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Episode 3: How do you say goodbye forever?

Photo of Elaheh and Ben

I love it here. I’m glad I’m here. But coming here wasn’t worth this. I wouldn’t choose this life at the expense of not seeing my family for so long. If I had the choice.


When Elaheh suddenly had to flee Iran, where “everything was dangerous”, she didn’t realise she might never see her family again. 

She’s now a recognised refugee in Australia with an Aussie twang, but because she came by boat the rules of her safety are slippery here too. And the terms of the visa dictate that her family cannot travel to Australia. She must apply for extraordinary permission to travel, to visit them somewhere safe. And it is up to Australia’s Immigration Minister whether her son, born in Adelaide, can ever meet the strong women who raised his resilient mother.


The voices in Temporary come alive in longform journalism – vividly illustrated by photographers and artists who themselves are refugees and people seeking asylum – on a series hub produced by UNSW’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law.

Temporary is hosted by Sisonke Msimang, and produced by Kara Jensen-Mackinnon and Miles Herbert, with editorial support from Lauren Martin and Miles Martignoni. Original music composed by Lama Zakharia, mixed and mastered by Ryan Pemberton, with series artwork by Matt Huynh. Temporary is a project from the UNSW Centre for Ideas and Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law co-produced with Guardian Australia, inspired by the book Refugee Rights and Policy Wrongs by Jane McAdam and Fiona Chong. Episode photo taken by Jamila Shah.

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