Indonesia has long been a midway point for refugees hoping to start a new life in Australia, but Australia’s new hardline policy, refusing to settle any refugees from Indonesia after July, has left those refugees in a state of limbo. Unable to legally find work or go to school here, they are stuck in a seemingly endless state of waiting.
One of the largest groups of refugees in Indonesia are members of the Hazara, an ethnic group that has been persecuted and attacked viciously by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There have been many accounts about the Hazara stuck in Indonesia and their struggles to gain official refugee status from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (The Age recently published quite a good one).
But these videos we stumbled upon through reddit are something we haven’t seen before – the story of the refugees told, not through a reporter or an NGO, but by one of their own.
The first is a short 5-minute video shot by Khadim Dai, an eighteen-year-old Hazara who was once a karate national champion in his native Pakistan but who now lives in Cisarua, Bogor after fleeing the Taliban. Made using his phone, Dai’s documentary shows the day-to-day struggles that he and his fellow refugees face.
Even in the face of their bleak situation, they still manage to find a lot of small joys, in things such as football, fruit smoothies and musical instruments made from motorcycle helmets. It’s bittersweet and, for a video shot on a smartphone, a fantastic piece of filmmaking.
This is not the first documentary from Dai. He also produced a short video describing the creation of a refugee learning center aimed at giving their community’s children some kind of education. It’s heartwarming in a damn-why-did-somebody-start-chopping-onions-in-the-next-room sorta way.
These refugees face a tough future. With their legal status up in the air, their wait to find a home remains indefinitely long.
But these videos show how the hope for a better life can give people the strength to conquer any temporary concerns. We wish these people well and hope they can find their home soon.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Cisarua Learning Center (and seeing lots more cute pictures of the students as well as the impressive progress made at the school) you can visit its Facebook page.
(H/T to user clauxz for sharing on r/Indonesia)