13 January 2010

Invasion of the Baby-Snatchers

St. Aidan to Abbey Manor: UK Border Agency: Invasion of the Baby-Snatchers:
The thundering knock came early in the morning. It was 6.30am. Without waiting for an answer the security chain across the door was smashed from its fittings. Feet thundered up the staircase. The five children, all under the age of 10, were alarmed to be woken from their sleep by the dozen burly strangers who burst into their bedrooms, switched on the lights and shouted at them to get up.

This is not a police state. It is Manchester in supposedly civilised Britain in the 21st century. There is a clue to what this is about in the names of the children: Nardin, who is 10; Karin who is seven; the three-year-old twins Bishoy and Anastasia, and their one-year-old baby sister Angela.

Their parents, Hany and Samah Mansour, are Coptic Christians who fled to the UK after a campaign of persecution by a group of Islamic fundamentalists in Egypt whose friends in the secret police tortured Hany. But even though six Coptic Christians were shot dead by Muslim extremists only last week in a town not far from their home, the British Government has decided that it does not believe them. And so Britain's deportation police have launched another of their terrifying dawn raids on sleeping children.

We have similar problems in South Africa. We have the notorious Lindela Repatriation Camp. We have senior people in government visiting a church that has allowed homeless refugees to sleep inside it instead of outside in the street and threatening to close the church (so much for our much-vaunted constitutional guarantee of religious freedom).

And then there is the fascist (no hyperbole -- there's no better word to describe it) Australian press, which routinely refers to "suspected asylum seekers", as though seeking asylum was a crime. Boat carrying 30 suspected asylum seekers intercepted off Australia's north coast | The Daily Telegraph:
YET another boat carrying suspected asylum seekers has been intercepted off Australia's north coast, making it the 60th arrival this year.

The stationary vessel was spotted sometime before 7.30am today about 140 nautical miles (260 kilometres) north of Gove, in the Northern Territory, Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said in a statement this afternoon.

Britain, South Africa and Australia are supposed to be democratic states, and they at least pay lip service to human rights. But this kind of behaviour is as bad as that found in totalitarian dictatorships. As far as I am aware, each of these countries is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, among other things, that Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

So why are the Australian media trying to portray a right as a crime by referring to "suspected" asylum seekers? That is how the Nazi propaganda press dealt with Jews, Slavs, Gypsies and other "Untermenschen". By trying to criminalise the exercise of human rights, the Australian press fully deserves the epithet "fascist".

Christians have just celebrated the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, and among other things we remember that our Lord Jesus Christ and his family were asylum seekers in Egypt. But many of his followers in Egypt have now become asylum seekers elsewhere. And, as we can see, they receive no better welcome.


Chris H said...

As a foster carer I know that perhaps 8 or 9 years ago a lot of children entering the fostering system via social services were claiming asylum, either in their own right or as part of a family. That seems to have disappeared in my experience. Seems that the care provisions have switched over to the detention of children into camps such as Yarls Wood.

A sad indictment of the attitude of those who govern us to the plight of those seeking aid.

Tauratinzwe said...

In the USA illegal immigrants are collected at work and locked up for deportation leaving their children alone. The employers who hire them get a slap on the wrist, politicians and talk radio hosts wax eloquent and no one cares for the families broken apart.

Occasionally churches step into the breech, but mostly they remain silent or join the noise making and hate mongering.

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jams o donnell said...

THere is a major immigration detention centre in England called Yarl's Wood. It is home to quite a few children, something I consider disgraceful. A prison (whatever you damn well call the place) is not place for children.

It was burned down in a riot some yars ago, I wish it had never been rebuilt


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