Refugee Crisis the theme of 8×8 festival

Emma Somers discusses the refugee crisis as part of the 8x8 festival

A Syrian refugee would rather return to her country to die than stay in a refugee camp any longer, according to a documentary screened in DCU last Wednesday as part of the 8×8 festival. 

The festival has been to several college campuses around the country, with the theme as the refugee crisis and the myths surrounding it.

Leila, an 18-year-old girl from Syria was one of several refugees interviewed in the documentary ‘Refuge’, directed by Irish peace activist Caoimhe Butterly.

“I would rather return to Syria and die there than die slowly here,” she said of the refugee camp in Northern Greece in which she was residing.

“The war stole my childhood,” said.

“Have mercy…we’re people, just like you,” said another interviewee, who was also living in the Northern Greece camp. Several of the interviewed refugees expressed their wish to return home to Syria.

“There’s no country in the world like your own country,” said one woman.

Emma Somers attended the screening on behalf of Suas, an educational development organisation. She answered questions on the media’s coverage of the refugees and the myths that may be associated with this.

“If Ireland took in every Syrian refugee, it’d only account for less than a quarter of a percent of Europe’s total population,” Somers said of the crisis.

Somers discussed the use of the word ‘refugee’ for the over 65 million displaced people. By distilling them down to this singular word, we take away from the fact that they are real people who had lives similar to ours, she said.

Social media was discussed with reference to refugees, and it was said that the stories Facebook and Twitter often revolve around celebrity scandals rather than refugees.

One guest had experience with the refugee system in Ireland, and felt that it was significantly better than it is in Germany. His reasoning behind this included the housing system, which he felt was better handled in Ireland than abroad.

Orla Dwyer

Image Credit: Laura Horan

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