Following a screening of Hostile at the University of Aberdeen in November, one of the students who attended wrote a piece giving their thoughts on the film.
We found the response to be particularly moving, and we are grateful that they took the time to share this with us. We think it is important to raise awareness about the different ways that the ‘hostile environment’ impacts people. As a result, we are reproducing the student’s thoughts in full below:
“I came into the class excited to learn more about an issue that is dear to me. I did not consider myself to be incredibly knowledgeable on the subject of immigration, however, as a 3rd generation immigrant myself, this is something that is important to me. My family like thousands of others in the UK, have a story not too dissimilar to some of those portrayed in the media and in the documentary. I was hungry for answers as I sat to watch.
I thought the film was particularly emotive which was unexpected. I found myself welling up during many parts of the documentary and at one point shed a few tears. A country that colonised and held empirical reign over millions still wants more from its immigrants, by trying to squeeze every penny and ounce of strength from those who are seeking a better life after decades and generations of struggle, some of which were caused by Britain itself.
I find the irony almost comical. Providing a safe and free country for people to come to should be the least they can do after destroying families and rewriting the future of so many bloodlines through colonial efforts. The relationship between Britain and its migrants is not symbiotic.
The system is broken, it only serves those who look and fit a particular archetype. There is no room for ‘other’ on the metaphorical citizenship form. You either fit the box, or you do not. You comply with bureaucracy, or you fight to survive. But even when you comply you still have to face the battle and it appears that no migrant is safe even if you follow the rules. Farrukh mentioned he had never received a parking ticket yet was made to feel like an intruder in his newly adopted homeland and now his children, born in the UK are also suffering because of unfair legislation. This strikes the notion that it is also a financial game, by keeping people in the system and forcing them into destitution, all resulting in an impossible rat race and desperation for survival.
Divide and conquer also came to mind, I thought of the partition and how history is repeating itself in a subtle and analogous way. Only certain voices are being silenced, only certain communities are being stopped and searched. And it is almost as though the police and groups like the EDL are the foot soldiers of the government.
Finally, as I watched, a light was shed on the personal unsettlement I feel too. I was born in the UK but still receive microaggressions and racial slurs, I have assimilated and conformed, I do not speak my mother tongue, yet I will never fit in. Even as I write this, I feel a visceral response to the words I note, and I am not sure there is anything ‘Great’ about Britain anymore. I now leave with the question of whether there was anything ‘Great’ about Britain to begin with?”
We love hearing from everyone who has watched the film. Please connect with us on social media @hostiledoc or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know your thoughts. Let’s continue the dialogue.