Is the EU the Gateway to Prosperity?

26 Nov

 

 

Jenny Kleeman. LLEWELLYN 2010

Unreported World regular Jenny Kleeman visited Westminster on Tuesday to discuss her moving documentary, The Unwanted.

Although I’ve read stories of the horrors migrants have to go through when trying to get into the EU, I wasn’t prepared for some of the scenes.

The person who stood out for me was a young Afghan woman of the same age. She’s “glamorous, elegant, well-turned out.” She longed for an education, and “spoke English so beautifully.” But the Taliban had banned her from reading anything, including the Kuran.

Jenny spoke how dignified the young woman is, and how she offered to show her the temporary accomodation where she was staying. It was completly overcrowded and infested with cockroaches, but this woman still kept an air of dignity.

EXTREME LENGTHS

Jenny came across 25 Afghan people, including toddlers, on the shores of Turkey waiting be given their golden ticket into the EU, by way of a people smuggler and an inflatable dingy.

No one knows how many people make it across that short strech of water, but many bodies are found.

If the migrants are caught, they are kept in a detention centre where they are held in overcrowded cells. The centre is fit to house 300, but has around 1,000 imprisoned, including women and children. The men are beaten and share two bathrooms amongst 100 people.

When the inmates are released, they have 30 days to leave the country, or else face imprisonment.

WAIT YOUR TURN

In this time, the migrants face the excurtiating waiting list of people desperate for an appointment for asylum.

Many wait in the pouring rain for 24 hours at a time, just to be turned away. Seeing the disapointment on the faces of the people who were turned away made my heart sink, but Jenny remained remarkably profesional, who says she “saves it for the hotel room.

She explained her reasons for remaining calm in such situtations, “when journalists cry on camera it’s as if to say ‘oh, look at how upset I am’, like a platform to expose themselves”, taking the attention away from others.

With the UK putting a cap on imigration, I wonder how many of these people are able to seek asylum. With the unclear system of electing people for asylum appointments, many are left vulnerable and alienated.

REMARKABLE

As a budding journalist, many people don’t have time to speak to me when I approach them for interviews.

When walking through Stockton centre for vox pops, people ignore me because they’re busy shopping.

Jenny and her director were driving past a family, and stopped to speak to them. They had been walking for eight hours with their family, including young children, with their only possesions being the babies nappies and clothes in a carrier bag.

They had walked in the excuriating heat, and had come across on a dingy the night before. Yet, they still stopped to speak in a friendly way, even though it was clear that they were physically drained.

“They were incredibly generous and happy to talk”, says Jenny.

When the cameras were off, the family asked for a lift to the ferry. Jenny explained to us how they had to stay neutral, and were unable to give them a lift.

Jenny stays neutral by setting herself an excersise, by asking “what am I going to achieve from today”, and making sure she doesn’t stray.

It’s so sad to think that so many hopeful people see Europe as the “gateway to prosperity”, when in many situations it’s not the case.

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