過去幾個月來，一方面香港人花了一些功夫請求外國政治領袖支援香港，另一方面來自各地民間的聲援不絕。比如法國第40次黃背心遊行就以「支持香港民主，撐起雨傘」（ACTE 40 Soutien à la démocratie à Hongkong #SortezLesParapluies）為主題。身處他方的抗爭者對我們聲援，令我們備受鼓舞，但所謂跨越地域的團結是否僅止於此？特別想提的是，來自菲律賓工運朋友的訊息當中有一句：「香港群眾的訴求就是我們的訴求」。他們身在行動者與人民頻頻被警察殺害的國家，也如此聲援香港這個大力剝削菲律賓移工的城市反抗暴政，這種程度的「不割蓆」是怎樣的概念？
The social movement film festival has entered the 17th anniversary, encountering an unprecedented uprising in Hong Kong.
In the last two decades, from the “ square movement” including the occupy wall street and umbrella movement, to the recent “ anonymous movement” such as the yellow vests movement and anti-extradition movement, waves of popular uprisings have sprung up all over the world. The actions which can or cannot be perceived have become reality including workers’ strike ( the 11th smff), students’ strike (the 15th smff), setting up road blockage (the 3th smff), factory occupation(the 12th smff) , occupy supermarket(the 15th smff) and guerilla action (the 14th smff).
In the past few months, hong kong people spend some efforts in seeking support from foreign political leaders, while support from global people never ends. For example, the 40th yellow vests movement in France set their action film as “Support Hong Kong, Hold up the umbrellas ” （ACTE 40 Soutien à la démocratie à Hongkong #SortezLesParapluies）. Support from protestors around the world makes us encouraging for a moment, but does the so-called “cross the boundary” only limited to this aspect? We would like to remind, one of the quotes from our labour movement comrade in the Phillippines: “ in the spirit of solidarity, to adopt the demands of the protesters of Hong Kong as our own" The activists from a country which activists are frequently killed by the police, still come up and support Hong Kong, a city which exploit Philippine migrant workers severely, to resist government oppression, how could we comprehend such level of “not to distance from comrades”?
Distance and nation were not the only separated man kind, various reasons such as ability , skin colour, body , race , gender and with more. Yet the difference were not as obvious as it seems during this anti extradition law amendment our difference seems getting blur.
On one hand, senior citizens, housewives/caretakers, the blind, the deaf, the ethnic minorities.Those were not being identified as “protestors” nor even “hongkongers”, in the past, each crossover their obstacles and participated in the movement and the protest site, seeking their specific roles in protest.
On the other hand, some crusaders exiled overseas, facing the same situation as an asylum or migrant workers: unfamiliar society, the road in front is indefinite, limited in many aspects because of one’s identity, even just to find an ordinary job to sustain a living becomes extremely difficult. Some comrades suffered from police brutality or violence threatening by triads, lost their physical sight or exercise ability, or even psychologically wounded, the body is no longer the original one, and suddenly becomes a “disabled”, while our society has always been keep on creating living obstacles to “the disabled”. We/they could no longer be split.
Some comrades being lost their job because of political views, lost their earnings of living in a sudden. Some comrades lost the academics lost their once familiar living mode, facing or already been sentenced, their future has been altered permanently.
To support those suffering comrades, apart from recruiting donation, forwarding their saddening news on the internet, what else can we do? How does the social structure has to be changed, so that there could be a safety net for our suffering comrades, or ourselves who may possibly fall into the same situation? If we say “ not to distance from comrades even a nuclear explosion” , when the world and the destiny distance them away, how could we re-sew our linkage, not to let them being expel from the social structure? Or even, to make a bigger umbrella for all protestors, that we could unite with more strength?
Groups of people being neglected and oppressed far far away, have been struggling at the bottom and along the margins of society. Their experience and experiment(s), might be able to become our source of inspiration. In the past we screened many films about groups of people having different abilities – from whom we have been able to learn from. for instance, 8/F East wing, Jen-Ai Hospital in 5th smff, Where is hope? the art of murder in 14th smff, and The key of g in 15th smff. All these have inspired us to learn to criticize, by questioning and crumbling ableism very much internalized in society; and to learn from people with different abilities – how to stand with one another, and be connected together. This year, films about people with different abilities are to be screened. Perhaps when the participation of people with different abilities and personalities could be taken more care of; when marginalized groups become less marginalized, the power of people at the bottom or of those being oppressed, may be able to connect and become stronger.
For sure, the ongoing struggles of these people neglected and oppressed in every sense, have never been easy. Some struggles ended up in bloody suppression and massive arrest; some remained chaos under constant international military intervention; some were settled by compromise with the government temporarily; some won the election and betrayed the people; some just ended imperceptibly; and some did succeed to regain the power. Were those struggles a success or failure? No, it is not even ‘simplifying’ to use these words to describe all these situations, that these words are unable to let people understand how much dust and echo have been sprung up, brought by the struggles and movements sweeping over the society. Recently a French yellow vest friend of mine has talked to me with a diagram of ‘strategic distribution of frontline protestors in the movement of anti-extradition law’, saying that they have been evaluating why they were no match for the police. My friend said it was amazing to see this kind of information shared around. I said, in fact we have never been able to beat the police, all we could do was to minimize the number of comrades being arrested and getting hurt. He then said, isn’t this successful?
What smff brings is not limited to successful stories with spirit and motivation, we all live in entirely different time and space, participating in all sorts of struggles. Experience of our friends from afar, may not be able to correspond to every bit of the hardship we are facing, still it brings motivations, inspirations, reflections and healing chances. There is neither direct example of a successful struggling model that can be copied, nor a definite conclusion of a struggle – be it a total victory or a complete failure. Any struggle is a long-term, winding and direct integration – we hope you will think alike in front of the screen, when watching stories of struggle of other places brought by smff, and let your direct and indirect impressions and feelings become seeds which stay in your heart.
We are grateful to activists from all aspects, for giving smff reasons to re-interpret why we insist on our taste in organizing smff. The hong kong social movement film festival is 17 years old, with loads of films and the resources accumulated behind, we are still learning in every scene and moment. This year in September, students are preparing for a strike. Many tertiary institutions are screening the film smff had screened in 2017, about the movement of Croatian students occupying their school campus, to start up discussions of the current situation with students. If any one is interested in watching films we screened in the past, welcome to form your group and contact us for further arrangement (see ‘About Us’ for details).
the 17th hksmff committee