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ANAHEIM– Screening of Flight of the Refugees and Refugees Change Our World followed by Q&A with filmmakers
November 19, 2018 @ 8:00 am – 9:00 amFree
Photo Credit: Elias Matar (Flight of the Refugees)
ANAHEIM– Join Haskett Library for a screening of Flight of the Refugees by filmmaker Elias Matar and Refugees Change Our World by filmmaker Maisune Abu-Elhaija on Monday November 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm. Elias Matar and Maisune Abu-Elhaija will be in conversation for Q&A following the screening.
Haskett Library, 2650 W Broadway Anaheim, CA 92804
This program is hosted by Anaheim Public Library in partnership with Access California. Speakers in this speaker series Celebration of Middle Eastern Heritage will discuss challenges our community faces as well as way to overcome barriers.
This program is supported by California Humanities through a Library Innovation Lab grant.
Flight of the Refugees documents the harrowing journey of the Syrian refugees as they cross the Macedonian border from Greece, to Serbia and Croatia, all in hope of reaching Germany. In the summer of 2015, over seven thousand refugees started this journey daily, seeking asylum in Western Europe. We bear witness to six of those days.
As a filmmaker and Syrian-American, I felt I needed to document the journey of the Syrian refugees. These films take an important look into a very real problem that is simply not being addressed by traditional news and media sources. It puts a human face on an international crisis, at a time when a little bit of humanity can mean the difference between life and death.
When protests, inspired by the Arab Spring, started in Syria back in March of 2011, I truly believed reform might be possible. I thought, maybe there’s a new future for Syria, a democratic one. But when the protesters began to face gunfire, I started to run for peace for Syria. I’d wake up every morning, reflect about my own life, say a prayer for Syria and run 5 to 7 miles. As the body count of the protesters rose, I just kept running.
The rumors of an exodus from Syria emerged in late 2013. Images began to surface of refugees taking boats across the Aegean Sea, walking to Macedonia, continuing on through the fields of Serbia and Hungary, and then finally arriving in Austria. Empowered by the success of these first Syrian refugees, thousands followed. Even after hearing stories of minefields, bandits, hazardous terrain, and starvation, these people were willing to risk it all in hope of a new life. And so I ran for them, for their safety.
In August of 2015, the Hungarian government started to crack down on the refugees entering their country, refusing to transport them from the capital, Budapest, to the Austrian border. In response, the refugees did what they could. They just walked. I called my cousin, Sam Jarjour, and said, “We need to do something”. We booked plane tickets without a clear idea of what would be doing, and our journey began.