Entrepreneurial migrants in Calais are taking a leaf out of the late Steve Job’s book, and are charging visitors to the Jungle camp €20 to view a mural of the technology tycoon, painted by world-famous graffiti artist Banksy.
Around 7,000 migrants are now camped just outside Calais, awaiting opportunities to stow aboard lorries making the cross-Channel trip into England. But as the camp has grown, so have opportunities for leisure and for money-making.
The Jungle already boasts a library, nightclub, restaurants and, over the summer, a crash course in the art of fine dining, but now it has something of a makeshift art gallery, in the form of a mural by Banksy portraying Steve Jobs, founder of the Apple empire, as a migrant carrying one of his early computers and a sack of belongings.
Calais council has vowed to preserve the mural by covering it with a transparent plastic sheet to protect it from the rain and from vandalism, but the migrants have gone one step further, and are carefully guarding the mural, charging visitors €20 (£13) a time to view it. They are open to negotiation however, agreeing on a reduced price of seven euros for some reporters following a bout of haggling, the Express has reported.
While at the camp, Banksy also made a number of other murals, including one based on Theodore Gericault’s famous painting ‘Raft of the Medusa’, but depicting migrants waving towards a luxury yacht. It is not clear whether those are also being charged for.
On his website, the British artist said of his latest mural: “We’re often led to believe migration is a drain on the country’s resources, but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant.
“Apple is the world’s most profitable company, it pays over seven billion dollars a year in taxes – and it only exists because they allowed in a young man from Homs.”
In recent days, Job’s ancestry has been the subject of fierce debate, as a number of liberals strove to claim that he was “Syrian” by dint of his parentage, ignoring the fact that he was born and raised in America.
“[T]he whole world seems to be on a “Steve Jobs Was Syrian” kick at the moment – almost as if this were planned,” Breitbart London’s Raheem Kassam has noted.
“[The] assertion relies on forcing the children of immigrants to maintain their parents’ country of origin as a national identifier. It also flies in the face of the ideas of integration and assimilation.
“Jobs’s background is complex, and yes, his biological father was in fact a Syrian from Homs.
“But what people like Banksy – the self-aggrandising artist who painted Mr. Jobs as a Syrian refugee in the Calais migrant camp this week – won’t tell you, is that Mr. Jobs’s biological father was in fact the son of a millionaire, who moved to the United States not out of necessity, and certainly not out of persecution.
“He was an economic migrant – not a refugee – evidenced by the fact that he later returned to Syria with the intent of joining the country’s diplomatic corps.”