Many of you have never heard of the countless refugees in the (2016) film, but I am sure you heard of the countless refugees from Ukraine?

The only place I know of to watch ( Human Flow) currently is Prime Video. It is a slow burn of an emotionally searing documentary. Your assignment is to creatively watch and connectively think and write about what you are watching. Consider our petty inconveniences we had during the pandemic. Many of you have never heard of the countless refugees in the (2016) film, but I am sure you heard of the countless refugees from Ukraine?


The documentary film “Human Flow,” directed by Ai Weiwei and released in 2017, sheds light on the global refugee crisis, a topic that often remains on the periphery of public discourse. This essay aims to creatively explore the themes and connections presented in the film while drawing parallels with the COVID-19 pandemic and the more recent Ukrainian refugee crisis. Through this analysis, we will gain a deeper understanding of the plight of refugees and the challenges they face in their quest for safety and a better life.

Understanding the Global Refugee Crisis

The documentary “Human Flow” takes us on a profound journey around the world, offering an intimate glimpse into the lives of countless refugees compelled to flee their homes due to a complex web of factors, including conflict, persecution, and environmental disasters. Through a masterful lens, the film captures the sheer magnitude of this crisis, shedding light on the poignant stories of individuals and families hailing from diverse corners of the globe, such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Africa. As viewers, we are unflinchingly confronted with the stark and unrelenting realities that these displaced populations confront daily. They grapple with profound uncertainty, the anguish of displacement, and the heart-wrenching loss of their homes and loved ones (Ai Weiwei, 2017).

Connecting to the COVID-19 Pandemic

At first glance, the COVID-19 pandemic may appear unrelated to the global refugee crisis portrayed in “Human Flow.” However, upon closer examination, discernible connections emerge between the two seemingly distinct phenomena. The pandemic ushered in its own set of challenges and inconveniences, affecting people on a worldwide scale. Nevertheless, it is crucial to recognize the comparative nature of these challenges when juxtaposed with the experiences of refugees. While many of us may have expressed frustrations over lockdowns and mask mandates, refugees were engaged in an arduous daily battle for survival. They often found themselves in overcrowded camps, grappling with limited access to essential healthcare and sanitation facilities.

The pandemic also exposed the vulnerability of displaced populations. Refugees, living in cramped conditions with inadequate healthcare, faced a higher risk of contracting the virus. Governments and humanitarian organizations had to adapt quickly to address the unique needs of these communities, emphasizing the importance of global cooperation and solidarity in times of crisis (UNHCR, 2020).

Ukraine: A Contemporary Refugee Crisis

The mention of the Ukrainian refugee crisis serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by displaced populations. The conflict in Ukraine, which escalated in 2014, has tragically compelled millions of people to leave their homes in search of safety, stability, and the promise of a better future. This crisis not only echoes the themes explored in “Human Flow” but also underscores their enduring relevance even years after the documentary’s release.

As we delve into the Ukrainian refugee crisis, we witness the profound human cost of conflict and displacement. Families torn apart, homes left behind, and communities shattered are the haunting realities faced by those caught in the crossfire. It serves as a poignant reminder that the global refugee crisis is far from over, with millions of lives in constant turmoil.

The situation in Ukraine, highlighted by organizations such as the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in 2022, prompts us to contemplate the ever-present nature of displacement. It reinforces the urgency of continued awareness and action in addressing the needs of refugees worldwide. Just as “Human Flow” encouraged us to empathize with the plight of refugees from diverse backgrounds, the Ukrainian crisis compels us to extend our compassion and support to those currently experiencing the harrowing consequences of conflict-driven displacement.


In conclusion, “Human Flow” provides a poignant portrayal of the global refugee crisis, offering viewers a glimpse into the lives of those who have been forced to flee their homes. Through creative viewing and connective thinking, we can draw parallels between the challenges faced by refugees and the inconveniences experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the ongoing Ukrainian refugee crisis reminds us that displacement is a persistent issue that requires our attention and compassion.

As we reflect on the film and its connections to recent events, we are reminded of the importance of empathy and global cooperation in addressing the plight of refugees. By acknowledging the relative nature of our inconveniences and the immense challenges faced by displaced populations, we can strive for a more compassionate and inclusive world.