Grief. Failure. Helplessness. Rage. Above all rage. I'm freaking angry. How on earth is it possible that less than an hour from where I live, hundreds of people - that have been through their square amount of misery - are left to fend for themselves?
Until recently the refugees in Dunkerque were stuck in a cold, wet, muddy piece of wasteland that they call the jungle. And yet a European answer stayed off. At the moment the new camp is finished and people are moving from the old camp to the new one, but I'm concerned this won't really help these people in the long run. That it will be used as smooth talk by politicians so they don't have to focus on an actual solution.
Second time around
I used to be so naive to believe that the European Union was still a peace project. Originally it was, stemming from a 'never again' idea. You remember, something to do with a war and gas chambers. Boy, was I wrong. We seem so determined to forget what has happened in the past and so eager to make the same mistakes over and over again. By focusing unilaterally on protecting our borders, making sure no terrorists mix in with the refugees and concentrating mainly on taking on human smugglers, our politicians set the tone for a very negative discourse when it comes to refugees. A discourse solely focused on criminalizing the asylum seekers and feeding negative, often false accusations towards immigrants and thereby adding more fuel to the fear of the unknown. This way they can push through their despicable and often inhumane measures, steering clear of real solutions. Plans to confiscate the valuables from asylum seekers, playing with the idea to shoot people who're trying to illegally cross borders (borders - you know those artificial things that mostly exist in our heads and our bureaucracy), talks about push-backs... Shame on you, Europe!
Passing the bucket
No, instead of showing some solidarity, the favorite pass-time of our European and national leaders is passing the bucket. Quick! Pass it on to the next one before the music stops and you're the one who has to deal with the shit. 'It's up to France to solve this issue', 'This is clearly European problem', 'If we come up with a real solution, more and more refugees will come'. Newsflash: most of the people who come here are genuinely fleeing from real threats. I've been to Dunkerque a couple of times and I've talked to people whose friends and families were murdered, who ran because their lives too were at stake. I sometimes wonder what they've all been through, what's behind their hardened faces. And yet, they're still positive. They still have hope.
Scattered around the camp are slogans full of hope and resilience. The people I've met were friendly and very welcoming. I've been invited on several occasions to come in their tents and drink tea with them.The thing is, whether you provide good facilities or nothing at all, they won't stop fleeing war, death and human rights violations. All this bickering stands in the way of more humane and real solutions. If the European Union would stop protecting its own borders and start to focus on legal ways for refugees to come here, the problem of human smugglers would disappear and people wouldn't have to risk their lives to come here. I think it's clear that it's time for a real European answer: an asylum policy on a European level.
When are our leaders going to realize that whether your are for or against it, refugees are here and they deserve shelter. Member states need to realize they're all in the same boat and they need to start peddling together or Europe will drown in its own incapability. And just like we're letting all those people drown at our borders, no one will be there to care enough to save Europe. What goes around, comes around.