Look! A distraction! A four year old boy dangles from a balcony! A man climbs up the building to save him! A real life Spiderman! And he’s Black, imagine that! A little boy saved by a migrant, no less! Oh, kind sir, thank you for putting your life on the line once again, but this time it was to save a French child, so now we’ve decided that your risk was worth it! Come with us, meet the president! Take your papers! Be a fireman! This is Europe! Look how kind and compassionate we are! Even the Daily Mail shared a positive story about you! SPIDERMAN! SPIDERMAAAAN!
We stand in the field in our uniforms, our identities wrapped up under our labels. Volunteers in our grubby jeans and colourful jackets and muddy Docs, van keys dangling from our necks, phones in steady hands filming. Filming the CRS and police in their riot gear, balding heads and covered identity badges, truncheons in hand, tear gas in pockets, filming us on their personal phones. In between, a group of young men, boys, bambinos, women, children, in black jackets and dark jeans, hoods up against the cameras, eyes stinging from chemical agents, ripped tents flapping in the wind. Another day and nobody achieves their objective, and nobody gives up.
Article originally posted on The Digital Warehouse, our Medium blog for all things Calais and beyond, and is a rehash of Up in Flames, my post on the fires from this time last year.