Sunday, 26 June 2022

Unravelling the discord


Our society is built on fear and cruelty 

A labyrinth of unreason and illusion.

Rivers of inequality and injustice 

It's drums and rhythms beating out daily.

Leaving no hug of warmth or care

That leaves people on the streets abandoned .

Defeated and broken, out of their minds

No serenity, lives falling endlessly apart 

Stained by their own piss and vomit

Freezing to death as others walk on by 

Like they simply don't exist 

Others unable to hear their silent screams

The world so fucked up, minds disconnected 

As politicians with cunning cruelty 

No integrity, empathy, respect, morality

Crush all those looking for ways to cope

Asylum seekers, refugees escaping persecution

Seeking refuge, safe routes and harbours

Their survival left hanging by a rope

Humans taught to marginalise and hate others 

Allowing negativity to spread across the land 

As they distort and  destroy, life already fragile 

Spitting poison against a public already tired

I spy though a thousand hopes of escape 

A future unwritten beyond the insecurity of today

Time to find an exit, overcome all of this

Reaching out, for new ways of feeling

Keeping connected, finding some healing

Swimming against currents of unreason

Seeing the world through a different lens

Where beacons of light lend a helping hand

Hearts of kindness, dancing with strangers

Life forces of energy, cancelling conditioning 

Planting forests of cooperation, uprooting insanity

Inaugurating a new era, changing perception.

Regenerating the world, with revolution of mind

Breaking the chains of disorder and bitterness 

Erasing the conundrums, destroying minefields

Numbing the pain. the torment and anxiety  

The blindness of indifference, the sap of darkness 

Removing the emptiness that consumes souls 

Finding hope, vibratons of resistance

Beyond the unyeilding edges of chaos  

Reaching the unreachable, bending the unbendable  

Defying the turbulent storm, delivering winds of change.

Monday, 20 June 2022

World Refugee Day 2022 : Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to seek safety


Today is World Refugee Day, and sadly the number of displaced people worldwide is at an all-time high.No one is born a refugee, but everyone can forcedly become displaced from their home for many different reasons: war, poverty, famine, violence and natural disasters are among them. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, “The international community is failing to prevent violence, persecution and human rights violations, which continue to drive people from their homes. In addition, the effects of climate change are exacerbating existing vulnerabilities in many areas.
World Refugee Day has been marked on 20 June, ever since the UN General Assembly, on 4 December 2000, adopted resolution 55/76 where it noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of  Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June.
The annual commemoration is marked by a variety of events in over 100 countries, involving government officials, aid workers, celebrities, civilians and the forcibly displaced themselves.
World Refugee Day celebrates the sacrifice and courage of millions of people who were forced by conflict, persecution or natural disasters to leave their homes and countries to safeguard their families and ensure their survival and  focuses on the right to seek safety, including safe borders, not forcing anyone back if doing so would jeopardize their life or freedom and the right to non-discriminatory, humane treatment. It is worth acknowledging their plight, the causes that contribute to this human migration and tragedy, and the response of the world community.
Refugees leave everything behind, including their livelihoods and professions, and begin a new life in new places, sometimes as close as a few kilometres across the border, where their homeland remains on the horizon, a stark reminder of a home they may never see again.
World Refugee Day 2022 Theme is : “Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to seek safety.   
Whoever they are, people forced to flee should be treated with dignity. Anyone can seek protection, regardless of who they are or what they believe. It is non-negotiable: seeking safety is a human right.
Wherever they come from, people forced to flee should be welcomed. Refugees come from all over the globe. To get out of harm’s way, they might take a plane, a boat, or travel on foot. What remains universal is the right to seek safety.
Whenever people are forced to flee, they have a right to be protected. Whatever the threat.whether it be  war, violence, persecution, everyone deserves protection. Everyone has a right to be safe.
World Refugee Day is a chance to recognise and celebrate the strength and resilience of refugees and people seeking asylum in rebuilding their lives and the incredible contribution they make to our communities and an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight.
It also  underscores the precious right to seek asylum, a fundamental human right, which is clearly needed in our world today. With  discrimination of asylum seekers in the UK and elsewhere, we need this message more than ever. .
This World Refugee Day as a result of an increase in conflicts and the impacts of climate change in the past decade, globally the refugee population has more than doubled, meaning the refugee crisis is getting worse. According to the UNHCR, an unprecedented 100 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes.This is an increase of 20 million over the past two years alone, among them are more than 26.4 million refugees, which is the  largest number in known history, where there’s this many people that have been forcibly displaced.
As if that figure wasn’t worrying enough, almost 40 per cent of that figure are children, of whom 21 million are classified as starving. And in some parts of the world, this is leading to unimaginable situations such as children going without food for days or even weeks and mothers having to decide which of their children will eat and which won’t.
The United Nations also says the number of countries affected by conflict is double what it was a decade ago. An obvious driver of the increase is the conflict in Ukraine, from where seven million people have fled. However, the biggest contributor to the number of displaced people continues to be Syria, where a staggering 30 million are displaced inside the country and another five million abroad. In Afghanistan, more than six million people are forcibly displaced.
And there is a very complex crisis in the Sahel region in Africa – a wide band of countries including Burkina Faso, Somalia and Sudan that are mostly in conflict and are experiencing years of heatwaves, droughts and crop failures that sees children and families not forgetting severe flooding in Bangladesh, India and South Africa.and the ongoing crisis of Yemen,
Ongoing conflict and the impact of COVID-19  is forcing more and more people to flee their homes, and together with the crisis of climate change, which is fuelled  by rich countries  is reinforcing underlying vulnerabilities. Alongside the trauma of the journey itself, of fleeing violence and conflict, after undertaking dangerous perilous journeys there is also the trauma of trying to settle in a new place. The scale of a refugee crisis like this can be difficult to comprehend unless one has experienced it firsthand. 
Days like World Refugee Day can at least help raise awareness about the suffering so many people face around the world and help shine a light on the right, needs and dreams of refugees, helping to mobilize political will and resources so refugees can not only survive ut also thrive. While it is importnt to protect and improve the lives of refugees every single day, international days like World Refugee Day help focus gloal attention on the plight of thosefleeing conflict or persecution. Many activities held on World Refugee Day create opportunities to support refugees. 
The response of neighbouring countries to the flood of refugees from Ukraine has been heartening, but   more often, refugees from other regions are demonised and shut out with no access to medical care, no right to work, and no social safety nets. Instead of offering them the protection that they need, basic human universal human rights, which is seeking asylum, instead they’re actually penalised for it. We should not be detaining or deporting people for seeking sanctuary. Being a refugee is not a crime.
Together, we should be creating an outpouring of compassion and show individual refugees that they are welcome here. but the persecution of refugees continues, whipped up by forces of racism spreading fear and misinformation. The EU Referendum campaign recently sadly contributed to this, unleashing some of the most heinious manifestations of racism we have seen in generations. Those on the far right across Europe are also eager to further scapegoat immigrants.
As continuing tragedy unfolds, some of the countries most able to help are shutting their gates to people seeking asylum. Borders are closing, pushbacks are increasing, and hostility is rising. Avenues for legitimate escape are fading away. 
Since the beginnings of civilization, we have treated refugees as deserving of our protection. Whatever our differences, we have to recognise our fundamental human obligation to shelter those fleeing from war and persecution. It is time to stop hiding behind misleading words. Richer nations must acknowledge refugees for the victims they are, fleeing from wars they were unable to prevent or stop. History has shown us that doing the right thing for victims of war and persecution engenders goodwill and prosperity for generations. And it fosters stability in the long run.
Meanwhile there is outrage as Priti Patel’s Home Office is planning to electronically tag asylum-seekers arriving in the UK, as though they were criminals (or people accused of criminality) rather than refugees from persecution.  The decision has been likened to “victim blaming”  although the Home Office itself is twisting language to claim the trial will examine whether electronic monitoring can help maintain regular contact with migrants and help to progress their claims. 
Despite the current rhetoric of the UK government, the UK hosts fewer refugees and has fewer applications for asylum than most European countries including France, Italy and Germany. In the year up to March 2022, 55,146 applications for asylum were made in the UK, compared to 90,000 in France. The number of people seeking asylum in the UK has risen steadily since 2010, but the UK ranks 14th in Europe for the number of applications for asylum in 2021. Small numbers of people are resettled in the UK through resettlement schemes such as the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme or via sponsorship, e.g. 'Homes for Ukraine' . The only way to claim asylum is to be on UK soil and thus, for most refugees the only way to get here is to take irregular routes such as crossing the English Channel in small boats or climbing on the back of lorries (which have decreased significantly because of a combination of factors including the pandemic and Brexit).  Most people arriving by irregular methods are recognised as refugees, so it is disingenuous for Priti Patel to describe these people as ‘illegal migrants’.  Under the Refugee Convention (which the UK ratified in 1951), it is not illegal to leave your country of origin and travel to another country to seek sanctuary.  The Refugee Convention does not state that a person must claim asylum in the first ‘safe’ country, and the host country must not penalise a person for entering the country illegally (Article 31) nor return someone or send them to a country where their life or freedom would be at risk or there is a real risk of torture or inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 33 Refugee Convention and Article 3 European Convention of Human Rights).
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which the UK and Rwanda signed in April 2022 is part of the government’s  ongoing hostile environment agenda. But the inhumane controversial deal with Rwanda, worth an initial £120 million, has drawn widespread criticism from national NGOs, human rights organisations, UNHCR, trade unions, Church Leaders and politicians from all colours of the political spectrum, considered by many to be unspeakably cruel.
The Tory government has tried to justify the deal saying that it will deter irregular entry to the UK and will break the ‘business model’ of smugglers and traffickers. But the government has not produced any evidence that sending people 4,000 miles away will work.  The Australian model of offshoring asylum processing did not work and the camps in Papua New Guinea were eventually closed, costing AUS $6 Billion. The Home Office’s top civil servant, Matthew Rycroft has said that it will not have the desired deterrent effect.
Under the MoU, the UK will ‘relocate’ people on a one-way ticket to Rwanda for processing claims, and if recognised as refugees, they will stay in Rwanda and will not be allowed to return to the UK.  The deal is unlawful because it undermines key international obligations on refugee protection and violates fundamental human rights (UNHCR). There is evidence of widespread human rights abuse in Rwanda but the UK government argue that Rwanda is a safe third country which respects human rights and has a functioning asylum system.
Yet as recently as January 2021, the UK government did not consider Rwanda a ‘safe third country’ and condemned its human rights record highlighting the use of extrajudicial killings by state police, arbitrary detention, torture of people who oppose the government and the continued persecution of the LGBTI community. 
The Home Office Country Policy and Information (CPIN) Report on Rwanda reveals that asylum claims can take years and points to a high rejection rate of individual asylum claims (with little access to legal support and interpreters), especially from people claiming persecution on grounds of sexuality or GBV.  There is nothing either in the MoU to stop Rwanda sending ‘relocated persons’ to another country where their lives might be at risk.
At the start of June, around 100 people received ‘removal notices’ and were told they would be flown to Rwanda on 14 June 2022.  A Judicial Review application was made on 10 June with an emergency injunction to remove individuals from the flight. By 10pm on the 14 June, no one was left on the flight to Rwanda, due to withdrawal of removal notices, an interim measure thankfully granted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and injunctions granted by the Court of Appeal late last Tuesday evening.
Although the individuals on this flight have interim relief from removal, the government are not deterred and Priti Patel has announced that the next group of asylum seekers are receiving their notices and another flight is being arranged as she continues to believe that the policy if lawful. But, crucially, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have not yet decided whether the Rwandan policy is lawful and will only consider that question at the substantive (full) judicial review hearing in July 2022.
In the UK, Refugee Week is a wide-ranging programme of events that celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary and most importantly show our solidarity. Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day. it is a growing global movement . The 2022 theme for Refugee Week and World Refugee Week is ‘Healing.’ 
Proposals by charities such as the Refugee Council and Safe Passage, which include humanitarian visas, family reunion routes, sponsorship or expanded resettlement schemes would ensure people do not have to resort to smuggling networks to undertake dangerous journeys, and would break the ‘business model’ of smuggling and start the journey to healing. 
World Refugee Day and Refugee Week belongs to all our brothers and sisters in humankind who have been forced out of their lands and homes.Today and tomorrow we must continue to stand up for refugees and it is our duty to ensure that they have access to essential basic services and are treated with respect and dignity.If policies that promote the health of refugees and all people on the move are put in place, refugees and migrants can contribute to the full and flourishing life of a country and to supporting the economy, culture and a diverse society.
I hope that on World Refugee Day, people can spend a moment to acknowledge  other humans' facing displacement and suffering, and find a way to accompany others in their community who find themselves away from home.We need to build bridges not more obstacles and borders. Refugees have suffered unimaginable loss, and yet they are filled with the strength to triumph over adversity. The refugee crisis is a human crisis. Their story is our story. We are all human,and together, we can build a better world. 
We all have an important role in ensuring that refugees have the support they need and it's crucial that we start addressing the global issues that force desperate  people to seek refuge in the first place. When we work together, we can help even more people feel safe from conflict, stay healthy and forge ahead to a better, stronger future.
Instead of being detained, vilified and denied, refugees when harbour and sanctuary, should be given a warm welcome. Asylum not barbed wire. Protection not bombs.Dignity not criminalisation. Given respite,instead of grief and pain. 
 However, on the 28th June, the UK's interpretation of the definition of a refugee and the rights to which every person who is a refugee is entitled will significantly change from that required by the Refugee Convention. It means the UK will no longer respect its shared obligations under international law. This is dangerously undermining what our country, not only agreed to, but helped draft and negotiate in 1951. These changes are lawless and reckless. Its consequences directly contradict our values of shared humanity and compassion and have been rightly rejected by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, leading lawyers, and former senior judges in the UK. Wherever we come from, we all have the right to be safe. But Priti Patel and the government don't think so.
Now more than ever, we need to stop our Government's cruel treatment of refugees and people seeking safety, and help create a system that protects refugees, instead of punishing them. Refugee Rights are human rights. Migrant Rights are human rights. Asylum seekers' rights are human rights. All displaced peoples' rights are human rights.Personally I believe that people should be able to move around the globe just like capital can. No borders are necessary.

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Commemorating the 1976 Soweto Uprising

On the  bright  morning of June 16, 1976, thousands of students from the African township of Soweto, outside Johannesburg, gathered at their schools to participate in a student-organized protest demonstration  that had been carefully planned by the Soweto Students' Representative Council's (SSRC) Action Committee and support from the Black Consciousness Movement and teachers from Soweto .
The immediate cause for the June 16, 1976, march was student opposition to a decree issued by the Bantu Education Department of the  South African apartheid government to start enforcing a long-forgotten law requiring that secondary education be conducted only in Afrikaans, rather than in English or any of the native African languages. This was bitterly resented by both teachers and students. Many teachers themselves did not speak Afrikaans (an extremely difficult language to learn) and so could not teach the students. The students resented being forced to learn the language of their oppressors and saw it as a direct attempt to cut them off from their original culture. Moreover, lacking fluency in Afrikaans, African teachers and pupils experienced first-hand the negative impact of the new policy in the classroom.  By 1976, several teachers were ignoring the directive and were fired, prompting staff resignations. Tensions grew. Students refused to write papers in Afrikaans and were expelled. The students of one school after another went on strike. The government response was to simply shut the down schools and expel the striking students
The protestors in Soweto carried signs that read, 'Down with Afrikaans' and ' Bantu Education – to Hell with it '  while others sang freedom songs as the unarmed crowd of schoolchildren marched towards Orlando soccer stadium where a peaceful rally had been planned. The march swelled to more than 10,000 students.

En route to the stadium, approximately fifty policemen stopped the students and tried to turn them back. At first, the security forces tried unsuccessfully to disperse the students with tear gas and warning shots. Then policemen fired directly into the crowd of demonstrators.  Students started screaming and running, as more gunshots were being fired, and the police let out their dogs on children who responded by stoning the dogs.  The police then began to shoot directly at the children. 
One of the first students to be shot dead was 13 year old Hector Pieterson. Pieterson was picked up by Mbuyisa Makhubo (an 18-year-old schoolboy) who together with Hector's sister, Antoinette (then 17), ran towards the car of photographer Sam Nzima, who took a picture of them. The picture (at the top of this post) and Hector  became an iconic symbol of the Soweto uprisings. and was seen  worldwide. 
The police patrolled the streets throughout the night as the students came under intense attack.  Emergency clinics were swamped with injured and bloody children.The police requested the hospitals to provide a list of all victims with bullet wounds but the doctors refused to create the list, and  recorded bullet wounds as abscesses.
The shootings in Soweto sparked a massive uprising that soon spread to more than 100 urban and rural areas throughout South Africa. It is estimated that when the police and the army responded to the demonstrators by firing tear gas and then bullets, between 400 and 700 people, many of them children, were killed with thousands wounded. That was followed by a cycle of protest and repression that reverberated across the country.
To understand the context within which the uprising occurred, it is important to note that at the time, South Africa’s government had a long-standing policy of apartheid , which called for racial segregation and sanctioned political and economic discrimination against nonwhites in the country. Furthermore, the issue of language was a sensitive one. Black Africans demanded recognition of their own languages and cultures. While there was always some opposition to apartheid within the country, the government was powerful enough to suppress virtually all criticism.
The Soweto uprising also came after a decade of relative calm in the resistance movement in the wake of massive government repression in the 1960s. Yet during this "silent decade,' a new sense of resistance had been brewing. In 1969, black students, led by Steve Biko (among others), formed the  South African Student''s Organisation (SASO). Stressing black pride, self-reliance, and psychological liberation, the Black Consciousness Movement in the 1970s became an influential force in the townships, including Soweto. The political context of the 1976 uprisings must also take into account the effects of workers' strikes in Durban in 1973; the liberation of neighboring Angola and Mozambique in 1975; and increases in student enrollment in black schools, which led to the emergence of a new collective youth identity forged by common experiences and grievances (Bonner).
16 June 1976 was a major turning point in South African history. The protests by Soweto school children on that day marked the end of submissiveness on the part of the black population of South Africa and the beginning of a new militancy in the struggle against apartheid.The firing of teachers in Soweto who refused to implement the Afrikaans language policy exacerbated the frustration of middle school students, who then organized small demonstrations and class boycotts as early as March, April and May.
On the days following 16 June, about 400 white South African students (in the spirit of solidarity) from the University of the Witwatersrand marched through the city of  Johannesburg in protest of the massacre of black secondary school students and condemning the police brutality. South African black trade labourers laid down their tools and joined the demonstrations. Most of the black youths in townships expressed their frustrations and anger by burning down schools and any symbols of the apartheid regime. Many students were arrested, while others fled the country to join the liberation movements in exile.
Internationally, most of the anti-apartheid political partiesnon-governmental organisations (NGOs), countries and the United Nations strongly condemned the South African police’s actions in the using of maximum force that led to the massacre of the students, and images of the police firing on defenceless students led to international revulsion against apartheid in South Africa, and instigated a world-wide boycott of South Africa produce,against the regime's violence and oppressive system. The violence inflicted on this day at least  exposed the ruthless an merciless lengths the reacist apartheid forces were prepared to go to maintain a system of domination and exploitation.
Writing with dignity and suppressed rage shortly after the Uprising where so many unarmed peaceful  people, largely children and youth were shot by the apartheid state’s police and those they directed, the South African poet Mazizi Kunene (12May 1930 -11 August 2006) was resolute:

We have entered the night to tell our tale
To listen to those who have not spoken
We, who have seen our children die in the morning,
Deserve to be listened to
Nothing really matters except the grief of our children.
Their tears must be revered, their inner silence
Speaks louder than the spoken words; and all being
And all life shouts out in outrage…
There is nothing more we can fear.

South Africa would never be the same again. From 16 June 1976 onwards, South Africa's youth took centre stage. They would remain in the forefront of resistance to apartheid, alongside an increasingly powerful trade union movement, until the unbanning of political organisations in South Africa in February 1990. It also  established the leading role of the  African National Congress (ANC) against the apartheid regime and  marked the turning point in the opposition to white rule in South Africa.
June 16 is now commemorated as National Youth Day in South Africa. The public holiday commemorates the hundreds of students killed during the protests, and aims to raise awareness of the problems faced by the young community in South Africa.
Let''s never forget those that were killed in the Soweto Uprising. Lets neither forget that the scenes of the current conflict between Palestine and Israel are reminiscent of the 1976 Uprisings where we see insurgent youth in Gaza taking to the streets in a desperate attempt to regain their humanity and their land. Young people are among those leading the protests, demonstrating their frustration against the continued stifling of their hopes and dreams in their occupied land..Much like the Soweto Uprising, Palestinians have used these demonstrations as a way of regaining their agency as citizens and remind us that an apartheid system still sadly cruelly  fllourishes in our world. Like the one that was once in place in South Africa, the Apartheid system of Israel must fall too.

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Massive victory as first Rwanda detention flight stopped at 11th hour. But the fight continues.


Yesterday evening, hundreds of people gathered outside the Home Office, protesting against the government’s policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda. Moments before the protest took place, the Court of Appeal ruled that the first deportation flight would go ahead, despite the best efforts of various campaign groups.
The first plane was set to fly with 11 asylum seekers on board, down from 130 after a flurry of individual legal battles. While the government claimed the policy of removing migrants who arrive in the UK illegally will deter people from making dangerous channel crossings, campaign groups such as Care4Calais have described it as “cruel and barbaric.
However in heartwarming news and a massive victory  for all who campaigned against it the  planned flight to deport refugees to Rwanda by Priti Patel  and the toxic Tory Governmment was forced to cancel  their unlawful plans  last night, at 22.00  minutes before it was due to take off, after an intervention by European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judges ruled they face real danger of inhuman and degrading treatment there.
This is  a truly historic moment and a powerful first step  against this barbaric policy. The ECHR rarely intervenes in the legal affairs of its member countries and only does so when they believe that people's fundamental human rights are at serious risk.essential outcome for the people seeking safety. But alas this is not a permanent injunction against Rwanda deportations. The European Court of Human Rights intervened because a final decision about whether this policy is legal has yet to be made in UK courts.
This all serves to show us hown important human rghts protections are. 
We should celebrate last night as a victory for justice, but the  fight is far from the Tories say they are already planning the next flight. and are hellbent in pressing on with this inhumane and heartless plan, even if only one person was on ord, a move which would have made someone the most expensive refugee ever  by a margin of several million pounds, and today we see the Government lashing out, blaming everyone but itself for this cruel farce. In particular, it will see this as an opportunity to pursue its anti-courts, anti-rights, anti-protest agenda – continuing to attack those who hold it accountable.
In July, there will be a hearing to determine whether the Rwanda policy is lawful or not. It remains to be seen whether the Government will attempt another flight before then, as it had planned. 
It’s all the more important we continue to build and amplify resistance to the Rwanda deal from all sides. 
The  people the UK Government wants to deport came to the UK seeking sanctuary and protection..They are our responsibility. .Being an asylum seeker is not a choice. People are forced to leave their homes and risk their lives to seek safety. Currently in the UK thy face deportation to the an unknown and unsafe destination, to  country with an appalling human rights record, that they have no connection with whatsover Seeking asylum through the UK's hostile system is already traumatic enough, and the cruel Rwanda plan is the last strike to destroy what is left of asylum seekers' spirit..
The ongoing threat of removal will continue to cause human suffering, distress and chaos for desperate people who have escaped war, persecution and torture. Shockingly, those at risk include young people who have been incorrectly assessed as adults. This is having a huge impact on their mental health, with distressing reports of self-harm. Our human rights are designed to protect us from these exact situations which fundamentally threaten our safety and that would have put people at risk of serious harm had they been deported to Rwanda. 
I support free movement and equal rights for all. We as people should be trying to promote unity between all.This is what a free society encompasses, the freedom of movement, including freedom of immigration and emigration. We should support the rights and dignity and respect of immigrants and refugees, and people forced to live without status.Many people are forced to live undocumented after having their applications for asylum refused, many escaping persecution, war,  fleeing in fear, escaping danger, in search of safety, a better future. Forced to live underground, hidden lives.
We all have the right  to settle wherever we please, are we not according to the principle ' From each according to his ability, to each according to her need ' entitled  to equal access to the worlds land resources.' Immigration  laws are inherently racist, because their purpose is to exclude outsiders, and feed and legitimise racism, and in the process causes intolerable  suffering to many people.
People of the world  should all be entitled to the same universal social, political and economic rights and conditions, with or or without papers, with  the same  entitlement to the world's resources.We should at same time recognise the many valuable  contributions to society made by migrants, immigrants and refugees stretching  back centuries. Every country in the world has it's richness and diversity because of  the waves of immigration that have occurred. We should recognise the people who daily, risk everything, including their life, to leave their own country's, their family and friends, in search of a new and better life.
I see no contradiction in my support for the Palestinian people against their illegal apartheid wall, the walls  that have been created  in open air prisons in Gaza, the West Bank, are the same as any other border wall strewn with barbed wire that bleed migrants, or walls that are erected  as barriers to dignity and humanity, from Mexico, and the internment camps of Australia, to Fortress.
From the Hostile Environment to the Rwanda cash-for-humans scheme, the anti-migrant agenda  has such a devastating impact on the people affected. Instead of looking for safe and legal routes, instead of  funding peace-building, conflict prevention programmes around the world, the government are still in all their evil not giving up their plans  to send people who have come here looking for asylum to somewhere where they’re not going to be safe. If the Government truly wanted to stop people smugglers and save  lives they would give refugees visas to cross the Channel in a similar way to Ukrainians . With these visas, refugees could then claim asylum on arrival in the UK This would put people smugglers out of business straightaway.
We must continue to fight every day against the cruelty of  Patel and Johnson's hostile racist environment, who have as expected  found the judgement ' sursprising' and ' dissapointing' , this says so much about their moral fibre, to me not a grain exists, both lacking any form of coompassion or empathy for fellow human beings. 
Lets maintain our opposition to Rwanda offshore detention and deportations, scrap the Natioonality and Borders Act, while  helping to make make Britain a place where our communities our strong and open, and standing up for the rights of those seeking a safer life here, while at same time  do all we can to stop the British government and British corporations fostering conflict, poverty and inequality around the world. Solidarity is a beautiful and powerful thing.  Imagine a world free of borders, it's easy if you try, the sky has none, there is only one world. no borders are necessary, no one is illegal. Refugees are welcome here.

Monday, 13 June 2022

In Celebration of the life of William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)

The Irish poet, dramatist and mystic visionary  William Butler Yeats  was  born on this day June 13th 1865, in  Sandymount, County Dublin. He is widely considered as one of the most  foremost figures of 20th-century literature, and regarded by some critic as among the greatest poets in all English language. Yeats is also considered a significant Irish and British literary pioneer and an irrevocable figure in Irish politics, having served as a senator for two terms.
William Butler Yeats was born as the son of a famous Irish portrait painter and lawyer, John Butler Yeats. His whole family were Anglo-Irish and descended from a linen merchant, Jervis Yeats, who had served in the army of King William of Orange. Yeats’ mother, Susan Mary Pollexfen, was a member of a wealthy Anglo Irish family of County Sligo that had played a role from the end of the 17th century in controlling the economic, political, social, and cultural aspects of Ireland.
The Yeats financial life was more than okay, having been indulged in trade and shipping. Although W.B. Yeats took huge pride in being from an English descent, he was also very proud of his Irish nationality and ensured that his playwrights and poems included the Irish culture within its pages.
William spent summers at the family’s house in Connaught, where he developed a close relationship with nature. These nature experiences proved to be very important for his development as a poet. John Yeats took his wife and five children to live in England but, unable to make much of a living, he was obliged to return to Dublin in 1880. William met a number of Dublin’s literary class at his father’s studio in Dublin at which he thought of producing his first poetry and an essay on the Ulster Scottish poet Sir Samuel Ferguson. Yeats found his early aspiration and muse in the prominent novelist Mary Shelley and the works of the English poet Edmund Spenser.
Yeats belonged to the Protestant, Anglo-Irish minority that had controlled the economic, political, social, and cultural life of Ireland since at least the end of the seventeenth century. Most members of this minority considered themselves English people who merely happened to have been born in Ireland, but Yeats staunchly affirmed his Irish nationality. Although he lived in London for fourteen years of his childhood (and kept a permanent home there during the first half of his adult life).,As years passed by and Yeats’s work became more specialized, he maintained his cultural roots and he drew more andhe drew more and more inspirations from the  Irish folklore and myths (specifically the one that emerged from County Sligo).
Yeats’s in‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’  draws extensively from Irish folklore, Classical Greek mythology, and occult symbolism, intertwining those influences with Yeats’s personal experiences and expressive style to create a magical hybrid of whimsical, yet sorrowful, poetry. The poem is loosely based on the legend of Aengus, the God of Love, Poetry, and Youth, and his everlasting search for his lover. However, despite the happy resolution in the myth, Yeats’s protagonist is not afforded the same happiness; not only is he unable to join his lover, he has also grown old through the fruitless years of searching, and now waits for death, hoping that it may give him the union with his lover he so craves. A unique blend of hope and resignation, ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ bears all the trademarks of Yeats’s evocative verse.
 The Song of WanderingThe Aengus
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
Yeats interest in the mystery and the unknown was quite unhindered from an early stage in his life. One of his school acquaintances, George Russell, a fellow poet and occultist, was an influential figure in his tendencies towards that path. Together with Russell and others, Yeats founded the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. It was a society for the study and practice of magic, esoteric knowledge and with its own secret rituals and ceremonies and elaborate symbolism. Yeats’ obsession with the spiritual world infused his poetic mind he was also a member of the Theosophical Society, but he went back on his decision and left shortly.
In 1889, Yeats published The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems. Four years later, he kept shaking the literary world to its core by bringing forward his collection of essays entitled The Celtic Twilight followed in 1895 by Poems, in 1897 by The Secret Rose, and in 1899 he published his poetry collection The Wind among the Reeds.
One of Yeats’s more notable early poems, ‘The Stolen Child’ shows the extent to which he was influenced by Gaelic mythology, as well as his abiding interest in Romantic and Pre-Raphaelite verse. Narrating elegantly the attempts of a charm of fairies to persuade a boy to come away with them, ‘The Stolen Child’ is both magical and beguiling in its dreamy intensity. The refrain of the bewitching faeries is also reminiscent of the haunting siren song from Homer’s Odyssey, and its verse has often been set to contemporary music by bands like The Waterboys.
Stolen Child

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.

The Stolen Child -The Waterboys

His poem ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ was critically acclaimed by its French and English audience, who praised it for its lack of conformity to poetic standards previously established by English poets. A short, 12-line poem, it expresses the narrator’s yearnings for the peace of a place ‘far from the madding crowd’ (Thomas Gray, 1751), as opposed to the chaos of the urbane environment in which he currently lives. ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ is both an eloquent elegy to and a celebration of the bliss that tranquillity can afford.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
One of Yeats’s most famous poems, ‘He Wishes For The Clothes of Heaven’ is a passionate confession of devotion that has inspired generations of readers. The speaker of the poem is Aedh, who represents the lovelorn hero hopelessly enthralled by ‘la belle dame sans merci,’ the archetypal female, who shows little regard for him or his devotion. Eloquent in the expression of yearning and thankless passion, the poem itself has become such a powerful literary symbol that it has been quoted repeatedly in a surprising range of media, from the film Equilibrium (2002) to the song ‘Delilah,’ by The Cranberries.
He Wishes For The Clothes of Heaven
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Yeats came to maturity at the beginning of the twentieth century and his poetry stands at the turning point between the Victorian period and Modernism, the conflicting currents of which affected his poetry.
In essence, Yeats is considered a remarkable pioneer in traditional poetic forms while recognized as one of the most incredible gurus in modern verse, which unequivocally signifies the versatility in his works. As he got older in life past the youth phase, he was very influenced by aestheticism and Pre -Raphaelite art as well as the French Symbolist poets. He had a very strong admiration for the fellow English poet William Blake and developed a lifelong interest in mysticism. To Yeats, poetry was the most suitable way to examine the powerful and benevolent sources of human destiny. Yeats idiosyncratic mystical perspective drew on Hinduism, Theosophy and Hermeticism often more than Christianity, and in some instances, these allusions make his poetry difficult to grasp.
Yeats  found his first love in the year 1889 in the Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne, a young heiress who was heavily involved in Irish politics and specifically the Irish Nationalist Movement. Gonne was the one who first admired Yeats for his poetry, and in exchange, Yeats found a muse and a delicate symphony in Gonne’s presence that made her have an effect on his works and life.
In a shocking turn of events, Gonne rejected Yeats’s proposal when he offered to marry him the first time. But Yeats was relentless as he proposed to Gonne a total of three times in three consecutive years. Eventually, Yeats ditched the proposal idea and Gonne  went on to marry the Irish nationalist John MacBride. Yeats also decided to go on a lecturing tour to America and stay there for a while. His only other affair during this period was with Olivia Shakespeare, whom he met in 1896 and parted with one year later.
Though she married another man in 1903 and grew apart from Yeats (and Yeats himself was eventually married to another woman, Georgie Hyde Lees), Maaud remained a powerful figure in his poetry.
Also in 1896, he was introduced to Lady Gregory by their mutual friend Edward Martyn..She encouraged Yeats’s nationalism and convinced him to continue focusing on writing drama Although he was influenced by French Symbolism, Yeats consciously focused on an identifiably Irish content and this inclination was reinforced by his involvement with a new generation of younger and emerging Irish authors. Along with Lady Gregory, he founded the Irish Theatre, which later became the Abbey Theatre.
Having set up a name for himself, Yeats was very much welcomed by a lot of critics and literary audience.After 1910, Yeats’s dramatic art took a sharp turn toward a highly poetical, static, and esoteric style. His later plays were written for small audiences; they experiment with masks, dance, and music, and were profoundly influenced by the Japanese Noh plays.
Yeats met Georgianna (Georgie) Hyde-Lees in 1911, and soon after fell in love with her and got married in 1917. She was only 25 years old and Yeats was over 50 at the time. They had two children and named them Anne and Michael. She was a huge supporter of his work and shared his fascination with the mystics. Around this time, Yeats also bought Ballylee Castle, near Coole Park, and promptly renamed it Thoor Ballylee. It was his summer residence for much of the rest of his life until nearly his death. After his marriage, he and his wife dabbled with a form of automatic writing, Mrs Yeats, contacting a spirit guide she called “Leo Africanus.
Yeats’s poetry was adopted into a Celtic Twilight  mood in his earlier work, but soon enough it became heavily affected by the surrounding livelihood and turned into a mirror of the struggle of the classes in Britain and no longer became about the mystics. Thrown in the plethora of cultural politics, Yeats’s aristocratic pose led to an idealization of the Irish peasant and a willingness to ignore poverty and suffering. However, soon after, the emergence of a revolutionary movement from the ranks of the urban Catholic lower-middle class made him reassess his attitudes.
As the demand for the political separation of Ireland from Britain grew, Yeats became more involved with fellow nationalist literati such as Seán O’ Casey, J.M.Synge, and Padraic Colum, and Yeats—among these others—was one of those responsible for the establishment of the literary movement known as the “ Irish Literary Revival ” (otherwise known as the “Celtic Revival”). The Revival was an important uprising in the fields of literature for the Irish. The movement had a big and substantial role in the foundation of the Irish Literary Theatre in 1899. Abbey Theatre (or Dublin theatre) was then established in 1904 and It grew out of the Irish Literary Theatre. Shortly after, Yeats worked together with William and Frank Fay, two Irish brothers with theatrical experience, and Yeats’s formidable secretary Annie Elizabeth Fredericka Horniman, to establish the Irish National Theatre Society.
 In the crucial period from 1899 to 1907, he managed the theatre’s affairs, encouraged its playwrights (notably John Millington Synge), and contributed many of his own plays. Among the latter that became part of the Abbey Theatre’s repetoire  are The Land of Heart’s Desire (1894), Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902), The Hour Glass (1903), The King’s Threshold (1904), On Baile’s Strand (1905), and Deirdre (1907).
Yeats published several volumes of poetry during this period, notably Poems (1895) and The Wind Among the Reeds (1899), which are typical of his early verse in their dreamlike atmosphere and their use of Irish folklore and legend.  But in the collections In the Seven Woods (1903) and The Green Helmet (1910), Yeats slowly discarded the Pre-Rahaelit colours and rhythms of his early verse and purged it of certain Celtic and esoteric influences. The years from 1909 to 1914 mark a decisive change in his poetry. The otherworldly, ecstatic atmosphere of the early lyrics has cleared, and the poems in Responsibilities: Poems and a Play (1914) show a tightening and hardening of his verse line, a more sparse and resonant imagery, and a new directness with which Yeats confronts reality and its imperfections.
Although strongly nationalist in belief, Yeats was not able to participate in the violence of 1916 Easter Rising. He did however reflect on that violence in the following  poem.

 Easter, 1916

We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what of excessive love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse-
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly;
A terrible beauty is born.

His concern was to commemorate the individuals who suffered and died in the struggle to bring about what he calls 'A terrible beauty', and in his Nobel lecture he drew attention to the 'monstrous savagery' perpetrated on both sides of the conflict.
 In 1917 Yeats published The Wild Swans at Coole. From then onward he reached and maintained the height of his achievement—a renewal of inspiration and a perfecting of technique that are almost without parallel in the history of English poetry.
In 1922 the Free State Government appointed him senator in Dáil Éireann, He went head to head against the Catholic Church on many occasions over the subject of divorce. He imposed that the position of the non-Catholic population on such subject and many others were disregarded by the Catholic community. He feared that the Catholic attitude would run rampant and consider themselves the supreme religion in everything. During his time as a senator,Yeats warned his colleagues, “If you show that this country, southern Ireland, is going to be governed by Roman Catholic ideas and by Catholic ideas alone, you will never get the North [the Protestants] … You will put a wedge in the midst of this nation.” As his fellow senators were virtually all Catholics, they were offended by these comments.
Yeats kept on learning and perfecting his trade, and I  have  to admire anybody somebody who stays the course and improves with time. He probed right through his life, constantly and ceaselessly – whether it was Maud Gonne's hair, the cliffs of Sligo, Cú Chulainn or whatever. 
In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as the first Irishman to win this prize and be honoured for what the Nobel Committee citation described as “inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.
The Tower (1928), named after the castle he owned and had restored, is the work of a fully accomplished artist; in it, the experience of a lifetime is brought to perfection of form. Still, some of Yeats’s greatest verse was written subsequently, appearing in The Winding Stair (1929).
I am an outspoken admirer of Yeats and will forever maintain that his work stands among not only the best of Irish verse, but the best English language poetry period. It is precisely for this reason that I reject the squeaky clean image of him as many  who write  about him fail to mention is his sympathy for Fascism.
Fascism today is an ideological bogeyman, a word that conjures images of some of the most brutal regimes to ever wield an iron fist over countries and peoples; images of purges and secret police and genocide. Yeats lived at the dawn of the 20th century when Fascism had none of the grime and bloodstains that it wears now and when it seemed to many like an ascendant utopian ideology that would defend countries from the evils of modern decay and act as a bulwark against the spectre of communist regimes. 
Yeat’s closest intellectual peers, modernists such as Ezra Pound and TS Eliot, were no strangers to fascist sympathising and Pound especially was well known for his extolling the virtues of Mussolini’s fascist regime in Italy even up to the end of the second world war when the horrors of fascism had been laid bare for the world. For a  young, romantic, nationalist like Yeats, Fascism with its talk of the “national spirit” and “national myths”, would of course hold a great deal of appeal. The rituals, ceremony and elaborate symbolism so beloved of Mussolini and Hitler were reflective of and inspired by much of the same esoteric and occult work that Yeats was such a great admirer of.
Yeats found greater sympathy with the ultranationalism of fascists than he did with left wing thinkers of the time, Yeats’ political interests began with Irish nationalism and the struggle for Irish independence and that is where many  would have you believe his political thoughts ended. But at the time nationalism was on a continuum with fascism and Yeats found greater sympathy with the ultranationalism of fascists than he did with left wing thinkers of the time. Yeats lived in uncertain times and reacted to them without the benefit of our hindsight. More to the point, he managed in his poetry to find a central humanity unfettered by ideology.Unlike many of his contemporaries, including Gonne, he never expressed anti-Semitic views, and his friendship with Pound was strained by Pound’s increasing fanaticism. and thankfully Yeats  distanced himself from Nazism and fascism in the last few years of his life and kept his stances to his own in his later life,
Yeats was at the same time, such were his paradoxes  an anti-war poet who did  not admire war fought under any pretext. In his last years, he wrote poems dealing with the crumbling of modern civilization due to war. He believed that a revolutionary change is in the offing. In “The Second Coming” written in 1920   he described what lies at the root of the malady; The poem simply begins with the image of a falcon flying away from its human master in the fear of being shot. In medieval times, people would use falcons or hawks to catch animals at ground level. In this image, however, the falcon has gotten itself lost by flying too far away. This lost falcon is a reference to the collapse of the traditional social arrangements in Europe at the time Yeats was writing. The poet uses symbolism; the falcon getting lost is a symbol for the fall of civilization and the chaos which will follow.
There is one more strong image of The Second Coming: it is Sphinx. The poet takes the violence which has taken over society as a sign that “the Second Coming is at hand.” He imagines a sphinx in the desert; we are to think that this is a mythical animal. This animal, and not Christ, is what is coming to fulfil the prophecy from the Biblical Book of Revelation. The sphinx here is a symbol for the beast; the devil who will come to our world to spread chaos, evil, destruction and finally death.
The Second Coming - W B Yeats
TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at laSt,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Dominic West Reading the Second Coming
Yeats’ later poetry is typified by a stark, naked brutality and bluntness. His poems present the truth about the human state and he does not hesitate to use blunt and brutal terms to express it. He called spade a spade. He calls the world “the frog-spawn of a blind man’s ditch”. He says that a man is:

'All mere complexities,
The fury and the mire of human veins.'

In 1929, he stayed at Thoor Ballylee for the last time. Much of the remainder of his life was outside Ireland, but he did lease a house, Riversdale in the Dublin suburb of Rathfarnham from 1932. He wrote prolifically through the final years of his life, publishing poetry, plays and prose.
One of Yeats’ many concerns was old age which is seen as a symbol of the tyranny of time. Rage against the limitations of age and society upon an old man occurs frequently in his poetry. In “Among School Children” he considers himself a comfortable scarecrow. The heart becomes ‘comprehending’, unfortunately attached to a ‘dying animal’. In “The Tower”, Yeats calls the aged body an ‘absurdity’. A powerful expression of Yeats’ agony facing old age appears at the beginning of “Sailing to Byzantium”:

'That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the tress
Those dying generations – at their song

Yeats attitude to old age cannot be typified. Old age is certainly a handicap to the still strong sensual desires He talks of the limited choices available to an old man who is simply a torn coat upon a stick:

'An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick,

He was both romantic and modern and so talks about balance. In the age of industrialization, man was losing the equilibrium between science and religion. They were destroying their physical beauty by injuring it for the elevation of soul. The balance was lost.

'O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance
? '

Yeats’s work of this period takes its strength from his long and dedicated apprenticeship to poetry; from his experiments in a wide range of forms of poetry, drama, and prose; and from his spiritual growth and his gradual acquisition of personal wisdom, which he incorporated into the framework of his own mythology.
In 1938 he attended the Abbey for the last time to see the premiere of his play Purgatory. The Autobiographies of William Butler Yeats was published on that same year.
After suffering from a variety of illnesses for a number of years, Yeats died at the Hôtel Idéal Séjour, in Menton, France on January 28, 1939, at age 73.
Yeats’s wished to be buried in Drumecliff at his hometown in County Sligo. He was first buried at Roquebrune but then his body was exhumed and moved there in September 1948. His grave is considered a famous attraction in Sligo where many people come to visit. The epitaph written on his tombstone is the last line in one of his poems titled Under Ben Bulben and reads “Cast a cold eye on life, on death; horsemen, pass by!”. The County is also home to a statue and memorial building in Yeats’s honour.
I can''t claim I understood  all  that Yeats wrote but he  left us with so much great poetry to read, learn, apply ourselves to, reread, never forget, and subsequently  he made the world larger for it. His inspirational legacy continues to nurture the creative impulse not only in writers but in historians, artists and musicians.

Saturday, 11 June 2022

Rwanda 'Stop the Plane' deportations

There are moments in history when we can look back and say "Why didn't people do more to stop that?" One of those moments is happening now. The Rwanda flight has been given a green light and is going ahead next Tuesday, despite widespread outrage and growing opposition,  the first flight from the UK filled with up to 130 asylum seekers will, unless the Court of Appeal rules otherwise, take Rwanda. A place 5000 miles away with an appalling human rights record, where they face an unknown future. No promise of safety, no family connections, no hope. 
I am  however so grateful  to all who  have already emailed their MP's  to ask them to sign a pledge to fight the Anti Refugee Laws. Will you consider signing the pledge yourself. By signing the pledge, you are saying that you will join the  fight to end  these ugly laws, fight the deportations and remember our shared humanity. 
Back in April this year Priti Patel went against basic rules of humanity, against the advice of her own top civil servants and against the wishes of the general public to announce her intention to deport asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda.
As a deterrent, this plan manifestly fails. As a policy, it is potentially illegal as it penalises asylum seekers for their method of entry, which contravenes the Refugee Convention and the anti-trafficking conventions we have signed up to, Which we helped draft when we were still a civilised nation.
This does feel like a real turning point in British politics, with the Conservative Party implementing the far right slogan of the 1970s of 'sending them back to Africa', even if they never came from there in the first place.Our treatment of people fleeing war and persecution is what colonialism and systemic racism look like in real time. The Rwanda plan iskick them output into practice.
People aren't cattle. Sending them to Rwanda like this is an abomination. We must, at all costs, resist the removals to Rwanda, if we fail to do so  our country is a fucking disgrace.This is  a policy that shames our nation. There shouldn't be a difference based on nationality, We Are All Humans'. The people whose lives will be impacted  have already suffered enormously but are no different from us - they have families, hopes, aspirations. They deserve a life of safety, not a future of uncertainty and horror  
A news report on Al Jazeera last week featuring Afghan children, one of them asked why don't people care about us the way they care about Ukraine. It's hard to hear that coming from a child. We have to be able to stop this - but how do we stop this monstrous policy? It seems to have gotten past the first round of judges and the High Court has denied an injunction seeking to stop next week's planned flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda. It says that each case should be considered on an individual basis and there is no need for an injunction. Campaigners against the government's policy  say they will now take their fight to the Court of Appeal on Monday.
In the High Court, various arguments by the legal team representing the charities Detention Action, Care4Calais and the PCS Union were made hoping to block the first flight scheduled to leave on June 14, calling the plan unsafe and irrational.  According to the court submission from Raza Hussain, the barrister representing the three groups, Patel’s “assessment … that the UNHCR [Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees] is giving this plan a green light is a false claim.
Government lawyer Mathew Gullick countered the criticisms of the UK-Rwandan arrangement.  They were “backward-looking” and did not genuinely take into account the way migrants were to be treated.  Deterring illegal immigration was a matter of “important public interest”.
Husain’s point was confirmed by a last minute intervention from the UNHCR, which argued in its submission to the court that the UK-Rwanda scheme failed to meet the standards of “legality and appropriateness” in terms of transferring asylum seekers from one state to another.  Laura Dubinsky, QC, representing the UNHCR, told the court that the agency believed there were “risks of serious irreparable harm to refugees” inherent in this “unlawful” plan.  The UK Home Office has peddled “inaccuracies” in claiming that the agency endorsed the scheme.
The court document from the UNHCR revealed “serious concerns that asylum seekers transferred from the UK to Rwanda will not have access to fair and efficient procedures for the determination of refugee status, with consequent risks of refoulement.”
Refoulement, a term Patel breezily buries when considering asylum seeker claims, remains a canonical precept of refugee law outlined in Article 33 of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.  Contracting states have an obligation not to “expel or return (‘refouler’) a refugee in a manner whatsoever to the frontiers or territories where his [or her] life or freedom would be threatened on account of his [or her] race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
It wouldn’t be so bad if we were actually trying to help these poor people.It is estimated that over 70 percent of those with Rwanda notices have suffered torture or trafficking either in their home countries, or on the incredibly dangerous journeys they have made. Simply abandoning them with a one way ticket to a foreign country thousands of miles from anywhere is inhumane and an affront to the compassionate reputation which this country has proudly held.
Campaigners who brought the case have  also expressed their concern for the welfare of people set to be "forcibly deported". They had wanted to block the first flight from leaving, as well as individual people being placed on it. 
One asylum seeker - an Iranian ex-police commander who has been held at a detention centre since arriving in the UK in May - has said he fear being killed by Iranian has said he fears being killed by Iranian agents in Rwanda. he fears being killed by Iranian agents in Rwanda. He has been told he will be deported on Tuesday. 
James Wilson, deputy director of campaign group Detention Action, said it was disappointed, but added there were "some positives" from the case - noting that six of the eight original claimants had their removal orders withdrawn by the Home Office in advance of the judgement.
Clare  Moseley, founder of Care4Calais, said the charity was "deeply concerned for the welfare of people who may be forcibly deported to Rwanda, a fate that could profoundly harm their mental health and future"
Patel as expected has revealed her cruel nature and warped logic haswelcomed the decision,Boris too.At this point I remind  you of the fact that several  cabinet ministers are descended from refugees or economic migrants.  They all turn up to be photographed on Holocaust Memorial Day but had their Rwanda policy been enacted 80 years ago even more Jews would have died and and ironically  Priti Patel the chief architct of this plan wouldn’t  be here. They repulse me. They seem blithely unaware of how history will judge them. The UK is  sinking into a toxic Patel puddle of putrid slime. But in an unprecedented move even Prince Charles, the man who could become the next King  says this  plan is  "appalling."
The UK Government’s racist plans  is not the way to treat people seeking safety and sanctuary, and people need to stop saying that refugees will be sent to Rwanda for ‘processing’. The policy is to send them there forever - there is no return.  It is grotesquely cruel, immoral,shameful and orwellian.  This is people trafficking by the Government. Not in my name or many others.
People fleeing for their lives from war and persecution  should be treated with kindness not like criminals. Whatever our differences, we have to recognise our fundamental human obligation to shelter those fleeing from war and persecution, Richer nations must  acknowledge refugees for the victims they are, fleeing from wars they were unable to prevent or stop. History has shown that doing the right thing for victims of war and persecution engenders goodwill and prosperity for generations, And it fosters stablity in the long run. There are other, more humane and more effective ways to both save lives and combat people smugglers.  As compassionate people, we need to ask ourselves if an unnecessarily brutal and cruel plan like Rwanda is really what we want to do .
I have to say no,  at a time when the people of the UK have been opening their hear and homes to those fleeng Ukraine, our totten governmeny is choosing to act with cruelty and rip up their obligations to others fleeing war and peresecution. and urge anyone who is able, to protest against these removals, and help put pressure on airlines to drop the deportation flights. Join thousands who have emailed the airlines via Freedom from Torture: 
Write to your MP for them to intervene by using this handy tool from Bail for Immigration Detainees: and i please sign the following petition  as a matter of urgency and please re-share:-
Join the week of action against the Hostile Environment from 13-20 June. There are dozens of events happening around the country next week to mark ten years of this vicious policy: 
If we act now, we can stop the Rwanda flights. And beyond this week, we must fight for an end to the hostile environment and for the rights of people to cross borders, whether it be fleeing wars, escaping poverty or simply moving closer to loved ones or building a life in a new place. Migration is a fact of life. We must work towards a world where global freedom of movement can become a reality,end this  climate of hostility .Refugees should be welcomed, everywhere. .Stop the deportations now.