The Cairo Refugee Film Festival, taking place from June 16th to June 20th, aims to help refugees integrate into the country:
Since the vast majority of refugees will never be resettled, integration in Egypt is of great concern and the need of the hour. This is possible only when when the misconceptions between the host communities and the refugee communities are cleared and an appreciation and understanding of the others’ circumstances is fostered.
Against this backdrop and with a view to bring the refugee and the egyptian communities together, the idea of a film festival took birth.
Considering that Egypt is home to a significant refugee population, hailing from all across Africa and the Middle East, a festival of such a kind is extremely relevant and provides a platform to bring together local Egyptians and refugees. The Cairo Refugee Film Festival, held in commemoration of the World Refugee Day, seeks to chronicle the lives, struggles, and achievements of refugee populations around the world from the 1930s to the present day. We aspire to break the Egyptian myth that the refugee movement is an Afro-centric problem and that refugees are always African.
We can, then, connect this to the idea that development journalism only ‘exisits’ in certain third-world countries, and specifically not the Middle East. In the same way that when we think of refugees we think of sprawling desert camps in South or Eastern Africa, rather than nationalities living in real houses and communities – such as the Palestinian refugees still living in Lebanon and Egypt, decades later.
The use of a form of media – in this case cinema – to try and bring together disparate communities, and enhance understanding of a minority, could be seen as a form of development journalism. Refugees are nothing new, and such a modern vision is now ingrained thanks to the creation and sense of belonging in nation states. But considering the world’s globalisation, and especially the amount of immigration into the Western world, the acceptance of minorities into a nation state is arguably a modern development goal (even if it is the creation of a modernisation concept – the nation state).