A video created by Amnesty International Netherlands, called "Through the Eyes of a Refugee," aims to raise public awareness about the trauma that asylum seekers face after fleeing their countries. In the video, five people are brought under hypnosis to experience the migrant journey of Marwa, a 29-year-old Syrian woman, as she made her way to Europe.
Five people from the Netherlands and Belgium were brought under hypnosis and filmed in a project by Amnesty International Netherlands that aims to highlight the plight and trauma of migrants making their way to Europe.
In the video, participants are shown collapsing onto the floor, yelling, crying, running away, feeling cold and feeling they are drowning. These are all sensations they experienced while under hypnosis as they relived the journey of a young Syrian refugee who fled war in her home country for safer future in Europe. The video project is called "Through the Eyes of a Refugee."
The five participants are a mix of male and female of varying ages. Under the guidance of a professional hypnotherapist, they experienced the journey of Marwa, a 29-year-old woman who fled Syria and reached the Netherlands.
"For most people, the hardship inflicted on refugees on their way to safety is hard to imagine. When people really experience what it is like to be forced to flee, this can create understanding and could fundamentally change the way we speak about refugees," said Eduard Nazarski, Executive Director of Amnesty International Netherlands.
In April 2015, a missile hit Marwa's home, killing her brother and sister. After months of airstrikes on her village, and after another brother chose to flee, Marwa also decided to leave Syria. She now lives in safety in the Netherlands and decided to share her story.
"The war is not over and it is only getting worse. If people hear my story it may touch them, so they may be able to help refugees. You have to treat refugees as equal human beings," she said.
A life-changing experience
One of the project participants who underwent hypnosis is Hetty. She said the experience changed her life.
"I'm glad I did this, because now I have a better understanding of what these people go through. When you see this on television, it doesn't affect you as much," she said.
In its film presentation, Amnesty International said there are currently around 22 million refugees worldwide. "By building fences and signing shameful deals with other countries to keep refugees away, politicians have revealed their true priorities," said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. "Governments have not only closed borders; they have also closed their hearts - in contrast to many ordinary people. It is time for governments to face up to the task and offer safe and legal routes for people fleeing war and persecution to find safety".