On Thursday, 7 April 2016, the documentary “Biji Nemsa – Hoch lebe Österreich” of the producers Aras Mufty und Nikolai Selikovsky had its premiere at Stadtkino in Vienna. The movie, which was produced in cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government-Iraq Representation in Austria, broaches the issue of the flight of the first 100 Kurds escaping from Saddam Hussein’s regime to Austria in 1976, 40 years ago, as well as their integration into the Austrian society.
Five of the refugees from 1976 tell their individual stories in the course of the movie, among them KRG Representative Dr. Mustafa Ramazan. Their stories portray their past needs, the difficulties they were facing upon arrival in Austria, as well as during the integration process. Moreover, the movie also illustrates how successful integration can be accomplished: all protagonists managed to learn German, to pursue a university degree or to settle down in working life within a short period of time.
Including original recordings from the year 1976, the past situation is further visualized for the audience. Throughout the movie it becomes quite obvious, how grateful the Kurdish refugees are towards Austria for providing them shelter. At the same time, the movie illustrates how difficult it was for the refugees to leave their homes and families, which is why some of them returned to Kurdistan in the early 1990’s, when the circumstances for the Kurds in Iraq gradually started to improve. In this sense, the movie also sends out a clear political message, which is also of great relevance in the current so-called refugee crisis: As important as it is to take in people in crisis situations and to guarantee them safety, the superior solution would be to provide them with the possibility of a safe and acceptable life for them on-site. In the end, nobody likes to leave his or her home, family, and friends behind.
On the occasion of the premier, around 150 invited guests attended the movie. Among them, there were the protagonists of the documentary with their families, as well as members of the Austrian parliament, journalists, and representatives of the Kurdish community, as well as various other interested guests. After the movie, which was received with a big applause, the guests had the possibility to talk to and exchange thoughts with the producers and the documentary’s protagonists, in order to learn even more about the background of the Kurdish diaspora in Austria.