REFUGEES: Chinese artist and filmmaker Ai Weiwei follows up his documentary Human Flow with a reportage from the warzones that await refugees in Europe. The Rest is about the millions who came for shelter but found none.
Nina Trige Andersen
Nina Trige Andersen is a historian and freelance journalist. She is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: March 23, 2019

A woman carrying no belongings but instead her cat, cuddled up in her arms. A man asking why no one cares that his children are under water, why no one has bothered to recover their bodies, six months after the smuggler’s boat sank. Why the smuggler’s sentence was only two months for the murder of thirteen women and children. An Italian priest seeking to provide first aid to the «broken dignity» of the fellow humans that appeared in his town, while most of his neighbours are trying to make these refugees flee again. A police force burning down a refugee camp while the inhabitants watch their few belongings disappear, asking themselves where they will sleep tonight – asking themselves because no one else is going to provide them with any answers.

Resources spent, resources denied

Chinese filmmaker Ai Weiwei’s new documentary The Rest is a reportage from the frontline of the war that is being waged against refugees in Europe and its borderlands.

The Rest is a reportage from the frontline of the war that is being waged against refugees in Europe and its borderlands

It is about local inhabitants outraged that their coastal resort, where they came to live the good life, is being spoiled by someone else’s misery, outraged that they can no longer eat the fish fresh from the sea because of the contamination of bodies in the ocean.

It is about an asylum system devoid of humanity, a system built on the logic that when someone has been forced to leave their home they certainly should have no say whatsoever as to where their new, temporary, home might be. It is about the resources spent on border enforcement, wall constructions, bombings of foreign countries, and the lack of resources spent on sheltering those who are faced with the impossible choice of staying under lethal conditions or risking their lives and the lives of their children to flee into the unknown.

«Is this Europe? It looks like a third world country,» a refugee comments about the conditions they are offered in the place they thought would be safe for them.

For the majority of the world inhabitants, human rights are an abstraction at best, and Ai …

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