At the debriefing after yesterday’s grillings at the tribunal, we repeated the same thing, over and over: a harsh line of questioning does not mean the decision will be negative.
I admit this was akin to whistling in the wind. As experienced yesterday, the mood and the prevailing political stance reverses the order of priorities: refugees become possible informants on smugglers, period. Illegalities in the procedures used against them? You must be joking – our laws must protect us, not them. In some instances, the attitude is harsher still: were it not for these annoying refugees we wouldn’t be fighting against the smugglers leading the infiltrators into our wonderful country. Therefore, refugees are the source of all our woes.
The message was driven home out on the street where the sidewalks were filled with (pale-skinned) people heading off to the weekend. I was walking toward the car with two of the young men. Seeing them, a woman stalled, eyes frozen in panic. Here they were! The invaders, the rapists, the murderers, the…the…
I said “pardon, Madame,” as in: “Excuse me kindly, you’re blocking the way.” She looked at me – ah, a pale-face – and landed back on planet Earth.
These are not gentle times for strangers. Yet another photo drove the message home yesterday: two men, stronger than the other people thronged against the barbed wire, climbed over the others to reach the other side. The weaklings such as women with small children, shoved way way back in the jostling. Why? Because at the Austrian border,the admission quota on that day was eighty (80) people. Ergo, shove or fall back.
We laughed too, at the debriefing last night. About the fabulous job one of the boys would develop in his country of origin. Travel advisor, as in: here’s why you shouldn’t cross the treacherous waters. Of course, all the official nastiness is geared toward that aim too: shoving back as many people as possible so they can tell others the trip isn’t worth all the pain and all the losses of friends who straggled and were left to die in the desert; or shot by juiced-up and trigger-happy Jihadists; or drowned, be it full fathom five, or in a puddle-worth of water.
Court decisions expected for all four in three weeks’ time. Meanwhile, business as usual, as in: studying French and Math, as much as possible. Whatever happens next for them, skills acquired serve, eventually.
*most buildings in Toulouse are made of bricks of a tawny pink. The city seems to glow when the sun slips down toward the horizon.