The current global refugee crisis is not a recent phenomenon and has been building up for a number of years now. Before living in Italy, it was easy for me to dismiss the ongoing news about refugees and the sad reality asylum seekers face every day. However, almost three years of living here and having encountered a number of refugees, I feel deeply impacted by this issue. There are about 180,000 asylum seekers and refugees in Italy, with most in or near Rome. Many are housed in emergency accommodation, with many others living in inhumane conditions, according to a report by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
The reality is, we can no longer face the other way from the comfort of our homes when millions of other people have been denied the basic human right of having a place to call home. This is why the Human Flow, an epic documentary film by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei is very important as it makes ignoring this issue much more difficult. Filmed in 23 countries with the help of over 200 crew-members, Ai Weiwei spent a full year following the precarious journeys of about 65 million people forced from their homes to escape wars, famine and climate change. Crossing oceans and visiting refugee camps in perilous border cities in Mexico, Iraq, Afghanistan, Greece, Kenya, Turkey and more, Weiwei documented the heart-wrenching individual stories of people of all ages and nationalities who currently have no place to call home.
What Human Flow does is to recognise that there is no smooth road to solving these immense calamities that impact all of us directly or indirectly. However, an operating level of empathy would go a long way. Human Flow is a film with two complementary goals, giving a voice to those that circumstances have robbed them of one, and alerting those more fortunate, who think this crisis has nothing to do with them, that this is something you cannot turn away from. Because truth is, to live in a peaceful country is sheer geographical fortune that should not be taken for granted.
Images: Amazon Studios