I Am So WearyJune 09, 2015

“Le Havre” is the second-largest port in France after Marseille. Great Britain is a channel away. Aki Kaurismäki would use this urban commune as a setting for his feel-good tale about the inhabitants helping Idrissa, a teenage boy from Gabon, get to London to meet his mother. These nice folks lived far from the city's glitzy side. One of them was Chang, a Vietnamese who entered France illegally by presenting documents that showed he was a Chinese national. Kaurismäki, arguably Finland's greatest filmmaker, romanticised these less-privileged folks. They have a big heart, which was more than the riches they could imagined.

Kaurismäki did his research thoroughly. Abundant petroleum would make Gabon one of the most prosperous nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, but the citizens were beset by political instability. It was no different from other nations in the continent. They have it worse.

Life imitating art

"I appeal to all member states and our partners in civil society to do their utmost to support the nations and communities that have welcomed the forcibly displaced into their midst..."

- Ban Ki-Moon

World Refugee Day, celebrated on June 20, would call on individuals to join the UN Refugee Agency in helping refugees around the world. There are ten million of them.

In 2003, Michael Winterbottom received the Golden Bear, the highest prize awarded for the best picture at the Berlin Film International Festival, for his unflinching docudrama, "In This World". It was about the journey of two Afghan refugees from Peshawar to London. The production team lied to authorities, which made it a more authentic story. It wasn't surprising that they were met with resistance in many places.

Viewers were shocked to see young boys walking on foot on the snow-capped mountain range in Iran, and on the way to Italy, endured containers with no ventilation. The Rohingya crisis comes to mind, a reminder that there will be news about refugees. In fact, this has been happening for thousand of years. This is a constant problem for many developing countries.

You don't have to do heroic deeds. Here are a few things to consider:

You can contact Australia for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This charity raises fund to support the agency. Read their website and find out if they have an office in your hometown. You might want to meet them and know what you can do. You may also send them an e-mail. You are not obliged to do something, even donate money. Know the details before making your next move.

You may join a fund-raising campaign. Money is not the only means to help others. The Australian for UNHCR might prepare some events to raise money (for refugees). Don't be shy to ask questions.

You should be grateful. The problem with refugees is an eye opener. It will make us appreciative of what we have.

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