Pilgrimage of Hope is a Hong Kong TV show to document and unfold people’s mystical life in middle east. The host in the documentary goes over the countries of Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, eastern Turkey, Chechen village and Georgia. This show is unlike any other popular lifestyle or food shows or soap dramas that function as adding a little favor on top of our privileged life; instead it records the political atmosphere and surroundings inside the secret middle east’s countries, the impact of history, traditions and strict religions; it also demonstrate how people live under them and in addition to the wars in those most inaccessible areas in the world.
Why do I think the show’s good? Because it’s real/not staged. Moreover, everything else seems fragile in front of the could-happen-at-any-moment war and the people’s fear growing within. Individuals seem powerless while control and power go all back to the theme of authority in the country. Local people’s suffering from the past wars and the suppression of the government is known secret for the world. The censorship of media, the life under the strict religion, the flights and conflicts that raised up from different religions, the bomb from nowhere, the suicide groups, the sudden death of western reporters, and many local people’s scarified life for the cross-country or local wars are still the unimaginable pictures in many outsiders’ mind.
Plenty of images in the show are the refusing interview from the local people, which shows they are scared living under the modern but censored society. The calling for “stop shooting” from the “secret agents”, the investigation of the foreigners, are the challenges while shooting in middle east also the reflection of the censored and unstable political condition. Making this show is risky which also makes the show valuable at the same time to the people who are afraid to visit those countries by themselves or understand them.
From Iran’s cultural strict rules and social norms of gender separation to their passion for making comedy movies, reflecting how their life is under strict traditions and also what they need for releasing their fear from wars and the society. On the other hand, in Lebanon the visible bullet holes in the broken walls, the secretly telling the culture and the hatred of numbers of past and about-to-happen wars from the local people, the fear of going cross the border of Syria, all of them tell the local people’s stories and their pray for peace and freedom.
Neglecting the unstable political circumstance, people in the middle east still doing what we are doing in our world, like going to work everyday, raising family, doing business, and shopping. People’s life goes on with or without the wars, with or without authority’s watching, or with fun or no fun.
What’s good about the show is it shows us a world that is totally different from ours, and it’s real and happening. Watching them, sympathize with their people’s life and at the same time feeling how lucky we are, how narrow the world we used to live in without seeing the whole picture that is far from our comfort zone. This documentary brings it close and in focus. Let’s pray for their freedom and peace while we’re waiting for more episodes to be on to watch.