Click here to read an off-beat interview by SMACK’s Thomas Rees with arch controversialist, George Galloway.
This week I visited the Calais migrant camp known as the Jungle. I travelled with my friend, the writer, Tom Blass. Our aim was to get in and see what was what. What we found astonished and moved us.
All around we could see diggers and bulldozers hard at work destroying the pathetic homes of desperate people.
The CRS (French riot police famous for brutality) have effectively locked the camp down and threatened us with arrest (and worse) if we were caught in there. The CRS do not want people to see the destruction going on inside the camp. This is a disgrace because whatever you think of the migrant situation you cannot treat people in this way. It is snowing and hailing and there are children and women and men who have no shelter.
Naturally we in the UK decry the way the French are treating these people. But here’s the kicker – the ‘Jungle’ is effectively a BRITISH camp. Whilst the Calais camp and its ‘sister’ camp at Grande Synthe in Dunkirk are on French soil they are there because of an agreement between the French, Belgian and UK governments called the Le Touquet agreement of 2003 which provides for ‘Juxtaposed Controls’. This means bilateral immigration control allowing for the posting of border checks in each other’s country. So Britain can check passports in France and vice versa (how many migrants are trying to get into France?).
Effectively, the UK government under Tony Blair outsourced our migrant problem to the French and this has created the migrant camps dotted along the north shore of France.
Do you think the British people would allow the conditions that permeate the Calais camp to exist on UK soil? I don’t think so. But we are ok with it so long as the ‘Bloody French’ look like they are at fault.
This is the point – don’t think that this is simply a matter of the French being beastly to desperate people. This is the British allowing the French to do our dirty work. For instance Brexiter’s note the fact of ‘UK funding and material support’ for the camps as a reason why we have nothing to fear from exiting the EU and subsequent possible shredding of the Le Touquet agreement by the French.
Here are some pictures from an area within the camp that is being ‘cleared’. Any structures still standing will be gone by Monday 14th March – that includes a language school, a playground, a computer room and a stage. The authorities allow a ‘stay of execution’ for so called ‘community centres’ but the cabins and tents that people live in are destroyed with an hour’s notice. Hence the hastily abandoned possessions you can see in the photographs.
If you feel like it please give to one of the agencies associated with the migrant camps. Care for Calais and Help Refugees spring to mind. And please let your MP know that treatment of migrants on our behalf cannot be outsourced to the French to execute so brutally.
Tom and I are planning to return in the coming weeks to see how things change for the camp and its people. We’ll let you know what we find.
I’VE LIVED A THOUSAND LIVES
One bright September morning in 2001, Heathcliff O’Malley was preparing to spend another day among the catwalks of New York Fashion Week for the Daily Telegraph. His phone rang. It was his editor in London saying that reports were coming in about a plane strike on one of the Twin Towers. This call changed the course of Heathcliff’s life was to take. From that moment he was engaged in the story of the ensuing conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
Heathcliff O’Malley has been a contract photographer at the Daily Telegraph for 19 years. He has covered everything from fashion shows to conflict. He has won numerous press awards and given talks at London’s Frontline Club.
In this Photographica Podcast Heathcliff talks movingly and fascinatingly about his work. He describes in details the life of a photographer covering conflicts, the highs and the deep lows. With almost two decades of time spent photographing the world’s conflict zones as well as royal weddings, catwalks and sporting events he offers many wonderful insights into the life of a photojournalist.
ABOUT HEATHCLIFF O’MALLEY – Heathcliff O’Malley is a photojournalist based in the United Kingdom where he lives with his family and has a long standing contract with the Daily Telegraph . He has travelled worldwide throughout the Americas, Middle East, Europe and Asia, covering Reportage, Portraiture, Fashion and Corporate assignments
Prior to this Heathcliff assisted a number of photographers including the catwalk photographer Chris Moore before moving on to a London based news agency.
Heathcliff’s Editorial work has been published in publications as diverse as National Geographic, Nouvel Observateur, Le Monde and the Guardian to name a few . He received an Award in the Photographer of the Year category of the Picture Editor’s Guild Awards in 2001 for his work covering the Genoa G8 Summit, 911 and the subsequent War in Afghanistan.
In 2007 Heathcliff gave a talk and slideshow presentation of his work at the Frontline Club in London focusing on the aftermath of 911 and the War on Terror which he has covered from it’s beginning until the present day.
He also appeared with a panel of war reporters during a “Talkback” session with an audience after the showing of Hollywood actor Tim Robbins “Embedded” play at the Riverside Studio’s in 2004.
In 2010 Heathcliff won a Press Photographer’s Year award for a video he shot in Helmand province whilst embedded with the Coldstream Guards.
From the 80’s to Photographica – A Personal and Fond Farewell to the Independant’s Print Edition- full transcript below.
An essay on the power of one broadsheet newspaper, The Independent, that did more for the love of black and white photography than any other media outlet in modern times.
Click ‘read more’ for full post.