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Personal discovery

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  • Pages: 3
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  • Category: Discovery

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Discoveries enable individuals to have an improved understanding of themselves and the world, through far-reaching impacts that emerge from emotional and physical experiences. These impacts can be transformative as the individual can be confronted by the hidden realities of the world and which can offer renewed perceptions of themselves, other entities and the world. However, their perceptions may be hindered by their personal, cultural and social contexts and values. This is represented throughout the television documentary Go Back to Where You Came From (2011) directed by Ivan O’Mahoney and the poem Refugee by Jane Bellfield.

Through emotionally and physically challenging experiences an individual’s beliefs and values may be challenged, which can enable them to question their perceptions. This is wholly represented in, Go Back to Where You Came From. The documentary begins with a montage of a news report of the Christmas Island boat tragedy, which shows the audience the true danger and misfortune faced by an asylum seeker. Dr David Corlett follows the Australian participants; Gleny Rae, Adam Hartup, Raye Colbey, Roderick Schneider, Raquel Moore and Darren Hassan. The participants are put through a challenging experience which are framed in heightened emotions of anger, fear, danger and apprehension.

‘I could have gone over there with a gun and shot the lot of them’ – Raye Colbey, 63 y.o, Adelaide. ‘I guess I am a bit racist…I just don’t like Africans. If it was up to me, I would send them back to their country’ – Raquel Moore, 21 y.o, Blacktown. Doubt. Confronting. Eye-opening.

In Albury, Raye is moved by African refugee- Maisara Masoudi’s and her families experience in the camp. A close-up of Raye’s face, and her isolated in the corner of the dim lighted room, aims to emotionally involve the audience and displays her attempts to be empathetic as she states again “I’m very nervous”. Raye discovers her personal connection with Maisara over their child-loss, and she demonstrates this through asking questions and letting out tears.

Through Raye’s personal discovery she has been emotionally confronted, and has ‘let down her guard’. Her discovery is also perceptible when Raye comments on the simulated boat experience. “Emotions all well up inside you, and it’s like a bomb waiting to go off”. The use of the simile and metaphor in the statement indicates that Raye felt like a helpless victim and that she felt defenceless. Raye’s comment reinforces the reality of the experience, and prompts the audience to always consider the idea of appearance versus reality- which can infer to the rhetorical question at the beginning of episode two “What do we know of those who risk life and limb”. Therefore, the way we perceive the world can be ‘crafted’ by media, family values and beliefs.

It’s clear; for any person to renew their perceptions and understanding of the world, they will leave their comfort zones and emotions will be heightened. This is apparent at the reunion when Dr David Corlett closes the experiment. He calls it a “unique, remarkable and a gutsy journey that has been physically and emotionally challenging”. Dr. Corlett follows by repeating Raye’s comment “I could have gone over there with a gun and shot the lot of them”. Raye replies “Did I say that? Now I’d probably go over and invite them in for tea…Getting to know people personally is a whole new concept. I now know why they are in the situation there are in.”

Not only has Raye changed her perceptions on the whole issue, she has also noticed her significant change of mind and is truly embarrassed about the way she approached the refugee issue. If there is one thing we can take from their journey is that discoveries can provoke new understandings of ourselves, other individuals and the world. This is through physical and emotional journeys, which can allow us to establish new values and perceptions of the world around us.

Through the course of the episodes, it’s evident Raquel had endured an epiphany moment when she states, “I think people should give people a chance, and not judge a book by its cover…I’ll probably be more curious now.”

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