Tag Archives: destitution

Welcome Back To The Human Race

5 Feb

Azizeh

Congratulations ma’am, on closer inspection you are a human being after all. Three years ago you were walking around in the snow with no home and not a penny – your asylum claim and section 4 support had been denied so you ceased to exist and were left to the kindness of strangers for support. This snowy day you have that priceless piece of plastic in your purse declaring that you have Three Years Discretionary Leave To Remain. All RASAG members and friends wish you the very best of everything Azizeh and we give heartfelt thanks to the UKBA for acknowledging that you, a grandma from Tehran who survived a terrifying journey to flee persecution and seek sanctuary in Britain, are human after all.

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A Hate Crime Named Destitution

22 Nov

 

“Whoever you are – I have always depended on the kindness of strangers”[1]

 

“Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away…”[2]

 

Hate crime occurs when an antagonist is able to hurt a victim, physically, mentally, financially, sexually or in any manner where the motivation for committing that crime against you, or the expectation of being able to get away with that crime against you is discrimination, inequality or intended hatred.

 

During a recent survey of refugees and asylum seekers of all categories of status from destitute through to permanent resident’s status, almost 85% had experienced hate crime.  Among those 15% of people not having experienced hate crime 2/3 were destitute asylum seekers, so must be either lucky, scary, or fibbing.

 

The police do not have a sanctuary policy, convention or attitude towards the victims of hate crime.  If you are the victim of a hate crime and you are “a destitute” you will not be able to call the police.  You cannot call the police, although you are vulnerable.  You cannot call the police because you are vulnerable. You cannot call the police because the police do not have a sanctuary policy/convention/attitude towards the victims of hate crime.

 

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Destitution in the United Kingdom is one of the few things experiencing growth of any kind.  It is not just asylum seekers or “failed asylum seekers”, “illegal immigrants”, “migrants”, whatever else we are supposed to call them.  It is also children, native British children.  It is the mothers of those children.  Men.  It is lots of men of every shape and walk of life, excluded from the work force through unemployment, excluded from the benefits system for one sanction or another and left to the “kindness of strangers” for their subsistence.  Mostly though, destitution is asylum seekers, failed asylum seekers, whatever we are supposed to call them…

 

Destitution – having no way of providing for your own essential needs; food, shelter, warmth; having no recourse to public funds, no way or means or permission by law to provide for your needs by way of earning money or trading – anything to generate income or material gain being illegal and very much enforceable by law. – it is hard to fathom of destitution’s existence in Britain in 2012.  Not only is it here in Britain in 2012, it’s very much on the rise and it has a face and if your face looks like its face, you are going to be destitute, or “a destitute” as you may end up referring to yourself in the bitter fullness of time.

 

Destitution. If you are not from Iran, do not speak Farsi as a first Language and did not enter the country in 2008 breathe a sigh of relief, you are not the most likely candidate to be, or shortly become, destitute.  If you are an Iranian Farsi speaker who entered the UK in any other year, don’t get too comfy, if you are not already destitute you are still far more likely to become so than anyone else.  If you are a lone African from any country you are next in line, after the Farsi speaking Iranians for, well, nothing…  Kurds, you’re looking at about a 50/50 shot, but you’re much better off if you’re from Iraq than Iran…  Iraqis are not exactly streaming ahead in the status gaining polls though – they are the second largest destitute group by country of origin according to recent polls and the Kurdish population appears to be far higher compared to the proportion of Kurdish people from Iran suggesting that the non-Kurdish ethnic “majority” of Iraq is, for some reason, invisible, whether not here or here and not seen.

 

. The only legal, safe, perhaps “moral” way for these people, these destitutes to survive is to depend on charities, community groups, religious organisations and other good minded folks to provide for their needs – they must depend, in short, on the kindness of strangers, whoever you are.

 

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Knowing someone who isn’t there is not as easy as it might sound.  It’s hard when people you know, maybe love, are not there, especially when they are, technically, there.  While Shakespeare pondered on whether Hamlet should “be or not to be” and the Beatles proposed to “Let It Be” the UKBA has brought us “don’t be”, a rather more problematic paradigm by which to attempt to live.

 

Let’s take to the statistics once again.  This is a Farsi speaking Iranian destitute.  The year of entry to the UK is 2006.  The method of entry is “in the back of trucks – it took about seven months…”  Initial claim and appeals rejected, all support withdrawn – made destitute in 2008 abject poverty and degradation prevails – nevertheless, there is no option of return voluntarily or by forceful removal to Iran.   She is 65 years old.

 

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“There but for the grace of God go I”

 

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Destitution is a state in which you are bound – certain – to experience hate crime, but unfortunately, it is also the exact same “evil cradling” which will prohibit you from seeking retribution, justice or even recognition for your suffering.  Until the British police are prepared to accept and conform to a common sense of decency and morality by which the victims of crime, and most especially hate crime, do not become the suspect, there will be no “hate crime reporting” revolution, but if there is not an end to this abhorrent discrimination, the probability of other forms of revolt will no longer be dismissible.

In June 2012 Glasgow City Council moved that “The people of Glasgow, no matter how welcoming, cannot be expected to pick up the pieces where UKBA fails”.  “Here Here” say all of those who have met the man upon the stair and wish, and wish, he was not there.

 

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He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

 

 

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[1] Tennessee Williams, “A Streetcar Named Desire”, 3,xi

 

[2] Hughes Mearns, “Antigonissh”  1899