Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The story of the people Britain leaves to rot on the streets

Via Ann Arky, I'm drawn to this article in the Guardian about an asylum seeker called Abdi. A year ago, his application for asylum was rejected. As a result, he has been re-classified as an illegal immigrant and rendered destitute. His tale isn't a new one, but it is one that isn't told often enough.

As Amelia Gentleman explains in the article, since his claim was rejected "he has been surviving without any money from the state, without anywhere to live, not permitted to work." Even hostels for the homeless "are not allowed to offer him a bed, because he is classified as an illegal migrant." He gets nothing, except "a weekly £10 Morrisons voucher from the Red Cross."

He is not the only one in this situation, and it is a life which merits no envy. Especially as the end result of sleeping on staircases was being bitten by a rat and getting an infection. After which a fellow asylum seeker let him stay in a flat which "has no heating, no proper plumbing and is extremely dirty."

But, despite the misery of his condition, he will not go home;
If you understand that it is a choice between living here in this way and going back to be slaughtered, then you understand that there is no choice.
This is the reality of life for those who come to Britain as refugees. They are not, as many people believe thanks to the tirade of lies pumped out like sewage by the media, showered with benefits or treated like royalty. They are either detained and abused, or left on the streets to rot.

As Joseph Nibizi, manager at the Red Cross clinic which hands out the vouchers, told the Guardian;
These people are not here because they are attracted by the [welfare] system in this country. They are here because they have run away from persecution. You can't starve them out of the country, you can't expect them to return home because they are hungry. They won't go.
Because, as we have already heard from Abdi, what they are fleeing is so much worse. That is why people brave treacherous journeys and ruthless immigration policies in their destination countries to get away. It is nothing to do with an (entirely fictional) open border or free-for-all benefit system.

Why should the only merit of how we treat these people be that the alternative is worse? In Nibizi's words, "These are human beings. They should be given their basic needs."