An Exodus to Europe: Capturing the faces of the Refugee Crisis

‘Exodus: Our Journey to Europe’ 

…by any means necessary

 

A New Documentary

airing covert footage captured by Refugees

Voyaging for Survival & Prosperity

What price would you demand to harbor or transport a refugee? Does the number match an amount you would pay to be helped on your journey of survival? Some people can be so innately evil that you’d find yourself questioning why you continue to fight so hard to live in a world so vicious. And yet, others can be so devastatingly kindhearted that you’ll feel the reprieve deeper than you ever thought possible.

The millions+ migration happening throughout the world, with disturbingly superficial amounts across American borders, is breathtakingly real. Think Underground Railroad meets a fleeing from Hitler’s loony undertaking. A human trafficking, smuggler capitalizing network of real 21st century families selling every earthly possession they can to reach a safer existence. Last night I watched a documentary so worthy of mass production that am still reeling from its effect on my resolve to help by any means necessary. Children’s feet freezing as they trudge terrains instead of school yard plains. Men carrying the weight of the world as the women hoist onto the teetering promise of hope and a favorable destination.

 

“In 2015, we gave cameras to some of the million people who smuggled themselves into Europe, to record the places where no one else can go. The result is a terrifying, intimate, epic portrait of the migration crisis.”

– Exodus: Our Journey to Europe

 

From Hassan Akkad’s 3 month journey from Syria to the UK to Alaigie’s trek through the Sahara desert traveling from Gambia to Italy, the 2015 migrations were filmed by James Bluemel and Itab Azzam’s crew for some parts and by mere camera phones when in hiding. Exodus: Our Journey to Europe showcases deplorable conditions mixed with bordering countries struggling to do all they can for the massive numbers trying to get in. As an African American millennial, it is hard to register that such a need to escape by what it truly means to say “by any means necessary” exists in these times.

As I leaned forward, alone in the middle of a plush couch, I forced myself to keep watching even though I couldn’t bear to look away. Documentaries hold the keys to information dispensation but at what end of the spectrum do any of them truly lay? Propaganda and empathetic manipulation or pleading awareness outsourcing the bleak, harsh realities skillfully hidden from ignorant yet potentially powerful minds?

The information highway and ever advancing array of communication channels are flooded with a constant influx of data 24/7. No more are the days of one radio announcer per region or a lone station controlling what the masses are privy to. This openness is equal parts blessed cure and crippling infection. How do you decipher the staged truths from the candid realities? Which media mogul do you trust not to lie for the personal, political or religious upper hand? No one is safe from the sway of the game they play but no game is complete with the plays of the collective pawns.

 

“When we landed in Greece, our expectations didn’t align with reality. I thought there would be an organized structure, NGOs, volunteers.”

 

The problem becomes a multitude of cooks attempting to stir the same pot throughout both conception and ingestion. Everyone believes their deduced arrival is sound while others are merely ignorant or too bias to reach the same thought out conclusion. I’m still trying to figure out if the White Helmets are a pro or con to the refugees and concerned observers of this Syrian war.

The fix? Researching multiple angles. However, the same technological advances providing said information have over time reprogrammed the human mind to rely on the precision and expediency of their automation. Millennials and beyond will seek readable guidance to the answer rather than research, deduce and attack the question head on. Again; a blessed cure and crippling infection.

As I watched PBS’ Frontline air “Exodus: Our Journey to Europe”, my emotions fluctuated from shock to dismay to even elation in the fact that they were alive to tell their tales. You can’t watch a documentary such as this and not be affected to your core with a desire to help while simultaneously being smothered with the fear that it could happen to you and your loved ones just as quickly. One of the refugees even comments “We saw it coming.” The protesting and the revolutionary responses of the people turned from bad to worse and neighboring superpowers only deteriorated living conditions. And now we have a modern day underground railroad of people smugglers and a thriving black market of greedy people capitalizing on the desperation of human beings. Terrible.

We have to remember that the Refugee Crisis is more than a sad occurrence on the other side of the world. These everyday people were artisans, professionals, scholars and blue collar workers with rich cultures older than most. They are real people facing conditions and journeys we’ve only read about in history books and seen on screens. This 3 part documentary gives a face to the traveler and real-time account via the very mobile devices we are addicted to ourselves. This is not a situation “homeless people over there”. It is humanity everywhere; now.

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