Otherstani: a world without borders, imaged from behind bars

Poet Talha Ahsan spent eight years in UK and US prisons without trial.

Otherstani is brand new animated poem written by Platinum and Bronze Koestler Prize winning poet, Talha Ahsan.  

Ahsan wrote the poem during his time in prison where he spent 8 years in the UK and the United States without trial.  In 2012, after spending 6 years in high security UK prisons, Talha was extradited to the United States and kept in a death row prison, spending a considerable amount of time in solitary confinement.  

His poem, Otherstani, is a story about the triumph of imagination despite gross injustice and displacement. Using the allegory of the 12th century epic poem, Conference of the Birds by Farīd ud-Dīn Aṭṭār, the visual poem charts Talha’s musings on foreseeing a better world despite violence of borders.  

Otherstani is animated by Malikah Holder, produced by Zain Dada, music by Rui Da Silva & edited by Dhelia Snoussi. It was originally commissioned by Khidr Collective. The short film was made to highlight the work of HHUGS, Helping Households Under Great Stress, an organisation which provides financial, emotional, and practical support and advice to Muslim households impacted by counter-terrorism, national security and extremism-related laws, policies and procedures, in the UK and abroad.

HHUGS 7th Annual Winter Walk on February 9th 2020 is a collective way of supporting  hundreds of families impacted by counter-terror measures.  You can join the walk, register or donate here

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