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A letter from Calais Those who are displaced will always lose

We cling on to nothing. (Abdul Saboor)


December 22, 2021   5 mins

Calais

Life in Calais is an endless cycle of displacement, followed by disappointment. I arrived here in July 2016. I didn’t have much choice: back in Afghanistan, the insurgent Taliban had put out a warrant for my capture, incensed that I had supported the US military. So I left my family and friends. I fled.

Shortly before I arrived, the notorious ‘Jungle’ had been evacuated following clashes with riot police: thousands of displaced migrants were displaced once again. They have been trying to find shelter in several places in and around the city ever since.

Often they seek refuge in abandoned barracks or wooded areas, finding shelter in makeshift tents covered with tarpaulins. There isn’t much point in building anything sturdier, since the police launch eviction raids every 48 hours. The camps aren’t hard to find: they constantly smell of burning wood, mixed with the odour of waste that the local authorities refuse to collect. When the evictions take place, people do not always have time to collect their personal belongings, leaving the ground littered with blankets, wet clothes, and children’s toys.

Two children from Kurdistan look on as their camp is raided. (Abdul Saboor)

Following several large-scale evictions in the past year, the authorities have destroyed the bushes and forests where the displaced were sheltering. Huddled people have been replaced by fences, concrete walls, and surveillance cameras that carry a simple message: you must not return. Much of Calais is like a war zone, with people surviving under the fear of the police, the evictions, and the violence that can arise between the different communities. It is difficult to access food, water, and medical services. And then winter sets in; every day, rain and wind flood and destroy makeshift shelters and lives.

Most of the people waiting here have fled countries scarred by war. Among the 1,500 people here are Afghans, Sudanese, Iranians, Eritreans, and Kuwaitis. Most of them are single men, but there are also families with children and single women. All of them see at the 30km expanse that separates Calais from England as a source of hope.

In the Grande-Synthe camp near Dunkirk, migrants searched the debris for their belongings. (Abdul Saboor)

They all have different reasons for wanting to get across. Some have family waiting over there; some are left with little choice by the Dublin Regulation system, which could send them back the way they came. Given that the UK is no longer bound by the regulation, the beaches of Kent seem an enticing prospect.

For those wary of crossing in the winter months, there are some accommodation options in Calais — the Centres d’Accueil et d’Examen des Situations (CAES) are partly financed by the British authorities. But they are not particularly suitable for those people who only intend to pass through. They are in towns far from Calais without public transport — not ideal if you want to try a boat-crossing and need to be available immediately if the weather is good.

When I arrived in Calais, I didn’t know where I wanted to go: perhaps to the UK, or even Germany. The decision was made for me. Within a few months, I met an Afghan friend in exile who invited me to stay with him in his flat in Toulouse, while a friend of a friend helped me negotiate the asylum process and secure accommodation in Paris. Within two years, I had refugee status, and frequently returned to Calais to document the migrant crisis with my camera.

Every visit is more difficult; every story is more haunting. Since September last year, the prefecture has issued more than a dozen decrees to prevent organisations not mandated by the state from distributing water and food in the Calais town centre. When, last October, a hundred volunteers tried to prevent an eviction from a camp in Calais in a peaceful manner, the police responded with tear gas.

A group of volunteers try to stop an eviction in Calais. They are later pepper-sprayed by police. (Abdul Saboor)

But it’s not just the police who have created this tragedy. The main funder of the aid providers in Calais, Choose Love, has actually hindered their work in recent months. In May, it forbade the NGOs it funds from distributing leaflets that provide basic “safety at sea” lifesaving information. Organisations were told they had to sign a “Memorandum of Understanding” promising not to “carry out activities which risk breaching [UK immigration] law” — or risk having their funding pulled. Last month, Choose Love announced its withdrawal from Northern France, presumably under pressure from the Home Office.

Choose love, they say, as long as you’re not in Calais.

The tragedy continues to unfurl in Calais. Without support from the French Government or British NGOs, the situation has become increasingly desperate. Although the Franco-British border has always been deadly — at least 336 deaths since 1999 — the last few months have been particularly grim. On 24 November, 27 displaced people, including children, drowned while trying to cross the Channel.

Kazhall Ahmad, 46, from Kurdistan, five days before she drowned with her two children last month. (Abdul Saboor)

The week before, I had met several shipwrecked victims in Grande-Synthe, a town about 20km from Calais. Kazhall Ahmad was from Iraqi Kurdistan and was alone with her three children. She was exhausted; the police had evicted their camp that morning without allowing them to collect their belongings, and she had spent the past month desperately searching for water for her children. Despite their grim situation, the children were hopeful for their lives in England, dreaming of becoming barbers or art teachers. Whether they get there is a different question.

The shocking drowning in November of so many — the worst the Channel has seen since records began in 2014 — turned the spotlight back on Calais. It was the first time I had seen so many journalists in the area. The displaced people I spoke to took heart from this, hopeful that the media attention and the shock it has caused among politicians could make things better.

But if the past years have taught me anything, it’s that when it comes to meaningful action, don’t hold your breath. Over the past month, both French and British politicians have talked up the existence of legal routes and opportunities for visas. But this is nothing more than a distraction. Freedom of movement is a right for Western white people, not for those who are displaced like me.

There is no respite from the snow and wind. (Abdul Saboor)

On both sides of the Channel, governments accuse smugglers of being entirely to blame for the deaths of innocent people. In truth, it’s mostly the lack of legal and safe access routes to the United Kingdom that contributes to the development of these smuggling networks. The smugglers are a key part of the problem: they use people’s distress to make money; they put people in danger by overloading the boats; they lie to people about the crossing being safe; and when migrants refuse to take the boat, they are threatened and abused.

Such facts are inconvenient, though. It’s far easier for the French government to invest thousands upon thousands of euros strengthening border control systems and deploying a Frontex aircraft over the Channel. This militarisation of the border serves no purpose. It will not deter people from trying to cross. They have no other choice; they will continue to pass, but in a more dangerous and clandestine way.

And the smugglers will win, those who are displaced will lose, and the political class will look the other way.


Abdul Saboor is an Afghan refugee and photographer based in Paris.

AbdulSaboorJan

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Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 years ago

His assertion “Freedom of movement is a right for Western white people” is the sort of pig-ignorance that one normally only reads in The Guardian. The piece is based on the usual pro-immigration myth that the problem would be solved if only we were to let in some small, fixed number of people. The sad fact is that the easier we make it for people to get in, the more will give it a try.

Last edited 2 years ago by Peter Francis
Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

It wasn’t overly clear but I think the article suggests that he did apply for asylum in France. If nothing else, the article proves that those young men at Calais could stay where they are rather than making a completely unnecessary and dangerous journey.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

I amended my original comment.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Yes as an elderly white person I could not settle in Australia say. Rich white people have greater chances of settling elsewhere but poor whites face similar settlement problems.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

You try overstaying you visa in the US or Australia

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

The UK is overcrowded. All races get rejected at immigration if they can’t contribute long term with missing skills or money.

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

On the contrary, freedom to go in and out of nations whenever you wish has got nothing to do with skin colour!
Oh no! You have to follow the legal requirements in whatever country you are. This isn’t restricted to European countries; nor to majority white-skinned people. It’s sensible rules for countries to be able to care for their legal citizens.
You should have asked for asylum in the 1st western country you entered.
But instead, you tried a to enter via a sob-story! I’m surprised you should try this on in Britain. Not our character!

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

I entirely understand why someone would flee Afghanistan in the author’s circumstances.
What he doesn’t explain is why he feels those fleeing from their country don’t have options of stopping somewhere short of the UK. In his case he seems to have settled in Paris. What is preventing others from doing so or indeed settling in one of the many countries between Afghanistan and here?
Answers to those questions would have provided a more interesting article.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Agreed. Came to the comments to say the same thing.

Will R
Will R
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Yes, why did he only consider Germany or the Uk?

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago
Reply to  Will R

Because of the universal human right to live in a white country.

Whatever happened to the Maxim gun?

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I can’t get my head around why loading kids into a boat to cross the Channel in November is preferable to giving France a shot first. And as a French citizen, you will get actual rights to freedom of movement within the EU via Schengen, in which UK has never participated anyway.
A generation that gave generously to Live Aid 1985 onwards, who believed the notion that Western aid could assist developing countries and allow them to look after their people, trade productively and build democratic institutions, now despairs of any fair solution to this.
In 1985, our national debt had a fair chunk allocated to interest payments and defence. Both have lowered significantly since – defence permanently it seems, interest rates; temporarily as we are about to see. Meanwhile welfare has soared and has only one direction of travel. Taxes are the highest they’ve ever been.
Not only is the country full, by measures of Western Europe, we risk instability ourselves in an era of rising interest rates through trying to service debt, pay for increasing commitments and increasing taxation.
Outsourcing decision making to people smugglers and specialist Human Rights lawyers is madness. People love to froth about extremists, but you could start by watching carefully the circumstances that allow extremism – left and right – to thrive. Neither will be friends of the measures we take that do work (see helpful Matt M. post below).

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Why don’t they go to Pakistan or India? Far closer both geographically and culturally and not nasty racist fascists like those yukky whiteys

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

The writer of the article seems to be oblivious of the fact that coming into Britain across the channel in little boats, via Calais, is illegal, people are doing something they should not be doing.
To say that the police or the charities have “caused” the problems, as the writer does, is crazy.
The obvious answer to the problem from the point of the view of the migrants is, do not head for Calais, it is inhospitable if not horrible and dangerous.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

He is basically saying they have some ‘right’ to be wherever they want

Richard Stanier
Richard Stanier
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

And their unwilling hosts are apparently without any say in the matter.

L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Exactly.

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

The universal human right to live in a white country.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

While on a human level one can sympathise with the residents of these camps, Abdul says the answer is to provide ‘legal and safe routes into the UK’. In other words, a form of blackmail. There are such legal routes, but these should not consist, in any circumstances, people who just show up and decide to force their way across the Channel.

It is good to see the French authorities, who often get heavily criticised, acting to stop making Calais a permanent refugee camp which would only be likely to attract yet more people who have no right to be either in France or the UK.

As is of course usual, there is not a scintilla of interest let alone concern about what the British or indeed French people think about masses of people from entirely alien cultures turning up invited in our countries. We know the answer to that.

The sad truth is that we need a much less hospitable regime to be established to reduce the attractiveness of the UK. Hungary and Poland show it is possible to prevent their invasion by hordes of migrants. In our case this would unfortunately include people not being rescued from their own folly if they choose to get into unseaworthy boats

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
ralph bell
ralph bell
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I would not leave people in danger or distress, but would try to rescue them. I would then remove them to a neutral offshore holding centre for assessment.

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  ralph bell

We should treat illegal entry as a crime, it should not be treated as anything to do with the asylum system. The penalty for this is being raised to 4 years in prison in the new Nationality and Borders bill. We should bang up anyone who enters via dinghy or in the back of a lorry etc. It should be done immediately on apprehension and widely publicised to deter others.
Offshore processing centres should be used for people who enter via an official route and claim asylum. In effect they would be long-term camps where the hard to deport would be housed. If you are denied asylum, you would either be deported to your home country or else be taken to the Falkland Islands or Ascension Islands (or wherever) and kept in the camp until the situation resolves itself (either by the conflict in your home region ending or by deportation to a regional refugee camp or possibly an amendable third country).

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
John Lee
John Lee
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

What would the Falkland Islands do with 30000 people?

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  John Lee

How many can’t be deported yet aren’t granted asylum? Is it 30k? I would hope the number would be lower.

Why shouldn’t we use a deserted bit of the Falklands? I agree it is logistically challenging but I fear if they stay somewhere where they have easy access to lawyers and probably family members, it will only be a matter of time before they are on the streets. It was only a couple of months ago that a failed asylum seeker tried to blow up a Remembrance Day ceremony.

John Lee
John Lee
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

There are currently only 3000 people living on the Islands, they would be overrun!!

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  John Lee

I will defer to your knowledge but I have read that there are numerous uninhabited islands in the Falklands group. Some of which are over a hundred miles and several stretches of open water away from Port Stanley.

Is that true?

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Are you aware that there is a nation on this planet called “OUTER Mongolia”?

I mean, talk about a solution that is staring you in the face — OUTER Mongolia.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

And the child of people given asylum here blew up kids at Manchester Arena. Assimilation isn’t even possible 2 generations in apparently.

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

And another child murdered David Amess MP.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

There is an ever longer list isn’t there

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  John Lee

It would be a deterrent

L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Do you know anything about the Falklands or Ascension? I do. Won’t work.

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  L Walker

I don’t have any knowledge of either I’m afraid. I’m just repeating the stories I’ve read in the press about both options being considered by the Home Office. Of course they could just be have been published to give the impression of action etc

To be honest, I’m not sure offshoring is the be-all-and-end-all. Because it worked for the Aussies we assume it is the key to success.

My main point is we should use the current law against entering the country illegally and the enhanced penalty in the new bill to prosecute and jail people who do so. This would, I hope, make Britain a less appealing target for would be dinghy crossers.

Overstayers have already provided their passports on entry so deportation should be easier. The new bill contains measures to make it possible to apply visa penalties to countries that don’t take back their migrants I.e. prevent them from flying here in the first place.

These measures rigorously applied would make a big dent in the illegal migration/ bogus asylum numbers I think. All without disturbing the Falkland Islanders.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
Alexei A
Alexei A
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Most migrants today apparently dispose of their passports before arrival, specifically to avoid being deported back to their country of origin.
And anyone believing any new ‘deterrent’ legislation by this government would amount to anything other than the same old words but no action has their head in the sand. If they really wanted to restrict illegal immigration, they would have made a start by now – following in the footsteps of all previous recent governments.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Falkland Islands? Ascension? Ridiculous. Sending even one person to either is a problem.
And should you not ask the existing inhabitants?

Last edited 2 years ago by Colin Elliott
Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

The UK has processing centres in their Consulates in every EU country. The problem is that many would-be immigrants to Britain are rejected.

Because the UK is overcrowded.

Chris Dale
Chris Dale
2 years ago
Reply to  ralph bell

Where would you say that the “neutral offshore holding centre” should/would be, and who would run it?
On your first point, yesterday some charity in the UK was calling for the RNLI to be charged with manslaughter over the recent tragic drownings…. which occurred in French waters.

Fergus Mason
Fergus Mason
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Dale

Where would you say that the “neutral offshore holding centre” should/would be, and who would run it?”
I hear West Falkland is lovely at this time of year.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  ralph bell

So which European country is going to allow that?

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

They should all hop a freighter to Mexico and then make their way to the southern U.S. border. I hear it is wide open for anyone to cross. And when they get there, they get a hotel, meals, first world medical care and free college education. All at the expense of the unlimited largesse of the U.S. taxpayer!

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

I heard a good story the other day from someone in the know. Apparently migrants from a certain Central American country have been arriving in Heathrow of late and claiming asylum. They are processed, rejected and deported. But they are given a deportation package by HMG of several thousand pounds. This is then split with the gang that paid for the initial airline ticket. There is no limit on the number of times they can do this and Immigration have seen the same people half a dozen times.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

WTF??

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

I’ll wait for proof, but unfortunately, it’s all too believable. What’s odd is that one kind of expects it from Blair and the many people who flourished in his time (e.g. Starmer), but it’s carried on unabated under May and Johnson.
We’re the suckers of the world, and are the only ones who don’t see it.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

I might try it myself

L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

Yes, we are a wonderful country soon to become a poverty stricken third world country.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

You’re taking the same policy with the USA as France is with the UK, except that we’re even providing much of the transport.

Last edited 2 years ago by Colin Elliott
Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Abdul needs to have money and /or skills that the UK is short of. Then he wouldn’t have to illegally break into our country.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

“Freedom of movement is a right for Western white people, not for those who are displaced like me.” I have never experienced this – why does the author assume it to be so?

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

It’s an attempt to accuse Europeans of racism for not giving him and his ilk everything they want

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

Maybe he threw away his passport?

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago

It’s nothing to do with race. Just money and work-skills.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago

The situation is tragic, the deaths are tragic, yet I doubt this author is writing in full good faith. I feel sure he’s telling the truth, he isn’t of course doing anything bad, but he sure ain’t telling the full truth – think there are lots of sins of omission. I think this, because it is possible to pick this article apart to such an extent, that I’m not even going to bother trying – I can challenge pretty much every third sentence if I wanted to. He’s peddling something, it’s just not so clear what or why.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

He’s peddling ‘I want people like me to be given free rein to run around Europe as we choose’

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

It’s called “Gimme.”

It’s very popular with a certain sanctified segment of the population here in the States.

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago

Another Calais sob story, more carefully selected photos of children and a mother..
We don’t buy it, mate. This isn’t The Guardian or the BBC. The vast majority of people trying to invade Britain from these camps are young black and Muslim males

Neil Cheshire
Neil Cheshire
2 years ago

There is a safe and legal method to reach the UK, it is called a visa and about 650,000 people who received one in 2019 arrived by ferry or plane. As for improved refugee/asylum seeker access, the fairest method would be to set an annual quota, consisting mostly of families, sourced from UNHCR camps with their bona fides and identity established before travel. Those that choose to self-select should be denied of any chance of permanent residency and should be granted minimal assistance on arrival.

Last edited 2 years ago by Neil Cheshire
Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Neil Cheshire

We take 5000 refugees from UNHCR regional camps every year, plus another 5000 family reunions. On top of that we are one of the top donors to the UNHCR and recently increased the funding for camps for Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
This is a humane system and one with wide-spread support among the public.
In addition, anyone – subject to security and other checks – with a job offer with a salary over ÂŁ30k or in a Shortage Occupation, can get a work visa.
Outside of those routes, people entering the country, or overstaying on a tourist visa should be charged with illegal entry and imprisoned for 4 years or deported immediately.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Exactly. They could get visas as fruit pickers or turkey pluckers ffs. But no, they want ‘asylum’ so they can sit in a hotel all day, complaining about the food, praying and plotting which MP to kill or concert to blow up. I know, that’s a terrible thing to say. But I’m sick of native Brits paying the price for this stuff with their lives. We should NOT have to put up being sacrificed on the altar of ‘diversity’.

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Yes, that is unfair. Most countries have an education system which would help them to gain skills missing from UK.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Neil Cheshire

Visa overstay is also an issue

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Our “human rights” legislation is the issue


Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago

The new Nationality and Borders bill will:

  • introduce new and tougher criminal offences for those attempting to enter the UK illegally by raising the penalty for illegal entry from 6 months’ to 4 years’ imprisonment and introducing life sentences for people smugglers

The government should arrest the first 1000 dinghy entrants on the day the bill becomes law, run them through an ultra-quick court (like those used – by mayor Boris – after the London riots) and bang them up in normal prisons (not detention centres). Then they should advertise this fact as widely as possible so that it is clear to all would-be dinghy crossers that all that awaits them is prison followed by deportation.
Whoever is videoed steering the dinghy should be deemed a people smuggler and given 10 years.
It would do wonders for Boris’s popularity.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Agree!

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

First of all I agree that this article is full of holes. In fact, it looks like it has been written by a student in the UK, who has deliberately made it bad.

Having said that, those people and more will end up here in the future. The Tories are shooting themselves in their big feet now and at some time Labour will get in. Then there will be a mass migration from Calais to Dover.

Nobody has a solution to the problem.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Indeed. Almost everyone of them is a potential Labour voter and the Conservatives couldn’t care less.

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Nobody may have a full solution, but some politicians can make the situation even worse:
In 2004, a new law – introduced by Blair’s government – stopping benefits to illegal immigrants who only claim asylum once they are caught was challenged and overturned by the judge as it contradicted the ECHR precepts. Can you guess who was leading the charge?
“At the hearing a week before, the court heard the consequences of denying support to asylum seekers who did not apply for asylum ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’, as demanded by the new rules. Keir Starmer QC, representing five of the six asylum seekers challenging Section 55, asserted that the Home Office rules had forced the asylum seekers on to the streets


. Reacting to the verdict, Home Secretary David Blunkett told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One: ‘Frankly, I am personally fed up with having to deal with the situation where parliament debates issues and the judges overturn them.’”

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Interesting…..

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

No, there is a solution. But the politicians are just too weak to do it.

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
2 years ago

Abdul. Like you, there are many Afghans who want to live somewhere like we have in UK. That is why you and others want to come here.
However, when the Taliban entered Kabul a few months back there was little resistance. Why was there was no perimeter guarded by the teachers, civil servants and other Afghans who wanted the Western lifestyle?
Why was this? Why were you and the others (who then left Afghanistan in droves), not prepared to stand and fight for what you believed in?
You have complained that the US and UK ‘let you down’, but what about you?
Last week on a UK news program they interviewed some migrants who had arrived by boat. We, UK citizens, were paying for them to stay in a hotel, full board. What did they say? “We don’t like the food. Why are you giving us potato?”
You say you left Afghanistan in 2016. At that time huge areas were under the control of the government and foreign forces. Did you really ‘need’ to leave?

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

Well said. The level of entitlement from this ‘refugee’ is staggering.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Yes and probably because they think the internet is full of truth……..half the problem

David Bell
David Bell
2 years ago

Freedom of movement is a right for citizens of EU member countries that subscribe to the Schengen rules, not for illegal migrants trying to barge in to other peoples’ lands.

Last edited 2 years ago by David Bell
Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Or for British and Irish citizens within the British Isles.

David Bell
David Bell
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Absolutely.

D Glover
D Glover
2 years ago

Among the 1,500 people here are Afghans, Sudanese, Iranians, Eritreans, and Kuwaitis.

All muslim countries. Why can’t these people find refuge in muslim countries, some of which are large and self-sufficient in food?
More space for the newcomers, less societal impact from the imposition of a new religion. Everyone happy.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

Exactly. Why not be part of the enlightened Ummah of the Prophet instead of fighting to break into Europe where all those horrid nasty racist wypipo live?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I thought that Muslims had to take in fellow muslims from anywhere as part of their religion ??? Bit fishy that they want to come to the evil West – and if so why dont they drop the oppressive Muslim belief system once they arrive – since they obviously dont trust their fellow devotees ?? I have just realized the truth – it must be ‘follow the money’ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fergus Mason
Fergus Mason
2 years ago

Freedom of movement is a right for Western white people”
No it isn’t. Stop lying.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago

Or you could stay in your country and fix it.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

“Freedom of movement is a right for Western white people, not for those who are displaced like me.”
I was not aware that white people are not subject to immigration laws? Hard to believe that it true.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

I’m pretty sure he had freedom of movement in his own country. And if he didn’t he should fight for it. Like our ancestors did.

Fergus Mason
Fergus Mason
2 years ago

But they are not particularly suitable for those people who only intend to pass through.”
They’re not supposed to be.
“not ideal if you want to try a boat-crossing”
Again, it’s not supposed to be.
Why is it so hard for you to understand that if the first thing you do in the UK is enter the country illegally, you are not the sort of law-abiding immigrant we want? Come here legally – or don’t come at all. We don’t want criminals.

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
2 years ago

 I didn’t have much choice” Not true, the author did have the choice of applying for asylum in any of the countries they crossed getting to France, they chose to get to Calais. I can only suppose they are hoping to get to the UK to access our over-generous benefits system.
I can’t be bothered to read any further if they lie in the first paragraph.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

“In truth, it’s mostly the lack of legal and safe access routes to the United Kingdom that contributes to the development of these smuggling networks.”
In truth, it is the insistence of shops goods must be paid for that causes people to shoplift.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

So they should stay and fight for their country. This country is still scarred by war. There are UXBs, bullet holes in buildings, modern monstrosities thrown up on top of the rubble of destroyed houses, graveyards full of dead. Our ancestors fought for their home, at great cost. The cowards who flee aren’t fit to lace their boots.

Julie Blinde
Julie Blinde
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

True.
And all of us want a better life. Anywhere

Hugh Eveleigh
Hugh Eveleigh
2 years ago

I must take issue with the comment that freedom of movement is a right for Western white people. This is not true. We Brits can only go to the EU for a limited time (90 days) and then must leave. No one can just ‘go’ to Australia etc and I don’t think colour of skin has any significance. But yes of course it is a desperate situation for those waiting. We in the UK must have some control over who enters. Without any control we are entering anarchy and our infrastructure cannot take more people at this stage unless of course they contributr taxes etc. I would say that Mr Saboor has used his initiative and quite possibly been lucky as well and has found a home in France. Good on him and I sincerely hope he succeeds as he has done by writing for UnHerd for instance.
The UK is surely not the promsed land and we certainly will not be with the thousands entering as they do undocumented and unasked. We need skilled workers but we need to check the status and the type of person we are letting in. This needs control and calm but how we achieve that I am unsure other than setting up some sort of system on French soil.

John Lee
John Lee
2 years ago

“On both sides of the Channel, governments accuse smugglers of being entirely to blame for the deaths of innocent people. In truth, it’s mostly the lack of legal and safe access routes to the United Kingdom.”
This is plainly untrue. Those crossing the channel are illegals i.e. criminals. The British do not want them, our laws do not accommodate them. Their presence on our shores is currently cost a half a billion pounds sterling per year and rising at a time when the UK has huge problems of its own.
There is only one solution and tat is for the EU and France to recognise that it cannot simply export its problems across the Channel.
They seem to believe that once they have shoved these poor people off the beach then that is the end of their interest,

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  John Lee

Even better the EU should fix its leaky borders and not expect Hungary, Poland and Greece to hold the line. These people don’t have ‘rights’ to be in Europe. They could go to India, Pakistan, Iran, Africa, places which are geographically and culturally more compatible.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

I remember reading about Kazhall Ahmad. She comes from Kurdistan (the part recognised internationally as part of Iraq), and came with her children, while her husband remained behind, because he was a policeman and didn’t choose to leave at that time. My guess is that once his family had entered, he would have followed. Are they poor? Or oppressed? Guessing, again, I suspect that they know a lot about Britain, and may have friends and relatives here, and that they know that once they gain entry, their health problems, education up to university, housing and old age problems are solved. What is more, who can guarantee what will happen in their area for years to come? In contrast, our police aren’t usually armed, although I’ve seen a huge change in this during my life, as the country changes in character.
I expect they’re sad to leave the country of their birth, but their’s is an entirely rational decision. The problem many in Britain have with it is that if ‘safe ways of coming’ are provided such as to make dangerous journeys unnecessary, we would effectively be removing any limit, and we know that the number who would come is effectively infinite. Just today here in the South East, I passed a major building development (100 acres? 200?) on what was once farm land. And is the sewage plant up to it, just to name one aspect?

Last edited 2 years ago by Colin Elliott
Howard Ahmanson
Howard Ahmanson
2 years ago

Why do they want to get into Britain, and out of the Continent, so desperately?

jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
2 years ago

It is a conundrum not yet solved that the aid given to desperate refugees also helps perpetuate the mechanisms by which they continue to arrive. Where and how many displaced persons can be accommodated by alternative countries? What official international mechanism could replace the illegal dangerous ones in use?

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago

Is this written by Katie Hopkins as a part of false flag operation? Never in my life have I felt so little sympathy for a “refugee”.

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago

“Freedom of movement is a right for Western white people, not for those who are displaced like me.”

Slander. I’m sorry to inform the author that I have no freedom of movement to go to whatever country I want to and be allowed to settle there. Neither does he.

There is no universal human right to live in a white nation. Sorry.

Head south or east. I’m sure Africa will take you and I understand the Asian economies are booming.

Make them fabulous and vibrant places my great grandchildren will envy and want to visit, places filled with technical marvels and sophisticated people.

Yes you can!

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  William Hickey

Exactly…Let’s ask the people of Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, and Kosovo about their unrestricted freedom of movement. If they aren’t white enough for Abdul, maybe he can ask some Afrikaners.

William Clothier
William Clothier
2 years ago

Dear Abdul, facing possible torture or death by remaining in one’s homeland I can easily imagine taking the choice of embarking on a dangerous and perilous journey to reach more prosperous lands. However, if the aim of your article was to raise awareness and generate more compassion for the plight of today’s refugees/ economic migrants, sadly it falls short. Sentences such as ‘… the freedom of movement is a right for western white people….’ reveals a gaping ignorance and possible resentment about modern day British and western European societies which will do nothing for your cause no matter how many desperate photos are taken.

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago

If Abdul is facing torture or death, then he can claim asylum.
If he has wanted skills, sufficient money or a job offer, he will most probably be able to get a work permit.
Otherwise, my advice is to gain wanted skills and education, then try again.

John McGibbon
John McGibbon
2 years ago

There are legal and safe routes, apply for a visa and buy an airline ticket.

Max Price
Max Price
2 years ago

It’s a necessary evil.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
2 years ago

…. I find many of the comments that have followed this article quite harsh, the article is about people.
I can understand the reasoning behind them, many being worried about the living conditions in their country being aggravated by mass immigration etc due to already overstretched resources and news stories about terrorist incidents, and fear of changes in culture.
But sure we must be able to be more intelligent about our responses to this story: desperate people do desperate things however many barriers you put on. t*t for tat arguments may make us feel better but are only part of simple politics and do not help in resolving the issues.
Immigration is a fact of history and life, … and most western countries will need it due to low natality….and I am sure you can think of many immigrants who contribute to your country
Can you regulate and control all this? If you think this you are delusional. Do you think some of these desperate people really want to come to your country and stay there? many will return home once the situation has improved: this will create links with your country and helps in its prosperity. Much of the debate is about the short or the long view.
And of course there are some very unpleasant people coming along, just like there are already some very non-immigrants unpleasant people already living in your country. Using the immigrant discourse to deflect from the real issues in a country is cheap…
Things then come down to the confidence we have in our country/culture/government and ourselves to be able to manage immigration.
I do agree that countries need sensible policies in relation to immigration: that is normal and natural. But showing some humanity in the discussion sure does not harm anybody… using the immigration issue to score political points is just sad

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago

The UK has a very good immigration system.
Unfortunately, getting yourself an education and extra skills doesn’t seem to be even considered.
Potential immigrants may need to study for years … or less, depending e.g. only a few months ago we had a shortage of HGV drivers.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ann Ceely
Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago

It is desperately sad that lives are being lost in the attempt to cross the Channel. Against that there is the old saying, “Hard cases make bad law.” If it was as simple as these people want to come to the UK and therefore should be enabled to do so, then the UK could just devote one cross-Channel ferry a day to bring them over in safety. But what would be the consequences of that?
As an economist (Thomas Sewell?) remarked: “There are no solutions: only trade-offs.”

Last edited 2 years ago by Alan Hawkes
Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago

From what I can understand, you fled from the Taliban in Middle-East(?) because you’d ‘helped’ the US army.
However, once you had reached France, you didn’t bother to apply for asylum and are now complaining!
France and Britain both have Consulates in Paris where you can apply for Asylum.
Why didn’t you?