Human (2015) Script

Bettencourt Schueller Foundation presents A GoodPlanet Foundation project With the participation of France Télévisions A film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

I remember...

my stepfather would beat me with extension cords and hangers, pieces of wood and all kinds of stuff.

He would tell me: "It hurt me more than you."

"I only did it, because I love you."

It communicated the wrong message to me about what love was.

So, for many years, I thought that love was supposed to hurt.

I hurt everyone that I loved.

And I measured love by how much pain someone would take from me.

And it wasn't until I came to prison, an environment that is devoid of love, that I began to have some understanding about what it actually was and was not.

I met someone.

She gave me my first real insight into what love was.

She saw past my condition and the fact that I was in prison with a life sentence for doing the worst kind of murder that a man can do: murdering a woman and a child.

It was Agnes, the mother and grandmother of...

Patricia and Chris, that I murdered, who gave me my best lesson about love.

By all rights, she should hate me.

But she didn't.

Over the course of time,

through the journey that we took,

it has been pretty amazing,

she gave me love.

She taught me what it was.

I'm very happy when it rains, when I drink milk and I have a good life.

When I put on weight.

I'm thin now.

When it rains, I am very happy.

When I drink milk and I eat everything I like.

And when I sleep with the man I love who says sweet things to me.

And when I am in a nice hut that protects me from the cold and rain.

Those are the things that make me happy.

Happiness, for us, would be... having food, a small piece of land and a real place to live, with electricity day and night.

We wouldn't have to sleep in the dark.

That would be happiness.

But we sleep on the floor, without even a mat, on straw.

With electricity, there would be light in my children's lives.

So, as I had a difficult childhood without any money, when I went to university, I got a grant and I bought myself a motorbike.


I was the first person to start it up.

I was the first person to get on it to go home.

When I feel the wind whipping me as I ride along, knowing that I'm not on someone else's motorbike.

It's my very own motorbike.

I arrived home, and to get to sleep, I put the bike in my bedroom and I locked myself in with it.

That way, I could smell the hot engine.

The smell of the engine, the new bike smell.

And when I turned the light on, I could see it was my very own bike.

I couldn't put the bike on the bed, under the covers, but it's what I wanted to do.


I felt it. Yes.

That was a moment of great happiness for me.

Happiness is the children coming home.

That's a mother's happiness.

It's when my husband comes home, smiles, and kisses me, after 33 years of married life.

That's a woman's happiness.

Happiness is hearing my grandchildren saying: "Grandma!"

When they say that, you feel older, but that's happiness, too.

It's also meeting colleagues who are happy to see you.

They think:

"She's here, let's talk."

That's happiness, too.

It's getting up in the morning and not hurting anywhere.

That's happiness, too.

It's the rain which is the promise of a good harvest.

There are many kinds of happiness, but at the same time, there's only one: you're alive, so you're happy.

Just my experiences from being in a wheelchair and traveling the world in a wheelchair I've seen life from a different angle and that's taught me on a spiritual level to just accept and to be happy, whatever's coming next.

I'm so mentally strong.

The only reason is because of losing my legs physically.

My eyesight's sharper, my ears are...

I can hear much better.

So, that's on a physical sense, but I feel I'm lucky, as in I don't analyze or question life too much.

I can cruise through life and always be in the right place at the right time.

I always have amazing things happen to me.

I'm really lucky in that situation.

But that comes from believing in luck or believing in the power of attraction or believing in attracting the goodness into one's life.

And I think that can be seen as luck.

So, if God Himself jumped down in front of me right now and said to me:

"Bruno, I'll give you back your legs,"

"but I'll take away all that you've learned in the last 13 years."

I'll tell God: "Keep your legs."

We didn't use to die like today.

We lived in peace.

Our fighting didn't kill us.

There was only one gun per village.

What decimates us is the Kalashnikov.

Before, we only died from sickness and disease.

A few people died: a sick person, an old man, a baby.

Only the weak.

The victims of the Kalashnikov are countless.

Our fighting is degenerating.

3 men die from one shot.

Yesterday, people died.

We didn't bury them.

Maybe animals ate them.

That weapon is bad.

It deprives the young generation and the country of peace.

As soon as I took up arms, I felt fear.

Fear is a human feeling.

I was afraid of blood.

When I took up arms, I went from being a teacher to a man of arms.

I had no choice.

I saw and experienced things which forced me to do it.

Sometimes my son asks me, because it worries him:

"Dad, why this war? ls there no end to it?"

"Why do you kill the soldier?"

"Doesn't the soldier have a family"

"waiting for him, just like us?"

I say to him: "He's wrong and we're right."

"Why, Dad?"

I say: "He kills families and children."

"He destroys mosques."

"We defend all that."

We always try to be clear to the children.

We tell them that we took up arms, because we had to, not because we wanted to.

I don't like having blood on my hands... or the idea that I killed someone.

Nobody likes that.

I'm not afraid of death.

I'm not afraid if it's for Syria.

I'm not afraid if it's for my father.

If he wasn't dead, I would be afraid of death.

But I'm no longer afraid.

Even if my throat is cut or I get blown up.

What matters is joining my father or going back to Syria.

During the genocide...

I was separated from my parents and I lived alone in the sorghum fields.

I spent at least two weeks there.

Then, someone took me.

She asked me who I was.

But as I was very little, I couldn't distinguish between Hutus and Tutsis.

I didn't really know.

She looked at me and started touching my fingers, my skin.

She told me I was a Tutsi or mixed race.

She told people to shoot me, to eliminate me.

I asked why, what I'd done wrong.

After that, there was a lot of shooting.

I ran away.

All along the way, there were corpses and blood.

Then I sat down and asked God that His will be done.

I was lucky to survive.

I went home.

The door was smashed in.

In front, there was a hole where a shell had fallen.

I went in and found my father lying there.

I saw my brothers too, behind him.

My father had opened the door to them.

He told them there were no combatants.

They told him to step forward.

My mother and brothers were lined up.

"Join them."

As soon as he moved, they started shooting.

He got a bullet in the back.

He fell.

They started shooting at my brothers.

At the time of the massacre, in 1982, I was a young student.

I didn't hate anyone, I felt no hatred.

But that massacre made me question many things.

I asked myself:

"Who loves me? Who hates me?"

"Why did this happen?"

I thought more about it and all that brought about in me a love of hatred, a love of vengeance.

Man isn't born with those feelings.

They grow over the course of your experiences.

Both love and hatred.

Would you forgive me if I kill your father or brother?

If no law stands in my way?

If your rights are scorned?

Would you forgive me if I'd killed your brother, father or mother?

No, certainly not.

No way.

I will never forgive.

Even if my head is cutoff.

One evening, while in the reserves, my unit had to stop a suicide attack by capturing a terrorist in a village near Nablus.

I deployed our forces.

To flush him out, we shot at the walls as a demonstration of strength.

A woman came out of the house, carrying a girl and holding another by the hand.

It was 3 AM.

The girl panicked and ran toward us.

I was afraid she'd blow herself up.

I yelled at her in Arabic to stop. She kept coming.

I fired above her head.

She stopped.

At that moment, time stood still.

It was the shortest and the longest moment of my life.

The girl remained alive.

And so did I.

But at the same time, something died in us both.

When a child is shot at, it kills something inside.

I don't know what.

When an adult shoots at a child, it kills something inside.

Something dies and something else has to come to life.

I was ashamed of shooting at her.

A painful shame.

And above all, this sensation of my finger pressing the trigger and shooting at the girl.

From this finger pressing the trigger something had to come to life.

One of the most impactful things that will occur, after being in combat, is the feeling of killing another human being.

Once you've experienced it, you'll see that it's not like anything else that you've experienced before.

And unfortunately, that feeling, your body will want to experience again.

It's really difficult to try to explain to somebody what that feeling's like.

Right now, I still feel like experiencing that again, and it's probably why I keep a loaded weapon in my house.

I yearn or desire for someone to try to hurt me or to break in or to give me an excuse to use that violence against somebody else again.

On the 16th of January 2007, an Israeli border policeman shot and killed my 10-year-old daughter, Abir, in front of her school in Anath where I live.

She was with her sister and two friends.

9.30 in the morning.

In her head in the back from a distance of 15 to 20 meters by a rubber bullet.

Abir wasn't a fighter.

She was just a child.

She didn't know anything about the conflict and she was not part of this conflict.

Unfortunately, she lost her life because she was a Palestinian.

I'm an Israeli who lost his daughter to a suicide bombing on the 4th of September 1997.

And I am a product of...

of an education system.

These are two societies at war.

They socialize the young generation to make them able to sacrifice themselves when the time comes.

This is true to Palestinian society and this is also true to Israeli society.

Because we are human beings.

Sometimes you think:

"if I kill the killer"

"or anyone from the other side, from the Israelis,"

"or maybe ten,"

"this will give me back my daughter."


I'll cause another pain and another victim to the others.

I decided to break this circle of violence and blood and revenge by stopping killing and supporting revenge, by myself.

My definition of "sides" has changed dramatically.

Today, on my side are all those who want peace and are willing to pay the price of peace.

On the other side are those who do not want peace and are not willing to pay the price of peace.

Many people told me:

"It's not your right to forgive in her name."

And the answer: it's also not my right to seek revenge in her name.

I hope she's satisfied.

I hope she rests in peace.

Here's what happened: a German officer in an SS uniform entered the ghetto one rainy night.

My mother told him: "Take my daughter."

She lifted the wire fence and handed him her baby, me, a Jewish girl 2 and a half years old.

And with a heavy heart, she put me in the hands of a wonderful man in an SS uniform.

I now know that this man, Alois Pleva, served in the German army and lived near the German border.

This man put me in his coat.

He hid me inside his coat and took me to the border between Germany and Poland to his parents.

They passed me off as his daughter.

They raised me in the purest Catholic tradition until the end of the war.

What a gesture!

What magic, this outstretched hand!

Like sparks of light in what we call human folly.

Sometimes a question comes to mind.

If I had been in a situation like that, would I have acted in the same way as that German officer?

How can I answer such a question?

I don't think I would have had the moral strength to do it, in all honesty.


Did he know he had the strength?

How can you know?

How can you recognize the moment of truth when you can sacrifice yourself, sacrifice the only life you have for someone else?

There's no answer to that question.

Or a question others can answer.

But this question must be asked.

Love is the beginning and the end.

Love is where we come from, where we're going and what we live between the two.

Love is everything.


The word love is full of meaning for me.

When you talk about love, it encompasses everything.

Love encompasses everything, doesn't it?

Where there's no love, you feel empty or rather, I feel empty.


Love is what fills the soul.

You have to take love one day at a time.

You live it every day.

Love is this feeling that you can give and that the other person gives you.

My wife has a strong character.

She's the one who guides the family.

I love her a lot.

She's magnificent.

If you don't make love, your love will be a failure.

Do you hear? Why?

Through love comes sex.

Without sex, you'll go wrong.

Your wife will ask herself:

"He gives me love, but not sex."

"Love, food, clothing, everything,"

"but not sex."

"What can I do with this man?"

What will happen to our home? The home will collapse, because after love must come sex.

And that's ultimately why love exists.

Otherwise, there's nothing.

Oh, wow! What a question to ask me...

If I've had lovers?

To be honest, I've never had any.

I haven't...

I went to parties, but I didn't go to dances, because, to tell you the truth, I never learned to dance.

I tried, but it didn't work.

So, I gave up.

When you marry someone, you marry them as they are.

At a given moment, you love them the way they are.

I had an accident.

I lost my arms and legs.

She didn't marry a guy with no arms or legs.

But she stood it for a number of years.

We ended up separating, we got a divorce.

I had to start a new life.

It took me 3 years to get over the break-up.

After 3 years, I said to myself:

"You can't stay on your own!"

So, I signed up on the internet to a dating site.

At first, I just put a head shot.

The rest was a surprise.

I didn't show I had no arms or legs.

I had fun on the net, but when I told people about my handicap, nobody answered me.

So, I announced my handicap and one day, I met Suzanna.

There we are, love is possible.

We've been together for 8 years.

Suzanna has 3 girls, I have 2 boys.

We have a one-eyed dog, 4 cats, a guinea-pig.

It's one big reconstituted family.

Anything's possible.

I found love again.

And we really love each other.

I've been married to my husband for 18 years now.

He has never said, "I love you," but I feel he does.

Sometimes, eyes speak more than mouths.

When I was younger, I wondered how people could live together for so long, without falling out of love.

I also couldn't imagine how people could sleep in the same bed for 20 years.

I thought it would be boring. But it's not!

Every day, I think, "Yesterday, my love was weaker."

"Today, it's true love."

And then, a year goes by.

This love becomes even stronger.

When I go to bed at night, I look at him and think, if he died, I could never replace him.

After being married for...

50 years, 49...

51 years.

My wife took seriously ill just before we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.

And she suffered terribly for about 2 years as an invalid.

For the last 2 years of her life, I was her nurse, I was her doctor, I was her friend, I was her lover, I was her husband.

Everybody wanted me to get a full-time nurse, day and night, and she begged me not to.

She only wanted me to look after her.

And I loved doing it for her.

And I did it by myself.

I carried her to the car, I carried her oxygen tank, her wheelchair.

I packed it in the car, I pushed her round, I put it back, I took her home, I bathed her, I put her to bed.

And I loved it that I was able to do it for her without anyone else.

And she appreciated it.

That's love.

The magic moment that I had with my grandfather was right after my grandmother died.

I went to go see him.

I knew that he was hurting, but I wasn't sure what kind of state he would be in.

And she was his partner 65 years as well as his driver.

I said: "Grandpa..."

"How are you doing?"

And he said: "Did you know that for 4 dollars,"

"I can get a shuttle anywhere in the city?"

I said: "Wow, that's great, Grandpa."

He said: "Well, I went to the grocery store,"

"I went to the woman behind the counter and said:"

"I have this list of things. Could you help me find them?"

"My wife has recently changed her residence to heaven."

And I said:

"Grandpa, man, you always help me see the glass as half full."

And he leaned back, looked me in the eyes, and he said:

"it's a beautiful glass."

When I was 12, I left my grandparents' house because of abuse.

I went to live in the street.

It was better for me to keep going and try to become independent.

What I can never forgive concerns my mother.

Selling me wasn't a good idea.

Because we're her children and she suffered, giving birth to us.

So, that's what I'll never forgive.

The hardest moment in my whole life was my father's death.


I don't want to cry.

He supported me.

He would...

He would encourage me and my brothers.

I'm not afraid of anything anymore, because I've been through many horrible things, and I've grown used to it.

And I'm hardly scared of anything.

When they say to me:

"We're going to hit you. We'll kill you."

I say to them: "No, I'm not scared", "and if you do, I won't be scared."

My father used to tell me that it didn't matter if you fell.

You just had to get up again.

If I fell, I had to get up again.

Always get up again.

That helps me a lot.

If I lived in the past, I'd spend my time crying, I'd be bitter, I wouldn't be friendly.

You have to know how to play and smile, because living in the past is no use.

You have to live in the present.

Family, to me, is a communion.

It's coming home and being greeted:

"it's good to have you home!"

Helping my brothers to do what I can already do, because I'm one of the elders.

Teaching them.

Seeing my father come home from work, satisfied, sitting in his armchair, and me making him a coffee.

That makes me feel good.

It fills you up inside.

If someone's missing, it feels like a hole in your heart.

"What the hell has happened?"

"Where is he?"

Family is something happy, remarkable.

It's something else.

It fills you up.

When I was young, I didn't think I was going to stay in the religious community that I had joined.

And I suppose I didn't understand what I was actually doing and that I was maybe making a decision which meant that I wouldn't have children and I wouldn't have a family as other people had.

I don't really think I understood that, but later in life, I had a sister who died of cancer.

And when I saw her family, I realized that when I died, there wouldn't be anybody... to mourn me the same way.

As time goes on, then you recognize that you are a parent to other people who you work with or who are friends or who are related to you in some way.

So, even though you haven't your own family, you have family.

So, I think that's important to me.

My whole life, I wanted to have a son.

I already had daughters. I wanted a son to support me, be my right-hand man.

My son brings me a lot, just in the way he looks at me.

When we're doing odd jobs...

I try to explain things to him.

I often say to him: it is said... that when God...

gave this child to that family, the angels asked: "Lord", "why do You give a handicapped child to that family?"

"They live well. They're happy."

"Why do You impose such a burden on them?"

God replied:

"I chose them"

"so that they may teach the child that I exist,"

"that I am omnipresent,"

"in the leaves and in the wind."

That's what I tell my son.

I say to him...

I tell him all the time...

I say to him: "Look, Alyosha."

"That's a leaf."

"And those are flowers."

"All that makes up"

"the happiness of life."

When I'm with Alyocha in the evening, I say to him:

"Look, son,"

"those are stars!"

And he sees them and he looks at me with adult eyes.

I get the impression that he has a spirit that's much stronger than mine.

It's my son who guides me.

He guides the whole family.

That's why...

now I understand what love is and the meaning of love.

Because to live together, you must love yourself, love your wife, your children, big and small.

You must love your family, your parents.

My parents are still alive.

You must love all human beings for what they are deep down for only the love of people can save the world.

No, I never thought about it.

I wouldn't have liked to be a man.

Because men have an easy life.

Too easy.

And easy lives are boring.

It's easy professionally, maybe even easier to attain their sentimental prey.

For women, everything is more difficult.

But there is also the appeal of attaining your goals despite the difficulties.

Without question, I prefer being a woman.

I feel powerless when, say, a very small woman enters the store, sees something high up and says to me:

"If only a man could get that..."

You don't have to be a man. Jump up and grab it.

You have two hands. Why a man?

Whatever next?

It makes me so angry.

I really don't like it when women...

I hate it when women are discriminated against.

Today, I feel free.


I can do lots of things without rushing.

What's more, I'm divorced.


Excuse me.

I shouldn't say that, should I?


Do you want to do it again?

Is that OK?

I know I shouldn't laugh about it, but I feel good, I feel free.

My husband has 2 wives.

He's polygamous, he has 2 wives.

Here, in Senegal, with polygamy, some people have 4 wives.

Others have 3, or 2.

But some people only have 1 wife.

It's their choice.

Some even have 6, 7, 8, 9... as many as 10!

But my husband has 2 wives.

2 wives.

I'm the 1st, the other is the 2nd.

We live in peace.

She's my friend.

She really loves me. And I love her.

Luckily, for us, polygamy isn't possible for women.

I say "luckily," because if my wife loved another man besides me, it'd make things difficult.

It'd be very complicated because I am extremely jealous.

Extremely jealous.

I couldn't stand my wife spending the night in another man's arms and then spend the next night with me.

I could never stand that.

So, luckily, polygamy for women isn't possible in Burkina Faso.

Because I just couldn't imagine it.

When I went and stayed with my... wife at her house in San Francisco...

She's not my wife, but the woman I'm with.

This was about a week after we started dating.

I woke up in the morning and I said:

"I ask this of you and this of you and this of you"

"and you're hesitating."

The woman I'm with can't have a list of nos.

It's got to be pretty much all yeses or we don't have a relationship.

And it took her about a month after I pointed that out to her to realize that these nos could not exist.

And so, that's how very little shitty my woman is.

She's freakin' very unique, very amazing.

She gives me...

Like, she was raised to adore her man.

Like old-school Mexican.

Know when to speak up.

That doesn't mean you can't tell me something, that doesn't mean I don't want guidance.

But in my household, the man is the man of the house.

At home, on weekends, I do the cooking.

One day, a friend came to my house.

He said: "You do the cooking?"

I said: "Yes."

"ls your wife sick?"

I said: "No, she's resting."

"What? You do the cooking"

"while your wife has a rest?"

"Yes, she needs rest."

He said: "My wife will never come visit you."

"You'd put ideas in her head."

"When she comes home,"

"she'll ask me to cook too."

I said to him: "You must understand"

"that they need to rest."

Anyway, I enjoy cooking for my family.

I'm in prison, because I had an abortion.

I couldn't have continued my studies because I was in a boarding school and I didn't want to stop my studies.

I'd have stopped for too long, with the pregnancy, the birth, breastfeeding, and I couldn't consider that.

So, I decided to have an abortion.

What pleases me today is that I'm getting out of prison tomorrow.

I'll continue my studies and work.

And maybe one day, I'll have a child.

I'll be just like everyone else.

There is a way out of being abused.

For me, it was tough because I used to have the worst abuse.

I would have a gun put to my head and get told to go on my knees and beg for my life.

And I would do it. My kids used to be watching.

Or get put out of the house and have to sleep outside on the steps.

If I moved from there, I'd get a hiding.

It was tough, because I thought it was me.

I was the one that was doing something wrong in our marriage.

I talked about my kids, the most important thing of my life.

I thought, if I don't move on out of here, I'm either going to be dead or my kids are going to be dead.

So, I need to move on.

I need to do something.

I went home that day and I said to him: "I'm leaving."

Mark got a bit of a shock, because he didn't realize that I was leaving.

He said: "You'll never leave me, you love me too much."

And I said: "Well, you know what?"

"That's what love is about. Leaving."

I gave him two choices. I said to him:

"You either go for counseling, or I leave."

You know what? Today, he's a better man.

He's never lifted a hand up for me since the day.

That's about 9 years ago.

So, 9 years ago, I was still an abused woman.

I am gay.

I've known I've liked girls ever since I was a little girl.

And I kept it a secret from my family.

I remember when Ellen DeGeneres, the TV host, came out, it was the first time I ever heard of the word "gay" before.

My parents were talking about it.

I asked my dad: "Dad, what is gay?"

"it's a girl who likes another girl and they're going to hell."

And so, I said: "OK."

I walked straight up to my room, closed the door very quietly, and then, I bawled my eyes out into my pillow.

And I prayed to God every day:

"Please let me like boys, please make me straight."

Because I knew I liked girls.

And so, I tried pretending I liked boys, but I never did.

And then, I met to me the love of my life.

And her name is Jen.

Gosh, she was just... my world changed.

And I didn't really care about anything else.

I just knew I wanted to be near her.

And that was love to me.

Being a lesbian is not a choice for me.

It's something that is inside you...

that no one can help.

It's not curable. It's not a disease actually.

'Cause they always say we're sick.

Our families even take us to the doctor's, to the marabout's.

But it just stays there.

I even had to force myself with guys to get my granny's approval.

It hurts, 'cause I had to do stuff I really, really didn't want to do.

Even though I did that...

I even asked a friend of mine to pretend as if he's my boyfriend.

But that guy, what he did...

He forced himself to me and then, he left me with HIV.

And that was in 2003.

I did all that just to get my granny's approval.

But now I know that I don't have to do anything to please someone else.

My parents were so afraid I'd remain a homosexual that when I said I was changing, they really believed it.

They asked me every day:

"OK, have you changed?"

As it's not possible to change, I pretended to ignore the question.

After a while, my father couldn't take any more.

He started yelling at me, hitting me and saying:

"I know you haven't changed!"

"If you bullshit me,"

"I'll make your life hell."

"Leave now if you're really like that."

So, I left. I didn't hesitate.

I left.

I have a son who's now 31 years old who I love very much.

He's gay, a gay man.

The day that he came out was quite significant.

I knew that he was struggling with something.

He'd been suicidal and he was 18 years old.

He said to me one day: "Dad, I've got to tell you something."

And I said: "OK, son, tell me, what is it?"

He went pale, he really went white, and he said: "I feel sick."

And my heart really went out to him.

At that moment, I kind of knew that he was going to tell me he was gay although I hadn't made that connection, because he's quite masculine in his traits.

At that moment, I had a sense that's what he was going to tell me.

So, I said to him: "Son, let me guess."

"Let me make it easier for you."

He said OK.

I said: "You're going to tell me you're gay, aren't you?"

He went: "Yes, I am."

I just really, really felt for him.

It was such a struggle for him to tell me that.

Everything sort of made sense, because he didn't want to be gay.

And that's why he'd been suicidal.

I just gave him a big hug and said: "I love you anyway, son."

"It doesn't make any difference to how much I love you."

And I think that our relationship has really been a lot stronger since then.

So, that's been a journey in itself.

It was in 2009.

A friend, homosexual like me.

When this friend died, he was buried in his village cemetery.

But the local imam gathered together the people, the young people.

They went to the cemetery to dig up the body.

They took it, tied it up, and dragged it through the streets.

The media were there.

They filmed it.

The police came.

Afterwards, the family got the body back and buried it again.

It was dug up again. 3 times in all.

In the end, the body was buried in his father's yard.

Because the Muslim religion says that when you're homosexual, if you die, people can't pray for you, they can't bury you in a Muslim cemetery.

That's what they say.

I'm a gay man from Lebanon.

We have no rights over there.

We have no rights in the Arab world in general.

I think what I can do more is what I've started to do, I think I should come out even more.

I am out to my parents.

I am out to my friends, I am out to my work,

but I think I want to encourage other people like me who have nothing to lose.

Because I have a salary, because my mum has proven with time, it took time, that she'll love me anyway.

Now she knows, she knows my boyfriend.

She loves me for the way I am, my dad as well.

My friends as well.

I think if you don't tell anyone, the other moms won't know that it's OK to be gay.

People should be less shy, more daring when you have nothing to lose.

Some people have a lot to lose.

Those are not the people that should do the change, but the ones that have nothing to lose.

In Iraq, one of my friends was hit with a car bomb in front of me.

I chased after the triggerman with my squad, with one of my teams.

And we were just... we wanted to kill that guy.

'Cause I could hear my buddy screaming, he was hurt.

And so, we're running as fast as we can.

We're just full of hate and fury.

We just want to do whatever we can to...

He hurt our friend, we're going to get him back.

We're just running as fast as we can, with all that weight.

Just sweat pouring off of us.

Through orange fields, then we get to a clearing.

It hit me. I mean, this blue sky.

There was an old man in a white robe and a child.

Just tilling a field, you know, and that just... brought me back to reality.

"What am I doing?"

"I'm a human being, I'm not..."

"I'm not some instrument of revenge."

I don't know. It's like, you stop and you're like...

Just people doing people things here, where I'm supposed to... where all this violence is happening.

And you stop and you're like...

I don't know, makes you human again.

I get up in the morning, go to the fields to get my beans and my corn.

I see ripe beans and corn.

Oh, what joy!

When we get to the field, we are so happy that we almost want to just stand there as it's so beautiful.

A field of corn or beans is beautiful.

And every time, it gives us fresh heart.

At the moment, I have nothing at all.

I farm a small piece of land.

I plant some vegetables to eat.

My husband has just gone to get his pay, but it's a tiny amount.

Apart from that, I have nothing at all.

There's just a hen at home.

If she lays eggs, I sell them at the market, then I buy salt and things, enough to survive each day.

I have no cattle.

I have nothing.

Yes, well, I, Estima Joseph, say that my life is finished in this country.

The rain doesn't fall.

I can't plant anything to harvest to feed my wife and children.

So, at the moment, there's no more wood to chop in the countryside to earn money, not even small branches to make a bag of charcoal.

You can spend a day or two without any food for your children who are crying at your feet.

There's no-one to tell you:

"My dear fellow, take this."

"It's for you, to help you in the country!"

We're lying down, waiting for death, because what we call life is over.

You lie there, you've nothing for your children.

Nothing to give them, nobody to help you.

You lie there and wait for death.

I call that "life finished".

Life is already finished.

You don't have an animal to sell.


Yes, life is completely finished.


We had no harvest.

It was so dry that my husband had 2 wells dug for 70,000 rupees each.

But as they didn't find any water, the vines dried up and we didn't have any grapes.

I think that my husband already had debts last year which he couldn't repay.

Now who should be paid back first?

I have no idea what to do.

There's no water anywhere.

There was a well, but it's dry.

There's no more water.

So, how can the debts be repaid?

That's why he committed suicide.

This year, I was covering a very severe drought in western Maharastra, in this country.

And on the one hand, I was looking at people facing destitution due to a water crisis.

On the other hand, I was looking at multi-story buildings coming up with a swimming pool on every floor.

We're not talking about buildings with 3 or 4 floors.

There is a plan for 2 twin towers in Mumbai even now under construction, 37 floors each, which means there are 74 swimming pools.

It's a twin tower.

And then, I went and looked at who are the people doing the construction, these laborers.

All the laborers were landless laborers and marginal farmers who had left their villages as refugees of the water crisis and they're in the cities building our swimming pools.

The sheer humiliation of it, the sheer injustice of it!

I think the fastest growing sector in India is not software or IT.

It is inequality.

So, yeah, it makes me furious.

It is completely unacceptable to me to see how closely the affluence of the few is tied to the misery of the many.

That's unacceptable.

World leaders, help us have a decent life.

Otherwise we'll starve to death.

It's the fault of the government and politicians if we have nothing to wear, nowhere to sleep, and nothing to cook.

We're dying.

Who knows if we'll still be alive tomorrow?

Who can say if we'll have anything to eat?

My children are dying.

We have nowhere to live, not even a roof or a plot of land.

I go from village to village to plow other people's fields.

And all this for what?

One day, we eat, the next, we have to starve.

But nobody listens to us.

The government doesn't care about our problems.

They don't think about us poor folk.

Only about themselves.

I left Pakistan because of our living conditions.

It was especially clear to my wife that my income could not provide for health care and schooling.

She sacrificed herself for me, for my family.

I sacrificed myself and my family too by allowing myself to emigrate so I could at least give my children an education and health care and meet all their basic needs.

I'll never forget the day I left.

I was with a few friends.

My mother came out on the doorstep.

She was holding my son in her arms.

I was sitting in the car.

She put my son on my lap:

"Take a good look at him."

"Who knows when you'll see him again?"

I'll never forget that scene.

I can still see my child as if he were right in front of me.

I left Sudan because the regime wouldn't leave us alone.

Entire families were killed.

Everyone figured we were doomed.

The main thing was that I was saved.

God spared me.

I arrived in France.

Thanks to God, at home, we were farmers.

And it was enough for us!

We had cattle.

We never lacked either money or food.

Thanks to God, we lived well.

But the regime would not leave us alone.

They raped my sisters in front of me.

When my wife arrived, they flogged her.

They raped her in front of me.

How could I live in that country?

When I was in the boat, I was very scared, because I saw absolutely nothing, only the water.

And the boat also, it's not a quality boat.

We are 110 people inside the boat, nobody comfortable.

There was no food to eat, no water to drink.

You are sitting in that fuel.

It destroyed all my body.

Things were hard for me.

So, when I see the Italians, they come and rescue us, I thank God.

I know that now I'm safe.

Europeans have their reasons for limiting immigration.

We stay here, but there's no work.

There are entire families in which no one works.

If you can't fish, you have nothing to do.

Thousands of Africans die at sea, going to Europe.

But it's worth it. I'm leaving again.

For Spain or Italy.

I've made up my mind.

It's in my blood to go.

I'll go by canoe.

I'll go, crying. I'll go, shouting.

Now I'm living in the jungle of Calais.

The police come and disturb us:

"You have to leave the jungle."

I said: "Where I have to go?"

"Show me the place. We want to go to that."

He said: "You have to go back to your country."

"Where is my country?"

"I don't have a country, man!"

"It's a killing ground,"

"it's a ground of killing the people,"

"it's a ground of fighting."

"It is not a country!"

"Afghanistan is not a country now!"

"It's a killing ground, man."

37 countries came to control that country, but they cannot control these people.

The UN cannot control these people!

How can you send me back to that country?

I lost my family in that country.

How can I go back to that country?

I was a refugee in Pakistan, a refugee in Iran, a refugee in Dubai.

I was a refugee in Turkey, a refugee in Bulgaria, a refugee in a European country, in Greece.

And now I'm a refugee in France.

But let me live, man.

I don't want anything from you.

I don't want eating from you.

I don't want anything from you.

I don't need help!

But let me live.

Dad, here I am in Italy.

I don't know how you are.

I don't know if you can see me, but I'm in Italy.

I'll always worry about you, you and the others, all my brothers and sisters, and all my friends over there.

If I make it here, it'll be mainly for you.

I'll think about you till my last breath.

I don't have the means yet, so pray for me.

I greet you all!

I'm a Bangladeshi worker in the garment industry.

I'm outraged when a buyer comes to meet the company owner or the marketing team to negotiate the price of his order.

And when other countries slash prices, our buyer will look for the best deal.

He could just think:

"If Bangladesh supplies me"

"with good quality garments,"

"Why not pay a fair price?"

But we've always been scorned.

By everyone.

Not just one person in particular.

It's the final consumer who steals from me.

What can I do about it?

What can...

How will we be happy?


Many things are forbidden in the factory: no talking, no answering the phone.

To go to the bathroom, we have to ask the supervisor for permission, and only one person at a time.

As for productivity, he's very demanding.

There's an hourly quota to meet, it's checked.

If the quota isn't met, they blame you and often insult you.

It's unbearable.

We're under constant pressure.

I feel exhausted.

I can't take any more, but I have no other choice.

An honest worker isn't rich.

I'm talking about someone who works in a company, not the heir to the family business.

They just juggle millions in a company.

Those folk don't work.

They sit at a desk and sign bits of paper.

They're thieves just like me.

I'm sure of it.

If you're talking about workers, they're people who get up every morning and who do real work.

I don't know any rich folk.

But take my mother, she got up every morning, and she's over 40 already.

She's not rich.

She's worked her whole life.

Losing my job was a huge shock.

Not finding another was an even bigger shock.

You know, I worked for 27 years.

When I had to go back to live with my mother, I mainly felt humiliation.

A feeling... of devastation.

I sank into a deep depression.

More and more.

I said to myself:

"I'm 47 and my life is over?"

"Have I nothing else to offer?"

"Nothing more?"

And these thoughts stop you going out and talking.

You look at yourself in the mirror and say: "Who are you, moron?"

"What are you playing at?"

"What are you doing in this life?"

"Why are you breathing?"

"Why do you see the sun?"

"What makes you..."

"any use in this mess you live in?"

"Why, at 47,"

"did you go back to live at your mother's?"

"Were you afraid of being on the street?"

Yes, I'm scared of being on the street.

And this humiliation turns into rage.

Rage, because you want to let off steam, and you don't know how.

I am poor.

I will define poverty now.

What poverty means to me.

It's when I have to go to school, but I can't go.

When I have to eat, but I can't.

When I have to sleep, but I can't.

When my wife and children suffer.

I don't have a sufficient intellectual level to get us out of this situation, me or my family.

I really feel poor.

Physically poor, mentally poor.

And you rich people who listen to me, what do you have to say about your wealth?

I know that I'm less happy with more money.

And I know that I still want more.

I like things and I pursue the things, but the things only make me happy for a short period of time.

Then, I go back and I have the challenges of my family and I don't know how to make a depressed person happy.

You can't give them a thing and make them happy, because their brain is not happy.

So, I feel frustrated that the cures don't exist.

And I can't just wave a magic wand and make my...



I lived in a place surrounded by villas.

And I lived in a hovel.

I knew that people sometimes threw food away.

And we, especially me, we were hungry.

We just wanted some food.

For me, poverty makes me sad because of the injustice.

Because if everyone had food, at least had full bellies, at home, we could think.

Reasoning is intelligence.

So, we could be poor, live in a hovel, but have the intelligence to be able to get ahead.

Thank God, I managed to rise above all that.

But how many others can't?

Many die because of it.

And that is really sad.

To me, that's sheer injustice.

The street is a very tough school.

Poverty is a state which I'm in at the moment.

When you're poor, day in and day out,

it's not that you enjoy it, but you do get used to it, quite simply.

Poverty is a state.

It's a state which lasts.

And for many.

Far too many.

What would I like to ask?

What the hell I'm doing here.

Why can't I be where you are to see what the hell is going on?

Let's switch for a minute.

Let's switch! You come here and be me and I'll go there and be you.

We'll meet up in the middle line on the Equator and we'll play golf.

It doesn't matter if I'm the president (of Uruguay).

I've thought about all this a lot.

I spent over 10 years in a solitary confinement cell.

I had the time...

I spent 7 years without opening a book.

It left me time to think.

This is what I discovered.

Either you're happy with very little, without overburdening yourself, because you have happiness inside, or you'll get nowhere.

I am not advocating poverty.

I'm advocating sobriety.

But we invented a consumer society...

which is continually seeking growth.

When there's no growth, it's tragic.

We invented a mountain of superfluous needs.

You have to keep buying, throwing away...

It's our lives we are squandering.

When I buy something, or when you buy it, we're not paying with money.

We're paying with the time from our lives we had to spend to earn that money.

The difference is that you can't buy life.

Life just goes by.

And it's terrible to waste your life losing your freedom.

I'm not afraid of dying.

My children want to make me happy so that I leave this life serenely.

If I'm happy before I die, I will be after, too.

I can't work anymore.

I'm so old that I no longer know if I should sleep

on this side or that side.

I sleep badly.

So, I Wait in my bed.

Sometimes, I tell myself I'd be better off dead.

At least I'd be at peace.

After death, for me, there's nothing else.

Then, we'll laugh: we're going to heaven, but we're not taking the right path.

When you go in the ground, you don't go to heaven.

We're not taking the right path.

I don't think there's life after death.

I don't believe in all that.

When I think of my grandmother whom I loved a lot and who died a long time ago, I tell myself memories soon fade.

The picture becomes blurred.

Sometimes, the sound of the voice disappears.

What do we leave behind? What remains?

That scares me.

It's a totally irrational fear...

which is based on something completely archaic and tribal.

It stirs up so many things inside of me.

It's not something which has to do with pride or anything like that.

It's something else.

It's to do with the meaning of life.

What have we done with our lives?

Why am I here?

I don't know.

I'd like to leave something behind.

I'd like to leave my mark.

The meaning of life...

I don't know if it comes from the fact that I don't feel important.

We are not important.

I don't see...

I don't see life that way.

You just have to live life.

We all have been, we all are, and we all will cease to be.

I think I was born to give birth to one or two children.

To feed them from infancy so that, when I'm old, they take care of me, in return.

My biggest fear is... is being nobody, is being nothing...

Not knowing why I'm here, what the point is, if it has meaning.

To really not be any use whatsoever, me, just a man among men.

I have the impression that there's a universal dynamic and if I'm not part of it, it will destroy me.

I want to be part of the history of mankind.

Me being 15 with a life sentence, what can be the meaning of my life?

That is a hard question.

I think the meaning of my life could be happiness, making everything right.

Helping out young and older people.

Just help one another.

Stand for someone.

Just stay out of trouble, don't come to prison.

That ain't no meaning in life.

This ain't no place for nobody.

I don't know... Everybody has their own purpose.

I don't know what my purpose is.

I don't know about that question.

Sometimes, I think of a phrase I heard as a boy, a friend who said:

"Life is like carrying a message"

"from the child you were"

"to the old man you will be."

"You have to make sure that this message"

"isn't lost along the way."

I often think of that, because when I was little, I used to imagine fine things, to dream of a world without beggars in which everyone was happy.

Simple, subtle things.

But you lose those things over the course of life.

You just work to be able to buy things.

And you stop seeing the beggar, you stop caring.

Where's the message of the child I once was?

Maybe the meaning of life is making sure that this message doesn't disappear.

I've already asked myself...

I've already asked myself why I was on Earth.

I'm here...

to do what God has planned for me.

Because on Earth, everyone has a mission.

I have one, too, but I don't know it yet.

This movie is dedicated to the thousands of people who answered our questions with honesty, courage and kindness.

A huge thank you.

A special thank you also to the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation and to its team who made this project possible.

Mom and Dad, you must listen to me: if you can, stop the drugs.

I've told you so many times and I tell you again.

Stop the drugs. They're bad for you.

They're destroying you physically.

If you remember that I'm your daughter, stop.

Do it for me.

I have a younger brother...

I have a little brother who died.

He left behind a 4-year-old girl.

Unfortunately, the mother of the girl is dead, too.

So, I'd like to tell that brother that he shouldn't worry.

I knew this brother's love for his daughter.

He should know that she is in good hands, that I take very good care of her.

I'm a lady of the night and I have a message for my parents.

Don't worry anymore.

It's OK now.

I can fulfill my mission.

I can look after my brothers and sisters.

They're at home and will study.

They'll complete their studies, I promise.

I don't want them to have a hard life.

They must study for years.

It will make me happy, because I wasn't so lucky.

They'll complete their studies.

I want them to study as long as possible.

I don't have the intelligence to do anything else, but I want my brothers and sisters to finish their studies.

There are two things I'd like to tell you.

Don't forget who you are and always smile.

Smiling is the only language everyone understands.

You've brought up a lot of things for me today.

You've made me feel important.

You've made me feel that I have something to offer, that I had a place to go.

You made me feel like my stories were welcome.

And you made me feel happy.

I think people need to feel that they have done something while they've lived.

They need to feel that they've contributed.

And today, you made me feel like I contributed.

And I'm very grateful to you for that.

Thank you.

My message is that you are welcome to my home.

Come to my home.

I invite you all!

Every tribe:

Ovatua, Ovahimba, Ovambo, Ovangandjiera.

You're all welcome.

Today, in this world, we hear about people who make films.

We hear this kind of story, but now... that Ulla and Emmanuel are here, that they're making a film, everyone will see where we live, in my village.

I am so happy.

Seeing more film-people coming here would make me very happy.

The world will get to know us.

I don't know if they'll see me, but I am very happy to talk now and to those who will come.

Tell them.

There's nothing to add.

We talked about peace.

We talked about everything.

We've finished, it's over.