The Waverly Council Library took to Twitter to share a note from a patron who returned a copy of Philosophy for Beginners by Richard Osborne…25 YEARS LATE! When they finally returned the book, the patron included a nice handwritten note:
As the worldwide refugee crisis worsens, it can be difficult for news-watchers to put a human voice to the millions of people who have been displaced from their homelands. However, the Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani has been making waves with his book No Friend but the Mountains which chronicles his tumultuous experience as an asylum seeker.
Image Via Newsroom.unsw.edu.au
The book document Boochani’s life after becoming incarcerated by Australian authorities in an attempt to seek refuge in the country. He was sent off to Christmas Island, about 2,000 miles off the north-west coast of Australia, and later on Manus.
image via the gaurdian
Once in the Manus prison, Boochani experienced ever-increasing violence and dehumanization. “From their perspective,” Boonchani says, “we are nothing more than numbers. I will have to forget about my name… I am a piece of meat thrown into an unknown land, a prison of filth and heat.” The refugees who have been detained remain in a state of limbo, uncertain if or when they will ever leave.
Desperate to have his story shared, Boochani managed to smuggle a mobile phone into the prison in order to text the prose of his book paragraph by paragraph to friends overseas. After it was finally released and published, No Friend but the Mountains gained widespread recognition and recently won a $25,000 national biography award.
Boochani has become one of Austrailia’smost celebrated contemporary writers and he has appeared at several literary festivals via Skype from the prison in Manus. “I have been in a cage for years but throughout this time my mind has always been producing words, and these words have taken me across borders, taken me overseas and to unknown places,” he said in January via video link as he accepted the Victorian Premier’s award. “I truly believe words are more powerful than the fences of this place, this prison.”
Sometimes, that occasion comes millions of times in a row.
It took six months for someone to spot the error: the word RESPONSIBILTY, which we assume was someone’s responsibilty to correct. Oops. While the Reserve Bank of Australia has confirmed that they will correct the error in future print runs, they have also confirmed that the error exists and is, by this point, incredibly widespread. Now, 46 million of these $50 bills are floating around Australia—that’s $2.3 billion. Given that the bill is still valid currency, it’s likely they’ll stay that way.
Whoever’s job it may have been to spot the mistake, that person wasn’t the one who noticed. It was a radio listener who ultimately revealed the error, sending a local station an enlarged photo of the currency. Yes, it does say responsibilty… if you look closely.
Image Via 7 NEWS
What makes the mistake less than small (even if the print was so minute it took a magnifying glass to read) is the particular significance of the $50 note. The bills, which entered circulation in October 2018, display an image of Edith Cowan, the first female member of Australia’s parliament. Behind Cowan’s portrait are many lines of text, a repeated quotation from her first speech in parliament: “It is a great responsibility to be the only woman here, and I want to emphasise the necessity which exists for other women being here.”
Well, as we’ve established, that’s not exactly what it says.
To be fair, the print was far smaller than the mistake. Take a look at this bill, and it will become clear how someone might have missed it. From a picture, it’s hard to tell exactly where Cowan’s speech actually appears. (Hint: from a distance, it looks like grass on the lawn behind Cowan’s head.)
Image Via Tech Spot
Since there’s no way for the RBC to recall each of the erroneous bills (and no serious reason why they would) it’s safe to assume that in the future, this headline will be nothing but a collector’s item. Let’s hope that, as a collector’s item, it’s worth more than the $50 it’s printed on.