September 23, 2021

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Afghan Refugee Javid Sina Housesund’s ‘Death, Dictates Silence’

4 min read

The life of Javid Sina, an Afghan refugee based in Sweden, was uninterrupted by the border. First in Iran, where he spent his childhood, and where he was tortured as an Afghan, he was unable to go to school, and from Dostoevsky to Rumi forced his family to educate themselves through books kept at home. Then immigration to Sweden, which he walked on at the age of 15, about ten years ago, after getting close to a series of exploitative smugglers.

And even today, now that he has finished film school in Gothenburg, he sees his ambitions again limited by borders as he tries to go to Housesund for the Norwegian International. Film Festival-Housesund. This time, though, his path was not blocked because of his foreign nationality, but because of the Covid-1 restrictions. Norway currently welcomes visitors from all over Europe who are fully vaccinated and received their second dose 7 days before the trip, but Cena received it only 4 days ago.

He was crushed and reminded of similar situations in the past. “As soon as they stopped me, the fear of being stopped by a police officer at the border came back, it’s like noticing this injury again,” he said. Diversity.

For many displaced people, trauma is a feeling they carry with them, which makes it difficult to share or look back. But as a filmmaker and writer, Cena tries to use art to deal with the trauma and to portray his family and his exile from his native Afghanistan.

At Housesund, he screened a new short film as part of the Next Nordic Generation, a section dedicated to ten of the best recent graduation films from film schools in the Nordic region.

His title, “Death, Dictates Silence,” tells the story of two Afghan refugee siblings separated from their childhood, whose brothers are unable to attend the funeral due to extra trauma and cultural clashes (brother lives in Sweden and sister lives in Iran).

Kovid-1 inspires both the short style and the narrative. The whole film is a zoom conversation between two siblings, and this separation plays stylistically because the image ratio varies from vertical to horizontal – transferring calls from a phone to a computer.

Short stars Hafiz Hossaini and Areju Ariyapur (who starred in the Angelina Jolie-backed film “Hawa, Maryam, Ayesha” at the 2019 Venice Film Festival), two Afghan refugees living in the Nordic region who were personally involved with the script written by Sina.

“She had the same problem [as the character], ”Said the filmmaker about Ariyapur. “His mother was sick in Iran, and he had to take care of her for a long time. It’s a very personal story for her, like all three of us, because Hafiz had the same problem as me. He was here. [in Sweden] When his mother died in Pakistan, and he could not go back.

Since the dialogue in the film is based on the views of the Swedish brother, the film is inevitably inspired by the director’s own experience. Displacement takes a completely meaningful and difficult direction in the era of permanent zoom calls, as a refugee pictured in a Western country can easily connect via zoom calls or send pictures and videos, but cannot physically stay with his family.

Lazy loaded pictures

Javid Sina
Credit: Matilda Freeman

“I have a big part in this film,” said Cena, who lost two of his parents. Her father died before 2001 before the Taliban regime and her mother died four years ago, although the memory remains very fresh to the filmmaker, who cried while talking about her.

One of the main traumatic feelings of being with Cena, which he portrayed through his brother in the film – and which he said many refugees now living in safe countries are feeling – is guilt.

“I think the main problem – you can see it in my picture – is the crime I couldn’t bring my family. It’s always with me, because I really tried my best, ”he said with a pause for a few seconds,“ but things didn’t go as I wanted. “

The title of the short film is taken from Sina’s writing and the line used at the beginning of the movie: “To those who remain, death signifies silence for those who have left” A loved one dies, or when a refugee reflects their homeland.

If you are in Afghanistan now, you will be killed or tortured. If you leave, you can’t do anything, you can’t change anything in the country. You bring a lot of guilt with you. Both sides of this situation are like saws in your stomach, ”Cena said.

“That’s why I thought of dedicating this film to people who feel all this pain, like sisters, and who are gone, with guilt and shame like brothers.”

As the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan escalates after the Taliban takeover, Sina, who has younger siblings in Kabul who are now trying to leave, hopes that people around the world, especially the film industry, will speak out in Afghanistan to put pressure on politicians and provoke change.

“I think each of us in the film industry has this role at the moment, if they raise their voices, if they refer to the situation in Afghanistan now, it could change a lot,” he said. “We can save lives. We can stop repeating the history of the disaster. ”

Although many refugees and migrants who now live in safe and comfortable conditions carry Cena-induced crime, the way to fight through campaigns for change and raising awareness, be it activism, film or a couple of encounters.

“I can’t hide it,” he said of how the filmmaker poured himself into the film. “That’s what it is. Some people’s lives are a little miserable. There was war,” and then, pointing to himself, he said, “It’s the result of war.”

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