Welcome to the first edition of Calais Migrant Factgasm, in which I quite metaphorically round up every piece of internet about the Calais migrants and incarcerate it in the detention centre of my blog.
Featuring news from the past week and analysis of Eritrean migration vs big business and the lorry driver protest organised for this coming Saturday. Enjoy.
News in Brief
Monday, 15th of September: Ashford motorhome owner Teresa Tyrer discovers Calais migrant underneath vehicle
“He’s now sitting on our lawn having a picnic. He’s not shown any need to get up and walk. You’ve got to feel sorry for him. He’s only young and it’s just a shame they are prepared to do things that are so dangerous.”
Someone gave the migrant a sandwich, before calling the police. This mild act of human compassion caused a certain amount of internet hatred, including this from Lrg8:
Should of had a knuckle sandwich for doing that. GO HOME!! instead of sponging off of us
Home got bombed, honey, and I’m not sure who’s sponging off who, to be honest. Have Britain been “sponging off” Iraqi oil for the past century? Are Britain “sponging off” Eritrean gold mines? Meanwhile, a person calling themselves change says:
“I don’t know if its true but was told that they have been discovered coming in on lorries pretending to be mud flaps.”
Friday night, 19th of September: Egyptian squat on Avenue Blériot attacked by four youths with Molotov cocktails
One of the squatters got a busted leg. The police tried to catch the youths, but they got away. I think it’s safe to say that these youths were fascists. Like parasites, wherever there are migrants, there are fascists who come to prey on them.
Why? Boredom combined with empathy-erosion, probably. Chucking a Molotov cocktail and then running a car chase with the cops must be pretty exciting. And these youths just can’t see that the problems faced by the migrants are exactly the same as the problems they face: no jobs, no money, boredom and a sense that their life is going nowhere.
Saturday morning, 20th of September: Ten migrants – including a little baby – discovered in the port of Calais, hiding in a lorry bound for the UK
A baby. The baby was taken to hospital, the other nine were taken for questioning, detention and perhaps deportation. A baby.
Who’s to blame? The migrant parents for being so irresponsible? The French authorities for not caring for the innocent? The British authorities for closing the border to the innocent? The world order that creates political situations and conflicts in which ordinary people with families feel they have to flee their homes in order to build a better life for their children? Hmm.
Saturday, 20th of September: Home secretary Theresa May and her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve agree a deal for Britain to give £12,000,000 to help tackle ‘illegal immigration’ from Calais
“This money will be used to construct robust fences and to bolster security at the parking area of the port, which migrants use as a staging post for efforts to cross the Channel.”
Because that will solve the problem of war, poverty and starvation in Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan, won’t it?
Migrants in Calais banned from playing football
Every Sunday for the last two years, migrants and their friends have enjoyed a game of football in a park in Calais. Now, the mayor is going to court to stop them, sending in the police and bailiffs. If I was more of a conspiracy theorist, I’d think this was a Machiavellian move on the part of the mayor. If the migrants don’t take out their frustrations by kicking a ball around a park, then how will they? Riots?
Monday morning, 22nd of September: The Express rounds up more stories of migrants arriving in the UK
“Traffic on the M25 came to a standstill as the 20 people, who are believed to be Ethiopian, got out of a lorry as it was driving between Chertsey and the junction with the M3 in Surrey at about 8.50 this morning.” … “A 35-year-old Sudanese man was found hiding underneath a coach bringing children from Perry Beeches Academy, Birmingham, back from a trip to France.”
Tuesday, 23rd of September: La Voix du Nord reports a “special mission” to Calais
“Two senior officials will be on a special mission to Calais on Wednesday for three days. Appointed in late August by the Minister of the Interior, they have seven months to analyse the situation of migrants in the Calais and propose solutions.”
The mission will be based in Paris. They have seven months to work on this and they’re spending an entire three days in Calais, before squirrelling back to their ivory towers. Baffling.
From Stormfront.org (“Voice of the new embattled White minority!”) comes this comment by natsoci (harmless enough alias, don’t you think?) on an article about the migrants in Calais:
“Take them to the med, push them in, and tell them if they can make it here by swim-power alone then we’ll personally give them the passports.”
If only that were true, I bet thousands would try it. And succeed. Many of these people have already survived torture, bombings, slavery, crossing the Saharan desert, crossing the Mediterranean in sinking ships, four different kinds of Mafia and several Italian and French prison cells. They’re not going to be intimidated by a bit of swimming OR casual fascism on an internet message board.
Newsatrolysis Feature: Eritrean Migration vs Big Business
“We are human beings”: The treatment of immigrants in Calais, France by Petros Tesfagiorgis. Published on the 22nd of September, on Eritrean news network Asmarino.
The irony is while Europeans are complaining of the number of refugees entering Europe, they don’t hesitate to encourage their private companies to do business with the repressive regimes in Africa who are the underlining causes of flight of refugees. The West is gaining far more lucrative profits from the third worlds than they give back in terms of aid and giving sanctuary for refugees.
For example the British Government has encouraged a number of mining companies to invest in Eritrea and a visit was recently led by a British Government official to facilitate contracts. A mining company named London Africa Ltd has recently been granted a license covering over 1500 square kilometres of Eritrea. They have joined companies like Sunridge Gold Corporation and Bisha Mining Shared Co (BMSC). This is a real Gold rush like “El Dorado” in contrast to the asylum seekers desperately seeking safety in European countries.
What is sad is that many of these companies are using forced labour to extract the ore…
Just a brief insight into the nuances of a migration that is usually presented (by government and media) as lazy scroungers running away from their homes to sponge off the beneficent welfare state of Britain. This simplistic narrative conveniently hides our role and the roles of our governments and our government-supported businesses in the creation of these desperate migrations.
The BIG Report: The Lorry-drivers’ Perspective.
Tuesday, 23rd of September, Port of Dover blockade on Saturday to stop illegal migrants entering Kent could be illegal
“Lorry drivers, whose vehicles come under siege by foreign nationals desperate to reach Kent, are being slapped with fines of £2,000 per immigrant found in their vehicles – despite their efforts to stop them stowing away in their trucks.”
That is proper unfair, pushing the blame for the conflicts of the political classes onto a different set of the innocent working class. Divide and rule.
Wednesday, 24th of September, BBC: Lorry driver tells of risks of driving through Calais (Video).
Hmm. Interesting. I can empathise with these lorry drivers, who are just trying to do their jobs without killing anyone or getting fined.
Wednesday, 24th of September, Express and Star: Lorry drivers are being treated as “scapegoats” and penalised unfairly as the illegal migrant crisis worsens.
This features comments from Natalie Chapman, of the Freight Transport Association (FTA):
“It’s about managing EU borders better. A lot of migrants are coming through places like the Italian island of Lampedusa. We need to help those who are dealing with the initial influx of migrants who are coming through the Mediterranean. The Government needs to be protecting the drivers, not penalising them with fines.”
Is it about managing EU borders better? Or is it about addressing the causes of these migrations? But then we might not have such cheap oil, we might not have such cheap consumables and we might not have such pliable markets for our exports. Tricky one.
Protest organised in Dover for 1pm this Saturday (27th of September)
According to the “Support the Calais to Dover truckers” Facebook Group, the reasons to attend the demonstration are:
To stop a driver being injured or worse.
To stop Isis terrorists from re entering this country.
To stop Ebola being transported into this country.
To stop unchecked criminals from entering this country.
To stop rapists and child molester’s into this country.
To stop drivers being fined for clandestines being on their trucks.
To show the government your not happy about uncontrolled immigration.
To show the government your not happy being in the European union and it ruling our country with tin pot human rights laws.
NB: I’ve left the grammar exactly as the original writer intended. I think it’s funnier that way.
NBB: It’s not that funny.
The Facebook group has been described as having links to far-right groups in the UK and are supported by Sauvons Calais (Save Calais), a French collective notorious for their “war against immigration and pro-migrant associations”. A counter-protest by leftie groups has also been organised… Can’t see this going badly at all, can you? Divide and rule.
* Please note: Although some of this blog post might smell funny, this is NOT a parody. This is happening, here, there and all over the world, right now, a witch’s brew of UK and EU border and foreign policies. It’s really easy to stand in solidarity with other humans, though. Pop over to Calais and see for yourself. They do really good and cheap cheese there too. Win-Win.
3 thoughts on “Calais Migrant Factgasm: Episode 1”
Hey this is really fantastic, please write more about the struggle faced by refugees, you inspired me to write a small experience I had in Calais.
Thanks Theo! I’m sure I will be writing more over the coming months. I’ll be sure to read your blog – and maybe see you in Calais! All the best, David