I attended the
The documentary is a reenactment of the story of a few migrants who left
The movie started by having the camera talk to the common people on the street, be they students, couples on a date, a fuchka wala, a labourer, a rickshaw puller, a professor or a businessman. From everyone, you get the feeling that they are tied down by
It’s amazing that despite 30 years of independence and for all the talk of patriotism, given the chance half the country would bolt. They have in their mind an idealized version of life “abroad”, without any thought of the hardships they would have to endure. Given such a background, it wasn’t hard to fathom why our protagonists would decide to sell all their assets, borrow huge amounts of money and coax and beg to pay the smugglers to get them to Spain.
Their story starts at the
Halfway into the sea, after a grueling 16 hours of fighting the waves, the boat’s motor dies. Seven days later, still stuck in the middle of the
For me, one telling moment was when one of them, dying of hunger, points at a corpse of one who is already dead and suggests, “let’s eat him up.”
A normal person would reply, “What? It’s a corpse of our friend!”
Instead, we have our protagonist ask, “How? We don’t have knives to cut off the meat.”
After the movie was over, the question and answer provided a few light moments.
For example, with all the different issues and reasons raised in the movie about migrants, you would expect a few heavy questions. Rather, we had one lady ask, “These migrants, are they concerned about how their lives are going to effected if we don’t do something about the greenhouse gases?”
Well hello! These are people who don’t have a full day’s meal and you want them to think about the environment? Shobuj Shanti (Greenpeace) kothakar!
There was also someone taking into issue about why a particular scene was 6 seconds long rather than 10 seconds whereas “studies have proved that for a full impact of a motion picture scene it had to be 10 seconds long”. Something about shorter attention spans, or whatever. My attention span was shorter than the length of his question.
Of course someone got a little bit too excited and into the movie and decided we should use our knowledge of the TTC to help improve the bus service from Gulshan to Mirpur. Having used the TTC I think it is they who will need all the help they can get!
The movie had a couple of quotes that I remember. For example, this girl chides her friend, "You are ready to get up at 6 in the morning and work hard all day once you reach London, yet today in Bangladesh you stay in bed till noon and then decry nothing is getting done in Bangladesh! It's not the country's fault that you are lazy!"There was another. The professor rants about how Bengalis tend to have an inferiority complex where anything good is foreign and anything bad is homegrown. He pointed at the example of a chilli we call Bombay Morich. It's big, spicy, expensive and so titled after Bombay. Where is it grown? Somewhere north of Borisal, Bangladesh.
This same professor also asks "whose fault is it that people choose an uncertain death abroad over a certain life in Bangladesh".
Overall, it was a good and enriching experience. It made me think about certain issues and reconsider my black and white views of illegal immigration. It also made me realize how lucky I am to be in Canada when so many other people in the land of my birth say "it is not right for us to dream. For us, living is a nightmare". And then wonder in amazement at this same group of people who are so happy with so little, so content and so optimistic with nothing.