2015 will be the year remembered for the migrant crisis in Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan. Where people have been fleeing for their lives into Europe, escaping extremism, bombs being dropped and untold violence to innocent citizens. The response by Germany was the greatest, opening its boarders to welcome the fleeing thousands into their country. Others countries were not so bold in welcoming migrants to their shores. This has resulted in places like Calais becoming suburban jungles of tents; make shift huts and camps of families, friends, all desperately trying to survive. Although the media has been fixed on the recent events in Paris, photographer Will Ashton draws our attention back to the migrant crisis.
Winter is coming, the cold is sinking in, and people are still sleeping in the open, exposed to the elements. In Ashton’s own words, he speaks of the frustration voiced by the Migrants of how the media in the UK had depicted their desperate cause. The British Prime minister referred to them as “swarms”. With such a potent message of destain which didn’t fully represent the feelings of the people of Great Britain, it is Ashton’s hope that these photographs will humanise the crisis, help those in power realise these are people, like you and me. And to understand that living in these conditions was not a choice by the inhabitants, but a last resort to escape violence in their hometowns. What the photographs present within ‘The Jungle’ is just how desperate the conditions have become, yet how people are still pulling together to keep going, to survive. The “Calais Crisis”has been blamed on the French government by the UK, and vice versa. With the situation still ongoing, and no end in sight, the bystanders who read the news and see this going on are all asking the same questions, when will our government do something? The crisis is complex, with more refugee’s arriving every day, looking for somewhere safe to stay. But the message is clear from these refugee’s protest banners, dropping more bombs in their country wont solve the situation.
All images are copyright of Will Ashton