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June 22, 2007

Comments

lynn

thanks for this post Brodie.

I think you're right that your presence was important. Someone challenged me the other day that thinking globally and acting locally has power.

And now that I reflect on that; Jesus himself typified that; siding with the marginalised in small gatherings out on the streets and bringing to them a kingdom with world-changing power.

If there were only about 100 people taking part - where were the thousands of asylum seekers in Glasgow. Were they lying about in their free furnished flats, watching their free television sets and enjoying all their other free handouts.

brodie

Dear Anon - on your comment as to where were the thousands of asylum seekers if only 100 people turned out to this event, here are my thoughts....
(1) I'm not sure how well this event was publicised. Certainly asylum seekers that I know knew nothing about it. So if you don't know an event is no it's hard to attend!
(2) it's hard to make and keep in contact with those asylum seekers who have been made destitute. Some did turn up at the event, along with some homeless Scottish people - both groups were made I think equally welcome.
(3) Many asylum seekers live in fear, and many come from countries where to protest as we did would mean a beating from the police or jail. I therefore can certainly understand a reluctance on their part to participate in an event that involved sleeping out in the central square of a city.
Absence of presence does not mean absence of concern!
As to your comments that asylum seekers lay about in their free furnished flats, watching their free televisions and other free handouts - you must simply be talking about an asylum system in a different country as this is not the experience of asylum seekers here. I know many asylums seekers - good honest hard working people, many highly educated, many now living in poverty - yet we will not let them work. It is not they who choose to do nothing; it is the system that forces them to have nothing to do.

Account Deleted

I was going to say that I agreed with Anon above that asylum seekers should be properly housed and not forced into destitution, be able to be employed, and have a freedom from fear to the extent that they could publicly express how they felt about things without discrimination - but oh - then I realised that they were not meaning that at all and rather prefer the present state of things.. I guess then we don't agree...and that I'm with Brodie

Jamie O'Neill

Hi Anon, I was actually responsible for the event and would like to clear a few things up for you. We had the sleep out in Glasgow to coincide with many other sleep outs occurring up and down the UK. We sent out information to our 12,000 contacts asking them to support the event. After 100 people agreed to take part, including Asylum seekers, church ministers, local residents, Actors, MSP's and other politicians, we felt there was no need to publicise the event any further. Partly because of resource issues and partly due to security issues as many other organisers in other cities had reported attacks and abuse towards the attendees. Luckily in Glasgow, that never happened.

There are over 1,100 families in Glasgow who have been refused by the Home Office. They are not all in immediate threat of destitution; however, many asylum seekers did attend the event and some even cooked food etc, to be handed out to destitute people (asylum seekers and indigenes Scots). The event was organised to highlight what’s happening in Scotland and since, ANON you are now talking about this issue have formed your own opinion, whether you agree with the campaign or not, that is one of the things I personally wanted out of the event; for people to at least know that this is happening.

Some had also raised money from sponsorship and this money will be used to feed people who have been made destitute and have no access to any fund, from anyone, not even homeless shelters.

Hope this helps and thanks for everyone who attended and/or showed support. Jamie

lynn

Thanks everyone for your contributions to this thread. Good to hear your views and comments.

The asylum seekers I know personally are terrified to step outside at night so I have no issue at all with vulnerable females staying home during the sleepout. Some of these humble, gracious and dignified women were subjected to horrific assaults in their country of origin.

Thanks Jamie, for your dignified response on behalf of PAIH and welcome to Still Small Voices.

Brian (not real name)

Anon, I was also an asylum seeker and I still remember that I dreeded the thought of going out to any demonstartion or public gathering because of the fear that I would become a target for the Home Office. It actually happened.

I'm not sure where you got your story about free furnished flats, free television, and other free handouts from but maybe you should try and live in one of those 'FREE' places and see how much you get compared to being allowed to do something and contribute.

By the way, do you honestly believe that the best thing to do to anyone who's been through so much torment as these people have been deserves to just sit or lie down idly everyday? Is that not a sure way of damaging these individuals mentally and ensuring that they are unable to contribute effectively to our society?

Brodie

Brian - thanks for your contribution, it's good to have someone who knows about these issues first hand make such a good comment.

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