4 October 2016
Calais ESI on field trip with Dutch film crew for "The Wall" documentary
Interview with Gerald Knaus. Photo: ESI
Interview with Gerald Knaus. Photo: ESI

ESI's Gerald Knaus went on a field trip to the port of Calais on 4 and 5 October, together with a Dutch film crew making a documentary series called "The Wall" (in Dutch: De Muur). The series aims at showing how life is on different sides of fences built to stop unwanted foreigners, immigrants or refugees.

"In our series, we look what fences are doing with the people who live around it. Everywhere we filmed, we saw that fences lead to indifference, to disinterest in the suffering, to a lack of empathy, and even to hatred. Not that there is no humanity anymore, it's there. But most people do not want live with large masses of refugees around, don't like the assaults on the fences, don't want to be confronted with deaths that wash up on their beach. They want live quietly without being bothered by immigrants. Since the summer of 2015 the mood in Europe has been moved from 'wir schaffen das' to a loud call for new fences. Our series is in a way a self-examination to our humanistic morality and to the question of why it has eroded so easily. And the series is a research for answers on the question how to handle immigration."

Everyday in the "Jungle", the migrant camp at the edge of Calais, more than 7,000 people hope to get on trucks and boats to England, despite recent demolitions and forced evictions. Border authorities struggle to contain them and plan to build higher walls, a proof that – regardless of a decade of policy "cooperation" between two of the richest countries in the world – a sustainable solution is yet to be found. ESI's work is focusing on finding ways to raise standards of reception and asylum processing for better orientation in the current EU migration debate in Europe and elsewhere. 

Fence in Calais. Photo: ESI
Fence in Calais. Photo: ESI
About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com