The Britain we face

Wednesday, 8th August 2007 at 8:00 UTC 3 comments

26 human beings who were attempting to make their lives more bearable and avoid the horrors of an illegal and inhumane incarceration have become the subject of a media obsessed with the idea that somehow some people have a right that others do not: to live on this Island. There escapades I find commendable, the media’s backlash I find disgusting.

Why do I have more right to live here than anyone else? I don’t. Unfortunately, because its not in the interests of the collection of institutions and organisations that are the British State, the small matter of rights is completely irrelevant and subject to a quick rewriting. The Global-poor must be kept at arms reach where we can throw the odd bit of cash at them while continuing to abuse them for our own well being.

Almost every person who comes to Britain in search of a better life comes as a result of something we did, or indeed continue to do. Yet we treat them like dirt when they get here, even declaring them criminals when international law would have us believe otherwise. Indeed,  entering Britain on a false passport shouldn’t be a crime according to Article 13 of the UN Convention  on Human Rights, and yet the media and the government call those who have escaped ‘criminals’.

I’m sick and fed up of living in on an island with people who think its cool to hand over the victims of torture to be held in isolation and eventually sent back to be tortured further. Reading the account given by someone who did exactly that (para 10-12 in this report) made me seethe with rage.

There’s a film that occasionally us activists like to show called the Woomera Breakout, based on the actions of a group of activists in Australia, where Immigration Detention Centers were first built. Woomera is undeniably a concentration camp in the middle of desert, and those who took part did an amazing job of breaking out a fair number of the inmates, and whisking them away to safety. I find this hugely inspiring, that in this day and age where we are constantly fed messages about how important ‘our’ nation is and how dangerous asylum seekers are, there are still people prepared to actually go fetch a few of them and give them shelter.

Sadly in the UK, as well as in Australia, this mindset that says we have the supreme right to this corner of the Earth, and that justifies all manner of degradation and violence, both physical and psychological, is in a very large majority. This is what ‘nation’ is all about: separating people from people, people from power, people from those things they need to fulfill themselves, people from the things that they need to provide for the next generation. We all suffer, regardless of whether we’re the asylum seeker or the police officer, or the politician or the working mum, and we will all continue to do so while we fail to realise that our huge swathe of common interests contradict those of a state-being hell-bent on statistically-proven greatness.

Indeed we will all suffer all the more if we do not realise that the current situation regarding climate change is being brought about by the greed of corporations, at the expensive of all of us. To say that the minority of UK-resident people who will fly anywhere this year have the right to consign our planet to death would sound ridiculous, but for the fact we allow the concept of profit to delude us, making us think ‘if we can only get more business people to fly here, the nation state of Britain will be made better and that somehow we will gain from this’.

Sadly this is far from the truth. And yet with most of Africa set to become uninhabitable over the next 50 years, we will be faced with millions more struggling, and probably fighting, their way into Europe. And once again it shall be our fault for failing to act, as well as that of the British State for once again putting it’s ‘success’ above our lives, freedoms and happiness.

Anyhow, I do hope this hasn’t seemed like too extreme a rant. I’m just mostly pissed off at how so few people are questioning the whole escaped asylum seekers story, and how the media are mostly glossing over the fact that the government is at fault in the first place for violating international law and human decency. I do hope it makes a few people think about why they rush to defend such an inhumane practice. We, the people who claim this Island as our home, still have such a lot to learn from asylum seekers it seems.


Entry filed under: Free Space, Free Speech, Freedom, Human Rights, Immigration.

The Camp Must Go On Autonomy Rejected?

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. interesting counter argument...  |  Wednesday, 8th August 2007 at 9:37 UTC

    I’ve been considering this sort of stuff a bit lately, and whilst I agree that things are our fault, and with the right of asylum generally, I have been wondering….

    Most refguees/Asylum seekers end up in the countries nearest those they flee. These are generally poorer countries. The few that make it to Britain are usually relatively well off/well educated. Surely if we make it too easy to stay, we are causing future problems for these countries, how do you rebuild a country, when all middle classes are now living integrated (hopefully) in richer nations? It’s like the problem with stealing foreign nurses, the nurses themselves might benefit, but until we tackle the skills shortage we’re creating in the countries they come from, I can’t feel that it’s the right thing to do.

    Now there’s obviously issues of freedom of choice here too – it isn’t fair that I can choose to live in pretty much any country I want, but only because I happen to have been born in this one. ummm…. I’m waffling now so I’ll shut up!

  • 2. Greg  |  Thursday, 9th August 2007 at 8:19 UTC

    Come on Graham, it’s not all the Big Bad Corporations’ fault (no acrostic intended). A lot of it is to do with personal desires to run a car for every member in the family, commute in from a nice exo-suburban village, eat fruit flown in from around the globe and holiday in New Zealand. Being no student of C20th British politics, I’m told the centre ground moved to the right between WW2 and the present. Well if it did, guess who voted in these successive further-right governments. That’s right, fifty or sixty million individuals, like you and me.

  • 3. Greg  |  Thursday, 9th August 2007 at 9:13 UTC

    To try and link the two parts of my last post, I was assuming that ‘more right wing’ roughly correlates to ‘friendlier with big business’. So if we’ve now got governments who are more inclined to bow to the wishes of large corporations, it’s our fault for consistently voting them in. (Also, if large corporations will import food from countries with no working rights and questionable regimes, it’s our (individuals’) fault for being prepared to sell our consciences for the price of a cheap banana.)

    Blaming big corporations merely creates an us and them situation, where we can costlessly absolve ourselves of guilt by identifying as Joe Bloggs the small, powerless man in the street, rather than powerful consumers who are complicit up to our eyeballs in the sham of a world situation we’ve created.


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