The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Created by Abbie Hirst, The Pitch 2020

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Two ordinary women with ordinary skills are made extraordinary by their beliefs and the courage that inspires. Ordered to deny aid to a NGO refugee ship, two midwives board in secret to aid the birth. Before returning they must devise a plan to outwit the authorities, changing the fate of those aboard. Against the backdrop of a Government riding high on nationalism, the country’s response to the plight of immigrants is to dismantle previous policies and programs that cared for them. Dehumanised, oppressed and blamed for the country’s socio-economic and healthcare problems, all compassion and humanity are denied. Midwives, Shiphrah & Puah, are there at the point of life beginning. Everything in them is ingrained to bring life into the world, helping in the most fundamental part of human existence. Defying the state order, these women are incapable of turning a blind eye to the human crisis unfolding. Choosing compassion over hatred, life over death, it takes all their courage to stand up for their beliefs, when doing so is breaking the law. At what stage does a wrong become a right, should our conscience be our guide, and how far must you travel when you have started down this path?

Biblical Connection

Exodus 1:15-21. A politically charged story. In perhaps the first recorded incident of civil disobedience, two midwives - Shiphrah & Puah - stand against power & oppression, safely delivering Hebrew babies in defiance of powerful male incitement to genocide under a racist, xenophobic Pharaoh. These women feared God more than they feared male power; without them there would not have been a Moses or any baby boys. Flash forward to today and circumstances are not too dissimilar! Right wing extremism driving populist, divisive politics; Brexit leading a wave of nationalism across Europe, anti-immigration sentiment and laws causing the EU to suspend Search And Rescue operations in the Mediterranean despite clear evidence from international bodies that the majority of illegal immigration comes from those legally entering a country then over-staying their visa. The most desperate, needy and vulnerable are left to perish on the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, where NGO rescue ships e.g. Sea Watch are banned from docking with their cargo of exhausted refugees. Under directions to take them to Libya - a war zone - at what stage do we as humankind, a global humanity, have to take action as a collective force for good?