In July 2015, mass media attention was given to refugees gathering in Calais, France and attempting to cross the Euro tunnel, various outlets of the U.K press described them as a ‘swarm’ and spoke of sending the military to deal with the ‘migrant crisis’ a proposal welcomed by UKIP’s Nigel Farage.
The perception created by mass reporting of this kind is that these refugees labelled ‘migrants’are seeking benefits and other perks of living in the U.K such as accommodation. Articles like this Daily Mail piece make the astonishing claim that ‘migrants’ in Calais flung a seven foot metal scaffolding pole at a British holiday making family’s car returning home across the border, not a shred of actual evidence can be found as is the case with many other supposed accounts of the refugees found in tabloids and broad sheets alike.
But who are these people in reality? And is there any credence whatsoever to the claims that they are attempting to milk benefits and housing for themselves to the detriment of the indigenous population of Britain?
While prominent members of the U.K parliament such as Home Secretary Theresa May make the assertion that the vast majority of the refugees entering into the U.K are from economic migrants mainly from Africa and should be returned home what do the facts say? According to figures compiled by the U.N, 62% of the refugees are from Eritrea, Afghanistan and Syria, others from Sudan, Somalia and Iraq, all of whom have legal rights to refuge in Europe, all of whom are fleeing from war torn countries, several of which our own government’s foreign policy have had a direct impact upon.
It is said that a picture tells a thousand words, like the viral image of Laith Majid crying tears of joy as he reaches Europe, the Greek island of Kos to be exact and in a rubber raft crammed with 12 people but built to hold only four. Laith’s family fled war torn Syria via incredibly dangerous means and indeed they were one of the lucky ones, it is reported that over two thousand have drowned on the perilous journey across the Mediterranean sea.
In Calais’ Jungle Refugee Camp you would have found people like Mima, 29 year old former journalist and IT graduate from Ethiopia, a left wing activist who had been persecuted due to his refusal to work for the official government press, he was imprisoned and tortured and caught pneumonia in prison. He fled hospital in that state and managed to escape on a lifeboat with 120 other people, a journey that cost him $1k, hardly an economic migrant, rather a genuine refugee who has escaped unbearable oppression just to be vilified and slandered by the press.
Many have died here in this refugee camp, here you can read heart breaking accounts of how these innocent human beings have lost their lives and most tragic of all, how mothers lost their children in their quest for safety and sanctity. The truth is, they are human beings like you and I, far less fortunate than us and deserving of our support, the truth could not be further from the distorted and negative discrimination on the part of the corporate media.