All the bone and spirit-grinding stuff nobody wants to hear about

In A post to keep afloat, Hautvoir, humeurs, Local projects, proto drafts, Scene Prep on September 5, 2015 at 7:53 am

Fed up isn’t the right word. Disgusted? Not the right word either. Weary, perhaps.

Yesterday afternoon, he brings me yet another letter in an official envelope. This one, from the social services solicited for the family allowance to which the wife is now entitled, now that’s she’s been delivered a one-year residence permit. Please provide copy of income tax document for 2014, this latest form letter requests. The family had no revenues in 2014 – as in zilch, nada, nothing. The family did not even exist for the Treasury services.

This is what the weariness is about. All the dramatic front-page photos. All the hand-wringing. All the “but we must DO something”. All the “but are we allowed to help them?” All of that, preceded and followed by the deaths, the beatings, the abandonments, and so on. Then, nowhere at all on the radar screen: the endless, endless, endless treks from one governmental service to another. The endless stream of fees for ID photos, for the right to obtain a document, for the right to deposit a document, for the right to work instead of begging.

The family is under an eviction notice. With no revenues – zilch, I said – where will they find a place to stay?

On Monday, the father should receive “as a totally exceptional measure”, the right to stay with his family while his wife undergoes treatment. The right to stay, hopefully, will also give him the right to work.

This is not a diatribe against photographers. They do their job when they record the bodies washed ashore or the people handing out bottled water to refugees forced to walk on, walk on, walk on.

This is not a diatribe, period. This is a search for the right words. This morning, weariness is one of them.


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