Continuous Journey Ali Kazimi / CA / 2004 / 87 / Punjabi – Urdu /S.T. English In 1914, Gurdit Singh, a Sikh entrepreneur based in Singapore, chartered a Japanese ship, the Komagata Maru, to carry Indian immigrants to Canada. On May 23, 1914, the ship arrived in Vancouver Harbour with 376 passengers aboard: 340 Sikhs; 24 Muslims and 12 Hindus. Many of the men on- board were veterans of the British Indian Army and believed that it was their right as British subjects to settle anywhere in the Empire they had fought to defend and expand. They were wrong... Continuous Journey is an inquiry into the largely ignored history of Canadas exclusion of the South Asians by a little known immigration policy called the Continuous Journey Regulation of 1908.Unlike the Chinese and the Japanese, people from British India were excluded by aregulation that appeared fair, but in reality, was an effective way of keeping peoplefrom India out of Canada until 1948. As a direct result, only a half-mile fromCanadian shores, the Komagata Maru was surrounded by immigration boats andthe passengers were held incommunicado - virtual prisoners on the ship.
Ali Kazimi Ali Kazimi is an India-born, Toronto-based award-winning filmmaker whose career spans over two decades. His point of view films address a wide range of social, environmental and historical issues. They have been heralded as beautifully crafted and astutely observed. In 2005, Now Magazine declared Kazimi Toronto’s Best Documentarian, “In a city crowded with great documentary filmmakers -- Allan King , John Walker , Richard Fung , Laura Sky , Peter Lynch -- Ali Kazimi stands out… Whether its the story of an Iroquois photographer, Canadian government racism or villagers resisting an Indian mega-dam, theres a common thread. Kazimis films are both the ongoing diary of an immigrant and a wide-ranging critique of hidden power”. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Film, Faculty of Fine Arts at York University where he teaches production and is the lead filmmaker in 3FLIC, a stereoscopic 3D research/ creation/ training project. Ali Kazimi’s first book, Undesirables: White Canada and the Komagata Maru – An Illustrated History launches in May 2012.
“That Canada must remain a white man´s country is seen necessary on moral and political grounds”William Lyon Mackenzie King quoting British authorities in his report on his mission to England, 1908.
In Undesirables: White Canada and the Komagata Maru, award-winningfilmmaker and author Ali Kazimi addresses provocative questions. At the heart of the story lies the struggle between Canada’s desire to build a homogenous nation of white immigrants – preferably from Britain and Northern Europe – and the British Empire’s need for stability.
The turning away of the Komagata Maru became one of the most infamous “incidents” in Canadian history. But it was far from incidental – it revealed one component of what was effectively a white Canada immigration policy. Weaving text together with rarely seen photographs, key documents and other striking visual materials, Kazimi brings new insight to what the federal government acknowledged in 2008 as a “dark chapter” in our country’s past. Today, with Canada’s immigration and refugee framework under intense scrutiny, the story of the Komagata Maru is all the more relevant. Undesirables was made possible through the support of the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration’s Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP).Why did Canada refuse to let these South Asian migrants land, when it had acceptedmore than 400,000 immigrants the previous year? Why did this ship pose a threat to the mightiest empire the world had ever known? http://undesirables.ca/
Continuous Journey The Komagata Maru was the first ship carrying migrants to be turned away from Canadian shores, and the event would set a precedent for the century to come. The differentiation between “desirable” and “undesirable” immigrants was embedded in Canada´s offcial immigration policies from the time of Confederation. ¿White Canada? The “White Canada” policy was finally dismantled in 1967, when all references to race were removed from Canada´s Immigration Act and a points system was implemented.Kazimi, A. Undesirables. Introduction. Quebec: Douglas & McIntyre,2011.8
Foucault, Michael. Of Other Spaces. Paris: FrenchJournal Architecture, 1984Heterotopia. Their role is to create a space of illusion that exposes every real space… is to create a space that is other, another real space, as perfect, as meticulous, as well arranged as ours is messy, ill constructed, and jumbled.The boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place. The ship is the heterotopia for excellence.
Sea In The Blood Richard Fung / CA / 2000 / 26 / English Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia.The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. Thenarrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in theCaribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change.
An intensely moving personal essay about living in the shadow of illness, Sea in the Blood explores two of Fungs closest relationships — with his late sister Nan, who died in 1977 of a rare blood disorder called thalassemia (which literally means "sea in the blood"), and with his lifelong lover, Tim, who has been living with HIV since 1980. The film begins with the soothing sound of gurgling water and an ethereal image of Richard and Tim swimming between each others legs as veiny patterns of light dance across their skin. The sea is the central metaphor, an image Fung explores from different angles — some poetic, some medical. But Nans death is the emotional epicentre. Despite an age difference of six years, Richard and Nan are inseparable as children in Trinidad. They drape fake pearls around their necks and secretly read Mao Tse-tung together.
In his videotape, Richard says, “Nan´s eventual death was a fact I was born into, like mangoes in July…” The illness is there from the beginning, at Nan´s birth, inseparable from her. She is the disease. Not a temporary shelter, nor a way station, she will never know the other side, the blank horizon of intimacies not yet tasted, desires shared with strangers. Hoolbom, M. “Stairs.” In ed.,Helen Lee and Sakamoto, Kerri, Like Mangoes in July: The Work of Richard Fung. Toronto: Insomniac Press, 2002.
Scene: underwater swimming Playing in the water evokes feelings of curiosity, and suggests the intimacies of shared experience and discovery. They connect Richard´s childhood play with his sister, to his young adult travels with Tim. The rose-tinted waters dilute and refract the blood everywhere. The colour of the water recalls the blood of heredity: the blood that caries illness. Shah, N. “Undertow.” In ed.,Helen Lee and Sakamoto, Kerri, Like Mangoes in July: The Work of Richard Fung. Toronto: Insomniac Press, 2002.
Sea in The BloodPictures: There aren´t any pictures of Nan in the hospital. Nan´s is dying, Arlene said. I stop taking pictures. Last picture I took of Nan. Spring 1977.Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida. Reflections on Photography. NewYork: Hill and Wang, 1981. The photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer, but only and for certain what has been. (85) Every photograph is a certificate of presence. (87) The reading of public photographs is always, at bottom, a private reading. (97) The photograph sometimes makes appear what we never see in a real face. (103)
DocumentaryDocumentary as a concept or practice occupies no fixed territory. It mobilizes no finite inventory of techniques, addresses not set number of issues, and adopts no completely known taxonomy of forms, styles, or modes.Documentary most often draws our attention to an issue, concept, or problem that is at the center of the film’s argument. Nichols, Bill. Representing reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991
DocumentaryThe documentary viewer’s subjectivity shifts according to whether a politics of sexual or of spatial representation is predominant. The indulgence of fantasy is blocked to some degree not simply by the invocation of a desire to know, but by an awareness that the views given originate from the encounter between social actors on either side of the lens. The viewer’s relation to the image, then, is charged with an awareness of the politics and ethics of the gaze. Nichols, Bill. Representing reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991
DocumentaryRealism in documentary filmDocumentary realism is not the realism of fiction. It possesses antecedents and characteristics of its own; it answers to needs and suggests tensions that differ from those of narrative fiction. In fiction, realism serves to make a plausible world seem real; in documentary, realism serves to make an argument about the historical world persuasive. Nichols, Bill. Representing reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991
Nation I propose the following definition of the nation: it is an imagined political community - and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign. It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion. The nation is imagined as limited because even the largest of them, encompassing perhaps a billion living human beings, has finite, if elastic, boundaries, beyond which lie other nations. It is imagined as sovereign because the concept was born in an age in which Enlightenment and Revolution were destroying the legitimacy of the divinely-ordained, hierarchical dynastic realm. Finally, it is imagined as a community, because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origen and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 1983
Contrary to its attendant mythology, thenation is not an organic, homogeneous,unitary entity.For Etienne Balibar, social formations reproduce themselves as nations in part by fabricating a “fictive ethnicity” that stands in for the national ethnic composition, while Homi Bhabha views the nation as “an impossible unity”. Gittings, Christopher. “National Cinema.” In ed. Barry Keith Grant, Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film. Detroit: Schirmer Reference, 2007
Producing the People What makes the nation a “community”? The Fundamental problem is therefore to produce the people. More exactly, it is to make the people produce itself continually as national community. Or again, it is to produce the effect of unity by virtue of which the people will appear, in everyone’s eyes, ‘as a people’, that is, as the basis and origin of political power. Every national community must have been represented at some point or another as a ‘chosen people’. Balibar, Etienne and Immanuel Wallerstein eds. Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities. New York and London: Verso, 1991.
Fictive Ethnicity and Ideal NationI apply the term ‘fictive ethnicity’ to the community instituted by the nation-state.How can ethnicity be produced? There are two great competing routes to this: language and race. Most often the two operate together. Both express the idea that the national character (which might also be called its soul or its spirit) is immanent in the people. Balibar, Etienne and Immanuel Wallerstein eds. Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities. New York and London: Verso, 1991.
We continue to live here as outsider-insider of the nation which offers a proudly multicultural profile to the international community. We have the awareness that we have arrived into somebody’s state, but what kind of state; whose imagined community or community of imagination does it embody? And what are the terms and conditions of our “belonging” to this state of nation? Bannerji, Himani. The Dark Side of the Nation: Essays on Multiculturalism, Nationalism and Gender. Toronto: Toronto Scholar Press, 2000.
Fragmentation or Integration? If nations are “imagined communities,” can the content of this national imagination called Canada be free of its history and current social relations of power? Does not the context inflect the content here and now? At this point we need to remind ourselves that there are different kinds of nationalisms – some aggressive and others assertive. Anderson makes a useful distinction between an “official nationalism” of imperialism, and the “popular nationalism” of lived relations of a settled society and its shared historical/ cultural relations (1991, p.86). The former, Anderson claims, is about hate and aggression; the latter, about love and sacrifice of a people for a shared culture, ancestral history and a shared physical space. This “popular nationalism” in my view is clearly not possible for Canada, whose context is the colonization and continued marginalization of the First Nations while seeking to build a liberal democratic state. The case of Canada and its nationalism, when considered in this light, is not very different from the “official nationalism” of South Africa, erstwhile Rhodesia, or of Australia. These are cases of colonial “community” in which nation and state formations were created through the conquering imagination of white supremacy. Bannerji, Himani. The Dark Side of the Nation: Essays on Multiculturalism, Nationalism and Gender. Toronto: Toronto Scholar Press, 2000.
Postcolonial TheoryPostcolonial subject, by the very nature of his or her location, embodies the contradictions and ambivalences of the two cultures. The postcolonial subject is hybrid, that he or she occupies a space between – or in – between – two cultures This in-between space is one of contradictions and ambivalences, in the first instance because the two cultures do not match, they are distinct. This is turn makes clear that there is no unified culture per se. And that the locationoccupied by the postcolonial subject is also by its very nature hybrid. This in-between space is, then, a third space (it is neither the first nor the second of the two interdependent cultures whose hybridization makes up the postcolonial subject). The postcolonial subject is occupying a place of potential resistance.Hayward, Susan. Cinema Studies The Key Concepts. London: Routledge, 2000
Komagata Maru today The Safe Third Country Agreement is an agreement between the governments of Canada and the United States to better manage the flow of refugee claimants at the shared land border. Under the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, persons seeking refugee protection must make a claim in the first country they arrive in (United States or Canada), unless they qualify for an exception to the Agreement. Therefore, refugee claimants arriving from the United States at the Canada-United States land border may be allowed to pursue their refugee claims in Canada if they meet an exception under the Safe Third Country Agreement.
First two years after the agreements refugee claims dropped by more than 43 percent.
Interim Federal Health Program: Summary of BenefitsRefugee Claimants Health-Care Coverage Only if of an urgent or essential•while their claim is still pending and nature:•who are not from a DesignatedCountry of Origin*: •Hospital services •Services of doctors and nurses •Laboratory, diagnostic and•The Designated Country of Origin ambulance services and(DCO) policy has not yet come into Medications and vaccines but onlyforce. The date of coming into force if needed to prevent or treat aof this section has not yet been set. disease that is a risk to public health or to treat a condition of safety concern •And An immigration medical • Citizenship and Immigration Canada examination