The first one took me a long time since I didn't know how to make them but now I have learnt how to use bits of software I find I can build one in about 3 days. A lot of the time is actually spent just thinking about the subject matter and often crying as the scenes I play over and over can be quite emotional.
I'm no professional, I just use download existing clips from YouTube using the Torch browser, convert video formats using Freemake Video Convertor, and then put them into Windows Movie Maker, which has its limitations but is fairly easy to use, and is free.
I don't have copyright for most of the materials I use, or permission, which I do feel bad about, and that made me really hesitant at first to do this, but I would instantly remove any materials that any owner complained about (so long as that owner was not a human rights abuser). I've been hopeful that copyright holders will be lenient with the footage I'm using, as I try to handle material sensitively and this is all obviously purely for humanitarian causes. Up until now I haven't received any complaints (thank-you!). I am deeply grateful to Sami Yusuf whose music I have used on two occasions; their social media team were very gracious in actually retweeting the videos I made.
The aim here was to tell a short story here about the Rohingya for those who knew nothing about their plight. This is the first video I ever made. It took me weeks to complete and quite a few boxes of tissues to wipe my eyes too.
Rohingya Exodus 2012
The footage here has been taken from a much longer leaked video from the Burmese military that showed how the Rohingya were marched from their homes, by the military, in their thousands, in the Summer of 2012. It make me think of how the Jews were taken from their homes by the Nazis, hence why the choice of music. I still find myself stunned every time I watch this. The scale of this state crime which took place in full view of the international community without a word of condemnation is truly shocking.
These Rohingya children came out to protest against a census which Burmese authorities have been conducting over the past year, to get the Rohingya to register themselves as illegal Bengali immigrants. The children were shouting 'Rohingya' which their families are not allowed to register themselves as. I found it incredibly moving that after all these children had been through they found the courage to go out and protest in defence of their name. The original video footage was actually being used as propaganda by the state sponsored media, hence why I had to use the bold writing to block out their messages. I chose the music as a celebration and as a mark of respect for these truly inspirational children.
I have seen so many clips of Rohingya suffering over the past year, so much footage of despair, it made me think about how humans have been given tears to help us connect on a deep spiritual level and share our suffering with mankind, which ultimately may save us. I wondered what it would be like to try and capture some of those deeps moments of hopelessness, some of those tears, and put them together, maybe it would touch hearts around the world, motivate people to act to try and save these people?
Zainab Alkhawaja #FreeZainab
The week I was first introduced to the Rohingya, I was busy supporting Zainab Alkhawaja in a campaign to draw awareness to terrible eye injuries often inflicted by security forces on the oppressed people of Bahrain. Zainab was a huge inspiration to me and I will never forget the encouragement she gave to me when we first spoke over Skype. It was not long after that I felt compelled to act for the Rohingya. Sadly Zainab has spent much of the past year in prison for her work as a human rights defender in Bahrain, and as I write this she is still there locked away, when she should be with her young daughter. It was with great sadness that I heard her sentence had been extended, after she spoke out in defence of another lady in prison who was being treated badly. I had to pause my work acting for the Rohingya to take time to remember dear Zainab who is my all time hero, and to try and raise awareness for her amazing work. I also wrote this poem about her.
Peace for Syria #Candle4Syria
When the troubles with Syria began I was deeply involved with campaigning for friends in Bahrain, and I really felt I didn't have the strength to look at what was happening in Syria at the same time. In addition I felt there was nothing that I could do that would make any difference. Then the past 12 months campaigning for the Rohingya as they have been at risk of extermination was even more traumatic, but eventually I did start to find strength and felt I simply must do something to speak out against the terrible events taking place. I decided that I should be a voice for peace, as that is what I believe in, peace and justice. I had been thinking of trying to organise some kind of candlelit peace vigil for Syria for some time, and had been starting to talk to people about that idea to see how best to go about it, and then the chemical attack took place and the talk of war. I decided I should still push ahead as a voice for peace regardless of whether the USA attacks or not. I hope the video will help you think about peace for Syria - I believe for peace to come we must first envisage that, and then find ways to act to bring it about. I am encouraging people to light a candle for Syria on Peace Day which is on 21st September.
Thank-you for watching. If you would like to send me feedback the best way to contact me is via Twitter @jamilahanan