Report by Bairbre Flood
Over 7,000 people are living in the unofficial refugee camp at Calais with over 50 new arrivals every day. Added to the already immense hardship of surviving in makeshift shelters or tents with no government support, an announcement was made by the Mayor of Calais in July that they are preparing to demolish the camp ‘very soon’.
Restaurants and shops were raided on July 19th with food, cooking utensils and other goods confiscated and around 13 people arrested. Residents in the camp, many of whom have been stuck there for months, are worried that they will be forcibly evicted by the police in the autumn. Last February, despite a court order to delay evictions, the French authorities used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray and water cannons to evict the southern part of the camp and destroy many peoples shelters and belongings.
‘We have no-where else to go,’ said Mahmoud, a resident in the camp for the past 10 months. ‘But they don’t care. They just don’t care.’
Displaced because of war and poverty – products of an economic system which Europe maintains – people in Calais camp are living in a constant state of limbo. This latest announcement is indicative of the official French policy. ‘Very soon’ with no explanation of what people can expect or where they are supposed to go.
For a more in-depth look at what life is like in the camp, and why some of the people are there, ‘The Hungry Road’ is available for listen/download at https://soundcloud.com/yearningcurve/the-hungry-road
The title is a reference to the Irish famine and it seems nothing much has changed in terms of how people fare at the coal-face of the colonial/capitalist system, whether it’s 1800’s British colonialism or 2016’s EU/US capitalism.
(photo: Beatrice Lily Lorigan)