Winter storms and the snow flying
Razor wire and the gulls crying
Cross the water or die trying
This chorus from ‘Die Trying’, a recent song by New Model Army, haunted me throughout my reading of this book, not least when Briggs repeatedly alludes to the idea that “there is never a fate worse than trying again” (p.139). The song relates to the Calais ‘Jungle’, mentioned briefly by Briggs and the source of this particular observation, but it could apply equally to various routes across the Mediterranean and, indeed, if the reference to water is removed, to many other borders that illegal migrants embroiled in the ‘business of misery’ may be striving to cross. Migrants are desperate to reach their ‘promised land’ by any means and at any length.