“If children will grow without any hopes, without any prospects of future, without any sense of being able to make any sense out of their lives, then they will become vulnerable to all sorts of exploitation including .”
At age 60, he travelled to 23 countries shooting the myriad of miseries of those who had fled religious persecution, famine, war and violence from around the world to arrive in Europe. Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist and activist, has given us a wake-up call. Through his new documentary called “Human Flow,” he aims to prevail over indifference toward the plight of the refugees globally. This film is about the first ever global migration exodus and captivates the audience well. The central idea of the film is to sensitize people to the lives of refugees facing harsh realities. This film aims to evolve ignorant minds by erasing discrimination and encouraging the acceptance of the suffering of others.
He has beautifully captured images of innocent infants and children, many of whom have faced, and succumbed to, the waves of the gigantic sea and fought hunger; and many of whome are continuing to fight for survival. Smiling, questioning the world they are lost in, and not knowing that they may remain just a part of history and not of a future. As a child, Ai Weiwei faced persecution by the communist regime in China. His work reflects sensitivity from his own personal tragic experiences and understanding of those refugees, especially children, facing a dark future.
The film reveals their distressed living conditions in unhygienic places prone to disease, without attending school for months, facing boredom and depression in the refugee camps. It reveals that generations after generations have grown up in the same refugee camps. This pinpoints the risk of radicalization even further, which then becomes a concern not for a particular region but for the entire world. These children have survived bombings, killings, exploitation, hunger, violence, loss and much more. In addition, their continuous victimization is causing danger to their physical, psychological and mental health. The elegant use of drones capturing children running aimlessly says a lot about their lives.
What has forced the refugees to leave everything behind is the asymmetrical results of globalization. They do not seek the best education, cuisine, accommodation, nor living conditions. They are surviving with a flickering light of hope just to be treated as human. The refugee caravan walked miles seeking peace and a life worth living. The increasing refugee population from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, South East Asia and Central America shouts extremely compelling reasons to seek refuge in other countries. “We will pay them back through our contribution,” says one refugee interviewee in the documentary.
The Refugee Convention was born in Europe and this film appeals to the European Union to keep its promise alive. There is a need to open borders. The insufficient humanitarian aid isn’t enough. We can conclude from the interviews that this phenomenon of human flow is complex and massive. The EU and the West must realize their shared responsibility. These developed countries must run resettlement programs immediately and discard any diplomatic tactics to stray them away in far-flung areas.
What are we waiting for? We are not even 60 yet. We have the best of everything in abundance. If we are fortunate not to be born in those refugee-producing countries, it’s time to share that fortune now. It’s time to share some space and resources with these homeless people who at least deserve to be treated as Humans.
This Halloween, let’s strengthen our International Humanitarian services to refugees, especially the children stranded in hopeless pigeonholes.
“The more immune you are to people’s suffering, that’s very, very dangerous.”- Human Flow