One more death. In the early hours of Saturday Morning (7 July), our friend N., 28 years old, from Sudan, died in Calais town centre. His body was dragged out of the canal near the Sub-Prefecture. As often in the past, the police have been point blank refusing to allow friends and family access to his body, or to hold an inquest into his death. They have already prepared their story about his death, which is starting to unravel as more evidence comes to light.
Not because it bears any relation to the truth, but this is the official line: N stole a mobile phone in the town centre, he was chased by a friend of the "victim", and somehow he managed to fall or jump into the canal, where he drowned. Apparently there is no need for an autopsy or inquiry. No need to explain police movements that night just before N died. No need to wait for evidence that he stole anything. This story, straight from the mouths of the cops, was parroted by the local hate-rag "La Voix du Nord" without further investigation. A migrant. A black man. A thief. An accident, maybe even a well-deserved death.
N's friends, and witnesses, tell a different story. We cannot write more about what really happened at this moment, but we will do so soon. This morning (Monday 9) around 40 people demonstrated outside the police station in Calais. N was well loved. We hope to write more about his life soon as well, with full respect to all his family and friends. We will not let this death be forgotten.
The cover-up by state authorities and media accomplices of deaths in Calais is standard. Just to give another recent example, on December 22, another friend, Ismael, was found dead at the bottom of a bridge in central Calais. The police immediately closed the case, calling it suicide. They refused to allow his friends to see or identify the body, and refused an autopsy. Ismael's friends went twice to the police station asking to see his body and were twice refused and threatened with arrest by the immigration police (PAF) if they didn't leave. Only one white French friend was allowed in to identify him. There was no further investigation.
The border kills. We don't know how Ismail died. We have seen many times police chasing migrants off bridges, into canals, into the harbour. Bullets and clubs are not the only way to kill people. A fall from a bridge can kill just as well. Constant beatings and hunger can kill just as well. Years of fear and frustration and humiliation can kill just as well. These are the deaths that keep Europe's looted wealth safe from the foreigners.
Ni Oubli. Ni Pardon. (Don't forget. Don't forgive.)
The Calais Migrant Solidarity dossier detailing the extent of repression in Calais, "This Border Kills", can be downloaded in English and French here.