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Issues of citizenship, and education during conflict

There are plenty of documentaries out there describing the plight of the Syrian refugees. One such documentary that I came across, which had a lasting impact on me, was Born in Syria. This documentary is carefully curated from the perspectives of the Syrian children who fled Syria amid the civil war that has engulfed the country since almost a decade now. It shows the narrative of the children where these refugee kids thought that the most difficult part of the journey of fleeing Syria and settling down in a new European country was travelling on a rubber boat across the ocean to reach Turkey. However, soon these kids realise that was perhaps the easiest part.

The documentary is not easy to watch. It is very raw in terms of story-telling, and thus hits heart. Imagining the lives of the kids who have been separated or have completely lost their families is difficult let alone watching that happen. Also, while one watches them suffer to achieve a safe shelter, food, access to toilets and warm clothes, it makes one wonder how secondary the problem of education becomes when it comes to fleeing war and finding security. Once these refugees start settling down and stop moving from one country to next to be 'accepted' as refugees, the questions around citizenship make it almost impossible for them to be enrolled in schools. Sometimes lack of citizenship also deprives these refugee children from attaining formal education certifications that could help them escape the poverty and crisis they are in while residing in a foreign country. Questions of integration, language barriers and culture start to manifest and these refugees have to overcome a plethora of problems before accessing education in the foreign land.

I would recommend you all to watch it for as long as you can since it gets overwhelming at times. But it is also important to see how they are dealing with the issues of conflict, refuge and education in order to have construct debates on whose responsibility is it exactly to provide them with education.

P.S. It is available to watch on Netflix.

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9 comentários

Shahmir Ahmad 23020169
Shahmir Ahmad 23020169
09 de mai. de 2021

Well written, Maheen! The point made about documentation in your blog and in this documentary is so important. Reading and watching this further cements my belief that the world is made for only the privileged. This not only applies in the context of refugees and migration like you've written, but also in other contexts that we overlook. For example, I am remined of a Reddit post I read several years ago, where a person was helping a man who had recently been released from jail get up on his feet. The person mentions how even things we take for granted like applying for jobs via LinkedIn or the internet are concepts that are completely alien to people with a lower level…


Thankyou for sharing this Maheen. This is a very important topic. As we also discussed in class about the experiences of Afghan refugees, this issue is something that needs to be addressed. It is important for us to take a stand for these refugees and enforce government agencies to help them out. These people have already suffered so much at the hands of conflict, treating them so poorly when they are trying to get a better life is unfair.


Thank you for sharing this. Your discussion on how secondary the problem of education becomes in conflict zones has instilled an uneasiness in me. Throughout the course we have been looking at education as a primary facility (and I agree with all of it - there are no doubts about its importance). However, our privilege and our comfort may have been blinding us of the fact that there are far greater problems that children in these conflict zones must have to face in order to survive. Indeed education becomes secondary when the stomach yearns for food.


Very well written Maheen! I saw this documentary recently, and to be honest it left me thinking for days. The issue of citizenship for refugees is something important yet it is often ignored by everyone. However, as far as Pakistan is concerned, Imran Khan has taken certain steps to grant citizenship to refugees. In his maiden visit to Karachi on Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan unexpectedly unannounced that Afghans and Bengalis living in the country for many decades would be issued CNICs and passports, which would effectively make them formal citizens of Pakistan.

However, at this stage, it is unclear which categories of those residents will be considered for citizenship. Mr. Khan mentioned both individuals who are living in Pakistan…


I want to watch this but I'm a little scared to - I find it extremely hard to stomach things like this. But then I force myself to because I feel that what these people went through is far worse than what I'll go through watching this documentary. Almost like thinking "how dare I" even for a second think it's okay for me to look away? This happened a lot while reading stories about the APS attack. On to the actual documentary, I feel like the idea of bringing "refugees" to safety is in itself flawed. Because how can one feel safe without independence accorded to them through education? Without the ability to break away and lead their own life as…

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