Refugees, migrants of Paris' 'Stalingrad' speak out

After high-profile closure of so-called Jungle migrant camp in Calais, many desperate people have travelled south to Paris

Refugees, migrants of Paris' 'Stalingrad' speak out

World Bulletin / News Desk

"Where can we stay in this cold? Where can we go to in this freezing weather? We are chased from place to place. Feel our pain. Feel our misery. We are human."

These were the words of Sultan, a 22-year-old refugee from Afghanistan who now lives in the makeshift Stalingrad camp in Paris.

The camp is home to an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 people and is repeatedly dismantled and raided by Paris police.

Amid tense scenes on Monday, riot police and sanitary workers -- backed by a bulldozer – cleared residents’ tents, mattresses and personal belongings.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said the camp will be completely removed by the end of this week.

A farmer who paid thousands of dollars for the dangerous and illegal journey across Europe since he escaped the Taliban two years ago, Sultan said: “They never help us. They just come every time take our tents and just leave us out in the cold.

“All we want from the French authorities is to take us as soon as possible to warm places where we can eat warm food and take showers. We are freezing here.”

The area around both Stalingrad and Jean Jaures metro stations on the edge of the crowded 18th and 19th districts of Paris is frequently the site of makeshift camps.

Since June 2015, there have been at least nine evacuations from the area according to Paris police prefecture figures.

“This is my last chance to have a normal life. I sold everything back home and left my family just so I can secure a future. I want to study. I want to live,” Sultan continued.

Mohammed Ali, a 19-year-old Afghan who survived a Taliban attack and fled the country in 2014, echoed Sultan’s wishes.

“I applied for asylum and am waiting. I speak nine languages and all I want is to go to university and major in economics or computer science.”

Not far away, we met Yasamine Ijanzada -- also from Afghanistan -- as she was sitting on a chair cuddling a three-year-old boy, Adia, her grandson.

The 50-year-old former midwife arrived in Paris on Sept. 24 accompanied with her family: three daughters (two university graduates, married, and one a second-year dental medicine student), two sons and a grandson. Two other sons stayed behind with their families.

AA

Last Mod: 03 Kasım 2016, 11:31
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