Sunday, 15 June 2008
"like a dead man"
Just at the moment, I'm unable to post as frequently as I would wish. But I ask anyone visiting my blog to read Mark Haddon's article in today's Observer in full. He's writing about the treatment of refugees in Britain. I thought I knew enough about this subject, but his account of human beings denied life-saving medical treatment, parents and children forbidden from meeting, and brutal deportation procedures makes me feel sick and angry. And that's before I think of human beings who have been raped and tortured condemned to destitution in Britain. They are punished because they believed Britain's favourite myth of itself - that Britain cares about freedom and democracy, and defends the oppressed and persecuted.
Refugee Week starts tomorrow. There are events all over the United Kingdom. It's a good opportunity to find out the truth behind the headlines. You can find local events on-line - and there may be programmes in public libraries.
The picture shows Yarl's Wood Detention centre. In the last year for which figures are available, 1,160 children were imprisoned there. They had not committed any crime. 116 were imprisoned for more than 28 days. Because they are asylum seekers, they aren't protected by the same laws as the rest of us.
The video below illustrates one contribution made by asylum seekers to this country: the Amadeus Quartet plays Beethoven (part of the 16th string quartet).