The Courage to Speak Up

Courage c.Angela Catlin
Rosa and Christian feature in Courage, our Refugee Week film

This month brings the culmination of the Courage project which ran as part of Refugee Week Scotland 2011. Focusing on the week’s theme, the project produced the film ‘Courage: 60 Years of the UN Refugee Convention’.

Made by 6 refugees living in Scotland with the help of Media Co-op and Scottish Refugee Council, the 120 second film looks at the lives of two refugees and highlights the importance of the Refugee Convention.

Rosa Sacharin fled from in Nazi Germany. Christian Kasubandi fled from war in the Congo. Despite their differences, both understand the importance of the 1951 Refugee Convention for protecting the lives of those trying to escape danger and persecution.

Courage a huge success

Since its launch at Refugee Week Scotland, the film has been a huge success, receiving critical acclaim from both the film industry and from other refugee organisations. Film critic Mark Cousins said:

“The film is beautiful in what it says and how it says it. A little two minute movie poem.”

Frank Higgins from British Red Cross agreed, calling Courage: “An extremely moving and poignant film, which succeeds in reinforcing the continued importance of the Refugee Convention for the many individuals who seek refuge from persecution, past, present and future.”

Courage has been viewed by over 3,000 people online and been shown at more than 170 venues across the country as well as being screened and nominated at various film festivals.  It was also featured on United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHCR) website and had 509 views between August 2011 - January 2012.

Although the project is now coming to a close, the film will continue to have an impact, highlighting the importance of protecting those seeking sanctuary from violence.

Speak up, speak out – Holocaust Memorial Day

Remembering the positive stories like those shown in Courage is vital as we continue to face the reality of on-going war, tyranny and human indignity. Today is Holocaust Memorial Day which this year has the theme ‘Speak Up, Speak Out’, inspired by Pastor Martin Niemoller’s poem First They Came.

The theme calls on people to have the courage to speak out in the face of injustice and stand in solidarity with those in danger. It is a reminder that when people don’t speak out, terrible things can happen.

Courage shows the importance of providing sanctuary to protect men and women who flee to the UK. We must continue to work for a fairer asylum system so more people like Rosa and Christian can rebuild their lives and find a new home here in the UK.

Next up - the Spirit Project

On 1 February we’ll start our first workshop for the Spirit Project focusing on the theme of Refugee Week Scotland 2012. The project will team professional photographers and media professionals with 8 refugees to produce a range of artwork to reflect the theme of ‘Spirit’.

From February onward Spirit will be sharing videos and images on its own website (details to follow shortly). And in June the Project will invite the public to share their spirit via videos on the site.

The Project will lead to an exhibition at Glasgow arts venue Trongate 103 and an online multimedia exhibition. Both will be launched for Refugee Week Scotland 2012.

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