Monday, October 24, 2016

Firm action brings more questions

So, my young Afghan friend finally got his ticket and was reunited with his brothers two months after the UK home office agreed to take his claim under Dublin 3. In the late autumn warmth of St Pancras station, brothers embraced and we wept tears of joy into our take-away coffee.

And the haunted young man who asked our help three weeks ago is also in the UK, swept up in the sudden rush of Dublin 3 cases the government wanted dealt with before the jungle succumbs to the bulldozer. He is impatiently awaiting reunification with his brother, giving constant updates on WhatsApp about his mood and worries.

Two shafts of light in the darkness of the camp. But we always stress that while you can snatch someone from the jungle in the blink of an eye, it takes weeks, months, possibly even years to extract the jungle from the minds of its former residents (whether refugees or volunteers).

And now the camp is in its end-game. The day of closure has arrived and sullen ranks of residents queue with their meagre possessions to get on buses taking them to the stage on their journey to peace and security. We knew the day was coming and have felt it to be right that comes. But now it's here and tomorrow they'll start pulling physical structures down, I feel a sense of impending bereavement.

And another boy assumes the centre of my attention. His sister is willing to welcome him into her family but with the demolitions getting under way tomorrow and no one being registered today, we are anxious for him. And he represents so many for whom this is just one more uncertainty, insecurity.

Tomorrow I head back through the tunnel clutching my little red book and my association registration allowing me to come and go and do the things we need to do. And I'm wondering what difference are we making? What are Europe's governments and peoples learning as this sea of people ebbs and flows through their lands? How are we allowing God to reshape our thinking about his priorities for us?

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