Yearly Meeting Gathering – Tuesday 1 August: Session 4 – Bridget Walker:

Yesterday Steve talked of speaking truth to power , drew on the image that Jesus used of binding the strong man, and asked us how ready we are to take on the Strong One.

Today I would like to start by asking how do we recognise that Strong One.

In 1919 William Charles Braithwaite wrote: ‘ Evils which have struck their roots deep in the fabric of human society are often accepted, even by the best minds, as part of the providential ordering of life. They lurk unsuspected in the system of things…..’ QfP 23.05

Identifying the evils in our society Continue reading

Response: Home Affairs Committee on an effective immigration policy

qarn logo smWritten evidence submitted by the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network 19.1.2017:

The Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network links Quakers[1] from all over the UK.   This submission concerns Forced Migrants – refugee and asylum seekers.  The Select Committee will also receive submissions from individual Quakers and other groups of Quakers, many of whom are deeply engaged in work with and for forced migrants[2].

Quakers long standing track record of humanitarian support and concern for the homeless and displaced is best known for the KinderTransport which brought children to safety from Hitler’s Germany.  Those children have enriched the cultural and intellectual life of this country immensely[3]. The refugees and asylum seekers currently seeking a new life in the UK have already introduced enriching variety to our culture. Continue reading

Religion Spirituality and the Refugee Experience

Sue Ennis“Religion Spirituality and the Refugee Experience…” published 2016 by Palgrave McMillan UK (an academic at Oxford Refugee Study Centre linked me to Palgrave).

The book is at http://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137563774#aboutBook

The book was launched by the Australian Human Rights Commissioner Prof Gillian Triggs in Nov 2016. This book is an out-growth of my PhD which is a long held Quaker Concern (see free access to PhD below)

Description of PhD

The research question: What role does spirituality and religion play in refugees’ flights from their home country and during their resettlement in host countries? Continue reading

Using role play

qarn logo smBefore they became refugees, their lives too were normal.

Imagine it is your home, town, country that is being destroyed and you have had to flee. You do not know what has become of your family, friends and colleagues. You hear of the destruction of your culture and history. You are ‘one of the lucky ones’. You have been resettled and are safe, in a country where everything is different: the language, food, customs, climate, landscape. Discuss those aspects of your life you have lost. Continue reading

Role Play guidelines

quaker_home_themeBefore they became refugees, their lives too were normal.
Imagine it is your home, town, country that is being destroyed and you have had to flee. You do not know what has become of your family, friends and colleagues. You hear of the destruction of your culture and history. You are ‘one of the lucky ones’. You have been resettled and are safe, in a country where everything is different: the language, food, customs, climate, landscape. Discuss those aspects of your life you have lost. Continue reading

If we try to imagine – even just a little – what people have experienced

qarn logo smYou or I would probably get on a plane if we had to flee our country. But airlines are held liable if they carry people without papers. Airline staff can’t decide whether or not someone is a refugee. Visas are hard to come by and cost money. Some people have to destroy their own papers in order to stay safe.

By insisting on papers to cross borders we criminalise refugees. Perhaps this is partly how we justify the use of detention – indefinite detention in Britain – and a punitive asylum system leading to poverty such as the nineteenth-century author Charles Dickens would have recognised. Continue reading

This is my face

Faces Sallie AsheThis is my face.

From here I look on the world-

Its beauty and its horror.

With this mouth I taste the bitter and the sweet.

 

My lips kiss my beloved

And hold the stick of smoke which comforts me.

My ears hear sweet music, my children’s voices.

They hear the cries and voices of hatred.

And the voice of compassion.

 

My face is the Me you see.

Tracks of journeys,

Lines of laughter and of pain.

 

Don’t judge the lines,

The heavy hanging hair.

Take time to look

To listen

To hear my story.

To understand.

 

See me

Art-work and poetry reflecting the stories of the displaced people who arrive at Doncaster’s Conversation Club by Sallie Ashe and Denise Cann, members of Balby (Doncaster) Local Meeting

 

Walls

Art-work and poetry reflecting the stories of the displaced people who arrive at Doncaster’s Conversation Club by Sallie Ashe and Denise Cann, members of Balby (Doncaster) Local Meeting

WALLS

Walls Sallie AsheWalls

Surround

Embrace

Shelter

Accept.

Life-containing

Warm wombs. Cocoons.

What cements these walls?

Bricks of family and love. Security, trust.

Room to grow and breathe.

Walls

Imprison

Divide

Contain

Isolate

Life-denying.

Cold tombs. Marooned.

What cements these walls?

Bricks of suspicion and fear.

Attitudes. Convincements of hatred.

What are we building?

A Kafka-esque Encounter with Immigration

UK govAs an asylum law practitioner with Lifeline Options Community Interest Company (Birmingham), I am sure I am not alone in finding that communication with the various sections of UK Visas and Immigration is increasingly strange and Kafka-esque.

On about 22nd April I had to book “Further Submissions”, i.e. an appointment for an asylum seeker to hand in fresh evidence for consideration as a fresh application, in accordance with the rules laid down in October 2009. Handing in this evidence is often done at a statutory reporting occasion if the asylum seeker normally reports at an immigration centre, but in this case the client was based in Gloucester and he normally reports at a police station. The police are not allowed to forward evidence to an immigration centre, so I looked up the phone number of the relevant immigration reporting centre on his “IS96” reporting sheet. The number was a Bristol number and was part of “Wales and South West” region Continue reading