MIGRANTS IN CALAIS

4 Aug

CALAIS MIGRANTS photo: migrants AP534393128096-1074x483_zpspn0k7och.jpg
“If you have never moved to a new country to find work, your forebears certainly did. Go back far enough in your family, my family or any family on this planet and you will find that our common ancestors were migrants. In hating them, we hate ourselves.”

Thus concludes an article from the online Guardian by Nick Cohen. He’s discussing the migrants gathered at Calais who would dearly like to come here and live amongst us, but who are being turned away with few even considered by immigration authorities for visas.

And he makes a point worth repeating. In our country we have a press that is partially vitriolic when they discuss migrants, men, women and even children who have left desperately cruel persecution in order to find a better life somewhere. And the life they’re living in Calais is far from ideal despite the humanist and sympathetic generosity of some French people. But that life, scurrying between the dunes in a tatty home-made camp, is better than the life they have left.

Many have settled in other European countries. It is favourite for we in the UK, separated from the mainland by sometimes angry seas, to point out that they should have sought refuge in the first safe country they entered after leaving home, and it is only favourite because we can’t be that. We’re an island and in order to get here the poor wretches must have passed through other safe countries. It’s a let-off for us.

Some of the press makes glorious news out of how they want to soak us of our generosity, get free housing, get free medical care, get free education, and on top of that cash handouts. They forget we’re not that generous. Far from it. We leave them dying at our borders when at least some of them should be offered the dignity of a safe place to rest their heads.

The reality is they’re human beings like us, of our flesh and blood, and if anyone has ever needed help they do.

Read that quote again: “If you have never moved to a new country to find work, your forebears certainly did. Go back far enough in your family, my family or any family on this planet and you will find that our common ancestors were migrants. In hating them, we hate ourselves.”

And, you know, I’m ashamed of us.

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