DAY 189 The big clearance?

September 26th, 2016 § 0 comments

François Hollande, the ‘socialist’ president of France, visited Calais today. He didn’t take the opportunity to visit the camp, or to meet representatives of the volunteers; he didn’t go to the Afghan cafe or Jungle Books

14344223_559478250913201_7511265452458798476_nEid celebration at Jungle Books

or show any interest in the extraordinary community which had been established on this wasteland. If they had had any intelligence, the French government would have understood that the jungle was a part of France’s long tradition of rebellion, but also of inventiveness, of improvisation,  and recognised that it was a self-organised democracy. They would have seen the unique way in which different ‘nations’ organised their separate spaces so as to create an area which was neighbourly for everyone. Instead of demolishing the jungle, France should be celebrating it, looking on it as a work of art, a national treasure. We, when we’ve visited, have been offered tea, conversation and hospitality wherever we went. The President missed the chance.

Instead, he wanted the refugee camp – home to up to 10,000 people includinglone 1000 lone children – to be “completely and definitively dismantled”.

Closing down the camp would be an “exceptional operation prompted by exceptional circumstances” and the UK had to take some responsibility, he said.

“Just because the United Kingdom has taken a sovereign decision, [that] does not absolve it of its obligations towards France,” he added, referring to the Brexit vote and the Le Touquet bilateral agreement signed in 2003, which in effect established Britain’s border controls at Calais.

However, the British government said “the dismantling of the camp in Calais [was] a matter for the French government”.

Hollande’s language is becoming more and more Orwellian;Unknown as he speaks of ‘humanitarian efforts’, which will certainly be made by riot police using tear gas. This is how the problem of 10000 refugees will the solved; and they will be dispersed to ‘welcome centres’ across France.

This cannot happen peacefully, however much we might wish it would. And of course, as I’ve continued to point out in these pages, the refugees will certainly continue to come, as their countries continue to be racked by war and famine.  And they will certainly settle in some place not far from Calais.

It’s not my place to call for resistance – though I would support anyone who decided to go down that road. But, at least, I appeal to you to support the many emergency appeals for support which are now circulating. It will be a bad and difficult few weeks.


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