Look Beyond Borders: a 4 minute experiment

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When talking about the problem of refugees, we use dehumanised language, which reduces human tragedy to numbers and statistics. But this suffering concerns real people, who – just like us – have families, loved ones, friends; their own stories, dreams, goals… Only when you sit down opposite a specific person and look into their eyes, you no longer see an anonymous refugee, one of the migrants, and notice the human before you, just like yourself – loving, suffering, dreaming…

20 years ago, psychologist Arthur Aron discovered that 4 minutes of looking into each other’s eyes can bring people closer. Using this discovery, we decided to carry out a simple experiment, during which refugees and Europeans sat opposite each other and looked into each other’s eyes. Clearly, it is most important to give each other time to better understand and get to know each other.

The experiment was conducted in Berlin: the city, which – first of all – is a symbol of overcoming the divisions, and secondly, seems to be the centre of the contemporary Europe. We wanted the movie created on the basis of the experiment to be as symbolic as possible – and to touch upon the general divisions between people.

The experiment participants were ordinary people. The situations were not staged; we wanted to get natural, spontaneous reactions. The people sitting opposite each other had not known each other before and saw each other for the first time during the experiment. What is important, the refugees mostly came from Syria and had not been living in Europe for longer than a year.

Created by DDB Warsaw for Amnesty International Poland.

29 COMMENTS

  1. wenn das auch noch AFD Mitglieder wären, was für eine Symbolik das ausgestrahlt hätte, aber…die haben ja gar keine Emotionen 😀

  2. Put a Mexican and a white. Put an Asian and a Guatemalan. Put a black panther and an Arian brotherhood member. Put an Isis member with with a zeta. Put them to live together and look at each other every day. It won't end up good. We all are humans but, naturally we tend to look for people with the same characteristics. Same with religion. People will look for people with the same beliefs. Muslims don't want their people to get mixed with other religions, they want the rest of the world to be Muslim.

  3. I appreciate the sentiments, but Germany really hasn't really been doning the right thing in not doing any background checks on its "refugees" in order to tell which actually are refugees.

  4. judging from comments, i get the impression that folks tend to miss that this 4-minute experiment is not about discussing politics but about learning about the person. for example, what foods he or she likes or dislikes, what he or she wants for herself and/or family – the personal stuff like education, making a living, etc. in short, the idea is to demonstrate how much more we are alike as individuals, not members of this or that political/cultural group.

  5. now do it with male migrants in their late 20s that are mostly homophobic, sexist, violent and islamist since that's what 99% of them are

  6. A lovely video in its own right.

    However, the fact it was produced by an activist organization for the purpose of advancing a political agenda makes it shameless emotional manipulation. The implication that someone not in favor of mass immigration is simply heartless and cruel is incredibly offensive.

  7. AHH YES THE FINE ART OF THE DEMOCRATS FAIRY TALE LAND PROPAGANDA VIDEOS , YES IN A PERFECT WORLD THIS IS HOW IT WOULD OR COULD BE , OF COURSE THE WORLD ISN'T PERFECT AND WHEN YOU TAKE ONE RELIGION MUSLIM THAT SAYS KILL ANY INFIDEL THAT DOESN'T CONVERT TO THEIR RELIGION , OR THINKS BY KILLING THEMSELVES AS A SUICIDE BOMBER , ETC. TO KILL OTHERS WILL GET THEM INTO HEAVEN WITH 72 VIRGINS , YOU HAVE A PROBLEM . And as such this problem is not going to change until the muslim religion changes it's teachings of killing others , now then how many that aren't brainwashed by the Democratic party and controlled propaganda news think this is ever going to happen ? anyone that thinks it will happen please go visit in other countries , i am sure Muslim terrorist will be happy to see you and hear your democratic view of them .

  8. Dick's daughter Alicia, who died over 20 years ago, started a chapter of Amnesty International at her High School. She was 17 at the time. She would have loved this video. She was an amazing girl. Please share this video as one step toward understanding of others–something that is sorely missed in this political climate.

  9. سأتحدث بالعربية..

    رأيت فقط بشر يتواصلون….
    تمنيت لو نترك لأنفسنا العنان و لنتذكر أننا بشر..
    هذه قيمتنا الوحيدة..
    و أهميتنا الحقيقية ولا شيء آخر…

  10. I saw the video. I wept a little bit and I was moved. Then I read the comments. I wept a little bit and I was moved.
    first time I felt that we actually all live in peace. second time because of how much people are quick to judge by looks,sex, riligon and ethnicity. #SadStory

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