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“Jungala” community radio station unites refugees in Calais, France

They call the camp “The Jungle.” It is a refugee zone on the northern edge of Calais, France. Around 6,000 migrants have streamed into the center of late. As this rough map of the area (below right) indicates, many are coming from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and various Kurdish regions. They also migrate in from countries in North Africa, such as Mauritania.

These people often do not have much in common besides their refugee status, but they do have a ramshackle community radio station that calls itself “Jungala.” How did the operation get its name? Apparently one of the station’s youngest programmers came up with the moniker, a 12-year-old girl. “The jungle is where animals and insects sleep and we are not animals” she explains on Jungala’s GoFundMe page. “La” means “No” in Arabic. Therefore the name “Junga-La” means  “Jungle No.”

The operation’s website doesn’t say much about itself except the following:

“We live in a refugee camp in Calais.

Some people call it the ‘Jungle’.

We make radio programmes.”

Who is running this operation? A profile of the station published by the Christian Science Monitor doesn’t identify any full names, but a programmer who calls himself “Alpha” told the Monitor that around 30 people were involved. They publish their “hope shows” on a SoundCloud page.

One of the latest followed British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn touring the camps at Calais and nearby Dunkirk.

“I’m very impressed with the way you are working together,” Corbyn declared at the end of the tour. “I was totally shocked by the conditions in Dunkirk. I’ve been to many refugee camps in many parts of the world, and that’s the worst I’ve ever seen, anywhere. It’s shocking.”

Here’s a map of the strip of northern France that encompasses both Dunkirk and Calais.

Northern France

And here’s a photo of “The Jungle” from Jungala’s GoFundMe page.

The Jungle, Calais

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