'Dunkirk Jungle' refugee camp

 

refugee

noun

a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster: tens of thousands of refugees fled their homes | [ as modifier ] : a refugee camp.

ORIGIN

late 17th cent.: from French réfugié ‘gone in search of refuge’, past participle of ( se) réfugier, from refuge (see refuge) .

 

 It’s ironic that the definition of refugee has its origins in the French language because French authorities don’t seem to comprehend its meaning. When dealing with those in the camps around Calais, they seem to prefer to treat the refugees as criminals.

 These aren’t people who have arrived looking for a better life. They had better lives. They had homes, comfort, warmth, food, family. Now their homes are rubble and family members are dead or fleeing like themselves.

 This is not just a French problem, it’s an international problem, more specifically in this case a European problem. Its not unreasonable with the resources and wealth at the disposal of the European Union that an organised, civilised, decent, intelligent and more humanitarian solution can be found.

 I could say its only the language that makes us different but that would be an injustice to the refugees, especially their children, whose 12-year-old’s have a bigger English vocabulary than some of the kids in this country. They are educated, intelligent, articulate, unbelievably stoic people and deserve better.

 A group of volunteers in Bristol think so too. The Aid Box Convoy, led by Imogen McIntosh has been set up to get as much help to them as possible while they wait, hoping they can get sanctuary somewhere else. The Aid Box Convoy isn’t a professional body of ‘humanitarian crisis operatives’; it’s just a bunch of people doing what they can to help. With little resources at their disposal but huge amounts of compassion, they are trying to make a difference, but they need more money and help. I photographed them for a day at the ‘Dunkirk Jungle’ camp near Calais.

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