Watching the orange men in their white hard-hats demolish the Calais “jungle” is disheartening. One man is going particularly hard with his sledgehammer, like he really hates the tents and piles of debris. Over and over he slams the ground with his hammer, over and over.
Clearing out the Calais camp is a bit like violently ripping off someone’s prosthetic limb. After a while, beyond the initial shock and/or prosecution, that someone is going to get another plastic arm. These camps have been present in Calais since 1999. This is not the last time there will be a camp in Calais. It is not even the last time that there will be a camp of this size. They are necessary.
Migrants still come to France for the opportunity to enter the UK. Even as I write this, someone is undertaking the journey. A majority of them are young men, of non-European descent. North African, Syrian. The average age is in the thirties. There were, at it’s height, over 800 minors in the camp. Unaccompanied minors. These people have paid hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds, for their passage to Calais. That’s a wild amount, considering the economic background they have emerged from. They have paid that amount to send only their children.
Migrants will keep coming.
For a moment.
There is a reason.
A fleet of appropriated buses will swoop you off your feet and deposit you in some French town, leaving you on the doorstep of a hostel, hotel or shipping container with a toilet and a bed in it, with little to no knowledge of the language, with no friends, no family, and for a split second you’ll be sad and scared, then you’ll realise there’s no fucking bombs dropping your head and there’s a shop nearby and people eating out on the street and there’s kids not trying to stuff their decapitated teddy’s head back on and the water is clean and you might be able to get a job and send some money to your son so that he can come too and you can both be relatively safe in this ghetto full of others like you.
If this seems too heavily fictionalized, it’s probably because it is. There are bad people everywhere. To suggest everyone who comes to the EU has good intentions would be naive.
To write off a generation of young people. People. Is disgusting. That there was even a debate about allowing 1,000 minors to enter the UK made my skin crawl. The headlines reading: “Is it safe to travel through Calais?” as if the migrants were wild animals, and god forbid that a white middle-class family from Slough has to wait a couple of hours on their way to the south of France for a week of sun, cheese and wine. Is it stupidity, or intentional ignorance? Are people blind, or do they turn a blind eye?
Farage and UKIP, Le Pen and the National Front, Donald Trump and Donald Trump: there is a rot in the bones of our society. Harnessing the anger of an unhappy populace through dangerous rhetoric, channeling the hatred towards immigrants, with the purpose of furthering their own agenda.
Modern liberal society is founded on acceptance and tolerance. Millions of people have died for the rights of human freedom, and many more will. It’s inevitable, for we seem to have forgotten.