Protests in Calais: valuing human complexity in crisis

openDemocracy, September 2015

“Jungles are for animals! We are humans!” We would hear and see this phrase time and again, evidence of a population aware of the fragility of their humanity, at the centre of a geopolitical storm which every day threatens to wrest it away, distort it or replace it with fears and statistics. What we saw, in the place they call the ‘Jungle’, was not humanity trapped in abject despair, nor lasciviously eyeing our benefit system across the Channel. We saw instead community and solidarity – with foundations in the kind of simple acts that unite rather than divide. We drank tea warmed on firewood with a group of Pakistanis, shared snacks under tarpaulin, talked cricket, and joked. A Kuwaiti showed us the winter jacket he bought in Dunkirk. There were shops and bars, mosques and churches; people played football and charged their phones…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s