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Children on the run

Regissør: Ida Theresa Myklebost

On the border between Greece and Macedonia, the Al Bakri family lives in a makeshift tent camp. They have fled from the hell of the war in Syria, to the hell of refugee existence in Europe. What do you do when the only thing you own is hope?


The 15. minutes long documentary Unwelcome has been shown at film festivals around the world for a year, but it is only now that the Norwegian audience can take part in the story of Menwar Al Bakri, who is six years old and from Aleppo in Syria. We meet him and the family on the border between Greece and Macedonia, where they, together with thousands of other Syrian refugees, live in makeshift tent camps. The family wants to travel as quickly as possible to Germany, where the big brother and best friend of Menwar lives.

When we meet the family, they have lived in a tent for four months. Life has stopped, everyday life is chaos and waiting. One day, a construction machine drives down the tents because they were set up in "illegal territory". It is upsetting to see how disrespectful the refugees' tents and belongings are being destroyed. The refugees arrive in Greece with hope, but it quickly becomes clear that Greece is not the gateway to a level existence in Europe; rather to one serious ordeal after another.

Unwelcome shows who are the losers of the war in Syria: the children.

Director Ida Theresa Myklebost has previously covered the civil war in Syria as a journalist, and knows the country well. The Al Bakri family trusts her and lets her get close. The film also shows the tremendous importance the efforts of the volunteers and relief workers on the spot have for families on the run; the flashes of warm kindness contrast sharply with hateful statements about "refugee invasion".

Unwelcome shows who are the real losers of the war in Syria: the children. Little Menwar makes an indelible impression, telling of the escape, the difficult situation in which they live, and his own emotions with an adult language. It is surprising that a child of six years is able to express himself so clearly. But also understandable: Life as a child is put on hold. In the difficult situations refugees are put into, it is the adults who own the language and the rules of the game. Naturally, adults on the run also have a need to ventilate. The children develop a vocabulary that does not suit their young soul.

Unwelcome is an important documentary, many had to watch it. And, for a long time, the Al Bakri family must have become full.

If you subscribe to MODERN TIMES, you can watch the movie here

Kaisa Ytterhaug
Kaisa Ytterhaug
Ytterhaug is a freelancer in Ny Tid.

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