Thirty nine

A response to today’s horrific news from Essex.

This morning’s news – the immeasurably insensitive “39 dead bodies found in lorry” – came into my work inbox alongside an email about a new Channel 4 show called “Smuggled”, wherein eight British citizens have their passports removed from them and attempt to get back into the UK.

It felt like several fireworks went off in my head. I was standing up before I even knew why, couldn’t get the words out.

I have known enough people to have died at the side of the road or in vehicles at our border, or driven to death or suicide by destitution in the UK. Thirty nine people in one lorry is beyond words. 

The less information we have, the more the mind plays. And of course, I fixated firstly on the Channel 4 documentary, the callousness of making a mockery of what is a life or death situation for thousands, millions of people stuck at borders around the world. The actual news didn’t sink in until much later in the day.

The journalists began to flood in, looking for our CEO’s personal experience of crossing into the UK in a lorry. I thought of everyone I know who has crossed the Channel in a truck, fearing for their lives. And those who didn’t make it. Those who lost their lives in the Channel in the past few weeks, months, years, and all across the borders of Europe.

This will keep happening. Borders kill. The hostile environment achieves nothing but more death, more misery, more desperation.

People are forced into taking increasingly dangerous and fatal risks. We URGENTLY need safe and legal routes for people seeking sanctuary.

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