The documentary Refugees premiered on December 4, 2021 at the conference “Global Crisis. Time for the Truth”.
According to the United Nations, in 2021 the number of refugees exceeded 84 million people, and the number is steadily rising. In today’s world, civilized and secure for some, millions of people are fleeing their homes, driven by war, suffering violence and human rights abuses, and experiencing climate disasters.
They flee, swim, go saving their lives, hoping to find shelter in a safer place. But in fact, refugees find themselves in a new “hell”: inhumane living conditions, without shelter or food, suffering from hostility, beatings and violence. No one welcomes them, no one wants them.
“It was a terrible journey. You know, there was just me and my husband in a wheelchair, for four days. It was hard. I will never, ever forget it… No camp, nothing at all. We were just abandoned. They only took Syrians, so we could only count on ourselves…” – says Soma, a refugee from Iraq. Her husband and she left their country seven years ago and came to Turkey, but their documents are still pending with the UNHCR. Soma says virtually no one is dealing with them, and due to the absence of documents her family’s situation in the country is very unstable, they are constantly struggling to survive.
What forces people to leave their homes?
Jumakan Alikuzaj tells how he came to Germany: “I come from Afghanistan, I am 25 years old. When I came to Germany, I was 17, and so far nobody has helped me. I have a lot of difficulties. It was very difficult and dangerous on my way. It was very difficult in Iran and in Bulgaria, too. For 5 days and nights, we had been walking through mountains without food, there were only cookies or something we had in our backpacks… The way was very hard. We did not go by car, we walked from Afghanistan to Germany. If there had been no war in Afghanistan, I could have stayed there with my family. I left my family because of the war. I lost my father in the war.”
People helping refugees tell terrible things about their realities that wouldn’t even occur to an average person. A woman from Sweden, whose name and identity is withheld for security reasons, told of a horrifying “bacha bazi” ritual performed in Afghanistan by a clan of bandits: “They look for a handsome boy. And they take this boy, make him up, and he dances for them at night. And that boy is obligated to go with a man they tell him to go with. And they sexually abuse him. I took three of them to a hospital in Sweden to have them operated on. They were all badly damaged inside. One even had worms in there.”
The lawlessness of civilization
Yes, today there are laws and international conventions protecting refugees, but only on paper. And in reality, these people, fleeing from certain dangers, in our “civilized” world are again faced with threats to life and health, persecution and violence.
The refugee from Congo, Prince Okitafumba Domba, talks about his life in South Africa: “It’s a very good country. But the only problem we face is xenophobic violence. Because here they don’t like foreigners at all. You don’t live a month without being attacked on xenophobic grounds. They say that as a foreigner you steal their jobs.
I’ve lost hope of living in a wonderful society. I don’t know, I’ve lost this hope because I see people being killed, I see people being shot right in front of me. And the fear I feel right now is for my two children. Every day I hear thoughts in my head, “It could happen to my child, it could happen to me. I have no peace because of that. I’ve lost that peace.”
Yes, the laws of consumer society do not protect refugees. Сamps that are organized for them have no conditions for a normal life, but they often become a new trap, where people are subjected to physical and psychological violence. Today, forced migration is inextricably linked to constant violations of human rights. It is refugees who most often become victims of the enormous multi-million dollar business of human trafficking. They are sold for organs, for sexual purposes or for hard labor…
“In North Africa, even in Libya, there was a market where people were sold for seventy, a hundred or two hundred dollars. Young people were forced to work for free, that is, practically like slaves…
We are talking about human trafficking, which includes women and young children. We are talking about two million people every year. That is, we are talking about a huge number of people who are trafficked for purposes that have nothing to do with humanity,” commented Ria Abu El Assal, the Thirteenth Anglican Bishop, head of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.
Any one of us can become a refugee tomorrow
The refugee situation shows very clearly the crisis of modern society, where money is valued above human life. People who have migrated from other countries are often looked upon as the dregs of society. But if we pay attention to global climate change on the planet, it is obvious that any of us could become a refugee tomorrow. Billions of people will move in search of a safe place to survive when natural disasters hit their homes… And then what?
A chance for salvation
Today we need to change the format of the consumer society into a creative one. We need to pass laws that protect people, their lives and safety, not the private capitals of individuals. There is still time to build the Creative society, where people will be a support for others, where the life of each of us will be valuable and untouchable.