“Refugees” and “migrants” have been front-page news across all media for months. But behind the knee-jerk phrase “migrant crisis” lies a terrible crisis of European hospitality. After the ordeal of their journey, men, women and children leaving their country in an emergency, fleeing poverty, terror or war, see their hopes dashed on the gates of fortress Europe. The European Union, which has spent €13 billion since 2000 to combat so-called migrant flows, does not grant them the dignified welcome to which they are entitled, infringing international agreements and the Human Rights Charter.
In response to the distress of these exiled people, many collectives and NGOs have been created across France to give them access to basic rights (asylum, shelter, food, hygiene, education, etc.). In 2017, this momentum gave rise to Collectif pour une Nation Refuge (CNR – collective for a refuge nation), which brings together a large number of humanitarian NGOs, individuals and collectives, including Revivre, Paris d’Exil, le Collectif des Batignolles, la Plateforme des Réfugiésen France, Polyvalence, MAS, the Wilson collective, les Amigrants de Rouen and Welcome Bordeaux. Many of these groups use the force of social media to come together, share information and find solutions to the problems and injustices migrants face every day. CNR denounces how people exiled to France are unwelcomed. Its goal is to organize a communication campaign, supported by an inclusive, evolving political project that makes real hospitality possible, as well as the project of an open society that will be an opportunity for all the country’s inhabitants.
To rally the public around this humanitarian crisis, this month CNR is launching a powerful film, directed free of charge by Matthieu Tribes and starring two giants of French cinema, Marina Foisand and Mathieu Kassovitz.
The 1’30” film features, a European couple and their two children, living in apparent safety in their family cocoon. Then ut the family’s destiny takes a dramatic turn. A fire breaks out in a bedroom, forcing them to leave home. But they cannot escape as a wall is stopping them. They’re trapped and condemned to die. The wall symbolizes Europe’s borders, on which the hopes of the men and women who have left everything behind for a different life are dashed.
The film ends with the sentence:
WHEN BORDERS BECOME WALLS, LET’S PROTECT PEOPLE, NOT BORDERS.
About the Campaign
The campaign aims to call out and shake up public opinion and politicians by asking a simple question: What if it were us?
The idea is to make people remember the drama that is played out every day on the borders and inside Europe. Because welcoming people is possible and an opportunity for everyone: building an open, inclusive society is an ambitious but realistic project!
The campaign results from the work of a community and the perseverance of director Matthieu Tribes, alongside Quad (producers of many advertisements and feature films, including Untouchable or more recently C’est la Vie!), which produced the film free of charge, the advertising firm BBDO Paris and, of course, the actors Marina Fois and Mathieu Kassovitz gave their talent and image for the sake of exiles.