World-famous British artist Banksy made a bold statement about refugees in his latest artwork depicting Steve Jobs, the visionary CEO and cofounder of Apple, spray painted on a wall near “The Jungle” refugee camp outside the port city of Calais in northern France. Simply titled “the son of a migrant from Syria” on his website, a close-up of Jobs’s face adorns the homepage. Jobs was the biological son of Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian who migrated to the U.S. from Homs.
Banksy’s depiction of Jobs as a refugee, carrying a duffle bag in one hand and what appears to be an early model of an Apple computer in the other, is a stark reminder not to judge refugees based on preconceived, racist notions about who you think they are, or what their capabilities are, for one individual could end up changing our world in inconceivable ways.
Reportedly, the Jobs piece has garnered so much notoriety some of the refugees have taken to covering up the image attempting to profit off the artwork. Reportedly, a crew from RT arrived to document Banksy’s project and were charged a fee for a viewing:
When an RT crew approached the wall, refugees quickly covered the graffiti with a cloth. “We are guarding this area,” they told RT’s Polly Boyko.
“Guys, you don’t own this. I’m a journalist, and it’s my job,” the reporter said.
Would you care to guess the refugees’ answer?
Yes, bet this was your first option: “Pay money – we’ll show you.”
Banksy’s Dismaland art exhibit/”bemusement” park, created by 58 global artists, originally opened in the UK last summer. It’s since been broken down with sections transferred to Calais’s Jungle camp, transformed into shelters for asylum seekers. Since September twelve dwellings, a community area and children’s park have been completed.
Banksy’s website features more refugee themed street art, one titled “Calais town centre“. A closeup posted in this tweet:
We’re not all in the same boat – Calais France. pic.twitter.com/aOrwa83QNH
— banksy (@thereaIbanksy) December 14, 2015
Calais lies across the English Channel from Folkestone, near Dover, the primary crossing point between France and England via the Channel Tunnel. Reportedly 6,000 migrants are currently living in Jungle camp, many trying to reach the UK, a desirable destination for refugees because the UK has pledged to resettle 20,000 refugees over the next five years. But according to the Independent the British government is “only taking asylum seekers from UN camps in countries surrounding Syria, and not from “hotspots” like Calais.”
Local news La Voix Du Nord (The voice of the North) reported yesterday, on December 17, hundreds of refugees storming a road leading to the Channel Tunnel crossing attempting to hitch rides on lorries heading to the UK, causing traffic to come to a standstill. Police used tear gas to disperse them.
A video from Jungle camp: