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Refugee Week: Between the Devil & the deep blue sea

In the aftermath of the new Australian policy on refugees, an Amnesty International local action group in Mount Druitt staged a movie screening in their local library to raise awareness of the long and dangerous journey a refugee endures to reach Australia and find a place to call home.

The docu-film, entitled “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”, follows Australian Jessie Taylor as she travels to Indonesia to meet with refugees and document their individual circumstances and the decisions that lead some of them to become ‘boat people’.deep-blue-sea

Jessie and her colleague, Ali Reza Sadiqi, – who was once a refugee himself, now successfully resettled in Australia – met with a variety of asylum seekers in jails, detention centres and temporary hostels around Indonesia.  Many of those being interviewed were fleeing war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, and nearly all of them had innocent loved ones who had perished or disappeared in the violence and politics of their home country.

Many of those that Jessie interviewed had come to Indonesia by any means necessary, and were now either attempting to register with the UNHCR (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), awaiting interviews with the UNHCR, awaiting their assessment to be processed, or awaiting final resettlement through the UNHCR. So why do so many of them still attempt the perilous boat journey to get to Australia?

I won’t spoil the film for you, but if you want to better educate yourself on one of the most controversial issues of our time then I recommend you get your hands on a copy of this film.

Aptly named, ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ is an idiom meaning a dilemma, choosing between two undesirable situations, the equivalent of the saying “between a rock and a hard place”. Through heart-wrenching interviews and hidden camera footage, Jessie shows the side of the issue that Australia doesn’t normally see; the view from the refugees themselves, and the story of the faces behind the label.

Watch the trailer here.



written by Victoria Garside

About Victoria Garside