More

7 photos from Jude Law's trip to a migrant camp in France.

A look inside Jude Law's visit to Calais, France.

7 photos from Jude Law's trip to a migrant camp in France.

1. On Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016, Jude Law dropped by the "Jungle" to perform on stage.

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.


It was a far cry from one of the actor's typical performance venues.

2. The "Jungle" is a camp for migrants and refugees in Calais, France, who have no other place to go.

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

Many of the roughly 4,000 individuals living in the makeshift camp are refugees from countries like Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. They've been uprooted from their homelands and forced to abandon their entire lives due to war.

3. But Law wasn't there just to put on a good show...

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

Although his performance was a powerful one.

Law was just one of several notable English artists who stopped by for a Letters Live event, where performers read moving, historical letters to the crowd of camp inhabitants. The letter Law read was one written by German-Jewish novelist Lion Feuchtwanger, whose letter addressed Nazi occupiers in his home during World War II.

Plenty of other groups have helped bring a bit of fun and entertainment into refugee camps when times are dark — from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre to Clowns Without Borders. It's nice for these folks to have a reason to smile when times are so tough.

4. Law was also there to fight on behalf of the refugees. Because soon, many may find themselves in an even more dire situation.

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

The living conditions at Calais are hard for any family to endure, to say the least. Unfit, to say the most. One recent study found inhabitants were living in rat-infested homes and tents, that the water was contaminated with feces and was unsafe for drinking, and many refugees were burdened with a range of untreated medical conditions — from PTSD to tuberculosis.

Photo by Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images.

The study found Calais was "far below any minimum standards for refugee camps.”

To make matters worse, local officials have plans to demolish a huge portion of the camp. They're aiming to reduce the population there by 1,000, but activists — who are hoping a court hearing on Feb. 23 will halt demolition plans — say the move will harm many more.

Despite officials claiming everyone who's forced to leave will have a suitable place to go, grassroots groups in Calais say the hundreds of orphans at the camp have not been given adequate alternatives.

5. As part of his visit, Law toured the camp and spoke to the press about how the plans to demolish parts of the "Jungle" will harm children especially.

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

"It just seemed to me that the pressing issue is the kids who are unaccompanied and living in awful conditions," Law said in a video by The Guardian. "It seems that their plight needed to be highlighted."

He went on to explain that the demolition will take out "key communal centers," like a women and children's center, a youth center, mosques, and a clinic.

6. Law isn't the only public figure hoping to stop officials from demolishing the camp.

He's one of 145 people of influence — including Idris Elba, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Branson, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Stephen Fry — who've signed an open letter from the group Help Refugees addressed to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to up efforts helping the inhabitants, particularly children, in Calais.

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

The U.K. government is feeling the heat from activists to take action because many of the migrants and refugees staying in Calais, which is near the English Channel, came in hopes of making it into Britain, where many have family members.

“This is a humanitarian crisis that needs to be acknowledged as such," the letter reads. "And it is imperative that we do everything we can to help these innocent and highly vulnerable refugees, especially the minors, as swiftly as is humanly possible.”

7. The problem in Calais is part of a much larger global crisis.

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

In case you haven't tuned in to the news recently, the entire world has been grappling in recent years with how to handle the massive influx of refugees out of war-torn regions of the Middle East and Africa. In the U.S., the debate over if we should accept refugees (and, if so, how many) has been a point of contention throughout the presidential campaign, with candidates' views ranging dramatically — from significantly upping the number of refugees the country lets in to banning all Muslims from even entering the country.

After learning about the brutal conditions these families and children are living in, the former is certainly more humane and reasonable than leaving them all out in the cold.

Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less