A look inside Jude Law's visit to Calais, France.
1. On Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016, Jude Law dropped by the "Jungle" to perform on stage.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.