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Monday, September 17, 2012

Film Night - What Does it Mean To Be a Refugee?

Róża Kowalczyk had many questions in her mind after the documentary night during Youth and Action week; she agreed to put them on paper and share it with rest of us. Let us tell you a bit more about her. Róża is from Poland studying International Relations in Asia and Pacific Ocean Region. She was the coordinator of International Research Fundation UMCS project last year on Migration in Europe. In her free time Róża likes to cook, read, paraglide and learn Chinese. Read her ideas about what it means to be a refugee:

Tuesday 21th of August 2012

Who are refugees? What have forced them to leave their fatherlands? And finally – who needs them? Answers to all those questions we could have find watching a documentary during Youth in Action week; an upcoming documentary which is focusing on the issues of refugees in The Netherlands.

Whole film is divides into three main parties. Each of them shows different part of refugees’ life. Each of main characters tells their own history. Sometimes documentary films focus more on a general problem, what makes them less realistic and convincing. This time we could be as close to people’s problems as it is possible. It is not a story about refugees as a group or a potential threat to the society as some believe, it is a film about people who had to leave their usual lives to… live.

A new life, however safe, is very different from the dreams. Can you imagine starting all over again? Education, employment history, friendships… Can you imagine world when suddenly, day by day- you mean nothing. You’re no one, and no one likes you, or even understands; nor helps, nor has a usual conversation. You had to runaway and try to save your life just to become an outsider. You do your best to star over your life: learn language, graduate (one more time!), look for job but you might always stay as an alien.

So maybe sometimes we should check what's happening on the ‘other side'; open our minds and do some research. There might no mainstream media existing that will tell you all the truth about what it is like to live under a dictatorship, but maybe you can find out the truth from your neighbour who escaped from it and ended up living in your country as a refugee. And there is no book which can teach you a country's culture, the mentality as a foreign friend can. Finally, there is no one who can call himself human if he/she forbids others to live happily. That's all this film reminds us. 

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