Chances are, your image of a jungle dweller ranges from the savages and headshrinkers of the old Tarzan-era movies to – if you’re more 21st-century – the isolated peoples of the rainforest, living simple yet dignified lives. In either case, are they the kind of people you’d welcome as neighbours, and believe could fully integrate into modern Britain?
For several years now, the series of Calais refugee camps originally set up in 2002 have been referred to as “the Jungle”. The camp was christened by the migrants themselves, in ironic reference to the squalid conditions.Hey. It’s their camp. If they want to call it that, who are we to complain? That’d probably be racist, or something…
But a decade on, and as the migrant crisis throughout Europe has escalated, it’s clear this term is becoming increasingly problematic.Oh? Oh, it’s the name that’s problematic, is it? Not the existence of it, or the behaviour of the inmates?
Good to see the ‘Guardian’ focusing on the real issues, as always…
What started out as a simple in-joke among a small group of people has taken on a completely different meaning when taken up by the international media in the context of daily scare stories about people crossing borders. “War of the Jungle” and “Jungle warfare” were just two of the headlines splashed across tabloid front pages last week, as French authorities clashed with refugeesas they moved in to demolish their homes.
The imagery the headlines evoke is of primitive, uncontrolled brutes – of the barbarians at the gates, as they try to gain entry to the UK. Who could possibly want these kind of people tarnishing our green and pleasant land?It seems the imagery does indeed, for once, match the reality. No wonder you are so upset!
It’s not just the rightwing tabloids that use the term: all parts of the media have adopted it – including the Independent, the BBC and the Guardian (although last week the Guardian issued new guidance to limit its usage, and ensure it always appears in quotation marks).Yes, it’s most important that the correct language is used. Those quotation marks are vital!
Whether or not you believe the residents of the Calais refugee camp should be allowed into Britain, anyone who thinks these people are fully human, with hopes and aspirations like the rest of us, and lives just as valuable, should cease using language that denies them this humanity.So to confirm their humanity, we must steadfastly refuse them the right to name their own camp?
For their own good?
I don’t think you’ve really thought this through…