Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories

by 3 Generations
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Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories
Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories
Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories
Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories
Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories
Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories
Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories
Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories
Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories
Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories
Why We Speak: Help Spread Refugee Stories
Livestream about the Yazidi genocide
Livestream about the Yazidi genocide

In August, we hosted a livestream on the anniversary of the beginning of the Yazidi genocide in Iraq by ISIS. 3 Generations had recorded the stories from some of the survivors of this genocide and wanted to take a deeper dive into this under reported tragedy. 

In 2014, in the Northern Iraq town of Sinjar over 6,000 Yazidi women and children were kidnapped by members of the terrorist organization ISIS. Many older women, men and boys were killed on the spot. Younger women and children were processed and taken across the border to ISIS controlled sites, including slave markets, and training and indoctrination centers. Today over 3,000 women and girls are still missing.  

In observance of the anniversary our Founder Jane Wells spoke with Debbie Rose, Founder of the charity Project Abraham in Canada, and Souriya Naso a volunteer at Project Abraham. Project Abraham has helped several hundred Yazidi women and children who were victims of ISIS reach safety in Canada. Souriya is a Yazidi who was born in Syria but whose family migrated to Canada during the Iraq War. 

The discussion touched on the amount of trauma that the Yazidi refugees had experienced, the worst that Canadian experts had ever encountered. They also spoke about the lack of will at the UN to label what happened to the Yazidis a genocide and offer assistance to find the thousands of still missing Yazidi women and girls. 

For more in depth information about the livestream and the Yazidi Genocide please read our blog post Let's not forget the Yazidi Genocide

3 Generations will continue to document the stories of Yazidi refugees and shine a spotlight on the plight of the missing Yazidi women and girls. To learn more about this and any of our other issues please visit us at 3generations.org.

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3 Generations has been recording the stories of refugees for more than 10 years. It is one of the issues that is at the core of our work. We recently have been working on some short videos about Yazidi women who escaped the genocide perpetrated against their people in Iraq.

In 2014 the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) committed genocide against the Yazidi people in the Sinjar province in Iraq. Thousands of Yazidi women and girls were forced into sexual slavery by ISIS, and thousands of Yazidi men were killed. Five thousand Yazidi civilians were killed in total. The genocide led to the expulsion, flight and exile of the Yazidis from their ancestral lands in Iraq.

We have been honored to document the testimony of three Yazidi women who managed to escape and are now living in Canada. We recently finished creating the video of Basema. In the video the ISIS survivor tells a harrowing account of her and her son’s enslavement by ISIS. She shares a brave memory about a life saving moment between herself and her child. Despite all of her pain and suffering she was able to continue to fight for survival because of her love for him.

We invite you to watch the video and hear her story. 

To learn more about this and any of our other issues please visit us at 3generations.org.

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Interviewing Imran
Interviewing Imran

At 3 Generations we have long noted that many of the issues we cover involve refugees, whether we are looking at the Holocaust, sex trafficking or environmental degradation. Indeed, one of our core tenets is that most human rights issues are inter-connected. But how often do we turn to refugees to understand domestic politics? We would argue not enough. 

The events at the US Capitol in January were traumatic for many of us. But what about our refugee population who had escaped tyranny themselves? And what wisdom do they have to share?

"I know how it feels not to have democracy,”  explained our friend Imran Mohammed in a recent interview. He is a Rohingya refugee who fled his native Myanmar when he was 16 and settled in the US a few years ago. He instantly loved America and felt safe here until recently:

"We Rohingya have been persecuted for decades in our own country because law doesn't matter, order doesn't matter and fact doesn't matter. I didn't think I would experience something similar here," he said.

The insurrection on January 6th was the first time he felt unsafe in this country.  And prompted some significant insight:

"It is extremely frightening to see how divided the country is…(Americans) are very lucky to be born in this country, to have democracy and to have safety. You know, maybe they don't understand what it means to have democracy.” 

The new Administration looks set to improve the situation for refugees both here and abroad. The so-called “Muslim Ban” has already been reversed, which is promising for many of the refugees we have filmed over the last 10 years or so as most are from Muslim-majority countries like Syria and Iraq.  But prospects for the refugee population of Myanmar are not good as marital law has once again been imposed. We will be updating you with news about Imran’s family and compatriots in Myanmar.

In the meantime, all of us at 3 Generations renew our commitment to listen to refugees and heed their lived experience and wisdom. We thank each and every one who has shared their story and especially salute Imran whose grasp of universal truth is peerless. 


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At 3 Generations we continue to be hard at work telling the stories of refugees. Many of them are victims of genocide, environmental crises, political upheaval, and repressive regimes. It is important to share their stories as both an act of healing for them and a call to action for others.

We have exciting updates to share with you on our current work in the field. We recently hosted a livestream with Imran a Rohingya muslim refugee who fled the genocide in Myanmar. He discussed his 8 year journey to safety as well as the crisis his family and fellow Rohingya refugees face in the world's largest refugee camp in Bangladesh during the Covid-19 crisis. You can watch the talk on our Facebook page. He has also written an opinion piece for the Guardian about his experiences as a refugee.

For more information about this social justice issue and others that we document please go to our website.

We can’t continue our work without your support, so please donate today!

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3 Generations is working to bring attention to the more than 70 million people across the globe who have been forced to flee their homes. The spread of COVID-19 is worsening the already fragile and vulnerable situation for refugees across the world. Many displaced people live in camps in countries with food scarcity and weakened healthcare infrastructures. As governments tighten restrictions in these regions because of the pandemic, aid organizations struggle to provide help.  

Governments have closed their borders and limited the flow of critical food and medical supplies. As a result, food supplies that are accessible have more than doubled in price, leaving the country’s poorer populations, which include refugees, with limited access to food. As COVID-19 continues to affect the supply chains, the World Food Programme predicts that the pandemic could double the number of people facing acute hunger, bringing the number from 135 million to 265 million by the end of 2020. 

Aid workers have warned of a potential humanitarian disaster if there is a significant outbreak in any of the many refugee camps around the world. At many camps, there are tens of thousands of people living closely packed together. Camp health facilities are too small and lack staff, while people in the camps do not have enough soap and water or living space to protect themselves. Refugee camps have shared water and hygiene facilities such as toilets, showers, and faucets resulting in long lines and unavoidable unsanitary conditions. Without efforts to increase health care access, improve sanitation, isolate suspected cases, and decongest camps, the disease will devastate the refugee and local populations that surround them.

The stories of today’s refugees encompass every human rights issue we are dedicated to documenting at 3 Generations. We have been recording stories of refugees since 2013 when we began documenting the experiences of Syrians fleeing civil war. Since then we have expanded our efforts by producing short films on Tibetans fleeing Chinese oppression and Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. We continue to work on this urgent issue and are in the process of completing post-production on three short documentaries about Yazidi women forced into slavery by ISIS. For more information about our refugee work please visit our website.

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3 Generations

Location: New York, NY - USA
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Twitter: @3Generations
Project Leader:
Jane Wells
New York, New York United States
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