August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Invisibles: Filmmakers give voice to brutalized migrants

The Invisibles: Filmmakers give voice to brutalized migrants

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photos: The Invisibles

TUCSON -- The women and children are raped. They are kidnapped. Those who can not remember the names of their relatives in the United States with money, have the tips of their tongues cut off. Those who can not pay the kidnappers are tortured, chopped into pieces and their bodies burned in boiling pots of diesel oil. Some are still alive when they are thrown in.

The Mexican government knows this, but does nothing to stop it.

These are the “Invisibles.”

These are the stories of migrants traveling on foot from southern Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. They are traveling north through Mexico, risking their lives to help their families.

Their stories are told in “The Invisibles,” which premiered on the campus of the University of Arizona on Sunday afternoon.

With striking cinematography, and powerful stories, this is the reality of the death walk. The filmmakers execute the four short films in perfect style, weaving stories of struggle and tragedy, while revealing the face of humanity.

A 17-year-old tells of her family being robbed. Then she was raped. More than half of the women migrants are raped. A man in a hospital bed tells of being thrown from a train. Along the train route, kidnappers hide waiting to kidnap the migrants.

Why? As one young mother put it: There is no work at home and everything is expensive. When her children needed school supplies and she could not buy them, she made the decision to travel on foot from Central America, risking all for a job in the US.

Filmmaker Marc Silver answered questions about the film after Sunday afternoon’s screening. Silver described his early interest in resistance efforts, which led to the profound truth of the deaths of migrants in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Amnesty International learned of the project and is now sponsoring the effort to bring about education.

When asked if migrants were reluctant to tell their story, Silver said that they were glad to have an opportunity to tell their stories, to share the horror of the abuse they had suffered in Mexico.

The four-part “The Invisibles,” is co-directed by Silver and actor Gael Garcia Bernal, star of “The Motorcycle Diaries.” The four segments are part of a feature length film now being filmed which will include the story of migrants dying in the Sonoran Desert.

Silver said he was pleased with the cooperation he has received in southern Arizona. “No one wants to see more people die in the desert.”

When asked what could be done, Silver recommended helping Tucson-based humanitarian aid organizations, including No More Deaths, the Samaritans and those who put out water for migrants at Humane Borders.

But Silver said what is needed is systematic change, change that encompasses trade and economic changes.

The Spanish language four-part series, “The Invisibles,” with English subtitles, will be shown on Mexico television to bring awareness to the abuse and torture of migrants ongoing in Mexico.

Silver said telling these stories has been empowering to the migrants who suffer abuse. It is also empowering to those who hear their stories, stories of resilience and courage.

Silver said there are also acts of kindness by those who try and make a difference, like the volunteers in migrant shelters, who are also targeted with abuse for helping migrants.

Then, there are village women who throw bags of oranges or tortillas to those migrants riding on top of trains.

Watch video and read more: