My new documentary for UCC98.3FM funded by the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund about the camp in Calais where so many people seeking refuge in Europe are living – existing.
‘The Hungry Road’ is a series of interviews with people in the camp over the past four months – who they are, why they’re there and what life is like in their precarious situations. None of their names are used as it could jeopardise their asylum cases or bring repercussions from the police or fascist groups in the area.
There are also interviews with people working in the camp or working on justice/migration rights.
The title is a reference to the Irish Famine when so many millions of Irish people were forced by an aggressive colonial system to become economic migrants. Military oppression, land theft, famine and coffin ships – there but for the grace of god goes any nation.
Some of the language, policy and ideas around the time of the 1846 famine have similarities to how those seeking refuge are now treated. How they must prove their worth as a refugee or must be economically viable – and suffer so much before they are given sanctuary. ‘Every system of poor relief must contain a penal and repulsive element, in order to prevent its leading to the disorganisation of society. If the system is such as to be agreeable either to those who relieve or to those who are relieved, and still more if it is agreeable to both, all test of destitution must be at an end.’ (Sir Charles Trevelyan)
Trevelyan would be proud of the way Europe has focused on strengthening borders rather than allowing safe passage. And how the language around this process has become normalised. The deserving poor building stone walls into nowhere.
If there’s one thing history has proven, it’s that we rarely learn anything from it.
First broadcast on UCC98.3FM @5pm Wed. 29/6/16
Live broadcast link (for international listeners): http://www.ucc.ie/en/983fm/listenlive/
Permanent link (listen any time, anywhere): https://soundcloud.com/yearningcurve/the-hungry-road
Photo courtesy of RefugeesTV
Thanks to all my brothers and sisters in Calais who shared their stories with me – and to all those who didn’t, full respect to your right to silence and to not have to talk to yet another western journalist.
‘I am just like you I wanna be free’ by Kate O’Shea