Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The Calais Jungle

The Calais Jungle, London Southbank
I am sure you have heard of the “Jungle”, the name given to the camp in Calais where many refugees have gathered hoping to cross the Channel and enter Britain. A lot of them are African people.

I saw The Calais Jungle, an exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall, London Southbank, on Sunday. It was included in the Africa Utopia festival, which has now ended, and the Love Festival, and continues until 2nd October. If you have not seen it, I recommend you see it.

The exhibition includes loads of photographs of people who live in the Jungle, as well as homes, shops, churches and mosques. The Jungle is a vast complex.

What I really like about this exhibition is that the photographs show people's faces. They are not just a faceless mass of refugees, which is how the current crisis is often reported in the mainstream press.

Part of the Jungle was recently demolished, making many people, including children, homeless. Well over 100 children simply disappeared and the French police, according to what is said in this exhibition, did nothing to try to help them, protect them or investigate their disappearance. The children of the Jungle, who have escaped a war zone and the unimaginable terrors they have witnessed, are afraid of the French police.

There have been loads of stories coming out of the Jungle, and French lorry drivers have taken  action this week because they want their government to close it down. The Jungle's residents have become pawns in a very dangerous game being played between and within France, Britain and other European countries. Many lorry drivers feel under pressure from refugees demanding that drivers allow them to stow away in their vehicles. 

The UK government is reported to be building a wall near Calais to further deter The UK government is reported to be building a wall to further deter migrants from entering Britain.   

These refugees are clearly desperate and my heart goes out to them (not making excuses for any intimidatory behaviour).

It is important that we bear the refugees in mind. I am fortunate to live in London, a place that is relatively stable and peaceful, and I feel helpless to do much for them. The one thing I can do, besides blogging, is publish the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence. Please support the blogging carnival.

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