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Welcome to the Jungle

Europe and the Refugees

31/12/2016


Victor Hugo said that the history of a civilization is not written in monuments, but in its sewers. Nowadays, these sewers are borders between nations, boundaries heated up by friction between unequal economies and cultures, which end up igniting. Europe is facing a wide diversity of problems which are very difficult to solve, the most serious one of which perhaps being the arrival of successive waves of immigrants fleeing from their devastated, war-torn countries, whether Syria, Afghanistan, or Libya, and the effects that these uncontrolled mass arrivals are sure to have on our continental pax, a peace so far based on political stability and economic prosperity. It is estimated that this year, so far, Italy and Greece have seen an inflow of 300,000 migrants, hardly 4% of which has been admitted into other countries of the European Union. The rest are still there, distributed in refugee centers, or sometimes simply confined in ‘instantaneous cities’ lying beyond the reach of the protective umbrella of the Law. Nevertheless, the most scandalous situation is not south in Italy or Greece, but in affluent France, a country steep in a persistent identity crisis whose city of Calais has seen itself become the site of a chaotic camp rightly called the ‘jungle.’ This encampment of plastic shacks housing 6,500 asylum seekers in substandard conditions has now been closed, and all that remain on the spots where the precarious constructions stood are fires left by the migrants as a symbolic gesture in stand-off with Calais police. These fires are actually the perfect image to depict a Europe in flames.


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