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ACCIDENTAL ACTIVIST

Created by Jamie Di Spirito, The Pitch 2018

Description

As a flight attendant, Sarah takes great pride in getting all passengers safely to their destination. But what if one of those passengers is being deported to a war zone? Sarah is emotional; today her son left home to go to university. She's trying to distract herself at work, when she notices that one of her son's classmates from school, Anton, is on the flight. Anton came to the UK from Afghanistan aged 7, as an unaccompanied child refugee. He considers himself British; he has no known relatives in Afghanistan, and only speaks English. Sarah introduces herself to Anton's foster parents, sensitively asking why he's going on holiday and not to University? They aren't his parents. He isn't going on holiday. He is being escorted back to Afghanistan, where he was born. A war zone. Sarah and her colleague Paula are shocked, and upset. They cannot let this happen. After exhausting all options, and deciding their jobs are less important than the risk to Anton's life, they defiantly turn to their last resort; protest. They announce to the entire plane that they will not sit down for the flight to take off, until Anton is removed from the plane.

Biblical Connection

Shiprah and Puah; Exodus 1:15-21. When two midwives are faced with the Pharoh's decree to kill all male-born Hebrew babies, they risk their own lives by refusing to comply. Their actions prevent the genocide of an entire people, including Moses - one of the Bible's most well known characters. This female led story is one of the oldest, yet least known stories of courage and civil disobedience. This modern re-telling of the story is set in present day, post-Brexit Britain. Shiprah and Puah are now Sarah and Paula, flight attendants. When faced with the government's xenophobic 'hostile environment' policy, they cannot comply and allow one of their passengers to be deported to a war zone, where it is highly likely that he will be killed. These two unwittingly passive characters find themselves in extraordinary circumstances, where they actively and courageously confront prejudice head on. This story was inspired by activist Elin Ersson whose on-flight protest stopped the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker, footage of which went viral online. The message of this modern interpretation stays true to that of the original story. It focuses on one of the Bible's core virtues, courage, whilst also illustrating the importance of inclusiveness.

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