European Union refugee policies condemn that institution as politically & morally bankrupt. Over 25,000 drowned in the Mediterranean in the past several years (& still drowning) & tens of thousands fleeing the killing fields of European & US bombers now stranded on borders, barred from moving forward. The violent eviction of refugees from their camp in Calais, France is part of EU policy but executed by a regime practiced in such barbarisms by their treatment of Roma. They are policies that stink of racism which if not massively defied will bring political ruin for working people.
Last week, a French kangaroo court ruled it legal for authorities to raze a portion of the refugee camp at Calais known as “the jungle.” Media reports are fairly sketchy about what is going on but photo journalism combined with refugee protests at the camp & the testimony of French & English immigration rights activists tell a story of ruthless disregard for human rights & international law governing the treatment of refugees. The question is: where are the international human rights groups? Where is the UN refugee agency? Why aren’t they howling bloody murder against what French officials are doing?
France moved in bulldozers & orange-vested work crews with sledge hammers to demolish & torch the makeshift shacks where people live as stateless refugees since no government will allow them entry. They moved in riot police with tear gas grenades & water cannons against unarmed people. There are no suitable provisions for alternative shelter.
A question is raised: were those French work crews union workers? Because there is nothing more despicable than working people in one country allowing themselves to be used against working people fleeing from war & sweatshop economics. If they are union workers, did their leadership sanction this barbarism against refugees? Or at least not oppose it? Because if that is so, the political dry rot in France goes a lot deeper than its regime.
It’s a disgrace US working people are all too familiar with in our own xenophobic, nationalist, anti-immigration, pro-war union leaders–reflected in the current US presidential campaign where candidates compete in social hatred for immigrants & refugees & support the wars & plunder that create them.
The photo is a riot policeman at Calais throwing a tear gas grenade at unarmed refugees during the dismantling of the camp. Refugees held up signs saying “We are not terrorists” & signs listing the number of elderly (13), of children (445, including 305 without caretakers), families (145), women (169) & men (2,841) who are mostly being made homeless. It’s another instance of the savagery inflicted by neoliberal colonialism coming home to the metropolitan centers of Europe. The last time that happened there were holocausts.
Immigration is a human right. There should be rallies around this world at French embassies demanding they cease the violence against refugees.
(Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)