Wednesday August 24, 2016
No Man's Land, Part 1
On the outskirts of Calais there's a ramshackle city of tents and plywood huts, home for thousands of refugees and migrants - Lebanese, Syrian, Afghan, Pakistani - from all over, the world. Just across the beach is the English Channel, and they all wait to cross it, to get to Britain and start a new life. They don't want to be in France, and the French for the most part don't want them. So they're stuck: they can't go forward, and they can't go back. Philip Coulter visits a city of dreams and lost hopes to ask the question: what do we owe our neighbour? Part 2 airs Wednesday, August 31. **This episode originally aired May 25, 2016.
"If there is no war in Syria tomorrow, I will come back to Syria...I have not ever been in England, but I do not think that England is worth staying even one week in this situation."
-- Shadi from Syria
The citizens of this desolate city call it "The Jungle" with deliberate irony. To many, this windy, dirty scrap of land feels like a zoo, and the way they are sometimes treated makes them feel like animals, too. In the Calais Jungle, they try to smuggle themselves across the channel into Britain, in the meantime living in poverty and constant harassment from the authorities and from vigilantes.
Guests in this episode:
Aura Lounasmaa, Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London
Olivia Long, volunteer with Help Refugees at the Calais camp
Hettie Colquhoun, volunteer with l'Auberge des Migrants and Help Refugees at the Calais camp
Jess Egan, volunteer with Baloo's Youth Centre, running programmes for youth at the Calais camp.
Anya, volunteer with l'Auberge des Migrants
Mohammed, refugee from Sudan, trying to get to Britain.
Shadi, refugee from Syria, now an engineer volunteering at the camp
Photographs of "The Jungle"