French Underground Railroad, Moving African Migrants


Photo courtesy of Pierre Terdjman (The New York Times)

Flashes of the past aren’t hard to see if you don’t close your eyes. Many French see past injustices repeat in the quaint train stations of rural southern France as African migrants are rounded up and sent back to Italy where they will most likely be again deported. The scene was too much for some as “smartly dressed passengers averted their gaze.” Part of the local French population see it as their civic responsibility to turn in any migrants to the authorities while others disobey their government and fight for those who have no money, no common language and simply want to escape whatever misfortune lies behind them. Sadly, it seems misfortune is just as universal as man’s desperate battle to stop it.
“Either I close my eyes, or I don’t,” says one French migrant smuggler, an echo of Desmond Tutu’s reflection, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Read the New York Times story here.


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