Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Perspectives on Life

Two things happened on Sunday to bring me up short and make me think. First of all I had a phone call from Suzanne, supposedly relaxing on holiday, to tell me that a young Congolese man we have come to know while he's been seeking asylum here from unspeakable atrocities in his own country had been arrested and was facing deportation. Yet again, the power of the Home Office descends on a decent, law-abiding person who turns up for an interview with the authorities because they've told him he must. Detained over the weekend in a police cell, taken to Campsfield House and prepared for deportation. No matter that the safety of the DRC is questionable to say the very least. No matter that there are still judicial processes to be followed, that new evidence is being obtained. Just put them on a plane back to torture or worse. What kind of country have we become?
I'd just put the phone down from that call when it rang again. This time the message was closer to home but also very worrying. My mother in law was very ill -could my husband go straight away. Fortunately he was at home and could. She needed to go to hospital and so there was much coming and going to sort things out. Fortunately she seems to be on the mend and her story progresses more happily than the first one of the day. Once more, in an emergency, the NHS came up trumps.

I feel very lucky to live in a country where there's still enough freedom for me to be able to write this without fear of imprisonment or worse, and where the health service still manages to respond wonderfully to emergencies. But I feel desperately ashamed that the government which claims to represent me and speak for me on these things is sending frightened men and women back to certain danger and possibly death.
When will they listen to the small voice of conscience that's in every one of us and then act on it?

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