radicalimagination 17/03/2017 - 11:00AM
Nations & Migrations: THE CROSSING Premieres in Halifax
By privileging voices (in film and speech) from the peripheries typically ignored in mainstream media narratives, the Nations & Migrations project seeks to interrogate troubling topics like Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism and chauvinist nationalism in an effort to move away from mainstream liberal notions of what it means to be Canadian, while also crafting alternative visions of identity and belonging. The Halifax screening, hosted by CP Radical Imagination, is the third in a series of groundswell events taking place across the country. Big thanks to the Inspirit Foundation for their generous support of this project.
On February 27, 2017, CP Radical Imagination premiered THE CROSSING (directed by George Kurian) in Halifax, NS at the Central Public Library. An eagerly-anticipated and timely film in the midst of the Syrian refugee crisis, the film's relevance only increased in the wake of the recent US crackdown on migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers combined with the Canadian government's complicity in this crisis. With over 120 people in attendance and a powerful, dynamic panel following the screening featuring Dr. Afua Cooper (James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University), Fazeela Jiwa (writer, editor, and facilitator), and Julie Chamagne (executive director of the Halifax Refugee Clinic), the premiere was a moving collective experience in solidarity-building and social justice. The migrants' stories presented in THE CROSSING offered a gripping depiction of the perilous journey refugees and asylum-seekers face as they flee desperate circumstances and the incredible challenges they experience once they arrive at their destinations.
As Cooper, Jiwa, and Chamagne emphasized, expressing solidarity with migrants seeking safety and justice requires that those of us living in countries like Canada recognize our own states' roles in generating the conflicts and brutal circumstances that propel migrants into motion. The countries of the global North, many of which now go to great pains to vilify and brutalize refugees and asylum-seekers, have and continue to materially benefit from capitalist, imperialist, and colonialist processes that produce humanitarian catastrophe, systemic mal-development, and social and political crisis. The panel emphasized the necessity of attending to the work of collective liberation that people can do in their own communities to challenge the dynamics of white supremacist, hetero-patriarchal, colonial-imperialist capitalism. Echoing the slogan of No One Is Illegal, the evening ended with attendees and panelists affirming that "there is no such thing as illegal immigrants, only illegal colonial governments" and pointing the way toward meaningful policy change set in the context of fundamental, radical social change.