Saturday, November 19th
Dr. Özgün Topak
THE CROSSING takes us along on one of the most dangerous journeys of our time with a group of Syrians fleeing war and persecution, crossing a sea, two continents and five countries, searching for a home to rekindle the greatest thing they have lost - Hope.
On a summer night, a group of Syrians wade quietly into the Mediterranean, with little children, a cat and little packets of food wrapped in cling-film held above their heads to climb into little boats that will take them to a fishing boat waiting in deeper waters. The little boat keels over from imbalanced loading. In the panic in the dark waters to save the children, they lose the cat and most of the food and water they have. A mother of 2 young children wants to return ashore, but it is too late, the police may have reached the beach and the only way available is into the sea. They are journalists, engineers, a musician and a psychologist climbing aboard an old unseaworthy fishing boat, manned by desperate smugglers who have never before sailed beyond coastal fishing waters. They make it to Europe, only to find out that the hardest part of their journey still lies ahead. Months of uncertainty and waiting, living in one centre after another, takes a toll on their spirits, as they confront what being a “refugee” means.
Dr. Özgün Topak is an Assistant Professor at York University, Department of Social Science.
Dr. Topak’s research interests include surveillance studies, migration & border studies, citizenship studies and human rights. His current project focuses on migration from Turkey to Greece and in the broader Mediterranean region and examines how surveillance operates through various technologies, and spatial and legal strategies, how migrants respond to surveillance, and how processes of surveillance and criminalization are contested by diverse groups, including humanitarian groups and migrants themselves. He conducted fieldwork in various border regions of Europe, including the Greek Islands, Izmir, Evros Region, Lampedusa and Malta.
Gloria Nafziger, AI Canada Campaigner. Gloria Nafziger has been a Refugee Coordinator at Amnesty
International Canada since 1996. Her work currently involves campaigning and advocacy on behalf of
refugees. She also provides support for Amnesty International campaigns on a number of countries including
Iran, China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka.