“We need bridges, not walls”

A make-shift refugee camp in Calais

A make-shift refugee camp in Calais

The following piece was kindly submitted by a member of Cork Calais Refugee Solidarity who recently travelled to the Jungle refugee camp in Calais as part of a humanitarian aid convoy.

I got involved in the Irish convoy to Calais for the same reasons than everybody else, though as a Frenchman I probably had an extra incentive.

This is the first time I set foot on French soil since I left; just like any other volunteer I did not know what to expect. I did know however that the French police, when it comes to brutality, are on a whole other level than the Irish Gardaí.

I knew also that the ideas of the far right have made their way into the mainstream media and in the mindset of a lot of French people .

During our stay there a local newspaper reported a demonstration of 300 Calaisians being held thanks to the ‘Angry Calaisians Association’ (Calaisiens en Colère). They are completely ‘apolitical’ and ‘not racist’, the fact that their spokeperson is also a local candidate of the National Front is purely coincidental.

The same weekend, the French ‘socialist’ government sends in 250 more anti-riot police to Calais in addition to the 500 already present. More fences are to be built shortly. Some more separating of fellow humans.

Borders kill people. It is that simple, really.

Europe is discussing how to make a distinction between ‘real refugees’ (good) from ‘economic migrants’ (bad). Explain the difference. Explain why it matters.

Anyway, how utterly rude of them to not have remained home and die, right?

Anyone who made it to Calais is a hero. One cannot imagine what they have gone through, even as the story is being told to you first hand. It is an outrage and a crime to have this camp in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

All of us are enslaved to the capital, and the capital values profit more than mankind.

In this system we live in, a can of Coke has more freedom to travel than a human being.

There’s money to wage wars on distant countries, apparently there isn’t any to provide the most basic support to the victims of said wars. It is more profitable to sell arms worldwide than to uphold one’s reputation as a ‘country of human rights’ at home.

Fair play, France.

The perception of the refugees as a faceless horde, a swarm coming to take what we have sure is a convenient narrative to foster fear among the western world working class. The poor against the poorer. Divide and conquer.

Malcolm X once said that if you don’t pay attention, the media will have you hate the oppressed and support the oppressors. That’s where we are now. There is no ‘them’ versus ‘us’. We are one human family and we need to act like one. These are times for solidarity.

European governments are treating the refugees the way they would treat us if they could get away with it. They are building Fortress Europe. No way. We need bridges, not walls. And no bloody razorwired fences !

Refugees welcome

Patriots fuck off

Police shame on you

No one is illegal

Open the borders!

Johan Le Bras

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This entry was posted in Anti-imperialism, Anti-racism, International Issues, National Issues and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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