I had been meaning to write about this whole refugee thing. I had been working it over in my mind, trying to get from a long, rambling reflection on the whole issue to something that would be interesting to someone other than me. But it’s pretty hard to think about it right now.
So I’ll save you from my memories of a visit to Turkey where I came into contact with a refugee or two and with people who were trying to house their relatives who happened to be Syrian and were finding their houses full to bursting. Well, for the moment: you may hear about it later.
Right now it’s my own friends and family who are looking for asylum. I may well need that apartment for people I have known for years. I understand the Canadian immigration web site crashed last night. Interesting times.
So, refugees in France. You are steered to France Terre d’Asile, a private group that gets government funding. Those guys are keeping a close watch on their refugees, not wanting them to escape into the wild. I think that’s how they see my apartment, which I think is why they have not responded to my offers of housing here at the house. In Paris the group is a little more organized. They have you fill in a questionnaire that is heavy on inquiries about how willing and capable you are of teaching French. Again, the focus is on keeping the refugees well enclosed within the bureaucratic system. That I could teach English, well, no, I think they see that as counterproductive.
Also, though you will see many photos and hear many stories about families, the overwhelming number of refugees are men in their twenties and thirties. I had been thinking they might want to filter out a family or a gay couple or somebody that really needed to get out of the camps. Either they are just overwhelmed or the needs of the bureaucracy are being placed before the needs of kids who really shouldn’t be sleeping in a tent under a Metro line. I don’t know.
Anyway, there may well be refugees at my house, in the little attached apartment. My contractor has been after me to put in another apartment or three in the barn. I have been saying no but now I’m not sure. Let’s see what comes in the email.