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FOR TOM ZUBRYCKI, MAKING Molly and Mobarak was his way to personally contribute to the refugee/asylum seeker debate in Australia. 'The process of humanizing someone can be a political act. When people can identify with someone or a situation, it is then that they can gain insight, or an awareness of, wider issues', said Tom in an interview during his visit to Melbourne for the screenings of his latest documentary Molly and Mobarak at the Melbourne International Film Festival.
'It suits the government's agenda to dehumanize these people so they are simply numbers or people behind bars--they're grouped, they're kind of a generic category, they're 'queue-jumpers, they're "illegal", that's the language that's being used to describe them'. This depersonalization, combined with threadbare news stories that usually lack any sense of a human being, angered Tom and motivated him to find a way to give depth to these stories, to these 'illegal' asylum seekers.
It occurred to me to find out first of all where people were moving to after they left the camps and pick them up at that point. I was interested in what would happen when they suddenly found themselves in a community needing to interact with ordinary Australians.
Tom found his story in the small country town of Young, a four hour drive from Sydney. Ninety Afghan men from the Hazara ethnic minority were working in the local abattoir and, as Tom points out,
in a country town they're forced to interact, the town is too small for refugees to just merge into multicultural Australia--like they can in a big city What I found was this incredible intensity …