Transnational gendered (im)mobility in border cinema: Iraqi refugee women in Australia

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Hope by Steve Thomas is a feature documentary that tells the story of the SIEV-X tragedy during which around 400 Iraqi women, men and children drowned as they were trying to reach Australia by boat. This article focuses on Hope’s representation of Amal Basry, a Muslim veiled female asylum seeker who survived this tragedy. Through its discussion of Amal Basry, this paper reveals the intersectional forces that face female asylum seekers. This article adopts a transnational feminist approach to question the neo-Orientalist reduction of Muslim women’s problems to their religion. Hence, it seeks to shift the focus to the state crimes committed against refugees and to the impact of Australia’s harsh immigration policy on them and their families. Exploring Australia’s violation of the non-refoulement principle, and its disregard for its international obligations towards refugees, unveils the often-unstated spatial oppression that torments Muslim female asylum seekers due to Australia’s cruel refugee policy. My main argument is that Hope complicates the flat category of the “Muslim woman” through its focus on Iraqi veiled women’s agency, the struggle against the racialized border militarization and the criminalization of their movement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-326
Number of pages18
JournalLaw and Literature
Issue number2
Early online date17 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Australia
  • Iraq
  • SIEV-X
  • female paperless migration
  • refugee women


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