We’ve all seen the disturbing images of the boats, rickety contraptions that hardly look watertight, full to the brim of men, women, and children fleeing war-torn countries. We’ve all seen the galvanizing images of the bodies washed up, floating in the sea, dredged onto the beach. This year alone more than 300,000 people have tried to make the dangerous Mediterranean crossing in pursuit of a better life; up to 2,600 are known to have died. When they arrive in Europe, they face an uncertain future, frequently remaining trapped on the borders as EU governments try to shift responsibility. The numbers keep mounting up. We are in the midst of the worst refugee crisis since World War Two.
Yet the mainstream political and media environment habitually strips refugees of their humanity, casting them not as people worthy of help – not as people at all – but as a threat to “our way of life”, to our scant resources, a “swarm” seeking to overwhelm our borders. Images matter, but so do words. Over recent weeks we’ve seen a battle over terminology – “migrant crisis” versus “refugee crisis”. The overuse of the term “migrants”, splashed across the headlines of broadsheets and newscasts, is dehumanising, misleading and implies less responsibility for governments. The 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees defines a refugee as someone who has fled his or her own home country and cannot return because of a well-founded fear of persecution there. In contrast, a migrant is someone who freely chooses to move from one place to another for better socio-economic conditions.
In a bid to offer more insightful coverage of this crisis, Matthew Williams and I, Audrey Courty, would like to spend 3-4 weeks in Europe, travelling along the refugee trail from Turkey to Germany, stopping at key border crossings and refugee camps. We want to produce a short documentary (30-45 minutes) capturing the long, desperate journeys of persecuted people seeking asylum. At the same time, we plan to write stories and record videos that will be published on our website: http://ontherefugeetrail.com [it will go live by Sunday, September 20]. We’ve evaluated that to cover our travel expenses for this project, we need at least $2,500 AUD. Most media outlets nowadays do not have the time and resources to promote this kind of project. But as more refugees continue to travel to Europe, and EU governments remain bitterly divided over what to do, the more urgent we feel these stories are. Even $25 can go a long way in helping us shed a more compassionate light on the refugee crisis.
Risks and challenges
The main risk in undertaking this project is that elements of the story may change by the time we travel to Europe. But we are ready to adjust our travel plans accordingly and we're prepared to cover the refugee crisis at whatever stage it will be at when we arrive.
Please see our 'FAQ' for more risks and challenges.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)