Are we at the stage where we need to watch a person’s story unfold on screen—a big screen enhanced by surround sound, with each moment of drama, angst, hope, fear, and disillusionment perfectly matched with accompanying music and sound effects—before we can see that individual’s humanity and recognise it as equal to our own and deserving of the very same rights, protections, dignity, and aid that we would expect and demand for ourselves, our friends, and families?
Will we be flocking to see a film, years from now, about a family, perhaps like yours or mine, forced to abandon everything that at one point symbolized security and safety, grasp at whatever opportunity for survival is presented, and flee in terror? Will we choke up when its members are separated from each other and are forced to leave loved ones behind? Will we cheer and pump our fists when what’s left of that family defies all odds and boards a plane to safety; and then weep, shocked and aghast, when, upon arriving at the expected safe harbour, they are denied entry and put back on a plane to the very nightmare that, only moments before, they were thanking God that they had escaped?
What do you think? A five star rating? Lots of Oscar nominations?
There are countless stories: those of refugees, green card holders, visitors, and persons on student and work visas. All with lives. All with human rights. Persons like us.