Lola, ‘Women And Children First!’ Is Only For Shipwrecks…

…not for every aspect of life:

Freedom should be enjoyed by all. This is a comforting and simple enough idea that we like to take as a given. We sometimes qualify it by adding “except of course those who break the law”, but those are the usual parameters.

Assuming the judicial process is fair, most of us vaguely understand that when a crime is committed, the (potential) criminal may be charged, judged as deserving of punishment and, finally, punished. This is what we call due process.

Yes, and..? Just where are you going with this?

People seeking asylum are regularly detained indefinitely, without a charge or trial. Their crime, presumably, is daring to seek asylum in the first place.

No. They don’t need to have committed a crime to be detained. You’ve made the classic mistake there of assuming the only recourse to detention is enjoyed by criminals.

But we detain the severely mentally ill and, in some cases, the dangerously sick. To prevent disruption. So-called refugees fall into this category.

Doesn’t this have a whiff of the feudal about it? Distinguishing one particular group – one of the most vulnerable – as criminal for simply being in the UK is, yes, draconian. It gets worse when we remember that these are people fleeing conflict and persecution.

No, they are people claiming they are fleeing conflict and persecution. A claim we are entitled to test.

And frankly, if they are whinging about being housed, clothed and fed for free while we test that claim, then I think we have grounds for doubting its veracity, don’t we?

Yesterday the campaign charity Women for Refugee Women launched an action outside the Home Office to mark International Women’s Day. As part of the #SetHerFree campaign, the charity delivered 99 signed postcards from women – I was one of them – with messages in support of refugee women.

And what about refugee men…?

My message to the Home Office yesterday was, “seeking asylum isn’t an offence”. Yet the fact that yesterday’s action was centred around pregnant refugee women shows that the act of seeking asylum is generally viewed as being criminal. It is inhumane to lock up any asylum seeker, but the pragmatic approach has been to focus on the most disadvantaged, to shame our government into recognising the plight of women who are victims of torture, sexual violence and those that are pregnant. These groups tug at our heart strings and are more likely to move us to outrage.

Ah. The Baby Seal gambit. Nice try, Lola, but my heart strings remain unplucked.

3 comments for “Lola, ‘Women And Children First!’ Is Only For Shipwrecks…

  1. The Jannie
    March 20, 2016 at 11:20 am

    “And what about refugee men…?”

    They’re all right; being mostly of military age they’ll be waiting for orders. They’ll soon find themselves something to destroy.

  2. Penseivat
    March 20, 2016 at 11:58 am

    The majority are not detained for being migrants or refugees, they are detained for being trespassers, ie. illegally entering a country where they can obtain more benefits than from all the other countries they have travelled through. Let’s take this example on a lower scale, four people you have never met before and have no connection with, enter your home without your permission and claim (demand) food, clothing, somewhere to sleep and money to spend. You then find out that they have stayed at several hostels and places of refuge but ended up in your home because it’s bigger, more luxurious and their is more chance of better food, clothing andmoney. What do you do? Do you welcome them in or do you tell them to get the he’ll out of your house? Discuss.

    • March 21, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      And those other countries they arrived in and departed. It is for you in those countries / homes, as though a car crashed outside your house. You rush out to give assistance. You tend to injuries and let them rest on your couch. The whole family comes in. They want food. They want clothes. They won’t leave. Then another car crashes right outside and they want your compassion and food and a bed too. Then another car crumples to a halt near the other wreckage: another car load of ‘injured’ pour into your home. You chuck them all out and start clearing up the mess. They go to the next street, stealing several cars on the way and crash them outside a house…………

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