Often called the ‘Jungle’, the refugee camp near Calais in Northern France epitomises for many the suffering, uncertainty and violence which characterises the situation of refugees in Europe today. But the media soundbites we hear ignore the voices of the people who lived there – people who have travelled to Europe from conflict-torn countries such as Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and Eritrea: people with astounding stories, who are looking for peace and a better future.
Voices from the ‘Jungle’ is a collection of these stories. Through its pages, the refugees speak to us in powerful, vivid language. They reveal their childhood dreams and struggles for education; the wars and persecution that drove them from their homes; their terror and strength during their extraordinary journeys. They expose the reality of living in the camp; tell of their lives after the ‘Jungle’ and their hopes for the future. Through their stories, the refugees paint a picture of a different kind of ‘Jungle’: one with a powerful sense of community despite evictions and attacks, and of a solidarity which crosses national and religious boundaries.
Illustrated with photographs and drawings by the writers, and interspersed with poems, this book must be read by everyone seeking to understand the human consequences of this world crisis.
The ‘Calais Writers’ of Voices from the ‘Jungle’ (Pluto, 2017) include Africa, Riaz Ahmad, Eritrea, Ali Haghooei, Babak Inaloo, Mani, Milkesa, Shaheen Ahmed Wali, Shaqib, Teddy and Haris Haider. All are former inhabitants of the Calais refugee camp.
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