On Monday the 5th of September, there is going to be a human chain formed at Calais ferry port. This at first glance may seem like a good thing as it’s an act of political solidarity and in the past has been created for the sake of peace and unity. However, this human chain is being formed to oppose the people who have migrated for a better life, who are some of the most vulnerable members of the human race.
The camp which is known as the “Calais Jungle” has had the southern side dismantled due to an eviction notice being issued starting February 29th earlier this year. This has displaced thousands of migrants, forcing them to seek refuge in other areas of the camp.
The locals are now calling for the destruction of the rest of the camp which will lead to the displacement of the entire population. “What we want is a date for the dismantling of the northern part of the jungle,” said Frédéric Van Gansbeke of le Grand rassemblement du Calaisis who represent local Calais residents.
The Calais camp is home to nearly 10,000 people made up mostly Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan and Sudanese residents, who have fled war, dictatorial oppression, and religious extremism, most of whom desire asylum in the UK. Around 10% of the population are children, with 80% of children are unaccompanied. The majority of refugees are males.
The UK and international papers reporting on the issue have so far failed to provide a humanitarian perspective. The focus seems to be on the possible disruption of trade, traffic concerns, or expressing sympathy for the Calais residents. Thus completely neglecting the fact that thousands of human beings who have suffered and are already displaced will become further displaced.
There is an overall hopeless feeling within the town as locals seemed to feel the blame lies with regional and international government whose involvement in wars has gravely contributed to the refugee crisis. “A desperate situation” says one local and another states “it is the wars over gas that brings them here”. However, there were locals who expressed confusion regarding the presence of the refugees, who have experienced the real risk of abuse and death by differing police forces, smugglers, and the transit to Calais itself. Fear is ever-present in Calais as locals perceive the refugees’ activities as a potential threat and the refugees’ perceive the locals’ response to their presence as an actual threat.
The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, has vowed to dismantle the camp as quickly as possible and provide welcome centres across France to accommodate 8,000 migrants by the end of this year and for thousands more in 2017. However, locals are still planning to go ahead with the protest as they want to see action being implemented.
The mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, who has previously voiced her opinions on border control to be moved to Britain, has agreed to join the protest. She has admitted the move would cause “chaos and disorder” but said she wanted to show solidarity with hauliers and locals so that they can go back to business as usual.
Whether or not the protest tomorrow will prevent the potential threats of violence in the area and provide a sustainable solution for locals and refugees will be seen as time goes by.
This article was written in Calais by Ilaf Moslawy and Luke Miller during their time as Care4Calais volunteers. Please donate supplies to Care4Calais. You can follow Ilaf on Facebook Here and Luke Here
Luke Miller is the editor at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. He believes that spirituality is the foundation for good health and likes to use the fundamental laws of nature to help you create more happiness, satisfaction, joy, freedom and bliss within your world. You Can Join Him For His Latest Free Course “Tuning Into The Natural Laws Of The Universe” By Clicking Here.