The Promise

Can one piece of paper change your life?

16 July 2018

The ICRC has teamed up with acclaimed filmmaker Bassam Tariq to produce a new short film, Wa'ad (The Promise) that explores the complex dynamics at play when families are separated.

The film is a surreal conversation between a father and son where nothing is exactly what it seems.

"The idea behind this film was to show how powerful a medium these letters can be," said Tariq. "What it's like for a father and son to be torn apart - and the bittersweet pain of them trying to maintain a connection."

A Red Cross message is an open letter in which people exchange personal and family news. For some, it is the only contact they have with their loved ones.

In 2017 alone, the ICRC delivered more than 150,000 messages, each one a life line for separated families.

The ICRC works to help detainees to stay in touch with their families through the exchange of Red Cross messages, videoconference calls, or by facilitating family visits. For over 150 years, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and national societies have been reestablishing contact between family members separated by conflict, natural disasters, detention or migration.