Monday, November 7, 2011

Go Back To Where You Came From

Go Back To Where You Came From

This SBS show was shown in June, but it's taken us a while to get around to watching it.

It's compelling, absorbing and very emotional.

Six Australians with strong views on illegal immigration, boat people, detention centres and people from other nations take part in a 25 day experiment: to experience the life of a refugee in reverse. There are 5 stages:
  • to live with recently resettled refugees in Australia (either from the Congo or Iraq)
  • to set out on a boat from Darwin (made to look like an asylum seeker boat)
  • to live with a minority illegal immigrant group in Malaysia, waiting to move on to another country
  • to visit a large UN resettlement camp in Kenya, or the slums of Jordan
  • to visit the source countries of DR Congo and Iraq
Over 3 1hr episodes you see people's pre-conceived ideas exploded as they meet, talk to and share life with people and families living lives of squalor, fear, uncertainty and avoidance of the authorities.

This is crucial viewing for all Australians. Immigration (especially illegal immigration) is a complex issue that deserves greater intelligent, informed public debate in this country. This show goes a long way to addressing the issues involved. For those of us in comfortable homes with jobs and safety, we cannot imagine risking everything to get on an illegal boat to go to Australia. A show like this helps us realise the plight of many of the world's refugees, and that nothing is so simple or black and white as it seems from our position of relative safety and security.

It would be available in any public library, you can buy it from SBS, and you can still watch all the episodes online (1, 2, 3), including Episode 4 - The Response, filmed a week later. If you want to see a quick summary of what happened, or to whet your appetite - watch the first 2 minutes of Episode 4.

As an aside (and it's something that might require more thought at a later time) it did make me wonder how our government possibly came up with the 'Malaysian solution', and thought it was truly a solution.

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