Freedom News

Dunkirk Jungle: A comic about life behind the UK border

This new illustrated work from Junk Comix offers a glimpse of the difficulties faced by people who are being pushed from pillar to post by authorities in both France and England.

The ‘Dunkirk Jungle’ is an unofficial refugee camp 50km away from Calais, where people stay for short periods of time as they attempt to cross to England. It is not a stable camp but an ever-changing scattering of tents and human waste in the forest. Facilities are scarce as the police and a private eviction company come twice a week to tear everything to pieces. For two weeks, we volunteered with Help4Dunkerque distributing hot drinks and materials, providing a charging station, and spending time with the people who stayed in the camp.

This comic is the result of our experiences at the camp, and five interviews we made with migrants who stayed there during that time. The protagonist is not one of those interviewees but a composite character based on the experiences of all the people we met. One of the things we learned doing our interviews was that there is no archetype within the migrant community, there are many reasons why people migrate, and there are a whole spectrum of experiences.

We met people in the camp of many different nationalities. The majority were Iraqui Kurds, but we also met a lot of Afghani and Pakistani Pasthuns, Iranians, Sudanese, and a group from Vietnam. The population and demographics of the camp fluctuate but is usually a few hundred people. People from the camp try to cross the border into the UK every night, but almost all are caught and sent back to the camp. Evictions are frequent and are carried out by the French police in collaboration with a private company, Groupe Ramery, whose task is to cut every inhabited tent to pieces and dispose of them. In the aftermath of the evictions, volunteer groups visit the camp to distribute new tents. The inhabitants of the camp rebuild, and the cycle continues.

We are currently working on a longer-form version of this comic which will be released by No Borders TV and sold to raise money for future missions to migrant camps.

  • Mobile Refugee Support are in Dunkirk and Calais all through the year doing great work, and are a lifeline for the migrants there. Please consider volunteering with them.
  • Help4Dunkerque are currently back in Dunkirk — help is welcome.
  • This comic was written by Alejandra and Junk Comix. Follow Junk Comix on Instagram: @Junk_Comix for more comics.

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