Thursday, June 2, 2016

Why all Australians & the world need to watch CHASING ASYLUM!

CHASING ASYLUM ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪ out of 5
(Opens 2nd June) Luna Cinemas and around Australia. 


   I attended a very early screening of this film with about five others on a Sunday morning. I don’t easily give up my Sunday mornings away from my family, but I wanted to understand this issue that constantly headlines our news here in Australia. I hadn’t formed an opinion on the refugee debate because it all seemed too hard, too unsolvable, and, to be frank, it didn’t impact my life. I attended because I, finally, did want to understand this issue, and the trailer promised to peel back the veil of rumor. I expected the documentary to be upsetting but enlightening. What I didn’t expect was to be moved to tears and frustrated anger that still resonates more than six weeks later.
  What director Eva Orner and her brave whistleblowers have done is take us inside the offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, no holds barred. They’ve done it with great craft and in the fly-on-the-wall style of great documentaries, they’ve said: “Here’s the reality. You decide.”
   A picture paints a thousand words. This one paints a thousand tears. And more. You can argue all you want Australian society cannot handle an influx of refugees, that these people have jumped some kind of fictitious queue, that lurking among these refugees might be terrorists in disguise and the myriad of other memes doing the rounds in the uneducated circles. What you cannot argue is no matter how much we need to protect our borders or our way of life, we have no right to imprison people who have done no wrong to our country and committed no crime. What you cannot justify, no matter your political persuasion, is that we should treat other human beings like they are animals.
  

   If animals were kept in cages and treated as shown in Chasing Asylum, you can bet it would make headline news with pictures of the creatures being rescued. These poor people’s imprisonment does not make headline news because you are not allowed to see the images. You can see dogs and horses being mistreated, but you can’t see these refugees' terrible circumstances because the Federal Government passed The Border Force Act—the most un-Australian of laws—last year. This act prevents anyone who works at any of the refugee centres from speaking about or taking pictures of the environment there. It works like this: If you are a doctor there and treat a patient, you cannot talk about it, write an article or comment publicly about the damage you believe is occurring to people psychologically or physically while being supposedly cared for by the Australian government.

   The act was passed with bipartisan support. Only the Greens opposed it. Shame on those who voted or didn’t oppose. In speaking out, you risk two years imprisonment. 
    In an unprecedented move, doctors who treated one of the poor, young men on Manus Island, who died unnecessarily from an infection, spoke to Four Corners in a damning expose. Here’s the link to the broadcast: FOUR CORNERS  The callous disregard for this young refugee, which allowed him to die, is inexcusable. If this had occurred at any hospital or government department facility tasked with caring for human beings, there would be an enquiry and outrage. But these are refugees; they deserve what they get. That’s the line we are fed.
   Of course, most Australians have already made up their minds about refugees, but I suggest this to you. Have you really made up your mind, or has your mind been influenced by the politics of the matter, and by the Government’s silencing of people who can tell the real story? Have the suppressed images and video, and swayed opinion via inflammatory press releases been the reason you’ve made that decision?  Kind of rings very similar to a certain U.S. president who assured the world a Weapons of Mass Destruction cache was hidden in Iraq, and, therefore, we all needed to go to war. Oil wasn’t mentioned, but yell nuclear weapons and terrorists, and we’re all in, right? If you had both sides of the argument by viewing Chasing Asylum, I think most reasonable Australians would form a different opinion on the matter. That’s why you don’t have the facts. The government, and this is both parties, want to deal with this behind closed doors, because it’s kind of nasty, kind of evil, and kind of NOT AUSTRALIAN.
 
  So the government ministers in their safe, warm homes assure the Australian people that we need to treat refugees—and keep in mind, these are people fleeing for their lives for the most part, not people who don’t like their jobs—with the highest form of deterrence, imprisonment and possible death from lack of care. This will fix the problem. Although it hasn’t. They still come, and we've spent more than a billion dollars imprisoning only a few thousand. Yep, that’s a billion, I said. Let’s also tell the Australian people a myriad of lies about what is a refugee, how much we are doing for refugees with our intake, and that we can’t do anymore, or we’re all going to lose our jobs and lifestyle. God forbid, we can’t afford McDonalds twice a week, or the latest video game, or that extra Foxtel channel package.
  Just as Eva Orner and her crew have done, I challenge Australians to educate themselves on this important matter. Go see Chasing Asylum now, while it’s in the cinemas. These poor, desperate men, women, and children are in these prisons, right now. They are being injured and damaged, psychologically and physically, right now. Don’t wait to see this on DVD/Stream. Read up on the truth on asylum seekers.  What does this say about us as Australians when we allow our Government to speak on our behalf on this issue of humanity. These falsely and illegally imprisoned people need our help now!

   
   Yes, we are the lucky country. To be born in Australia is a lottery win. Do we really have the right to turn our backs on people who didn’t win the lottery? They breathe, they love their families, and they have dreams like us. We can’t save everyone, but we can do a much better job than we are doing right now. This film proves it.
  Whenever I see a film about the concentration camps of WW2 Germany, the atrocities committed, and the utter disdain for human life, I always say “Let’s hope we never forget.” These war films, I believe, are important so we are reminded we must remain vigilant against discrimination and hatred. If you study history, all discrimination comes from fear. Fear that these other people with different skin color, different eyes, different beliefs or customs will take something from our lives. How about thinking the other way? How about thinking how much they add to our lives? We are a country built on immigrants. Our culture is firmly multi-cultural. My children are second-generation Italian. I value that. My family values that. Rejoice in our differences.
   I'm reminded of a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”  Please, Australia can we help ourselves to be better world citizens.  We cannot do everything, but we can and must do more for these people. Close the detention centres now. Stop thinking about our blessed and wonderful lifestyle circumstance as a right. It is a privilege, a lucky, lucky happenstance of birth.
   Chasing Asylum is the most important of documentaries because it tells a truth that has until now been twisted. It tells it bravely. It tells it with heart. If every Australian saw this film, things would change and our future as a country would be changed, and the future of some desperate people would be changed. If not, we will look back in twenty, thirty, fifty years’ time and shake our heads. How quickly we have forgotten.

Links to the website:  http://www.chasingasylum.com.au/
To learn more about the book: Chasing Asylum: A Filmmaker's Story


Jenny Seaton interviews Eva Orner on CurtinFM on Chasing Asylum 1st June 2016. The first few minutes are not great as Eva was on a mobile phone and not in the studio. Howevery they improve. She has an important message, so do listen. 



Film Blurb
Oscar winner Eva Orner's (Taxi To The Dark Side) explosive documentary exposes the impact of Australia’s offshore detention policies and explores how political leaders have chosen detention ahead of compassion and governments deprive asylum seekers of their human rights.
   Featuring never before seen footage shot inside Australia’s offshore detention camps, CHASING ASYLUM looks at the impact of sending those in search of a safe home to languish in limbo.
   Exploring the mental, physical and fiscal consequences of Australia’s decision to detain families in unsanitary conditions hidden from media scrutiny, CHASING ASYLUM promises to be a flashpoint for discussion in this federal election year.

SPECIAL EVENTS
CHASING ASYLUM: DIRECTOR Q & A 
Date: SUNDAY 5 June
Time: 5:15 pm
Location: Luna Leederville Details and Booking

   Oscar winner Eva Orner's (Taxi To The Dark Side) explosive documentary exposes the impact of Australia’s offshore detention policies and explores how political leaders have chosen detention ahead of compassion and governments deprive asylum seekers of their human rights.
   Featuring never before seen footage shot inside Australia’s offshore detention camps, CHASING ASYLUM looks at the impact of sending those in search of a safe home to languish in limbo.
   Exploring the mental, physical and fiscal consequences of Australia’s decision to detain families in unsanitary conditions hidden from media scrutiny, CHASING ASYLUM promises to be a flashpoint for discussion in this federal election year.

   Join us for a special Q&A screening event with Oscar winner Eva Orner who will be  Luna Leederville on Sunday 2 June to present and talk about her explosive documentary feature following the 5.15pm session. Eva will also be on hand to sign her book provided by Northsidebooks courtesy of Harper Collins

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