Thursday, February 25, 2016

A sad day for humanity

Well, the bad news from calais is that a whole bunch of my friends are about to made homeless; people who I've come to admire even love, who have proved themselves to be resourceful and resilient, who have made community in an ash heap that is a beacon of hope to anyone who'll pay attention are to be cast to the four winds.

The court in Lille has given the go-ahead to the evictions from the soputhern part of the jungle announced by the French authorities last week and challenged by L'Auberge des Migrants and Secours Catholique.

The authorities say that they will not send in the bulldozers; that they will preserve places of worship, the school rooms, library. But they said this before the last set of demolitions and proceeded to demolish both a church and a mosque. Not surprisingly the community leaders in the camp don't believe the promises.

This act of vandalism might yet be stopped if L'Auberge and Secours appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. But maybe I'm clutching at straws.

Europe isn't exactly covering itself in glory in its handling of the refugee crisis. The Austrians and Balkan states are leaving Greece, already reduced to penury by the troika's economic demands, to be turned into 'a permanent warehouse for souls' as they build ever higher fences to keep people out. The UK stands on the side-lines wringing its hands and doing sod all to meet the needs of the desperate millions milling across our continent.

As I was coming back from the camp yesterday, I heard a poem on the radio written by Somali poet Worsan Shire. You can find the whole thing here. But here's the extract that caught my attention:

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
mean something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

So, what are we prepared to do to support those who have made this desperate, perilous journey?

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