February 29 2016 was not the greatest day in European history. Fewer than two months into the new year, and just six months since the last time a European government’s police fired on unarmed men, women and children at its border, desperate people fleeing violence and terror had, once again, cast the world’s richest political bloc into political, legal and practical chaos. In its West, police fired teargas at refugees at the Jungle camp, near … Continue reading
It’s the morning of New Year’s Eve, and you’re in a car with three aid workers and a driver, heading from Izmir to buy blankets from a town three hours’ drive away. It’s freezing. Literally. There is snow in the air, and ice on the wind. In Izmir itself, a city not known for cold weather, people have stepped out of their apartment blocks, offices or cafes, stopped, stared and shrugged at the snow, buttoning … Continue reading
As the sun sets on the Jungle, it brings in its wake a sense of exhaustion.
You meet Miri in a tea-shop (in fact, a tent, just as every other ‘location’ at the Jungle is a tent: the restaurants, the medical centre, the women’s centre, the homes, the mosque and the church – all are tents, nothing more). The tea is good, though a cardomam seed within it worries him momentarily.
Not every story you hear from refugees is one of heroism, triumph over adversity, or harrowing despicable mistreatment suffered and overcome to reach a destination.