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Chasing Asylum – Director, Eva Orner

May 22, 2016

Another good example of how we are challenged by climate change. In this case the film is about South Asian and Middle Eastern refugees who are fleeing to Australia to escape famine, drought and war. Unlike Canada and Europe however the Australians throw up legal and inhumane obstacles to these people. The film documents the clear efforts of a series of Australian governments to deny entry to these refugees and to try and deny that they are anything but refugees. They force them to move to horrendous concentration camps which they call detention centres on isolated islands north and east of Australia. The living conditions are intolerable and the detainees suffer from physical and mental illness brought on by and intensified by the living conditions. In true democratic spirit it is illegal to film in these camps and anyone working there who blows the whistle is subject to criminal prosecution and imprisonment. The director and film crew that put this together filmed suruptiously and interviewed social workers and others anonymously. It was a brave film to make and the participants even braver. The film is made by Australians who were present for a Q and A afterwards. They are deeply ashamed of their country and their fellow countrymen who are complicit in the actions of their government. One of the saving graces of the story was an interview with the former prime minister Malcolm Fraser from 1975-83. He was the last prime minister to look on immigration as a positive thing and who strongly condemned the policies of his successors. Unfortunately he died shortly after the film was completed but appeared to be one of the only sane voices left in the country.

A very powerful film that is not uplifting or particularly hopeful but which does may you feel better about Canada.

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