The street artist Banksy has taken a swipe at French authorities for their handling of the migrant crisis in Calais, the new artwork created by Banksy has appeared opposite the French Embassy.
The mural has been up since Sunday morning, criticising the use of tear gas on refugees in the Calais “Jungle” by depicting Les Misérables’ Cosette suffering from the riot control agent.
Alongside it is a QR code which directs to a video (below), recorded by Calais Migrant Solidarity, and shows the force and assaults carried out by the French Police, including use of tear gas, rubber bullets and concussion grenades, in attempts to evict the refugees.
The work is the latest in a series of pieces by Banksy which criticises Europe’s handling of the ongoing refugee crisis. It is a direct comment on the recent attempts by French authorities to bulldoze part of the camp in Calais – which has now been deemed unsafe – and evict about 1,500 refugees
This phrase was one of the most symbolic and unforgettable of verses that was repeated in an act of solidarity in the aftermath of the attacks on the satirical magazines headquarters.
Today, marks the anniversary of those horrific events, where 11 employees of the company were killed, plus a policeman, and then 5 more over the next two days.
The deadliest attack on French soil for 50 years, at the time, marked the start of a kind of ‘new era’. A time where hatred began to stir and fear was beginning to creep in. And perhaps for the first time, the values of the west were being undermined by Islamist extremists.
However, there was something different about this attack. And something particularly different in comparison to the Paris attacks in November. Usually, it seems when a terrorist attack is carried out, the victims are not specific and the violence is indiscriminate. Yet, there was a specific purpose to this act, to seek out and kill those who publicly defame the image of Islam and the Prophet, in this case in the form of satire. The attackers, in their eyes, were protecting their faith.
Since then it has been ISIS who have sprung into their step and now dominate international affairs, a year on from those attacks, and it seems to me that it is this new age of extremists who have emerged stronger and more defiant, and not the rest of the international community and the West.