Calais, Lesbos, and the Refugee Crisis

The following post is a guest post by Tom Bailey, a 19-year-old literary and political blogger. He writes on a variety of topics from music to politics on his own blog, where he also publishes his poems. His Twitter handle is @TomBaileyBlog.

A couple of weeks ago, I was giving a speech at my old school about the refugee crisis and my time working in refugee camps. My speech was part of “Culture Week”, a school initiative designed to broaden the horizons of younger students, and the chosen theme for this year was migration.

I talked about how I’d decided to go to Calais when I saw that photo of Aylan Kurdi lying lifeless on the Turkish beach; how I’d worked alongside the charities Help Refugees and L’auberge des Migrants to deliver aid to the Calais Jungle; and how I’d later flown out to Lesbos and worked in Moria camp and on the shores of the Greek island as refugees crossed the threshold of Europe.

A picture of refugees lined up in Moria registration camp.
Refugees in Moria registration camp, taken by photographer and fellow volunteer Edward Jonkler.

One of the things that I said when I started my speech was that I didn’t want to focus on the politics of the situation. It’s easy to get carried away with questions of border policy and the social or economic viability of solutions. These are all important points that need to be considered when addressing a crisis like the one we currently face, but I felt that the talk would be most effective if I were to focus wholly on the human aspect of the situation. After all, I went to Calais and Lesbos for humanitarian reasons, not political ones. Continue reading “Calais, Lesbos, and the Refugee Crisis”

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