This is just a quick hit, sharing something I saw on the BBC website today about clandestine migrants in northern France trying to stow away on trucks headed for the Calais ferry. They have a right to asylum hearings, a roof and some degree of temporary food assistance, but everything is bogged down because these people are undocumented, in a border region, and French and British authorities are arguing over whose responsibility they are.
Some people are risking their lives to stow away on the Calais ferry, after previously building boats to make it across the Mediterranean, when even the enormous Sète and Barcelona ferries deal with rough seas there.
And I’ve hopped on to both the Calais and Sète ferries as easily has you hop onto a city bus. Privilege much?
It is disturbing that neither of the two governments wants to deal with these people, because they are people after all, and that’s what should matter, far more than what the seal on the front of their passport is or if they even have a passport.
Here is the BBC piece (runs 4:23, opens in new window):
I’ll conclude with a quote from Dany Laferrière:
For three-quarters of the population of this planet
there’s only one possible form of travel
that is to be undocumented
in some country where you don’t know
the language or the customs.
We are mistaken in accusing them
of wanting to change our lives
when they have no control
over their own.
(Translation from French is mine, source text L’Enigme du retour, Montreal, Les Éditions du Boréal, 2010, p. 42)
(My personal encounter with this issue in Belgium… (link in French)