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Calais Jungle_7 Assignments

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1) Story Statement for 3 Protagonists
FREYDUN escapes Iran and must make a documentary without jeopardizing his admission to French university or getting deported to Iran where his former interrogator threatens his life.

Syrian rebel SAMI survives war, detention, and a journey to Europe that leaves him lame. Before his French refugee camp is razed, he must find housing in order to qualify for a surgery to restore his mobility.

Sudanese pop singer ABDO must hide from Janjaweed militiaman Skinny J, escape brutal detention, and survive a shipwreck. In the French refugee camp, Calais Jungle, he must overcome PTSD in order to sing and to pursue a beautiful American volunteer.

2) Antagonists for each of 3 Protagonists
In detention, the LEFT-HANDED INTERROGATOR beats Freydun to scare him into following the strictures of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He needs to stop Freydun from blogging about corruption and misogyny. He will stop at nothing to prevent Freydun’s blasphemous words from soiling the name of Iran and spreading dissent in the theocratic autocracy he views as righteous.

As a rookie in Assad’s army, Sami unwittingly turns over a kid to the MUKHABARAT, the branch of the Syrian government that delivers rebels to torture centers. Sami joins the resistance and is himself captured by the mukhabarat. In prison, Assad’s strongmen try to beat a confession from him. They are zealots who believe that they are following a directive in the Koran to ‘make people do good.’ When Sami is smuggled into Europe, new enemies in the form of white nationalists beat him.

In Sudan, Abdo flees from SKINNY J, a Janjaweed soldier whose militia attacks Abdo's village. In the neighboring town and later in Khartoum, Abdo fears that Skinny J is chasing him. In Libya, just as Abdo embarks for Europe, he is imprisoned by armed renegades who remind him of Skinny J. In Calais Jungle, Abdo fears that a fellow refugee is Skinny J.

3) Titles
Calais Jungle
Behind the Berm

4) A debut autobiographical novel told through the alternating points of view of its American and Iranian authors, CALAIS JUNGLE is Dave Eggers’ WHAT IS THE WHAT meets Christy Lefteri’s THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO.

5) A Sudanese pop singer, an Iranian blogger, and a Syrian rebel must reboot their lives in a storied refugee camp before the French government razes it. 

6) Conflict for each of 3 Protagonists

FREYDUN’s Inner Conflict:
To move his life forward, Freydun applies to a French university and struggles to complete his documentary. But screening a film that critiques France, a country he wants to call home, may again put him at risk of retaliation. 

FREYDUN’s Secondary Conflict:
Freydun fears that his immigration to France leaves his family in Tehran unprotected from a repressive regime. His return would place them in even more danger.

SAMI’s Inner Conflict: To work through the guilt of delivering a teen to the mukhabarat, Sami must admit what he has done. But he keeps quiet, fearing rejection by the community that sustains him in Calais Jungle.

SAMI’s Secondary Conflict:
To make a life in France, Sami must get surgery on a shattered ankle. During the demolition of Calais Jungle, he must choose between staying in Calais to get the operation and relocating to an unspecified town with the friends who buoy him.

ABDO’s Inner Conflict: 
To save his own life during a shipwreck in the Mediterranean, Abdo pries himself loose from a fellow passenger and lets the man drown. In Calais Jungle, Abdo wants to romance an American volunteer but his PTSD and guilt are triggered by her wet hair.

ABDO’s Secondary Conflict: 
Al Jezeera films Abdo singing, but Abdo fears that a broadcast will endanger the family he left behind in Sudan.

7) Settings 
Primary Setting: CALAIS JUNGLE

It is the summer of 2016 and following the evening call to prayer, Abdo hosts rollicking music parties in his tent at Calais Jungle. The vibrant refugee camp on the north coast of France houses nearly 8,000 asylum seekers from the Middle East, Africa and Southwest Asia. European volunteers and refugees, co-creators of the storied tent city, befriend, romance, and learn from one another at wood and tarp kiosks, schools, restaurants, a barber shop, mosque, and church. French police surveil graveled High Street from a sand dune, storm the camp to bully refugees, and finally bulldoze the camp, evicting everyone. During demolition, Afghans in long tunics set their tents ablaze in the tradition of burning their homes to prevent an enemy from destroying them.

Secondary Settings: 

In Tehran, FREYDUN shares his cell with Jackal who cracks jokes from their smelly toilet behind a pony wall. He then hides in a pristine villa with no internet, phone or television. Behind its iron gate, his isolation is tempered by butterflies and birds.

SAMI flees his jasmine-scented courtyard near Bab al Salam, the gate to the old city in Damascus. He leaves behind the sound of the oud, the domes and arches, the fountains and minarets, endures prison where he learns survival skills from fellow political prisoners. At the border with Turkey, he sleeps in an olive grove between friends who remove stones from the dirt so he can sleep comfortably between them.

A teeming pickup takes ABDO through the Sahara Desert, cruising past corpses half buried in drifting sand. He crosses into Libya hidden under a blanket in a van with no seats. There, he is imprisoned in a crowded room with a cold floor and loud abusive guards.

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