Iceland's Refugees Invite You To The Movies - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland’s Refugees Invite You To The Movies

Published April 8, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Main photo by
Refugees in Iceland

Refugees in Iceland are inviting you to see a critically-acclaimed film, for free, that may give you an insight into their lived experiences.

The event, happening at Bíó Paradís tonight at 20:00, is a special screening of the movie Capernaum, a Lebanese film directed by Nadine Labaki. Apart from winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and being nominated for Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards, the film also casts many refugees and immigrants, including the film’s protagonist, 14-year-old Zain Al Rafeea, who fled his homeland of Syria in 2012.

“The event is a nice opportunity to understand the cause,” the event text states in part. “It shines a light on the situation that refugees are living with, about the struggles that they have gone through, and about the reasons why they are escaping from their countries of origin.”

The film will be followed by a panel discussion where you can hear directly from refugees in Iceland what their struggles and aims are.

Refugees in Iceland have been protesting in the hopes of establishing a dialogue with government officials regarding changes they want to see to the system. These protests have at times resulted in police violence, whether directed at the refugees themselves or their supporters.

The actual demands of the refugee protesters and their allies are fairly simple:

1. No more deportations – deportations are torture.

2. Everybody should get substantial reviewing of their case. Dublin regulation is inhumane and highly flawed.

3. The right to work. We want to get the work permit along with temporary kennitala while we wait for the decision from immigration office. We want to work!

4. Equal access to healthcare. Everybody should get their medical needs met, be it physical or psychological. Currently immigration office in Iceland denies many refugees the right to a suitable healthcare.

5. Closing down of the isolated refugee camp in Ásbrú, Keflavík. It is psychologically devastating to be kept in isolation in Ásbrú. In less then one week two people in Ásbrú have tried to commit suicide.

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