Troubles developed countries. In this class, we

 

Troubles within the Moving
Experience

Immigrants from all around the
world find ways to restart their lives in fully developed countries. In this
class, we discussed many examples in regards to the topic of immigrants leaving
their homes in search for new ones. The main reasons individuals leave their
home nation is due to famine, civil wars and corruptive governments. While some
arrive to their desired destinations safely, others risk their own lives
throughout the journey. There are many immigrants arriving to the United States
of America, even until today there are hundreds, however there are also
migrants headed towards the main parts of Europe as well. And the film that
perfectly describes the risk immigrants must take in order to achieve freedom, is
the documentary Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea), written and
directed by Gianfranco Rosi.

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Refugees worldwide are searching
for new places to abide with their families, where they can enjoy their lives
in peace instead of being on the run for the rest of their lives. The
documentary, Fire at Sea
(Rosi) sets on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa. During that time, the European
migrant crisis was occurring in 2015. This was a time period where many
refugees arrived in the European Union, some from Asia and most from regions in
Africa. These refugees risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea since it
is their only escape route and in some cases a graveyard for them as well. Many
die on the journey, either from illness, dehydration, drowning or in severe
cases skin burns from fuel spillage. Lampedusa is a common ground for refugees to
disembark, with that being the case, the Italian Coast Guard send squads out to
the Mediterranean Sea to seek an opportunity. Categorizing them into groups,
the upper class refugees were placed on the top deck of the ships while the
middle and lower classes filled in the remaining sections. While it feels like
hope has been granted, there are still multiple obstacles for the refugees to
overcome. Each class has a fee, ranging from 15 hundred dollars the upper class
pays to 5 hundred dollars the lower class invests. The rooms on the ships were
small compared to the number of individuals and many have tragically died due
to dehydration. Some who were located below the boat decks have exposed
themselves to the poisonous fuel which soaked into their articles of clothing
leaving behind severe burns. There were checkups and those who were found with
a distributing disease of any sort were the last to embark in order to be
examined carefully; while on the other hand, the people who were close to death
were tossed onto a raft, piling on top of one another, where they have accepted
their fates and head to shore. Situations such as this happens everywhere in
the world as it is a very treacherous issue on Earth. Images of overloaded boats
and drowned bodies make it to the media and news reports. The different human perspectives
Fire at Sea displayed were
realistic and the detailed images presented did not hold back when displaying
scenes of horror and pain. During the
Migrant Crisis, a majority of the men, women and children heading towards
Lampedusa suffered from dehydration, illness and death. Up to 150,000 refugees
were rescued by the Italian government however, the acts partaken within the
journey led to questions for the Italian government. The life of a refugee, where
time is a factor and risks are taken; Fire
at Sea demonstrated the difficulties foreign immigrants came across
within the journey and the impact foreign interference had on them.

While some regions in Europe remain
acquiring large numbers of immigrants entering their nation, the United States
of America offers an opportunity of a lifetime. Hundreds of individuals searched
for “the American dream”, which was a term said worldwide during the mid-1800’s
and the mid-1900’s. According to the article “The Epic of America”, “the
American dream” is defined as “that dream of a land in which life should be
better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according
to ability or achievement” (Adams, 2012). Many immigrants who’ve successfully
entered the United States, had many reasons to leave their home lands. The
impact caused by malignant foreign influence and corruption within nations in
the northeastern hemisphere resulted in the departure of many foreign citizens.
The American Dream is the dream that offers the opportunity of happiness,
prosperity and life. Nevertheless, the process to get there will challenge them
as cultural assimilation must be executed as well as learning the English
language and obtaining a steady occupation in the real world. The majority of
immigrants come from South & Central America, Asia and Europe. The nation
of America: no matter where you are from, an opportunity awaits in the nation
of America. At least that was what the Tsang family had in mind when they came
to the United States of America. For the sake of their children, Mr. and Mrs.
Tsang wanted to provide their children with a future. Alternatively, the Tsang
family come to the realization that their switch to the United States of
America will be the downfall of their legacy.

The film Reunification, shares the dark secrets that lied within director
Alvin Tsang’s family history. During the early 1960’s, many Asian immigrants moved
to the United States and had trouble adapting to the American culture and
grasping the American language. Alvin Tsang is the middle child and came to the
United States as a young boy. Reunification
was recorded by Alvin himself, as he filmed his daily life for
seventeen straight years. As we view the story through Alvin’s point of view,
it is quick to identify that there are some issues within the Tsang family. It
is introduced that Alvin stayed with his father in China while his mother and
two siblings took a flight to America. The relationships within family members
are not gentle as Alvin has troubling accepting a stepfather into the family.
While he and his father stayed in China, his mother found work in the United
States and eventually married a Chinese man named David who’s helped her alongside.
Alvin narrates his story throughout the whole film, as the feelings of defeat
and anger slowly appear in his tone of voice.

The divorce of his parents took a
huge toll on Alvin emotionally. Since he had lived with his father back in
China for many years, it was difficult for Alvin to understand why his mother had
left him. In the film Alvin stated this: “I remember staring out into The
Pacific Ocean for the first time in Santa Monica. I was nine. I thought if I
tried very hard, I can see Hong Kong on the other side. Or even swim back. But
the deeper I followed the waves into the darkness for signs of lights. The more
I realized its impossibility” (Tsang, 2016). This was how many immigrants felt
when they arrived to the “freedom” land. They quickly realize the toil needed
to in order to provide a family in the United States.

Alvin’s mother does not like
discussing her personal life and decisions as she has done her best to provide
her three children a proper education. Her answer to Alvin when asked about the
family history is “Don’t question me the past because there’s no value in it.
It’s not worthy to ask me why. And there’s no reason for me to tell you why. It’s
in the past. Don’t look back.” (Tsang, 2016). The message behind her statement is
very powerful as she is the first generation of immigrants in her legacy. She
flew to the United States with two little children without the help of a patriarch.
The fact that she got married to her now husband David can be arguably
understandable since she was not able to provide for her family by herself.
When life throws a complication your way, the smartest possible solution must
be executed. In this case, Alvin’s mother made the decision to remarry for
obvious reasons, she needed a normal lifestyle.  

Later in the film, Alvin’s younger
sister Mimi is introduced to the audience. She had been living in the United
States since she was a little girl. Since she left Hong Kong as a toddler, she
does not remember what life was like back in China. Alvin has a lot of experience
living in China however he too has trouble adapting to different lifestyles. He
and Mimi flew back to Hong Kong, where the presence of nostalgia was evident
when Alvin took a deep breath of the air. Asked if she remembered the local
school playground, Mimi cannot seem to remember her childhood in Hong Kong. While
his sister had troubled remembering, Alvin had noticed a few changes and some new
faces in his city. Mimi was getting married in Hong Kong, so the Tsang family
decided to make it one that she will never forget. Mimi was dressed in a very beautiful,
traditional Chinese dress for her big event as this reminded me the fact that
tradition was never forgotten. The roots and culture of a legacy should never
be forgotten as the family name will be the only thing a member leaves behind. Regardless
how assimilated one is, he/she should be able to represent their home country
with respect and tradition as that is the country that initially brought them
to Earth.  

There have been many cases in Asian
American families where families separate due to immigration. According to the
article “An Open Letter to the Woman Who Told My Family to go Back to China”
(Luo, 2016), author Michael Luo explains the issues that come with feeling like
an outcast. Luo was born in the United States, his parents emigrated to the
United States from China. This article explains how real and powerful
discrimination can be when used against people with ethnic backgrounds. Luo
stated that a woman really did tell his family to go back to China, as this
experience was both uncomfortable and mortifying for Luo. Despite being a
citizen who was born in the United States of America, Luo and many others
experience the rejection of society. The tendency to feel unaccepted by modern civilization
is apparent in many cases throughout the United States.

One case where people from foreign countries
were treated unwelcomely involved one of my peers. My friend Haider Tawakali
was one of the lecture guest speakers this semester and he proudly shared his story
as an immigrant from Afghanistan. He was born and raised in Afghanistan where
he lived with his father, mother and multiple siblings. The nation was
peaceful, until the Taliban took control of the region and turned the country
upside down. Living situations became difficult as the nation was full of
chaos. Haider’s father worked with the United Nations and he tried to get the organization
to stop the Taliban. This was unsuccessful as Haider’s father and his family
emigrated to the United States after an unsuccessful attempt to kill him by the
Taliban occurred. While in America, Haider lived in New York, where he learned
how to read, write and speak English. Knowing how to communicate, Haider’s
father advised him not to tell anyone where he is originally from as it could
potentially lead to future problems. Eventually, his friends found out and when
one asked “Can I call you Mus from now on?” his anger sparked up and he
responded with a hard “No”. In school, he was asked very personal and specific
questions about the Middle East from his fellow peers. He grew uncomfortable and
declined their requests as he understood that he cannot provide ammunition for
those who want to belittle him. Years pass by and Haider now lives in peace,
hoping to make his family proud for accomplishing his goals.

There are many factors that affect
the emigration of foreign immigrants. The issues brought up with war,
government corruption and famine all lead to the declination of a country. Some
individuals immigrate to developed countries in order to start new lives, such as
the refugees in the film Fire at Sea
(Rosi, 2016). Others find an opportunity for their legacy to grow, so their
children can gain a proper education, just like Alvin’s mother in the film Reunification (Tsang, 2016) when she immigrated to America
at age 30. While the final destination offers a reward, it comes with a toil. Refugees
will put their lives at stake so they can live an appropriate and fair life. Hard
work has to be done in order to raise a family. It all depends on how much you
want it.

 

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