“It takes a fearless, unflinching love and deep humility to accept the universe as it is. The most effective way he knew to accomplish that, the most powerful tool at his disposal, was the scientific method, which over time winnows out deception. It can’t give you absolute truth because science is a permanent revolution, always subject to revision, but it can give you successive approximations of reality.”
― Ann Druyan
Dutch environmentalist and filmmaker Roel Swierenga’s documentary “48.000 Names” is a testament of the decaying humanity and its indomitable spirit of never losing hope. Roel Swierenga is the founder of the Hansa Green Tour Foundation in The Netherlands and organizer of sustainability events, study trips & trade delegations, and speaker at conferences. As director of the annual Hansa Green Tour event in Europe, an epic road trip with electric and alternative energy vehicles through Northern Europe, he decided to have these inspiring sustainability road trips documented and filmed from the very beginning in 2011 for personal use and to share with all partners and participants. The videos and documentaries have become more improved and full of enhanced features over the course of time which makes them appealing to the viewers. Roel changed his shooting method due to the pandemic and took training on mobile filmmaking, editing, and drone flying skills.
48.000 Names is a documentary that predominantly focuses on European borders. These borders are created by nature and are considered to be among the deadliest places in the whole world. This documentary focuses on how 48000 people have lost their lives on their way to Europe. Roel raises the question if it is really necessary to take such risks that would eventually jeopardise a human being and take away their will and right to live. Roel comments that the European borders are problematic in many aspects – they deny the safety and dignity of a traveller and violate the basic human rights. He also points out if it is really necessary to take such risks.
The film starts with the grim opening with a frame of a vast endless engulfing sea. We meet our narrator, there, who goes on to talk about the sufferings of the people who are left behind and are trying to find an answer to their question regarding the ones who have been lost. The documentary then goes on to explain how many of the people die a silent death in this zone, and as we see the sea beach we see the wooden memorials which were being erected as a reminder to the one who dared to cross the sea. The speaker questions if there is anyone to blame for the death via the character. He concludes that the society and the govt and its systems are extremely indifferent in this regard. They point out that it is our silence that is killing the thousands of people who probably wanted to move to Europe for a better life.
Even though certain organisations have taken notice of these issues, the death tolls are rising still. The film beautifully brings up an important issue of the modern world and shows us how constant attention can save the day. The film is such an informative piece of document and needless to say, the narrator has done a great job and the documentary was extremely insightful.