Imagine being forced to abandon the only existence you have ever known. Imagine a terror that drives you to risk your life in an a desperate attempt to survive. Then imagine this: being reduced to a statistic, to terminology that inherently portrays you, who has lost everything but the breath in your lungs and the blood in your veins, as a problem. The reality is, we can’t. We can only try to extend our empathy beyond the confines of our experience and listen to the voices of those who have lived through this nightmare.
The media soundbites we hear ignore the voices of the people who experience the trauma of forced displacement. This event will bring together contributors from two anthologies giving voices to the silenced: Jackie Kay, with Refugee Tales and the editor ofVoices from the Jungle.
Jackie Kay will be reading her contribution to Refugee Tales II: The Smuggled Person’s Tale. Modelled on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the second volume of Refugee Tales sets out to communicate the experiences of those who, having sought asylum in the UK, find themselves indefinitely detained.
‘A wonderful way of re-humanising some of the most vulnerable and demonised people on the planet.’ – Shami Chakrabarti on Refugee Tales
Often called the ‘Jungle’, the refugee camp near Calais in Northern France epitomises for many the suffering, uncertainty and violence which characterises the situation of refugees in Europe today. Voices from the ‘Jungle’ collects the astounding, inspiring, defiant stories of the people who have fled conflict-torn countries such as Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and Eritrea.
Through its pages, the refugees speak to us in powerful, vivid language. They reveal their childhood dreams and struggles for education; the wars and persecution that drove them from their homes; their terror and strength during their extraordinary journeys. They expose the reality of living in the camp; tell of their lives after the `Jungle’ and their hopes for the future. Through their stories, the refugees paint a picture of a different kind of ‘Jungle’: one with a powerful sense of community despite evictions and attacks, and of a solidarity which crosses national and religious boundaries.
Sometimes just listening can be an act of welcome – come hear their stories.