The participants on Australian reality show Go Back Where You Came From experienced a hail of real gunfire from Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) militants while attempting to visit a refugee camp in Syria. Portions of that attack have been released as a trailer for the show’s premiere at the end of July.
The series first aired in 2012, aiming to give both supporters and opponents of allowing refugees to settle in Australia first-hand experience in being a refugee. While the show bills itself as mainly showing its participants the struggle of traveling by boat from parts of Asia to Australia or enduring detention once their illegal migration to Australia is discovered, the new edition of the series will also focus on refugees from Iraq and Syria trying to flee the violence of the Islamic State terrorist group.
The group of assorted Australians traveled to Iraq and Syria to see refugee camps. The Islamic State terrorists, however, identified and shot at them once they crossed the border from Iraq into Syria.
The three television stars include “Kim Vuga, a teacher called Andrew Jackson and a Manus Island whistle-blower named only as ‘Nicole,’” according to Australian media. Nicole tells News.com.au that none of the reality show participants were expecting to enter a live gun fight, instead believing they would visit refugees.
“When we crossed the border from Iraq into Syria, I kind of thought we would maybe go to a refugee camp near the border,” she said, “meet some families, but once we crossed the border we drove for like four hours and it kind of dawned on me we were going to an active war zone.”
“Probably the worst part was going as close as we could and knowing that their bullets could reach us. We were told to listen for any whistling sounds coming through the air and that would mean a mortar had been fired. We were told we had 30 seconds to run 100 metres,” Kim Vuga, another participant, told The Sydney Morning Herald. Vuga stated in another interview that she did not realize until some time later that “we were there actually engaging in war with ISIS.”
SBS, the network airing the show, describes its premise as “six Australians … on a journey to see the world through the eyes of refugees, including a former refugee, two sisters with opposing opinions, a Nauru and Manus Island whistle-blower, a tough talking teacher, and a ‘Stop the Boats’ campaigner.”