As the temperature drops dangerously, residents of Calais are opening their doors. The legal provisions obliging the State to open places of shelter for people on the streets, irrespective of their administrative situation and nationality, are not being respected, in the name of a goal that is disconnected from reality, “0 migrants in Calais”. Fortunately, solidarity is vibrant.
The xenophobic calls to deal first with “our” homeless people, French, come up against the reality. On Wednesday, 11th January, a homeless person of French nationality was found dead under a bus shelter in the Virval district. The xenophobes with the big heart had to forget it. The reality is not “French homeless” rather than the “migrants”, the reality of public policies and budget cuts, it is neither for “French homeless” nor for “migrants”.
In a national leaflet, which is supposed to respond to a statement about police violence, the UNSA police takes up this xenophobic rhetoric: “While dozens of French people, whatever their origin, sex or religion, die every year from hunger, The UNSA Police question the propensity of these associations to defend as a matter of priority illegal immigrants … “But in a city whose streets are furrowed day and night by patrols of Police, you can die in the street.
A text from a Calaisian volunteer circulates on the net. Let’s read it:
“Last night, leaving work at 6:30 pm, with my colleague and well covered, big coats, bonnets, scarves and gloves, we headed towards the car shivering with cold. Parked since morning 7 am, we realize that it had frozen in broad daylight; The windows of the car bear witness. Then, in the cold, we sprayed the anti-frost on the windows and start scratching them. Also, once we got in the vehicle, we realize that despite the excellent upkeep of my colleague’s car, it had also frozen inside. Then we also scraped the windows inside. Little by little, the visibility appeared and we gradually began to feel the heat in the car. On the road, I see quite a few people preparing their cars at night by placing cardboard on the windscreen.
Phew! We are going home !
And then, I think back to the problem of poor housing or no housing at all.
I think of this man we saw lying dead last week! I think of people like him, the Exiles, in short I rethink without distinction about all the people who do not have the chance to warm themselves up by rubbing themeslves after using an anti-freeze spray . They only have cardboard, and not much more …
I think of things seen and reseen: the police and construction companies, then demolition, often responding to the mad and degrading orders of the leaders of the country and the city or by acting often on their own initiative, destroying shelters, tents, snatching blankets from the hands of human beings.
In Calais, the concept “zero migrant” has been born. But in fact, they are there! So!
What are we waiting for to build solidarity?
What are the authorities in the city waiting for to call for the immediate implementation of measures concerning a cold weather plan ? It is not by concealing a situation that it is sorted.
Let’s demand actions! Let’s pick up our phones, send emails, fax, bother ourselves and ask for a shelter at least for the winter. Contact your town halls, prefectures … Dare to ask them! Let us say that as citizens we no longer want to endorse these acts, we no longer want to witness the assassination of people in the street !
Valerius de Schaedeleer : Winter.