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Freedom and the Migrant Experience

Freedom and the Migrant Experience

" The secret to happiness is freedom...And the secret to freedom is courage." Thucydides 460-395 B.C

The online series, Migrant Stories, is about to conclude with anther two interviews to go and then it will be a few months in the edit suite to complete Series 4 & Series 5.  In May last year, I committed to the idea of creating a series of Migrant Stories, inspired mainly by the stories that we were losing and not recording here in Australia due to the ageing population of Migrants, considering so many came to Australia during the Post War years.  I figured I would dedicate 12 months of my filmmaking time to do this- and this I have done.  With the last of the interviews to be aired between April and May of 2018.

In all, there will be 30 stories.  At this stage, I wanted to share that there were a number of common threads between each and every person that was interviewed, and to take a moment to reflect on this.  In doing so, I found that it was apt to think of Thucydides' quote that the "secret to happiness is freedom...and the secret to freedom is courage."

What I found, was that it takes a certain trauma in the original country to install thoughts of moving.  This trauma can be instigated by government, poverty, lack of opportunities due to class structure of that country, and all in all, this points to a lack of freedom.  Every person that was interviewed, whether they came as children or as adults, were able to identify that the main driving force to moving was because the opportunities were just not present in their own country to allow them to flourish in however they saw their lives needing to do so.  That is, they did not have the freedom to do that.

Coupled with this however, was not just a desire to have freedom in their life, but a desire that was courageous; determined with a forward thinking spirit that burned within them to achieve this at whatever cost.  The latter is very prominent for most migrants- 'at whatever cost'.  As far as I'm concerned the greatest risk takers that I have met.  It didn't matter what they were up against, or whether they had any knowledge of what was in store- what was important to every single person that has come to Australia, and I gather to any other country as a migrant is the need to have freedom and with this freedom incredible courage.

In acknowledging this I am proud of the series that I have created and perhaps I will further develop this onto other platforms.  Every person that was interviewed is an asset to Australia and its progress, because they are made of strength in spirit and determination.  After all, it is these qualities in people that always moves a country forward.  Let's think about the 70 million displaced people around the world who need a new country and a new home, and that countries should find ways to open their sometimes very closed doors to them.

The last of series three will be launched tonight on FB at 7 pm,  with series 4 rolling out late February, and Series 5 rolling out late April.  Congratulations to every single person that has been interviewed to date, your responses have become an important part of Australia's oral Migration History, and I personally will always admire your courage to have the freedoms that you felt were an integral part of your lives.

Migrant Stories can be viewed here.

Stella Dimadis
January 2018


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