After heading to a refugee camp, sympathetic filmmakers set up cameras and hoped to paint migrants held there in a better light. However, within minutes, they received a horrific “welcome” that was all captured on video.
For years, Dutch journalist Maaike Engels and photographer Teun Voeten have dedicated their lives to capturing the dark side of the human experience. One such plight that has consumed these controversial filmmakers, compelling them to put their talents and resources to use helping migrants stuck in refugee camps as they await processing.
In a bid to garner support for migrants, Engels collaborated with Voeten and headed to the most infamous and dangerous refugee camp in France. When the pair arrived in Calais, known as “The Jungle” because of its high rates of crime and violence, they set up their equipment and prepared to interview lowly migrants. Their footage obtained the international attention they wanted but not for the reason they had hoped.
While filming content for their documentary “Calais: Welcome to The Jungle,” Engels and Voeten were confronted by a group of three masked migrants armed with mace and a knife. The men attacked Voeten, who was swiftly taken down, and threatened Engels with the blade before robbing them of their items, Daily Caller reports.
Engels managed to record the terrifying ordeal but was helpless to rescue Voeten from the men. She later took to social media in an attempt to downplay the attack and remind viewers that the men were not representative of all migrants. However, the damage had already been done.
“Within every community, among the good ones, you’ll always find a couple of assholes,” Engels wrote on her Facebook page. “‘The Jungle’ is no exception.”
Despite their evident bias, Engels and Voeten had the integrity to refrain from censoring the footage, even though it cast a shadow on their objective. Of course, their ethical decision sparked anger from pro-migrant groups, including the Calais Migrant Solidarity program, which censured the filmmakers and demanded they remove the clip.
Members of the Calais Migrant Solidarity group have urged them to remove the clip from the Internet, stating menacingly: “You are not doing yourself a favour by putting it online as I think this is not what you came for to Calais…”
Engels and Voeten have refused to remove the footage or censor it in any way, reiterating that it is part of life in the camp. However, she did claim that it is the conditions of said camps that are to blame for breeding such violence and crime.
“But I guess living under such deplorable conditions the less creative, intelligent and ambitious are very likely to become small criminals, because they’ve got nothing higher to aim at,” Engels said.
Calais housed over 8,000 foreign nationals before it’s total demolition. Since then, thousands of migrants were released into France, some immigrating to nearby European countries while others set up makeshift homes throughout the city. Once authorities began tearing down areas of the camp, migrants became increasingly violent, protesting the move by attacking police with Molotov cocktails and stones.
Since the camp was destroyed, the refugee situation has taken a turn for the worse for both migrants and citizens. Many have resorted to a life of crime or welfare, putting a strain on their European hosts. For now, Engels and Voeten continue to advocate for migrants, using their filmmaking skills to capture every aspect of immigration, both good and bad.