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
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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Over 140,000 Syrians have been displaced in just 3 days by air and ground attacks from Syrian and Russian forces in Syria’s northwest this past week. Some 700,000 people have fled from the region since December, when the Syrian government launched its latest offensive against the opposition. Russian and Syrian warplanes have repeatedly bombed hospitals and other civilian sites, as well as fleeing families on the road.

The UN has described this displacement as one of the worst humanitarian crises in Syria's nearly nine-year-long civil war. These newly uprooted Syrians face crowded refugee camps and harsh weather. Aid organizations are struggling to provide them with shelter, food and warm clothes. The horrific crisis is deepening by the minute and the rest of the world seems indifferent to the plight of the Syrian people.

3 Generations will continue to record the stories of Syrian refugees as we have been since 2013. We are proud of our steadfast coverage of this human rights catastrophe which includes award-winning short and feature films. It is important that we continue to tell these stories so that the world does not forget the suffering and destruction of this once vital and culturally rich people.

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A survivor of kidnapping and slavery by ISIS
A survivor of kidnapping and slavery by ISIS

At 3 Generations we have been recording the stories of Syrian refugees since 2013. We are proud of our coverage of this human rights catastrophe which includes award-winning short and feature films.

And yet, the Syrian Civil War has now entered a perilous new phase both in Syria and neighboring countries.  Turkey recently launched attacks against the Kurdish forces who had been helping US and coalition forces fight ISIS and their caliphate. The abandonment of the Kurds is a tragic development. Not only are they the largest stateless ethnic group on earth, they have been brave allies, instrumental in the curtailing of ISIS. And, closer to our recent work at 3 Generations, they have helped buffer the genocide against the Yazidi minority in Northern Iraq and Syria.

Throughout 2019 we have been gathering stories of Yazidi women forced into slavery by ISIS. These brutal and heart-breaking stories will be appear on our new website in the coming weeks. Please look for them and support our work by helping us keep filming, editing and producing stories from the frontlines of one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the 21st century.

Your support makes this vital work possible. 

We thank you, and so do the survivors who have honored us with these devastating stories. Stories we have been sharing for the past seven years.

3 Generations filming a Yazidi family
3 Generations filming a Yazidi family
Filming a Yazidi leader in exile in Canada
Filming a Yazidi leader in exile in Canada

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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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