National Geographic : 2002 Jan
The immigrants-some two million legal and an estimated 500,000 illegal each year are drawn by Europe's prosperity and by the basic human rights that all EU nations guaran tee. Since many of the refugees know some English, Britain tends to be a popular destina tion. That explains why more than a thousand people every month knock on the door of a massive corrugated-metal warehouse on a hill side in Sangatte, France, just outside the port of Calais. By day the migrants live at the refugee center the Red Cross operates in the ware house. By night they search for a trucker or ferry captain who will secrete them across the English Channel. From that French hilltop the immigrants can see the white cliffs of Dover beckoning them on the horizon. Among those staring westward one Sunday morning last spring was Ali Farooq, a father of three from Kabul who had a silvery gray beard and a badly wrinkled yellow sweater. "A few months ago," he told me in a voice etched with sadness, "my brother was dis appeared by the Taliban. Someone warned me: They were coming next for me. I found a qachaqbar[a smuggler] and paid him $500, American money. Early S in the morning, in darkness, I T.R. Reid ist got in a truck with beans and multimedia j plums, and we left Afghanistan. I the new Euro rode two and a half months; many geographic.c trucks, one boat. I have $430 left, AOL Keyword I tou ou >pe ;on I: American money, and I am looking now for a qachaqbar to get me to England. There I hope to find work. I hope to find peace." I gave Mr. Farooq my phone number months ago, when I met him, and asked him to call me when he arrived in London. I haven't heard from him yet. Still, I'm assuming the best: He has a new home now in Europe, and he has found peace. Because the new Europe, with its countless interconnections, is all about peace. I was reminded of that when I was visit ing those heartbreaking cemeteries in Flanders fields and ran into a chipper 78-year-old war veteran named Guy Bracq. A natty, white-haired Belgian in a blue blaz er with a red silk handkerchief poking up from the pocket, Mr. Bracq told me that his father had fought in two battles at Ypres in World War I. In World War II it was his turn; he entered the Belgian resistance, was jailed by the Nazis, and freed after the Allied landings on D Day. Then he joined a British Army artillery unit to help drive the enemy from his home land. But all that, he said, "is only history." "For centuries people have been trying to build one Europe," he told me. "Napoleon tried to build a Europe, through force. Hitler tried it, through force. Now rguide on a it is up to us-and we are doing it rney through this time by our own choice. If we at national can build a single Europe, there m/ngm/0201. will not be war anymore. At least, JatGeoMag I hope so." 1 big historical questions of the new century."