Exodus; More than just Migration
Discussion evening on the documentary 'Exodus' by Sorious Samura
25th of October 2007| The Peli-bar, Leiden | 40 participants

 

After watching the documentary 'Exodus' by Sorious Samura, the discussion evening on the 25th of October 2007 got off to a good start. More or less 40 people had gathered in the Peli-bar to watch this documentary that tells the story of migrants' travels from Sierra Leone to Europe. The perseverance of the migrants becomes clear as we see the great difficulties they have to overcome when crossing  natural barriers (like the Sahara desert and the Strait of Gibraltar) and how demotivating setbacks are pushed aside in order to attain their goal of a better life.

 

After the documentary we discussed why it has reached the point that West African imigrants risk their lives by getting on a boat in Senegal in the hope of arriving on the Canary Islands. We reached the conclusion that there aren't only economical reasons, but that attention must be paid to various underlying social processes. For instance, in the documentary we saw that Samura, when he was staying in London as an illegal imigrant, took on various jobs to be able to pay for his journey back, presents for his family, and a camera. What the not-yet migrants at home see is that he comes back bearing gifts and a beautiful new camera. What reason is there for them not to undertake this journey and seek the riches they see people bringing back home?

Exodus discussion

'Fort Europe' was also a point of discussion. Must Europe grant access to migrants? And will a  more flexible policy give way to a giant influx of migrants? Will the planned 'bluecard' create safer forms of migration than the human smuggling we see now, or will it only enhance disparities among migrants? There were many questions, but few satisfying answers.

 

All in all, it was a successful evening. There were many participants, a laid-back atmosphere, and a few international Master students. However, at times the discussion could have been a little more active.

 

To see the pictures, click here.

 

2007_somura_exodusHere you can watch the first few minutes of the documentary 'Exodus'. Beware: the beginning contains some potentially shocking images.