Des images contre les clichés sur les oubliés de Calais

Dans son livre 
Des hommes vivent ici (1), 
la photographe Marion Osmont raconte le quotidien des migrants le long du littoral de la 
Manche, dix ans après 
la fermeture du camp de Sangatte. Un travail
 plein d’humanité 
et de dignité.

calais_m

Un grand hangar vide. Au loin, un groupe d’hommes. Sept ou huit Africains, assis ou debout autour d’une table, jouent aux cartes. Un clair-obscur d’humanité au milieu du néant. « Je suis contente d’avoir pu prendre cette image, raconte son auteure, la photographe Marion Osmont. Berlusconi, le passeur (en capuche – NDLR), m’a dit “Tu fais ce que tu veux”, cet état de grâce a duré trois secondes. Cette image montre l’attente d’une journée ordinaire. Il ne se passe rien. »

Pendant plus de deux ans, Marion Osmont a photographié la vie quotidienne des migrants de Calais. Elle publie ces photos dans un livre au titre éloquent Des hommes vivent ici. D’une grande sobriété, ses images montrent la vie dans le dépouillement : la préparation du feu, la cuisine, les nuits dans le squat, l’ennui, le linge qui sèche sur un arbre, la traque, le froid, la peur. Loin des clichés vus et revus sur les migrants de Calais, les photos de Marion Osmont sont remplies d’humanité et de dignité.

« On parle trop souvent d’eux et de nous »

Son travail est le résultat d’une démarche mûrement réfléchie. « On parle trop souvent d’eux et de nous. Je ne voulais surtout pas ça. Je pense que beaucoup de gens, s’ils savaient ce qu’il se passe à Calais, ne trouveraient pas ça normal. J’ai donc travaillé à créer de l’empathie. » MarionOsmontcouv

Pour cela, la photographe s’attache à suivre deux migrants « au plus près », Ammanuel et Haroon. Les deux hommes ne se laissent pas simplement photographier, ils sont des acteurs à part entière de la démarche du livre. « Ils m’ont montré des lieux, des campements, m’ont raconté leurs parcours. Ce n’était pas facile pour eux, mais il leur paraissait important que leur histoire soit connue. Pour que ça puisse provoquer des changements. »

Deux migrants suivis au quotidien

Marion Osmont attend quelques semaines après le démantèlement de la jungle pachtoune en septembre 2009 pour commencer son travail. « Tous les migrants étaient revenus, il fallait montrer que cette opération n’avait servi à rien. » Parisienne, elle passe ses week-ends à Calais pour suivre ces deux migrants qui ne sont pas « de passage », contrairement à ce que prétendent les ministres de l’Immigration de Nicolas Sarkozy. Tous les deux demandeurs d’asile, ils attendent la réponse de l’Office français des réfugiés (Ofpra) dans le plus total dénuement.

Des hommes vivent ici montre la vie des migrants en plan large. « C’est une forme de respect, dit-elle. Ils sont sous pression en permanence, les flics les réveillent toutes les nuits, les journalistes peuvent être parfois intrusifs. Je voulais des photos assez douces. » Exclues donc les images de la distribution, où l’on voit les migrants dans les files d’attente ou manger sur un bout de trottoir. Pendant longtemps, la photographe s’est aussi refusée à immortaliser ces séances durant lesquelles les migrants se brûlent les doigts pour échapper aux renvois vers d’autres pays d’Europe.

Trajet décomposé

Dans cette vie quotidienne calaisienne, la police est omniprésente. Dès l’aube, lorsqu’elle intervient dans les squats pour arrêter les migrants. Dans les évacuations de campements ou les destructions de squats. À chaque fois, il faut trouver un nouvel endroit où dormir, toujours plus loin, plus caché. Dans la série de photos Chez Haroon, Marion Osmont décompose le trajet pour rejoindre la cachette du Soudanais : « Traverser un hangar / se glisser dans un trou / longer un tunnel aménagé sous le sol / passer un premier mur / marcher le long d’un corridor à travers ronces / passer un deuxième mur / marcher sur un toit / passer par une fenêtre cassée / monter un escalier défoncé. » Délogé, Haroon devra s’installer encore plus loin…

Aujourd’hui, Haroon et Ammanuel, tous deux déboutés du droit d’asile après des années d’attente, sont partis vers d’autres horizons. « Je les imagine quelque part en Europe, à la rue», dit Marion Osmont. Encore plus brisés que lors de leur arrivée à Calais, il y a quelques années. « Il était encore temps de les aider alors. Avec des soins psychologiques, peut-être qu’ils auraient pu se récupérer. C’est un immense gâchis. » Aujourd’hui, environ 300 migrants survivent à Calais même. Quelque 500 autres s’éparpillent dans des petits campements le long du littoral. Dans des conditions toujours plus précaires.

(1) Des hommes vivent ici, de Marion Osmont. Éditions Images plurielles, 25 euros, avec le soutien de Médecins du Monde et de Amnesty International.

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