Flee: One of Many Refugee Stories

Flee: One of Many Refugee Stories

Gerardo Vasquez B., Contributor

In the documentary, Flee, directed by Danish filmmaker, Jonas Poher Rasmussen, we learn a true story recounted by an anonymous refugee from Afghanistan. For the safety and security of the refugee, the documentary uses a pseudonym (Amin Nawabi) to refer to the refugee.

Amin is a refugee from Afghanistan who escaped the dangerous life he had in Afghanistan. After escaping Afghanistan and the hands of the Mujahideen, he and his family fled to Russia. When they arrived in Russia, they were not as welcomed as other color-assimilating refugees.

While recounting his experiences in Russia, Amin recalls several times when Russian troops would continuously bully Amin and his family. In the documentary, the Russian troops know that Amin and his family are refugees and with this knowledge, they blackmail the Nawabi family in exchange for money.

From Russia, Amin and his family tried to flee once again to another European country. Their goal was to flee to Sweden where Amin’s oldest brother was living. Because smuggling someone to Sweden was expensive, Amin’s sisters were the only ones who fled during their first attempt. This attempt almost cost them their lives because their journies were through a container filled with other refugees.

Afterwards, the documentary focuses on Amin and his own journey as a refugee. But, I’ll stop here to not spoil the ending of the documentary.

Throughout the film, there are multiple themes that appear. One of them being the racism that many refugees like Amin and his family face. In Amin’s case, his family was extorted by Russian troops when they settled. When Amin’s family first attempted to smuggle into Russia through a boat, they were found by a huge European cruise ship on the Baltic Sea. This scene stands out in particular because instead of offering help, the people just laughed at the boat filled refugees who were stacked like sardines in a can.

Another reoccurring theme in the film is the absence of “home” in one’s life. Amin’s life gets shut down as soon as he faces the dangers of calling Afghanistan home. When Amin flees Afghanistan, he has to also put a halt on his life because all the stress in his life is about having a safe place to call home.

To make Amin’s life experience even more impressive, Amin struggles to find his own sexual identity as he is relocating. He describes how is isn’t able to express himself freely because of fear from his own family. Fast-forward to his current life, he is still afraid to tell his family even though he is in a committed relationship with his boyfriend.

All in all, every refugee’s story is different and unique in its own way. Amin’s case is particularly interesting though, because although it has been decades since he fled his country, he is only now opening up about his journey little by little, even if it means narrating through animations.


Stream Flee on Hulu, YouTube, Vudu, and Apple TV.