In the past months, the global media has turned our attention to a migrant & refugee crisis unfolding in Europe, and the numbers are powerful. Nearly 2,000,000 arrived desperately on European shores last year. More than 25% of them were under the age of 18 and traveling alone. Thousands of unnamed others lost their lives in attempted crossings. But these numbers only tell one side of the story.
This film tells the other side.
This is the untold story from the other side of Europe’s border. Morocco lies less than eight miles from Spain, and the colonial-era Spanish enclaves that still exist in northern Morocco make it the only African nation to share a land border with an internally borderless E.U. This critical location also makes it a primary crossing point for all Africans fleeing political and economic instability in their home countries. Following the journeys of three individuals, this film invites audiences to step inside the lives of those who have risked it all to escape.
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all citizens of the world are guaranteed the basic right to seek refuge in another country. Yet far from the attention of the global media, the E.U. has been denying Africans the chance to apply for refugee status and molding Morocco into their final destination. Operating on Moroccan soil, Spanish officials carry out abuses that would be punishable under European law, beating and even killing those who dare to make a second attempt at crossing.
“Hrig,” the Arabic term for “illegal immigration,” translates to “burning.” It signifies the physical burning of one’s identification papers in order to avoid repatriation if arrested by authorities. It also symbolizes the burning of one’s past in hopes of a better future on foreign soil. With unparalleled access to Morocco’s never-before-seen forest camps, detention centers, and sprawling migrant slums, audiences will walk beside those who have burned their pasts and traveled thousands of miles only to find themselves trapped under brutal conditions at their final border crossing.
Phino, who fled his war-torn village in the Congo fifteen years ago and has been trapped in Morocco ever since, Yasmine, who lost her husband to an attempted crossing last year and now plans to take the same treacherous route with her two young children in hand, and a boy named Bambino, who traveled nearly 3,000 miles on his own after losing his parents to war, share their stories of THE BURNING at our world’s most critical border.
An award-winning team has come together to tell the untold story, and we are confident in its power to create lasting change. But we can’t do it without YOU. Please join our community of supporters and consider making a donation to THE BURNING today!