Evil begets evil

Just when we are in the middle of one evil, another emerges. Chilling plans to “process” asylum seekers in Rwanda cannot be called anything else.

The Ukraine

With the war in Ukraine fresh and urgent in our minds, the plight of those escaping the horror is ever more evident. Nations are opening their doors to the urgent needs of Ukrainians refugees, yet even here the UK is lagging behind its neighbours. Home Secretary Priti Patel had to apologise for taking so few so slowly due to her own complicated regulations, convoluted form filling, needless Visa applications and deliberate obstacles.

We have taken a paltry 1,200 on the Homes for Ukraine scheme, with 10,000 other joining families already here. We are slowly processing the 78,000 applications for visas. Heaven only knows what the applicants are doing while they wait.

Asylum seekers

This tardy response is nothing compared to what is in store for those escaping Syria, Yemen, Sudan or Afghanistan who form the bulk of asylum seekers. They cannot otherwise get to this country to claim asylum, even if they have relatives here, through any legal channels. They pay everything they and often their families have to get to this country in the hope of a new life and in some cases life at all.

The notion that the problem is people smugglers is a nonsensical distraction from the reality of refugees fighting for survival from a government looking for simple headline grabbing solutions to complex problems

We do everything we can to make asylum seekers lives miserable, harsh and dangerous, but now plan far worse

Clearly, Patel hopes that people will no longer try to get here because we are so ‘tough’ on immigration that migrants would prefer the risks at home. To achieve that we have to make things incredibly inhumane and exporting refugees elsewhere is one crackt at this. Perhaps she thinks we will be so numbed by the mess in Ukraine that we will see this inhumanity as relatively acceptable. Will refugees from the Ukraine be “processed” in Rwanda? Or is this torture for people with darker skins only?

Conservative immigration policy in a nutshell.
Safe routes to immigration are closed down and people, including unaccompanied children, are forced into paying for dangerous and sometimes fatal ways to travel.

If they run out of money they are destitute and incredible vulnerable. Claims of the UK taking more refugees than other nations are simply old fashioned lies.

This is being all being rushed through by ministerial decree in efforts to by-pass Parliament who may well ask tricky questions like what will happen to those refused asylum here who will then be languishing in Rwandan camps.

And those accepted for asylum? This is currently running at about 50%, though many of the refusals relate to the UK insisting they should have applied elsewhere – another con trick. It is far from certain they will be welcomed back here, and have been assured they will have the chance of ‘prosperity’ in impoverished Rwanda.

Hotel Rwanda

Rwanda has come a long way since its own nightmares, but is in no hotel. The plan is to detain those who arrive in the UK to claim asylum, and force them against their will, hands tied behind their back, onto a dark flight to be “processed” in camps 4000 miles away in a nation far poorer and more crowded than ours. This can only be described as evil. It seems this is the latest attempt at rendition, having failed to reach agreements to export our responsibilities to Albania and Ghana.

Rwanda’s population density is 470/Km2; ours is 270. Rwandan GDP per capita is $2,600; ours is $48,000. In other words, they are nearly twice as crowded as us and TWENTY times less wealthy, facts in themselves which demolish arguments against processing their claims here. They already have five times more refugees, per capita, than we do.

Rwandas terrible history and our own governments concerns about human rights there are swept under the carpet, along with any concerns about their fate in a nation where they may not speak the language or have any connections with whatsoever.

This will save money “in the long term” we are told – in other words, this will cost a lot of money to carry out in the short term, but long term costs, presumably in benefits, will be avoided. This is yet another outright lie in the face of evidence of the economic benefits refugees can bring.

Echoes of Nazi Germany

Too many references have been made to the Nazis recently. Conspiratory theorists have constantly compared pandemic management to Fascism, and Putin has used extreme right wing elements in the Ukraine as an excuse to invade. Yet with the Rwandan proposal, there are more significant parallels.

I remember reading Primo Levis tragic and unmissable books based on his time in Nazi concentration camps. He highlighted one moment when a Capo, a camp supervisor, without even looking at him, wiped his dirty hands on Primos back, as if he was not human, as if he didn’t exist, he was just a rag, a thing.

This dehumanising moment stuck in his mind and in mine. Now we are treating refugees, as ‘things’, as problems to be dealt with, to be disposed of.

There are further echoes from Nazi Germany. After the invasion of France in 1940, there were plans to “process” Jewish people by sending them to the French colony of Madagascar, where conditions were poor, but would have fulfilled their aims removing Jewish men women and children from the Europe they were, at that time, rapidly conquering. Read this post from Edvard Ernst for more detail on that evil from another generation, not so long ago.

The present batch of politicians have learnt little from the past and here we are, in 2022 once again treating humans beings as less than human.

Will it ever happen?

There are arguments that legal challenges will prevent this ever happening. According to the UN Refuge Agency, it is against international law. Unions representing Home Office workers are planning action to prevent it. I will be donating to anyone doing the noble work of representing refugees, so the inhumanity may not happen.

Why now?

It has been suggested that the whole thing is a political manoeuvre, designed to impress some voters ahead of May elections in marginal “Red Wall” seats where immigration remains a vexed issue. Another ruse might be that it is simple there to deflect attention from “Party-gate” and the unprecedented scandal of a Prime Minister and Chancellor breaking the very laws they designed, introduced and exhorted the rest of us to follow.

Or simply an attempt to make the failure of Brexit to deliver any of its promises look a little less like a disaster. Harming human beings for any of these reasons goes beyond bad politics and we have to see the suggestions for what they are.

What do we think?

From simple polls it seems the majority are against this horror, with a significant minority in favour. Brexit, where the issue of immigration was heavily manipulated is reading its ugly head again in areas where scapegoats are seen as useful to distract from the real problems of unearned wealth that drives poverty, and the emerging cost of living crisis which will create more poverty, anger and dissolution.

A snap You Gov poll of 2,500 people suggests views on this are divided.

Reality

I grew up in North London, a second wave Irish Immigrant. In Finsbury Park there were West Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Cypriots, Greeks, may other nationalities and occasionally, English. Due to our history of conquest and Commonwealth we are now a multicultural society, and richer for it. Those who oppose immigration – and many do – need reminding this is a price to be paid for stealing the wealth and resources of nations around the world.

Robert Daniels multicultural artwork.

As the Empire disintegrated, it tended to leave problems in its wake. Conflicts in India/Pakistan, Ireland, Palestine/ Israel, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan as well as wars through Africa also were seeded by Empire. Now we have climate change driven wars such as in Syria, oil wars such as in Iraq, political wars, such as in Afghanistan and Ukraine. How will we manage refugees from Rwanda when their next climate or war driven emergency comes along?

In the UK, till now, we have caused mayhem and misery throughout the world and the very least we can do is to welcome our share of those escaping horrors we have had a big part in creating.

It is not easy. Lives for millions, billions even are set to get harder as we leave the myth of ever improving standards of living behind. War, climate change, globalisation, lack of jobs, excess wealth and poverty and food shortages will drive even more migration and who can blame them. Instead of thinking about what can be done to address the root causes, we continue to export weapons, and baulk at the changes in our own lifestyle needed to address climate change. We simply now want to export people.

Priti Patel and Boris Johnson, and their supporters being the latest reincarnation of humanities tendency to inhumanity.

This is Evil, UK style.


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