Somebody posted a link in the comments this week (hat-tip Dandelo) to a Tweet and article written by a woman called Mary Engleheart, Mary's blog called ''Migration Diaries'' is an account of her pro-refugee activism and tales of daring-do from the front-lines in the Calais migrant jungle. Mary recently wrote an article entitled ''A shout out to the men of fighting age'' it's Mary attempting to refute and debunk the ''men of fighting age'' headline which has become something of a meme.
The problem is, when I read Mary's article I had the distinct feeling she might be slightly embellishing the facts, and that there might just be a hint of bias in her piece, indeed, I frequently burst out laughing and decided to re-post the whole piece here with some thoughts of my own.....
‘They’re men of fighting age!’ scream the headlines, conjuring up images of threatening brutes. Aggressive rhetoric and hyperbole have coloured the migration debate in the UK throughout 2016, targeting young, male refugees in particular. British MP David Davies claims refugees are not ‘averse to lying about their ages’, and should undergo dental checks, sparking a vicious campaign against ‘hulking’ teenagers being reunited with their families. Young men living in the Calais Jungle have been painted as ticking time bombs by the tabloid press, creating an aura of fear and ignoring the majority who crave peace and a fresh start. I spent two weeks in Calais volunteering at the Ashram Kitchen, serving food alongside the Jungle’s men of fighting age:
‘Keep it’, says Marwan, ‘keep it!’ I stand shivering as my taxi approaches. ‘Honestly Marwan, I don’t need it, really, please take it back.’
‘Keep it!’ he insists. There is no persuading him. We hug goodbye, me wrapped up in his winter jacket, him in a jumper in the cold. I stop feeling guilty. It seems appropriate that Marwan, who refuses to stand in food lines, prefers to keep me warm than keep his jacket.