I was last here before africa house was evicted. Now the community is dispersed. The weather is very hot right now, but the nights can still be cold.
Unit 28 of the CRS are in town. One van was stationed outside the food distribution yesterday asking for papers, contrary to an assumed ‘truce’ so as not to distract people coming for food. In the end they left and perhaps it was just because they were new in town.
The jungle bike tour was in town which brought some new faces.
The Jugle Bike Tour was organized by La Marmite Aux Idees with other associations to raise awarness about the issues faced by migrants in the North of France: Arras, Calais, Dunkerque, Lille…
Food distribution is down to one meal a day at 1pm, as Salam are on holiday. When they come back La Belle Etoile will then go away, meaning 10 weeks in total. There has been a response to buy some mass catering equipment and cook larger meals, distributing some in the parks where many people hang out.
I think it is possible for catering to be positive, though the potential pitfalls are numerous and some obvious. The food distribution could be an opportunity for migrant led political activity. There are so many issues about the distribution that make it an unnecessarily degrading experience.
The idea is that if migrants were able to experience positively changing this situation it could build political confidence to tackle larger issues. The issues that I can think of are: the lack of seating, how unclean the space is, the way the associations treat people – including that bins are used to force people into a queue. The other issue is the the one meal a day, and that the CRS are stationed outside. The response from Belle Etoile hasn’t been very robust.
If you are coming please let us know in advance.