On my return from Calais on Wednesday evening I got into a Whatsapp chat with a friend of mine who I'd expected to see in the jungle but wasn't there.
He's a lovely Afghan man, a pharmacist who spent a lot time in jungle books, helping people access the resources and making tea and coffee for anyone who visited. He disappeared frollowing a falling-out with a neighbour (this kind of stuff happens the world over, I guess) and he told me he's in Dieppe on his own.
I felt a curious frisson of worry for him. There he was alone in a port city away from any friends and networks of support he had built up in his time in the jungle. But then I thought, he's made the journey from Afghanistan; he's crossed hostile terrain, put up with antagonism and worse from border guards, people traffickers, other travellers, local populations. He's coped with the daily struggle for food and shelter, clothing and warmth on a 5,000 mile trek, so he can probably cope with Dieppe.
But I still fear for his safety.
No one should have to make this kind of journey. No one should be in such terror for their lives that they cannot live and thrive in their own country. That might sound awfully utopian, you may say I'm a dreamer (as someone sang), but I wonder how many of us have had to move because we fear for our lives; how many of us have fled the carpet bombing of our community; how many of us have lived in fear of the secret police knocking in the night, the neighbourhood vigilantes coming with guns, the government seeking our lives.
I will happily be called utopian for believing that people ought to be secure in their beds, at peace in their lands, protected by their government and able to grow into the potential that God has placed in each one us. I will happily be called a dreamer because I want to find my friend and give him a hug.