Screenshot "Do you remember the Balkan Route?"
Screenshot "Do you remember the Balkan Route?"

Cartoons, stories and videos are used as part of an Italian group project to narrate the journey taken by thousands of migrants to reach Europe through the Balkan region and the political choices that led to its closing.

"Do you remember Balkan Route? " is a web-based report of videos, cartoons and stories by SMK Videofactory and Graphic News, an Italian online cartoon-based news magazine. It is meant to serve as a testament to the Balkan Route used by migrants to come to Europe. 

The project was initiated in December 2015 and focuses on the transition of the Balkan route after the building of a border wall between Hungary and Serbia, when the flow of migrants was transformed into a controlled route bringing people from Serbia to Austria and Germany. 

The collection of videos and cartoons is divided into three sections based on the borders they focus on: between Hungary and Serbia, between Serbia and Croatia, and between Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. 

"The route had already been forgotten"

The title of the project was meant to be provocative, the creators say. ''When we went on the Balkan route in December 2015, it was already closed and there weren't any more images of migrants walking along train tracks around anymore,'' ANSA was told by Carla Falzone, a journalist involved in the project. ''Almost a year had gone by when we published it, and at that point the route had already been forgotten. We continue to see photos of migrant boats in the Mediterranean but we have forgotten the Balkan route. We must not forget the fact that we closed a door to Europe'' by shutting down the route, she stressed, but that nevertheless ''even today thousands of people are trying'' to get to Europe using other routes. 

New narration tool

There is a great deal of material including three long cartoons, three videos and a written section. David Biagioni, one of the cartoonists involved in the project said: ''We wanted to create an experiment between two languages'' for the website. ''Do you remember Balkan Route?'' is open source, as the aim is to make it circulate and easily accessible, Falzone said. ''We funded our trip ourselves and we are thinking about doing other projects in the future, in that part of the world or along other borders since we are interested in looking more deeply at the migration issue.'' Although the project is only in Italian, ''we would like to think that some people in other countries might see it and steal the idea for their own similar projects. The aim is to create a new narration tool to be replicated.''

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