Morality prompts us to question whether the demolition of The Calais Jungle is a humane act. However politics, on the other hand, implores us to acknowledge the stain that is The Jungle on the French and the damage it is causing for tourism and the economy to name a few.
Personally, I feel the demolition of The Calais Jungle is the best thing for the people: French and foreign. With the 1,200 unaccompanied children currently living in The Jungle, without any support or parental care, it is completely just to demolish the camp because sufficient care and housing should be provided to protect each human life. The Jungle is recognised as the symbolic centre of hope for getting a better life, for migrants and refugees, than the war-torn existence they have fled from. Although this is a social positive of the camp as it boosts morale, it is not justification for it to remain as the standard of living and safety of those inhabiting the area are constantly at risk.
An interesting question to raise is: does this question of morality and compassion outweigh other aspects of life The Jungle is affecting? The French people have suffered an estimated 40% drop in revenue in the Calais area alone, due to the fact that the once go-to-spot for British tourists to stock up on French cheeses and fine wines is now synonymous with the outrageous and violent images of the refugees and migrants attempting to board trucks to the Chanel Tunnel. Furthermore, the noted violence has caused a 25% drop in tourists visiting the area – either on holiday or as part of a pit stop in their European tour – as the violence exhibited by the migrants discourages people visiting the area.
Additionally, France has itself been tarnished on an international scale; its decision to demolish The Calais Jungle has resulted in worldwide disapproval and condemnation of their actions. For instance, actress and Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Angelina Jolie has visited the camp on various occasions. She wanted to experience life within the camp and the unsanitary, unsafe, conditions the refugees are living in. In a recent speech at The Oscars, she pleaded with First-World nations and people – such as the United Kingdom, Germany and the USA – to ‘be of use’ in their life and do something courageous to ensure every life remains sacred and of better quality than that she saw in the camp. Thus, may it be more correct to say that the demolition of The Jungle is doing more good than bad? Ask yourself: would you rather live in a place of sanitation and safety whilst waiting for asylum or, would you rather live in an overcrowded jungle with only a slim chance of escaping to make a better life for yourself elsewhere? I know what I would choose.
(Image courtesy of IB Times UK)