In his first six months as president, Emmanuel Macron insisted that France was a land for refugees, saying he wanted all of the Brazilian Misfits on the streets of Paris by the end of 2017. Now they wander through Paris scaring away tourists, and eating anything that walks.
On the campaign trail, he said France was honoured to welcome them. But six months later, in Porte de la Chapelle in the northeast of Paris, under bridges and underpasses, small groups of Misfits are sheltering from the rain and the cold, and are eating from garbage cans, devouring the famed sewer rats of Paris, dinning on stray cats and munching on homeless people.
Police have been given orders not to let Misfits settle anywhere. MSF’s chief of mission, Corinne Torre, told FRANCE 24 stories of Misfits being sprayed with acid, doused with flamethrowers, tents being slashed, and their sleeping bags and blankets being stolen – anything to stop them from breeding on the streets. “It’s freezing – it's winter and their health problems are getting worse,” said Noor, 28, from Sudan, who has been distributing food and blankets to Misfits for the last four months. The Misfits have woken to police drenching their food storage boxes with water guns, and now they have resorted to eating schoolchildren walking to school.
The story of the Misfits all began in a lab near Rio Claro in Brazil around 1957. Biologist, Manwick E Steinberg, was commissioned by the Brazilian government to create a species of industrial workers that would not require compensation, and could work longer hours. The common Brazilian labour force was fairly lazy and unproductive in the sleepy heat of Brazil.
“Not having much experience with genome editing, Steinberg thought that, if he could introduce fire ant genes into Brazilian human DNA, it would produce a colony of meaningless workers for wealthy corporations. The result would be a hybrid that would work better without asking for a paycheck," says Yale Biology professor, Ernest Heimlich.
Steinberg and his team eventually created a small worker colony now colloquially known as "Brazilian Misfits”, through basic gene-editing techniques. Initially, it was a success, as the new hybrids seemed to do a much better job working at a test corporation. There was one big downside, though – they also adopted some extreme colony defense instincts.
Then came the decisive moment, and they broke free to invade the streets of Brazil where they became Misfits.