Friday, 29 June 2018

We are the World Blogfest ... # 15 - Human Flow: Refugees on the Move ...




Human flow - is, at it suggests, a lot of people on 'a path' ... desperate to escape their country, to find hope in a welcoming land, to be able to live peacefully giving their family a better deal ...
Film poster


... through the dusty, hot trails across the desert, even in a rubber dinghy of doubtful origin setting out across the Mediterranean Sea - the horrors of life without papers, without security ... and in the film we all see the hopelessness and horror these refugees go through to give themselves a chance of a life ...



I went to see the documentary film Ai Weiwei (the Chinese contemporary artist and activist) has made titled "Human Flow".


Ai Weiwei




Ai Weiwei's experience of being held in China, then getting his passport back and being able to travel - he went to Lesbos, Greece to see the refugees ... drawing on his own persecution ... and checking other refugee routes ... 




This eye opening experience led him to make the film.  He states, when the film was shown at La Biennale di Venezia, the following:

"Human Flow is a personal journey, an attempt to understand the conditions of humanity in our days.  The film is made with deep belief in the value of human rights. 

In this time of uncertainty, we need more tolerance, compassion and trust for each other, since we are all one.  Otherwise, humanity will face an even bigger crisis."


Armenian woman and
children forced  in 1915, with
many others, to flee from
Anatolia to Syria ... where are
their descendants now,
I wonder
The film was released in 2017 ... for it he visited over 20 countries ... and I've put links below - so you can read more: which I hope you will do ... even if you don't get to see the film.


Also to read up more about Ai Weiwei - which I had not realised ...





That's my contribution to #We Are The World Blogfest for this month ... it is eye opening ...


We are the World - In Darkness, Be Light


We are made to think ...

Ai Weiwei - Wikipedia article 

Human Flow - links across to YouTube 2.25 mins introduction

The Guardian article ... revealing a deeply affecting empathy for those caught in a global crisis.


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

54 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Our church sponsors missionaries in Greece and the Middle East, and their stories about the refugees are heartbreaking. But not without all hope.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

This sort of makes me sad because the US was such a haven for refugees of all sorts for so long...

Liz A. said...

I think I read about this movie last year. It sounds like a worthwhile watch, especially these days.

Anabel Marsh said...

HUMAN flow - I despise those (no names, no pack drill but you get them on both sides of the Atlantic) who think of HUMANS as swarms or infestations. And perhaps if the west had not interfered in so many other countries there might not be so many refugees.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I bet it's really powerful. It's sad there are so many genuinely seeking refuge while a few others are just sneaking into countries for terrorist reasons.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex - that's lovely to hear about ... there are amazing people who will be there supporting - but as you say the stories can be heartbreaking - but all is not without hope.

@ Elizabeth - yes ... what is happening now is really quite worrying - we seem to be losing our compassion and understanding ...

@ Liz - thanks ... it opens our eyes to what's going on in all parts of the world and I hope you can make a plan to see it ...

@ Anabel - I agree ... but it does describe what's going on in parts of the world ... see the title photo in the Youtube link: it is a 'flow of people' walking to somewhere ...

Some people's descriptions are appalling and completely without any understanding. Yes, sadly imperialism through the centuries has wrought havoc with peoples ... now there isn't much room to move around and start again ... so the refugee crisis is not getting easier ...

@ Diane - it is very powerful - and of course, as you mention there are many trying to get a better life for themselves and their families ... while the 'horrid' few are taking advantage of the situation for themselves or their cause ...

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting - I hope you can all get to see the film ... and we can improve this world by helping and understanding in our small way - Hilary

Out on the prairie said...

Sad to see in a recent article of destruction of 20,000 volumes of books in one of the oldest collections in Timbuctoo by terrorists.I am not sure what becomes from destroying peoples lives and landmarks

Paula Kaye said...

At this horrible time we are going through in the USA this is an appropriate time for this post. Good to visit you again Hilary!

Elephant's Child said...

How I long for the day when we realise that there is no 'us and them' and that we are, or should be, a community.
This post tugged at my heart - as the fate of asylum seekers does world wide.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari om
I admire Ai Weiweils work and am aware of the film, tho' yet to see it. If only governments and entrenched minds would accept that humankind is, by nature, migratory and never more so than from areas of strife. It began in our earliest history and will remain with us always... those who reject now may become the fleers of the future and what will be said then??? YAM xx

Deborah Weber said...

Ai Weiwei is a remarkable man, and I look forward to seeing this film. I think the plight of the displaced and fleeing and our collective response to the ever-increasing crisis is perhaps the most heartbreaking issue of our time. We apparently have a long ways to go in stepping up to the claim of our humanity.

Emily Bloomquist said...

Thank you, Hilary, for highlighting a global, heartbreaking topic. I had not heard of this documentary but will look for it now. When the storyteller is someone who has been in a similar situation to the story being told, documentaries usually seem to tell the story quite well.

Ignorance prevents many people globally from understanding why people leave their homes to become refugees. It is thrust upon them. They chose a potential for life over likely death or starvation. Ai Weiwei appears to be trying to end that ignorance by replacing it with empathy. Good for him and for you for sharing this.

I now live in a country with more refugees than all other countries in South America combined. There are people who recently left Venezuela because they could not afford to live there. They tell of people who cannot afford transportation out of the country and do not have enough to eat. I've also met people who came years ago from Colombia after their towns were overrun by drug wars. They all love their country of origin but are unable to live there.

(Sorry I haven't been around lately. I plan to spend the next week catching up on reading and doing some writing.)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

The film sounds both eye-opening and heart-breaking. Or perhaps it has a hopeful element? Sadly, the number of "welcoming lands" in the world is shrinking, and it's horrid to see so much hatred and us vs. them mentality in the world.

Thanks for highlighting this man and his film.

Have a wonderful weekend! Cheers!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Steve - they saved lots of incredibly ancient manuscripts from Timbuktu ... thankfully they were secreted away. However as you say 'they' seem to be hell bent on destroying archaeological treasures, ancient buildings and art (let alone killing people) as and when they can - so desperately sad ... who knows what will happen to their souls ...

@ Paula - it's not good around the world - and yes I was pleased to see this film recently and thus want to write it up = so hopefully others will get a chance to watch it and make a plan to see it ...

@ EC - I really did hope at the Millennium that we were on your path to a happy, peaceful word - and cannot believe how far backward we've gone ... the film really does highlight a lot - and also shows the refugee plight around the world ... so unthinkable ... yet here we are - and we should understand more, and appreciate their need for a life ... by posting I hope more people will become aware of this comprehensive film and help them ...

@ Yam - that's good you're aware of his film and will get to see it at some stage. We seem to have self-centred heads of state - that do no-one any good ... I'm not sure where humility has got to for these so called leaders. As you imply we really need to see both sides of the coin - theirs, with their suffering and their background, ours being relatively comfortable. You're right over the centuries not much has changed - but now it seems to be so escalated ... who knows about the future ... but I do hope we can have justice and hope for all .

@ Deborah - Ai Weiwei is a remarkable man - you're so right there. The film is really worth seeing ... with a little of the background to it - before you sit and watch it. It is desperate ... and as Emily says below your comment - the refugee crisis is in her country (Ecuador) too: we do need to all step up and open our hearts to all peoples in dire need.

@ Emily - it's not a positive topic - yet by highlighting it - more friends of ours around the blogging world will pick the information up and pass it on, I expect and hope: giving a little more understanding to many.

I hadn't paid attention to what Ai WeiWei was doing ... but seeing this film alerted me to his work about refugees - after his horrible persecution at home ... and perhaps because he was based in Berlin, where many artists and movie makers are - not where I expected him to be.

The Venezuela and Columbia stories are just so desperate ... as too other similar hard-line dictator states ... humanity does not deserve this. The stories you must hear must be heart rending ... yet they have a life and can continue ... we can look for hope for them. I think we'd all like to live where we were born ... some of us move for a while, for a reason ... but we all need peace and the ability to be ourselves and to blossom ... I do hope your refugees can find that in Ecuador ...

@ Susan - it is both ... and not necessarily a positive post - but by sending out here ... I know that #WATWB friends and fellow bloggers will pick the film up and from that hope will come as we'll absorb and realise the horrors that so many persecuted people are going through ...

Thank you so much for commenting - I do hope you'll pass the film on to friends and family to watch, so they may all be more aware ... thank you - Hilary

Simon Falk said...

This is a great story, Hilary. Who doesn't like a good movie and it is a great cause. Sadly, our immigration policies here in Australia are quite inhospitable. Bit films like this may change minds and hearts. Thanks for sharing and supporting our WATWB.

Jacqui Murray said...

Such a difficult topic. My heart goes out to these people and this situation. I'm Catholic and was sorely disappointed the Pope wouldn't even care for the 100 immigrants the Vatican had been asked to care for. Yet, he talks a good line.

Sorry--I'm off my game today.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

These days I cry a lot because of the inhumanity of man. I cannot believe the cruelty and hate that is put upon these refugees who are just trying to save themselves and their children.

M Pax said...

The cruelty on the loose these days breaks my heart. I've taken action against it and find hope in that many others are doing the same.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Simon - it is very enlightening documentary film, which makes one sit and think ... there are so many refugees in the world - escaping to better their lives. I do hope we can help their countries give them a better life, and thus let them return home to peace ...

@ Jacqui - it is a very difficult topic and one that affects so many in the world today ... here we do hear and see what is going on; I hear you ... it is a difficult topic - the Pope has taken a few refugees into the Vatican - but as you infer not enough ... and one does wonder why.

@ Arleen - I can't believe what our leaders are doing ... yet have no suggestions or answers to the dilemma - other than to help their original homelands ... so that they can have a peaceful home to return to.

@ Mary - it's good you've taken action - we all can help each of us in our little way ... and I too hope many will help.

Thanks so much ... it is such a difficult problem - and worse for those who feel the need to flee ... let's hope the world gathers its senses very soon ... Hilary

Dan said...

Thanks for adding this post to WATWB, Hilary. It's so sad to realize the kind of inhumanity that exists in the world today. You would think by now we would be beyond this kind of evil. I applaud this man for producing the documentary.

Murees Dupé said...

It always makes me sad that humans can do such cruel things to each other. Luckily there are a few good ones left. Keep well, Hilary.

Marja said...

An inspirational post with a call for understanding of the immensely sad problem of the refugees in search for a life. Would love to see the movie Will check it out

Fil said...

I had never heard of Ai Weiwei Hilary - thank you for the links and the pointer to this film. I will definitely look for it and share your post around.

The refugee stories are still in the news every day over here, although now it's about the European countries turning them away. It is heartbreaking to watch and listen to. And it seems we can't do much more than donate money to the people who are helping them.

Kristin said...

What's going on all over the world now, the killing, the movement, the turning away, the persecution, hurts my heart. I wonder, as you asked under the photo of the Armenian woman and her children if they lived to start life over and if they did, where their descendant are now.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Dan - it's a pleasure ... I like to be involved in #WATWB ... and must look for some more local stories - but wanted to write up this film and felt this blogfest was the best place. Ai WeiWei - is an amazing man ... and well worth reading up about - especially having escaped persecution in China, when he was released and could travel with his family. He is now highlighting others' plight ...

@ Murees - as you rightly mention there are plenty of good souls around ... we all need to offer light and hope to oppressed peoples ...

@ Marja - thanks so much - I knew readers here would appreciate this film - and hope everyone can get to see it and have an even greater understanding of how wide the refugee problem is spread around the world ...

@ Fil - there's more I'm learning about Ai WeiWei and I must try and find some other films about him as well as those by him ...

I hear about the European situation over here ... as well as elsewhere - but this film highlights more areas. Yes donate, and set examples in our own worlds and support anyone we find in these situations ...

@ Kristin - it is appalling that some humans seem unable to open their hearts or to establish some sensible situation for what is going on. Just heart hurting: as you say.

That photo from 1915 of the Armenian woman with her children reminds us that we seem unable to learn the lessons of the past ...

Thank you so much for commenting - this is such a difficult emotive subject ... but we need to understand what is going on in all parts of the world - this film gives us so much more insight into their plights ... Hilary

B Pradeep Nair said...

Hi Hilary,
I have read about Ai Weiwei but yet to see the movie. I shall, some day.
Migration and immigrants is so much in news these days. It is so sad to see the plight of migrants. The fact that there are so many people who are risking their lives to get to some other safer land by any means, just shows that this world, as a community of human beings, has a lot more to achieve. But glad to see that there are also people who are willing to beam lights of hope in areas where there are darkness.
- Pradeep | bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

Truedessa said...

Hi Hilary

We are the World - In Darkness, be light..yes let the light shine

Debby Gies said...

I will certainly check out the links about this horrendous story. So sad what's going on around the world with so much violence and people trying to save their own lives by leaving the ones they've known. The US government is not setting a great example for compassion in these cases, hopefully the people will rise up and fight for what's right. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pradeep - that's good you've heard about him ... the film/documentary is well worth watching as too others in his line of work. It's desperate to see what is happening in so many countries of the world, and as you rightly say ... fortunately there are people who are willing to beam light into their darkness and offer hope.

@ Truedessa - in this case the words are so appropriate ...

@ Debby - thanks ... Ai WeiWei is such a great example to us all showcasing the horrors of incarceration ... which he's experienced and which continue in so many countries. It's so unfair on so many, who just need compassion and the ability to live peacefully - preferably many would say in their own country ...

Thanks for visiting and checking out this #WATWBlogpost ... cheers Hilary

Nilanjana Bose said...

I have a special connection to refugees as you know. The current situation just turns my head inside out.

Ai Weiwei's art is magnificent, more familiar with his sculptures though than his docus. Human flow sounds like an intense and disturbing film, as good art should be. So cool you got to watch!

troutbirder said...

The human tragedies of this the so called civilized modern world are unconscionable...

cleemckenzie said...

Ah, the perfect film for today's world where displacement seems unending. He's truly an artist with insights into personal tragedy based on first-hand experience.

Sandra Cox said...

This is a very timely post, Hilary. We are in such a horrific, unjustified crisis right now.

dolorah said...

The state of the world is just sad, and it is hard to trust anyone.Everyone seems to be offended by everything and uses violence to show frustration.

Susan Scott said...

heart breaking and deeply affecting - I have no words for what is happening in the world.

Crystal Collier said...

It's heartbreaking what many are going through at this time. I was saddened that America didn't open its doors to many of the refugees flooding out of the middle east, but I couldn't fault the leaders of our country for being cautious either. Why can't people just be nice and live in peace?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nila - I had forgotten ... but must find out more. I'm sure and agree - I can't get my head round what we are doing and what we can do ... Ai WeiWei's film really does highlight many aspects ... especially as he is amongst refugees in over 20 countries.
I hadn't realised Ai WeiWei had gone into making films either ... nor that he was leaving Berlin - not sure where too ... he'll keep his studio there - but he was finding the language aspect challenging. There are other docu-films that I'd like to look at ... these were online ... but Human Flow is well worth watching ...

@ TB - I agree - these situations are just so unthinkable ...

@ Lee - he certainly documents what life is about for these refugees ... their trials and tribulations - and as you say he's got first hand information into treatment of dissidents - as he was one ...

@ Sandra - thank you ... we do live in crisis, disruptive, disinformed and for many uncaring times ...

@ Donna - as you rightly say life is becoming sad and difficult for so many.

@ Susan - I so agree - it is heart breaking and everytime we see more ill-treatment and the conditions they live in ... it is so difficult to think about ...

@ Crystal - it seems to be the way the great free country is being so arbitrary to many who don't deserve the treatment that has suddenly been meted out; I agree why can't leaders lead and set examples - which means living in peace in each and every country ...

Thanks so much to you all - please see the film as and when you can ... we are so lucky to live where we live - let's all help others in our small way - the butterfly effect works ... take care - Hilary

C.D. Gallant-King said...

I haven't seen the movie but my first thought just from the title is that humans (and our ancestors) have been nomadic and migratory for hundreds of thousands of years. When there's danger or changes to climate or there's better opportunities elsewhere, people just move on. It's a natural instinct that we've been fighting against for a long time.

Mark Noce said...

All Good points:) I recently read a book about WWII refugees by Remarque that still stands the test of time.

David Gascoigne said...

It is very sad to see attitudes towards immigrants today that are so familiar with humans throughout history. We never learn do we?

Chatty Crone said...

Looks like an interesting and thought provoking movie.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

There are so many refugee problems around the world. I don't know how this crisis will ever be solved but I hope it's with compassion and kindness.

Sherry Ellis said...

I think this is a difficult topic. My heart goes out to those people who are trying to escape difficult situations in their country. The flip side of accepting refugees is that there is risk of terrorist infiltration, and it is difficult to house so many people, especially if they are not contributing to a country's economy by being gainfully employed. When many immigrants came to the United States after World War 2, they found employment, and were not a burden on the economy. These days, it's not always like that. That's why immigration policies in many countries are so restrictive.

Michelle Wallace said...

"...we need more tolerance, compassion and trust for each other, since we are all one. Otherwise, humanity will face an even bigger crisis." So true.

This is a difficult and sensitive topic, one to which there are no straightforward answers.
Human Flow sounds like a really good movie.
Hope you're well, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ CD - yes we've always moved on ... but in those days there was space to move, there wasn't any structure as such ... today the migrant/refugee move (flow) is because they are being persecuted, bullied, or hated/taken advantage of ... and sadly guns or weapons are so easily available, with cruelty being so easily meted out.

@ Mark - we will have much to say about this situation ... I do hope we can do something about it ... I'll check your book idea out ...

@ David - I wish people were more sensitive, which at times they have been ... but as you say we never seem to learn ...

@ Sandie - it is a very informative documentary film ... I hope you can get to see it ...

@ Susan - yes as Ai WeiWei visits over 20 countries ... which shows how widespread the challenge is ... like you I just wish we can be compassionate and help them establish new lives ...

@ Sherry - it is a difficult topic - but I hope we can all see their side of life - their need to escape, yet encourage their leaders to be more human to their fellow countrymen and not allow the horrors to keep happening ...

@ Michelle - Ai Wei Wei's words are so true - so thank you for highlighting them again ... I agree with your take on the situation ... it would be wonderful to find we have leaders who can be compassionate and help everyone settle and live peacefully in economic harmony wherever they may be.

Thanks so much for commenting and taking the time to think about this subject - and I do hope you'll all get to watch this very informative documentary ... it teaches much ... with thoughts to one and all this fourth of July - Hilary

Nas said...

Hi Hilary,

The recent tragedies of which I saw on news is making me so sad. Thanks for highlighting this film.

Sue Bursztynski said...

I haven’t heard of the film, though I have heard of the creator. I suspect it might just depress me, given the behaviour of my current government. Unfortunately they seem to think. - probably correctly - that there are votes in mistreatment of refugees. The cowardice and selfishness of politicians never cease to disgust me. Our last few Immigration Ministers have had no empathy whatsoever and if you cut them open you’d wonder how thei4 blood circulation was working, as they have no hearts. The current one is the worst of the lot. “Border protection” implies a military invasion - what a joke!

Sandra Cox said...

Tolerance, compassion and trust. We need them indeed.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary!
It is hard to sleep at night worrying about these millions of refugees who are guilty of nothing but being born in a less-fortunate country. But the world has grown cold and I guess fundamentalist Islam is part of the reason. However, when the Jews were escaping pogroms around the world and tried to get countries to let them in, even the British shut their borders and their hearts. Glad there is now a state of Israel, but I fear our current refugees will remain stateless for a long time. So sad.

And I saw Ai Weiwei interviewed on CNN. Very moving.

Lynda R Young said...

Sounds like it's an important film. I hadn't heard of it before now.

Vallypee said...

History repeats time and time again. So sad. And yet we are enriched by these people. I have so enjoyed myteaching this year for that reason.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nas - it's a film that's worth seeing as it explores many angles and many countries ... I need to see it again ...

@ Sue - as I said to Nas - it's worth seeing ... as we need to think globally now. Yes - sadly politicians are short term thinkers; and I gather Australia is having some challenges ...

@ Sandra - yes we all need these: tolerance, compassion and trust - well said.

@ Denise - exactly it's heart rending what is happening to so many - cruel leaders, who do not set examples. I haven't read up much of earlier times ... but I know we did let people in during WW2. They can have much to offer ... but yes I suspect those 'tented areas' will be there for a long time - as you mention.

Glad you saw Ai WeiWei interviewed - he's an impressive person - now opening our Western eyes ...

@ Lynda - it is an important film ... so I hope you can make a plan to watch it ...

@ Val - you're right ... history repeats itself - so often in the past there were places refugees could get to - now those openings and that way of life is closed - as we are so global. The worst now is that we are ruled by guns, drugs and indifference ... with a lack of educated understanding about their plight.

I quite understand how much you can learn from your refugee students - which helps the world as a whole. I hope you're keeping a journal - it'd be interesting to write up one day ...

Thank you all for commenting ... and staying aware of the situation and plight of these terrible times these people struggle through ... and once again, please see the film when you get a chance ... cheers Hilary

Victoria Marie Lees said...

We most certainly need patience, tolerance, and trust in today's world, everyone. Thank you Hilary and everyone for some truly thought-provoking material here. All best to everyone.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Victoria Marie - Ai WeiWei is very much respected ... and the film was so informative about 23 countries and their refugees and challenges they all face - as they traverse their path of movement to better lands ...

Thank you for commenting - cheers Hilary