

when the bells peal at the sacred heart for another dead junkie pray for all those whose lives are a meditation on the dark hopeless days between the crucifixion and the resurrection when nobody had yet prayed the lord’s prayer when nobody had yet spoken the golden rule and let us pray an extreme prayer for those who in these latter days have forgotten as if they never knew the words

let us pray for the self-funded retirees suffering relevance deprivation and echochambereffect confirmation bias, the mumanddad investors with bill-shock in the grip of tax-bracket creep

etcetera etcetera etcetera

and let us pray for the ramraiders, the homeinvaders for the whitecollarcriminals and the spreekillers for the spindoctors and the nailsculptors for the corporate-merger-logographic-redesigners for the televangilists in their megatemples  the for all the inspirational speakers and their networkers who fill so many yappyyappy rooms full with that clapclaphahahappy feelgood factor

for all those ascending to a prozac heaven and all those crashing from a seratonin sky let us pray for all the abrasives those who go against the grain cross counter to the current who have cut themselves on the bias pray for all those lovely skirts that flair and let us pray also for all those who go with the flow all the go-alongs-to-get-alongs

for those ingesting unknown substance, old ladies who sit perfectly dressed in the armchair in front of their open doors waiting in case a visitor might come calling, watching for the postie, the neighbour’s wave, the man reading the water or gas metre, for the feral animal shooter strategizing the serious smarts he needs to kill that smarter-than-smart big old granddaddy of a granddaddy feral pig, for those displaying weaponised victimhood, for those who poke their sleeping-dog ex-lovers and watch them go from dog to wolf, for those who let their ex-lovers lie fallow-floating in their seagrass beds, for those caught out cheating via pocket-phone mishaps, for the scammer psychics spruiking their Barnum Statements and Rainbow Ruses,

and let us pray finally and most fervently and ferociously for the unredeemable

© Kathleen Mary Fallon