The Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, at the University of Portsmouth, shares the success of mature student, Andrew Larder, who has had a monologue read out at Journeys Festival International last October.
Andrew, aged 55, is a 3rd-year mature student here at the University of Portsmouth, studying BA (Hons) Film Industries and Creative Writing. Andrew read out his monologue ‘Feather on the Wind’ at the Journeys Festival International Weekender on Saturday 27th October.
‘When my children are older I will teach them that there is only one nationality and that is humanity.’ Dr Ahmad Terkawi
Andrew shares his inspiration;
”My inspiration came from listening to an episode of Radio 4’s Short Cuts, Hope Dies Last, one evening when driving (according to BBC I player 28/02/17) when I heard the moving story of Dr Ahmad Terkawi. This item was only a few minutes long and I have focused on a small section of his tale. Dr Terkawi had worked in Jordan for Red Cross and had to flee his home country of Syria. Having bought a passage on a boat with smugglers, they refused to drop them off on the shore and threw his child into the sea to make them leave the boat.
Dr Terkawi is now based in Sweden and runs a service by mobile phone for refugees making the sea crossing. He helps guide them in by using GPS.
I have tried to contact him personally but no luck yet. I have dramatized the events in the boat and listened to other people who have fled their country under similar circumstances”.
FEATHER ON THE WIND
A sea breeze grazed Ahmad’s face and forced his eyes shut. Was this a Mistral? A dune sculpting Samoon? Iraqi Shamal? So many names for the wind. More likely to be the tail end of a strong-willed Bora. Ahmad felt like a feather at the mercy of the wind.
Stubbornly the little boat rose and fell across the waves and into the pitch-black night. Ahmad forced his eyelids apart. The rocking of the bow and the rhythmic chugging of the engine willed Ahmad to sleep but he knew he had to stay awake.
His wife Dina had already succumbed but still held their baby daughter Maya in her arms. Ahmad had to fight his craving for rest.
Watching his wife and year-old child sleep, Ahmad prayed they had done the right thing. The decision to leave was hard, but to remain was to put them all in mortal danger and near certain death. The city was under siege by the army. Inside militia and criminals killed innocents randomly. Snipers, power cuts and rationing had made the place they had once called home a killing zone. Life became worthless, life meant nothing, survival was everything.
The engine cut out and Ahmad knelt up to look over the side railing. No sign of land, just the black night. The smugglers were laughing and joking. One of them carrying a rifle walked towards him. The sea tapped against the bow of the boat, but Ahmad could also hear waves breaking on the shore. The sound carried by the night breeze.
‘This is your stop.’ said rifleman.
Ahmad gazed into the night.
‘We are too far out. Take us in closer.’
Dina began to stir, Maya wriggled in her arms.
‘Are we there?’ Dina asked still groggy.
Rifleman stooped to take Maya.
‘Let me help you.’ he said smiling.
‘No, no.’ Ahmad cried, ‘take us in closer.’
With a sweeping action, rifle man stole little Maya and threw her into the sea.
Dina screamed, Ahmad launched himself into the water after her. Dina quickly followed.
Maya resurfaced gasping for breath, thrashing her arms, half screaming, half choking.
Before Ahmad cleared the salt water from his eyes to find Maya, the boat started up and slipped away.
Ahmad clutched at Mayas’ tiny body and lifted her up out of the water, submerging himself under the waves. Maya clutched to his chest and their heads above the waves, Ahmed struggled to locate the direction of the beach but the wind on his face helped him decide.
He estimated they were at least thirty metres from safety. The three of them made their way to the beach. where they collapsed, crying and laughing.