Celebrities support the #WithRefugees campaign, with a poem.

Cate Blanchett, the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and an Oscar winning actress, released an immensely powerful video focusing on what refugees would grab from their home just before fleeing, in support of the #WithRefugees campaign.

Based on a rhythmic poem titled, “What they took with them”, by Jenifer Toksvig, this video includes visuals of bombings, dust covered children, adults holding kids running away and pictures of actual refugees gathered from Brian Sokol’s photography project, “The Most Important Thing’. Ten top actors, including Blachett, stand side by side and read out the poem.

Some things mentioned in the video make sense, in an obvious way, like-water, torch, wallets, crackers, shoes, etc. You would grab these things too. But some other things are not obvious- one man carried a cup with him. Stanley Tucci reads, “I’d have been ashamed to ask every day for a cup, just to take a drink of water”, “But now I have my own cup. It gives me independence, no matter where I go”. An everyday object, a thing we take for granted, break and replace every few months, can mean independence to someone. Wow.

Some other things are painful to grasp. The only man of colour in the video, Chiwetel Ejiofor, reads out a bit about somebody wanting to carry a face brightening cream. “what if someone spots me and calls the police because I’m illegal? But not if I’m white. That’s right, isn’t it?”, he reads. As if being displaced isn’t enough tragedy in their lives, it is not fair that they need to fear being targeted because of their skin colour too. 

Keira Knightly, reads a bit about the survival tactics used by a woman. “I carried my virginity, out at sea, we rubbed ourselves in vomit so the pirates wouldn’t touch us”. No, means no. It is that simple, isn’t it? Trusting some men to act like humans has become a luxury we can’t afford, perhaps. She also reads out another bit about how a girl packed her flowery jeans, the ones she wore to a party once, and won’t wear again, until she goes to another one. It is heart-warming to see that some people never lose hope and manage to always see the brighter side of things.

This video really gave me the feels. Given that it released on the UNHCR Facebook page, you may have seen it already. But in case you haven’t: 

Text by Anusha

Video from YouTube