Starfish readers may recall our reports on Melbourne academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, when she was trapped in an Iran jail, falsely accused of being a spy.
It was such a relief when, after 804 agonising days, Kylie, now 34, was finally freed and allowed to fly home. And it was such a pleasure for us to meet Kylie in person recently, when she came to Perth to talk about her ordeal while promoting her memoir, The Uncaged Sky.
A riveting read, it gives a chilling and fascinating insight into life behind bars in the Middle East.
Astonishingly, for the first year Kylie’s imprisonment, in which she was mostly held in a solitary confinement in a tiny little cell, our officials concealed the news from The Australian public that she was even behind bars.
Even Kylie’s worried family were kept in the dark about many details of her case.
Her family were also told not to comment to journalists about her situation, and when I contacted the Foreign Affairs media unit about her plight, I was told Kylie requested privacy. This turned out to be false. Once Kylie was freed, she made it clear that, au contraire, she had wanted the media to know about her ordeal, and publicise her case. (On the rare occasions she got to talk to her family on the phone from jail, she’d beg them to talk to the media, but they didn’t, heeding those government officials who had told them to keep quiet). Who would have thought our public servants are entitled to lie to us taxpayers, who pay their wages, about such matters? Kylie tells us that after many months, once news finally did get out that she was behind bars in Iran, and journalists began asking questions about her plight, her conditions in prison improved. “I honestly don’t think that without the public pressure the government would have prioritised my release to such an extent,” Kylie reflects.
Anyway, The Uncaged Sky is a gripping read, and it’s out now.
From jail, to blood sugar.. Another book which arrived at Starfish HQ recently is Glucose Revolution, by biochemist Jessie Inchauspe. Her message is that we’ll be much healthier if we keep our blood sugar levels on an even keel and work to avoid those “spikes” you get when you’ve eaten too much wickedness. Jessie says it’s unfortunate that the only people who know their blood sugar levels are diabetics, as we all stand to be much healthier if we understand what’s going on here.
Jessie shares some valuable health tips with us in this issue of The Starfish.
And speaking of health, though some local media outlets would have us believe Covid is no longer a big deal, that it’s time for us all to remove the masks and get on with life, try talking to one of the medical staff at a hospital ICU at the moment. None of us knows in advance just how our bodies will react if we catch Covid. It may just feel like a bad cold, or it may be much worse.
As respected Sydney physician Dr Kerryn Phelps reminds us (check out her informative Facebook posts), when you catch Covid there’s always a risk it will linger for months on end. ‘Long Covid’ can occur even when you’re vaccinated, can lead to brain fog, shortness of breath and exhaustion, to the point that you can’t work, and as yet, there’s no known cure.
So for now, we’re certainly going to ignore those bleating that we ought to take off our masks and pretend the disease is no longer in our midst.
On a lighter note, also in this edition of The Starfish are pieces by our indefatigable film reviewers, Ros and Margot. They talk about three new films: The Duke, Nobody has to Know and A Hero.
On the literary front, prolific local author David Whish-Wilson has produced a new historic novel, The Sawdust House. He talks to us about the book and how it came to be.
There’s also a recipe by Matt Preston, from his new cookbook, World of Flavour. The book features a selection of his favourite dishes from across the planet. We’ve chosen Thai favourite, Coconut Sticky Rice and Mango for your delectation.
Jacqui and Peter