IMPRESSIONS

CALAIS, FRANCE

THE 'JUNGLE'

9/13/16

There is so much, even after just one day, to absorb.

 

The camp is a surreal, other-worldly kind of place. More than ten thousand refugees, 900 of whom are unaccompanied minors-- live here in a state of suspension, as it were. The refugees want to go to England because many have friends or relatives there, but the English are not yet taking them in meaningful numbers. The French don’t want them, either, and now they’re threatening to tear down the camp completely, having started the job last March by razing a third of it to the ground.

 

No Exit.

 

Listening to stories:  it is clear that many of these refugees— and virtually all the children-- have been exploited or trafficked in one way or another just to get to this place, only to find the opposite of what they came for: dignity, safety, hope.

 

Words come to mind with respect to the refugees themselves:  Courage. Resilience. Determination. Dignity. 

 

We have much to learn from these children, women, and men who have been through so much. But only if we don’t lose them first through our absence, denial, and refusal to make room for them in our communities, our countries, our hearts.

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