For Your Consideration: Voices From Calais

at

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 13.17.43

 

Human rights activist Bairbre Flood, from Cork, has created an hour-long radio documentary, The Hungry Road, in which she speaks to people seeking refuge who are subsisting in the makeshift camp in Calais, France.

Bairbre writes:

The police have stopped volunteers bringing in building materials so with the influx of around 70 new people a day, many are living in cramped tents.

One medic from Ireland, Elena Lydon, who regularly works in the camp,said that ‘for the first time people were coming up saying they were hungry to us in the first aid caravans.’

Most of us know of all this, as Calais has been substantially reported on this last year, but what are people really like in the camp? Where have they come from – geographically, culturally, personally?

‘The Hungry Road’, a reference to the Irish famine, is an attempt to get behind the statistics and hear what some individuals have to say about living in what most described as ‘hell’.

Everyone I talked to had endured incredibly traumatic events in both their original countries and along the road seeking refuge in Europe.

Blocked at the final hurdle, many are now seeking asylum in France, but have to wait in the camp while their application is being processed.

Others are trying desparately to reach family members in Britain where they feel people are more sympathetic to refugees and not as racist as the French.

Many speak English already and say that there are better job and study opportunities there.

Still, others have heard that the asylum process is much quicker than in France and they will be able to apply for family reunification for loved ones who could get no further than Lebanon, Turkey and other countries.

Whatever their reasons, and there are many – they have the right to be treated with respect and allowed to choose the country which they feel will be best for them and their families. That’s what Irish people have been doing for generations.

There are about 50,000 undocumented Irish migrants working in the US illegally. Imagine if Irish people in the States were treated the way the people in Calais are treated?

Police regularly tear-gas the camp and almost everyone I interviewed had been beaten or pepper-sprayed by the CRS. One man told me how a police officer took one of his shoes when he caught him near the town. Another, of how he was pepper-sprayed in the face at the train station.

And the utter feeling of neglect is palpable in an EU that spends more on border fences, tear-gas, scanners, dogs and razor wire than it does on caring for peoples basic needs or allowing them safe passage.

How can we justify that? What is it like for people already suffering, to have to deal with this abuse and neglect?

Bairbre created the documentary with the assistance of the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund.

Yearning Curve (Bairbre Flood)

Previously: ‘We’d Settle For Animal Rights’

Pic: Isolda Heavy

21 thoughts on “For Your Consideration: Voices From Calais

      1. Yep

        Cheers Don. So they can but some have fears of ending up in unsuitable accomodation. I think I would roll the dice myself and try to improve my situation within the French system.

        Getting to Britian is certainly not the jackpot it once seemed.

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          “some have fears of ending up in unsuitable accomodation”

          Sure, if you want to cherry-pick what you want from that article.

        2. Yep

          Well what from the article makes you feel that everyone in the camp has a right to move to Britian? Yes, employment and education opportunities are better in Britian. How does this trump the fact the whole camp is illegal, most regularly engage in criminal activities and it is in now way a certainty that they would receive ayslum?

          It is horrible to read some of the treatment they have received. Have you read or seen any of the reports about the residents of Calais? You should have a gander.

          The situation is untenable and apparently the French are pushing for a UK immigration office to be set up which would go a long way to solving the problem. Also, there seems to be a misconception about Britain due the the volunteers as mentioned in the article.

          Simply, I can’t get behind the idea they should be allowed move to where they can get to. Do you support that position?

          1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            “what from the article makes you feel that everyone in the camp has a right to move to Britian? ”

            Oh you said this, you must mean something over here.

            “You should have a gander.”
            WHAT DO YOU HAVE AGAINST GEESE YOU GEESIST!!!!

  1. The Real John

    “they have the right to be… allowed to choose the country which they feel will be best for them and their families”

    When was this right established?

    “…an EU that spends more on border fences, tear-gas, scanners, dogs and razor wire than it does on caring for peoples basic needs or allowing them safe passage.”

    Have you got a link for that stat?

    1. Bandy

      I hereby refuse to engage with the human element of any argument until my desire for minor details has been sated… This will never happen to me so I do not need to care about the people, my only concern is proving someone else wrong while I am meant to be working..

  2. human

    “they have the right to be… allowed to choose the country which they feel will be best for them and their families”

    get the hell outta here with that nonsense

  3. galwaytt

    “they have the right to be treated with respect and allowed to choose the country which they feel will be best for them and their families. That’s what Irish people have been doing for generations.” Nonsense – there is no such “right” -ask the tens of thousands of illegal Irish immigrants in the US……

    1. human

      If you think north Africans coming to europe and Irish going to America is the same you need your head checked…

  4. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    I spent nine years living in London, England.
    I spent six months living in Vichy / Paris, France.

    I met many, many more racists in France to be honest.
    Mostly farmers and young people, oddly enough.

  5. Holly

    ‘Why don’t they claim asylum in France? Or any other country between Syrian and France?
    Over 1Million refugees arrived in Europe in 2015 alone, and there are about 7,000 of them in Calais wanting to get to the UK – 0.7000000000000001%

    It’s a tiny number of people that are in that camp. Tiny.

Comments are closed.